Senior Contributor Joe Kissell is a senior editor of TidBits and the author of numerous ebooks in the Take Control series. More by Joe Kissell
I have a nice document scanner. I have great OCR and document-management software. I have a solid system for converting paper into digital documents. I hardly ever print anything. I even wrote a book on the paperless office. And yet, somehow, I still have tons of papers in my home office, and despite my best efforts, more appear all the time. What’s happening?
The old joke goes, “The paperless office has about as much of a chance as the paperless bathroom.” For the moment, let’s ignore the fact that paperless bathrooms are apparently becoming a thing. Is the paperless office really that hopeless?
The Macworld staff occasionally work on articles together. You're reading one of those articles right now. More by Macworld Staff
If you asked Macworld editors to name the technologies they can't live without, you’d inevitably hear about Dropbox. This file-synchronization service lets you access your files from anywhere—not just your Mac, iPad, and iPhone, but also any Web browser. It provides easy cloud-based backup, too. But all that’s just the beginning. Here are five of our favorite ways to use it:
1. Share big files
Anyone who passes around photos, videos, or other big files has most certainly discovered the puny file-size limits of most email servers. Dropbox can help. First, make sure you’re running the very latest version of the app by downloading it from Dropbox’s website. Then, in the Finder, find a file in your Dropbox folder, and Control-click, right-click, or two-finger-click it. In the contextual menu that appears, select Share Dropbox Link. (In older versions of Dropbox, choose Dropbox > Share Dropbox Link.) Select this option to copy a shareable URL for the file in question to your clipboard, ready for pasting into an email message or a chat window. Recipients don’t even need a Dropbox account to use links. There’s no quicker way to share large files.—Lex Friedman
Lex uses a MacBook Pro, an iPhone 5, an iPad mini, a Kindle 3, a TiVo HD, and a treadmill desk, and loves them all. His latest book, a children's book parody for adults, is called "The Kid in the Crib." Lex lives in New Jersey with his wife and three young kids. More by Lex Friedman
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. More by Christopher Breen
PDF is a wonderful format for reading documents, but once you move beyond reading, things can get complicated in a hurry. Thankfully, useful tools for working with PDF files are built into Automator, OS X's built-in workflow tool. Let’s run through a few of them now.
When I want to step away from my desk, I move my pointer to the top-left corner of my display. My screensaver activates and my screen locks. When I want to see if I have any messages in Notification Center, I move my cursor to the top-right corner and Notification Center appears. Dashboard? Who needs a keyboard shortcut? I just slip my pointer to the bottom-right. And to see all my apps in Mission Control, the bottom-left corner of my screen does the trick.
OS X’s Hot Corners come alive after you set a not-so-easy-to-spot preference. This lets you determine what actions will trigger when you move your cursor into a particular corner of your Mac’s display. Select Apple menu > System Preferences and then click Mission Control. At the bottom of the window, click the Hot Corners button to see a dialog box with options for all four corners.
How can Hot Corners save you time? I’ll take you through all the possibilities for this little-used, yet powerful feature.
If you’ve been using a Mac for any length of time, you know that it’s more than just a pretty point-and-click, window-and-icon interface. Beneath the surface of OS X is an entire world that you can access only from the command line. Terminal (in /Applications/Utilities) is the default gateway to that command line on a Mac. With it, instead of pointing and clicking, you type your commands and your Mac does your bidding.
Why would you want to do that? For almost all of your computing needs, the regular graphical user interface is enough. But the command line can be handy when it comes to troubleshooting your Mac, to turn on “hidden” settings, and other advanced chores. Many of the hints we publish on the Mac OS X Hints website require the use of the command line. It’s a good idea for anyone who isn’t an utter beginner to be familiar with it.
If you aren’t already familiar with OS X's command-line interface, this article is the first in an occasional series that’ll get you up to speed. The plan is to cover the most important commands you need to know and show you how to use them. First up: How to navigate the file system from the command-line prompt.
As any iPhone or iPad owner with children will attest, touchscreen devices are clearly the future of kid-friendly computing—there’s no substitute for the direct interaction between on-screen items and fingertips. But a lot of great kid software is still available for the Mac, so until we replace all our Macs with tablets, we’ll have plenty of reasons to set up a computer for the young ones.
Most people worry about finding the right software and configuring the right settings for kid-safe computing. But what about the hardware? Chances are you often see a scene much like the one above—your child happily absconding with your laptop to the couch. But it’s not the best setup—ergonomically or logistically—for a child. Here are some tips for setting up a work-and-play-station your kids will love.