Weekly Wrap: Siri, Mac tips, holidays, and more

Feeling antsy? On edge? Can’t shake the sense that things just aren’t right? That’s probably our fault. The Weekly Wrap took a break last Saturday, and we know how you count on our appearing here each week to point you to the best Macworld stories from the week gone by. Fret not, because we’re back, and this week we covered the usual mix of Mac and iOS-focused news, and offered a variety of articles to help you prepare for the upcoming holidays.

Great expectations

When contributor Sharon Zardetto’s around, expect the unexpected. She shared five unexpected uses for help tags, and six unexpected uses for the arrow keys. While you’re marveling over the many impressive things your keyboard can do, don’t miss Chris Breen’s guide to controlling Mission Control with it. We expect that you'll prefer it to relying on Lion’s newfangled trackpad gestures.

iOS: Siri, custom alerts, and apps

Speaking of newfangled technology: Let us help you master Siri. First and foremost, if Siri starts saying anything about having a taste for human blood, turn off your iPhone immediately. But assuming your future robot overlord is behaving for the time being, don’t miss our six power-user tips for mastering Siri. And did you know that you can start dictation by raising your iPhone 4S to your ear whenever the on-screen keyboard appears?

If, rather than have your iPhone talk to you, you’d prefer that it merely make precisely the sounds you’d like to hear, we’ve got you covered with Dan Moren’s video guide to create custom iPhone alerts.

And, as ever, we covered a smattering of iOS apps. Among them:

  • League of Evil—a game that, surprisingly enough, does not star Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell;
  • iTether—an app that Apple approved, then pulled, leaving many at the end of their collective tether;
  • Living Earth HD—an app much less depressing than its yet-to-be-created Dying Earth sequel;
  • HighlightCam Social—a video editing app whose name is clearly the result of CorporateCommittee Negotiation; and
  • Waze—a GPS app that encourages you to drive like Pac-Man, sadly to the detriment of any pedestrians dressed as blue ghosts.

Holi-data

If you hear those sleigh bells ringing and ring ting tingling as well, we can help you create the Perfect Pandora holiday station. And if you prefer to do your holiday shopping without leaving the house, don’t miss our primer on how to give gifts from the iTunes Store. We can also offer buying guidance for portable hard drives, refurbished Macs, and AirPlay speakers.

If you bring home any new Apple hardware this holiday season, we can offer some advice on whether AppleCare is worth it. And if you want to take photographs of the joyous smiles on your loved ones’ faces as you present them with all this high-tech lucre, don’t miss our tutorial on using Photo Stream with iPhoto and Aperture.

Et cetera

Two other stories worth reading that didn’t fit anywhere else: First, Kindle Fire and iPad 2: Comparing the incomparable, a piece wherein Mr. Breen argues that the Fire is a lot better if you don’t think about it in the context of the iPad. Also worth studying is Mr. Moren’s breakdown of the Carrier IQ kerfuffle.

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