Archive for August 2012

Finding Your Mac’s Serial Number

Posted by on in Mac Tips.

There are times when you need to locate your Mac's serial number, for example if you call Apple for support.  With a laptop, that's usually pretty easy.  You turn it over and it's usually right there on a sticker.  Sometimes it's hidden in the battery compartment, but it's generally easy to find.  On the iMac, it's sometimes less obvious, like on the bottom side of the silver leg that supports the iMac.  On a MacPro or other tower, it's usually on the back. The thing is, often your MacPro or other tower will be located below your desk with a jumble of wires attached, or it may be difficult for you to lift your iMac to find the serial number.  Well, there are a couple of much easier ways.

Your first option is to simply ask your Mac!  Go directly to the Apple Menu (the small apple in the very top left corner of your screen) and select About This Mac... You will see a small window that tells you which version of Mac OS X you are using, how much RAM you have installed etc.  Now here's the trick - click once on the version of Mac OS X and it will change to show you the build version.  Click again and it will show you the serial number!

Mac Serial Number

In the same window, if you now click on the More Info... button at the bottom, the System Information window will open.  This gives you much more detail about your Mac, everything from memory and hard disk stats to network and device configuration and even software information.  On earlier versions of Mac OS X, this was called System Profiler and it showed a list of items on the left hand side which you could click to get more information.  The newer version opens directly with the Overview tab selected and you can immediately see the serial number.

So without even having to get down on your hands and knees, you now have access to your Mac Serial Number whenever you need it.

The Secret Camera – Part II

Posted by on in iPad Tips, iPhone Tips.

Continuing on from that lovely screenshot feature that we've seen on the Mac OS X operating system, we have the same feature available on the iPhone and iPad.

To take a screenshot of the current display on your screen, position your hands so that you can press both the Power button and the Home button at the same time.  Now hold down the Power button and press the Home button once.  You should hear the old familiar camera click sound and you'll now find a screenshot located in Photos.  You'll find it in your camera roll, as if you'd just taken a photo with the camera.

Why is this useful?  Well, for one thing, my 6 year old son uses it to take snapshots of things that he likes in various apps that he's got.  Pictures of trains for example.  So he uses this feature to "extract" the image from the app, then happily uses the HP ePrint app to print himself off a copy.  Now that's what I call using your head!

Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion – First Impressions

Posted by on in Mac Tips, News Articles.

Well, I decided to update my MacBook Pro 13" from Lion to Mountain Lion a few days ago, to get a first-hand feel for the new features that are being touted.  My initial reaction is, well, mixed.

I haven't had time to look at everything in detail as yet, but there were a couple of features that I was really looking forward to.  One was the Messages app.  I have to say, from what I've seen of it so far, it's a bit of a let down.  The interface is not very easy to use and its integration with "Buddies" or "Contacts" just doesn't seem to be ideal.  It was suggesting that I send messages via iMessage to people that don't even use it.

I was also really looking forward to the location-based Reminders.  What a complete disappointment that was.  I was expecting to be able to drop a pin on the location and set a reminder for when I arrived/left that location.  Instead, you are limited to having to specify an address, which most often I would not know - and even if I did, it doesn't seem to find them well!  It's a feature that I don't think I can use.  Not yet at least.

I was further disappointed to discover that my MacBook Pro, not even that old, considering it's AppleCare Extension has not yet run out, is not supported for the use of Airplay Mirroring.  In short: I can't transmit my Mac screen to the TV using AppleTV.  That sucks, just because it's a pre-2010 model.

The notification centre at least seems to be a welcome addition, as well as the App Store update which now handles OS software updates within the app.

One thing that has really impressed me though is the Dictation feature.  I've just tried it using the Mail app, with a very normally spoken sentence that included words I didn't think it would pick up on, and it wrote it almost 100% correctly.  Now that's a feature I'm going to play with a bit more....

MacBook Pro 13″ Retina On The Way?

Posted by on in Mac Tips.

Rumours are abounding that Apple are developing a 13" version of the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display.  It is suggested that they will be released with 8gb of RAM and a 2.7Ghz Intel Corei7 just like it's big brother the 15".  References have been unearthed inside configuration files on the new Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Operating System that refer to a new MP60 model which has not yet been released.  Let's hope it's true, I'm in need of an upgrade myself try our!

The Beauty of PDF Integration

Posted by on in Mac Tips.

If any of you have used Windows, you will know that creating PDF files usually requires installation of extra software etc.  On the Mac, this is not the case.  PDF has been very nicely integrated with the Operating System (Mac OS X) so that all you have to do in order to create one is tell your Mac that you want to print.

But - instead of actually printing the document, you select Save As PDF... from the menu located at the bottom of the print dialog box.

This allows you to save the file wherever you like, naming it as you like and it is automatically created in PDF format.  You can then email it or whatever you wish to do with it.

PDF stands for Portable Document Format and it's a lovely way to exchange data as it saves your document in a read-only format that can be viewed on just about any device.  Almost all users would have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed nowadays, which is what you generally use to view PDF files.  The Preview app that comes with Mac OS X is also an excellent choice and very easy to use.

The Secret Camera (Mac OS X)

Posted by on in Mac Tips.

Many people are unaware of the fact that their Mac actually has a built-in digital camera for taking screenshots and screen grabs.  It really is a magical little tool and deserves to be noticed! It's very simple to use really.  Just press the CMD and SHIFT modifier keys at the same time and while you are still pressing them, press the number 3 on the top row of keys (not from the keypad if you have one).  You will hear a click like the shutter of a camera and the next thing you know - there's an image file on your desktop which contains a full screenshot of exactly how your screen was when you pressed the '3' key.  This can be very useful in many situations, such as sending in a screenshot to help diagnose some Mac problem that you are experiencing. Furthermore, bigger and better in my view, is the screen grab feature.  In exactly the same way, you press the CMD and SHIFT modifier keys at the same time - but this time you press the number 4 from the top row of keys.  A small cross-hairs will replace the arrow on the screen and you can then draw a box around whatever it is you want to grab.  As soon as you let go of the mouse button, you will hear the camera click sound and another image will appear on your desktop.  This time it contains only the area you selected on the screen. Now that you know about this little trick and you know how to use it, I bet it comes in very handy on a regular basi 🙂

Google announces new Voice Search app for iOS

Posted by on in News Articles.

"There should be nothing standing between your thoughts and the knowledge you seek," said Amit Singhal, Google's senior vice president of engineering.

He said the updated iOS version of the Google Search app had already been submitted to the Apple App Store and it should be available within the next few days.

The enhanced version of Google Voice Search is already available on Android 4.1 and it will become available to iOS users within a few days, but users of older versions of Android are not yet catered for.

The new version of Google's search app for the iPhone and iPad will let users find information about everything from the weather to nearby cinema listings by speaking into the devices and reading answers to search results in a human sounding voice.

Locking the Screen Rotation

Posted by on in iPad Tips, iPhone Tips.

Well, I think we are all familiar with the fabulous new feature on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch which allows you to rotate the device and have the screen rotate with it!  This is a wonderful feature in most cases, particularly when viewing photos, movies etc.

But what about the times when you really don't want the screen to rotate with you.  For example, you are trying to read your iBook and you prefer to read in portrait orientation.  However every time you turn on your side and you accidentally rotate the device slightly, the screen rotates with it and now you are reading in facing-pages landscape mode.  It takes a few seconds for it to switch back to portrait mode once you've righted your device.  When this happens a lot, it's very frustrating.

The answer is to use the Rotation Lock on your device.  That's all very well, but most people don't know it exists and if they did, they wouldn't know where to find it!  As it turns out, it's very simple - when you know how! (Like most things!!)

To access the rotation lock, simply double-click (press twice quickly) the Home button - the circular button below the screen.  This will open a new row of icons along the bottom of your screen.  This displays the applications that are currently running in the background (but that's for another day!)  Simply swipe your finger to the right on those icons and you will be taken to the iPod Controls.  At the very left of the iPod Controls, you will see the Rotation Lock indicator.  It is what's called a toggle, so you press it once to switch it on and press it again to switch it off.

Now that you know what it is, where it is and what it does, you can use it anytime and save yourself some frustration!  Needless to say, rotation lock has other purposes but I'll leave you to discover those for yourselves...  🙂

UNDO on the iPhone & iPad

Posted by on in iPad Tips, iPhone Tips.

Did you know that the Undo command is also available on the iPhone and iPad?  When you are typing an email, or a text message, or practically anywhere you are entering text, simply give the iPhone or iPad one good sharp shake forwards and backwards. Suddenly, in the middle of your screen, the Undo option will appear, along with a Cancel button if you do it by mistake 🙂  Just hit the Undo button and whatever you last typed will be un-done, including any text that you might have deleted by mistake! Remember, if you hit something by mistake and text disappears, or something happens that you weren't expecting, all is not lost!  Try using Undo,  it could save your day to play the game!

Rumours surrounding launch of new “iPhone 5”

Posted by on in News Articles.

Rumours are spreading across the net, suggesting that Apple may be poised to release their latest iPhone which many believe will be the iPhone 5.  Rumours from various tech sites suggest that Apple may be planning to announce the new device in early September 2012, along with the release of its latest incarnation of its mobile operating system, iOS 6 mini educator.