It wasn’t so long ago that Chris Grant would regularly take a whole laboratory’s worth of equipment with him into the wilderness. These days, he just takes an iPad.
“We navigate to some fairly remote locations that require hiking in. A two-mile one-way hike is not unheard of,” says Grant, a laboratory coordinator for Juniata College in central Pennsylvania. During the summer, he leads teams of students into the state’s wilds to catch fish in local creeks and test them for mercury content.
Such hikes used to require a number of different tools: a topography map, a handheld GPS unit, a camera, a rangefinder, even a notebook to write down data. Now? The iPad does all of that for Grant, who utilizes apps like GPS Status, River Reader, and Smart Ruler to find his way around and take measurements in the field.
If you rely on Address Book to keep your contacts straight, you may be the tiniest bit disappointed that Apple’s contact management application provides so few useful ways to filter and export your contact data. Fortunately, Automator can lend a very helpful hand—particularly if you seek a way to filter your contacts and then export that filtered data to an Excel spreadsheet. Here are the steps for doing this.
Make your workflow
With a copy of Microsoft Office 2008 or 2011 on your Mac (these versions of Office install Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Automator actions), launch Automator and from the new workflow sheet that appears, select Service and click Choose.
Dreaming of the day you can leave the heavy laptop behind and give all your presentations from your iPad? Joe Kissell explores what's possible with the third-generation iPad, AirPlay mirroring, and Keynote.
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Not too long ago, the main option for task management on the Mac was iCal’s To Do list. (Note I said option, not solution.) For serious task management, the Mac was a barren wasteland. Not anymore. Looking through the Mac and iOS App Stores, there seem to be more task management tools than fart apps. Those tools range from rudimentary checklists to gargantuan multi-feature, multi-platform systems. I know because I’ve tried a lot of them. For users, this newfound abundance of riches finally makes it possible for everybody to use their Macs (and iPhones and iPads) to manage their tasks and even, perhaps, get a little work done.
But while there are some software categories in which there is one clear best-in-breed solution, task management isn't one of them. Picking just one task manager as the best solution for everyone would assume that everybody has the exact same task management needs—which they don’t. The choice is different for everyone. Here’s how I made mine.
You want to reduce your reliance on email—but the rest of the world still wants to send you 100 messages a day. And you're not sure whether to cut it out entirely, or just a little bit at a time. How can you decide when to use email, and when to use other methods for communication? The experts weigh in:
Do use email for messages that can’t wait to be “found”
You can give impressive presentations from your iPad‚ and perhaps even leave your laptop behind‚ if you prepare well and know what to expect. It's even easier to take to the podium with newer technologies like AirPlay mirroring and the latest version of Keynote for iOS. Here are tips for moving presentations onto your iPad and delivering them live.
Get it together
Apple’s $10 Keynote for iOS () can import presentations made in Microsoft PowerPoint () or in Keynote for OS X (), but in both cases you’re likely to lose a great deal during the import process. Say goodbye to some fonts, transitions, and builds that aren’t available on the iPad, plus audio and more. (Presenter notes are supported, however, whether created on the iPad or imported from a PowerPoint or Keynote for Mac presentation.) Therefore, when feasible, create your presentation directly on the iPad.
OS X’s Folder Actions let you attach AppleScripts to specific folders so actions are performed automatically as soon as you add items to the folders. Once you know the basics of how Folder Actions work, you’ll inevitably start wondering what cool things they can do for you. Here are three interesting Folder Actions to try out.
1. Print files automatically
As much as you may dream of a paperless office, you may still receive documents you need to print. If you only have a single printer, and don’t need to tweak settings for different types of documents, you can create a Folder Action that will automatically print any files you add to a folder.