Create a reminder on your Mac in an instant

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Reader Robin Lee wants a bit more convenience from the Finder. She writes:

I’m accustomed to creating quick reminders on my iPhone by using Siri. Obviously Siri isn’t on my Mac but is there an easy way to quickly create a reminder without having to launch the Reminders app?

My colleague Kirk McElhearn covered something like this in Create Reminders When You Aren’t in Reminders, where the key to success was Automator. I too have an Automator solution, but one that requires a single action.

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iOS

Add Calendar events in a flash

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Reader Andy Gillman is frustrated by iOS’s Calendar app. He writes:

Why does it take so much work to create an event in the Calendar app? I’m tired of tapping the plus button and then entering day, time, details, and so on. There must be a better way!

As a matter of fact there are a couple of better ways. The first is to use Siri. Rather than launch Calendar, tap plus, and then go through the various machinations to create an event as simple as a Friday lunch meeting with your cousin Jo-Jo, just press and hold the Home button and say:

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How to dismiss Mac App Store notifications

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Reader David Gilbert, like many of us, is frustrated by Mac App Store update reminders. He writes:

It seems that every time I start up my Mac I see an alert about application updates waiting for me. Some of them I don’t want. Is there anything I can do about shutting off these alerts?

Yes. Start by launching System Preferences, selecting App Store, and disabling the Automatically Check For Updates option. Do this and the nudging stops. Of course it also means that you may miss out on some important updates. To help avoid that, you might create a weekly calendar alarm or reminder that reminds you to manually check for updates. You do that by opening that same App Store preference and clicking on the Show Updates button.

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Two backup options for three computers

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Reader Pete Barr asks an age-old question. He writes:

My wife and I recently purchased Apple laptops. We use an AirPort Extreme base station as our router and I’ve configured a Mac mini as a media server. I keep thinking that with the addition of an external hard drive I could put together some kind of backup server for us but I’m not sure how to go about it. What do you suggest?

You have many options (as I’m sure the comments below will suggest) but let me address two. If you have Apple’s latest 802.11ac AirPort Extreme base station, format a USB drive as an Mac OS Extended (Journaled) volume, connect it to the base station, and Time Machine on each of your laptops will recognize it as a backup destination.

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How to speed up a slow iPhoto library

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Reader Marty Schettler is unimpressed with iPhoto’s speed. He writes:

I am a casual photographer who has amassed about 10,000 pictures in my iPhoto library. iPhoto now runs so slowly that it is essentially unusable (and occasionally tells me that my Library has been corrupted). I’ve heard a few people recommend switching to Aperture, adding iPhoto Library Manager, or jumping to an Adobe or Google product. I just want something where I can organize my photos by date/event and do very light editing. What do you recommend?

Given that the vast majority of us have been filmless for a decade or more, it does seem odd that iPhoto chokes on just 10,000 images. But you’re right, it can and does. Poky performance with largish libraries has been a feature of iPhoto for years and the latest edition is no exception.

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Bugs & Fixes: OS X 10.9.2 and the disappearing camera

Ted Landau Senior Contributor, Macworld

Initially, after updating to OS X 10.9.2, all seemed fine with my 2009 Mac Pro. Then I launched Skype. The application could no longer detect the camera built into my 24-inch Cinema Display. I quickly confirmed that this failure was not specific to Skype. It extended to all programs that accessed the camera—notably Apple’s FaceTime and Photo Booth. For example, shortly after launching Photo Booth, a message appeared that said “There is no connected camera.”

no connected camera

Instead of a view from the camera, this message appeared in Photo Booth after updating to OS X 10.9.2.

A Safe Boot points the way

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Mail merge and Office 2011 revisited

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Twitter follower Toby Sax is anxious for me to revisit an old Mac 911 column that lays out the steps for creating mail merged documents in Microsoft Word. In a series of tweets Toby writes:

Thanks for your mail merge and Office 2011 article, which I followed to near success. I have these questions:
  • How do you insert an email address from Outlook rather than Apple’s Contacts application?
  • How do you maintain a letter format within the resulting email message?
  • When I tried this the letters went to Outlook’s Drafts folders and not to its Outbox as you suggested. Why?

Thanks for allowing me the chance to revisit this topic, particularly as it lets me answer some outstanding questions that followed it. For the sake of convenience I’ll pull portions of that column (in italics) into this one and answer as I go.

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