Automator workflow of the month: An easier way to burn movies to DVD

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.
More by

It’s no secret that Apple has little-to-no interest in DVDs. Just take a look at the removable media missing from all new Macs. However, there are still many Mac users who not only wish to play these discs, but also create them, especially now that the holidays are at hand. What some have found particularly irksome is that iMovie 10 () has no option for sharing movies to iDVD. Although this feature is unlikely to return, you can create something a bit like it with Automator. Here’s how.

Work the workflow

To begin, you’ll naturally need to have a copy of iDVD. You’ll find it bundled with older copies of the iLife suite. (Updates are available on Apple's site, but require a previous copy of the app.) If you don't have a copy lying around, you can buy iLife '09 from Amazon.

Read more »


How to add your PDFs to iBooks and organize them

Serenity Caldwell Associate Editor, Macworld

Serenity has been writing and talking and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, writes, acts, sings, and wears an assortment of hats.
More by

Thanks to the new iBooks app in OS X Mavericks, it’s easy to store and read your ebooks—be they purchased from the iBookstore or elsewhere (as long as they’re in the .epub or .ibooks format). But you can also keep PDFs in iBooks, too, and even organize them to your liking—though Apple’s tools still leave a bit to be desired on that front.

Add your PDFs

Adding PDFs to the iBooks app is easy. Just drag and drop them onto the iBooks screen, or go to File > Add to Library (Shift-Command-O) and select the applicable file.

Read more »


16 secrets of Google Drive

David Chartier Contributor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

David has been covering Apple and how to get the most out of its products since 2005. Now a freelance tech writer, he runs Finer Things in Tech, jots down thoughts at, occasionally starts outlining the great American tech novel, and might still get to snowboard Breckenridge one more time.
More by

Google Drive—formerly Google Docs—has come quite a way in nearly a decade of existence. Originally launched as Writely, a startup’s clever collaborative word processor, Google quickly acquired the app, changed the name to Google Docs, and released it as a new way to help people work together more efficiently using little more than a browser.

Google changed the name again to Google Drive in April 2012, reflecting the ever-expanding goals and capabilities of the suite. Google Drive’s many and varied capabilities—from chat with collaborators in a document to the ability to automate your entire Drive—can sometime be surprising. I rounded up a few tips to help you get even more out of this online productivity platform.

1. Search by person

Read more »


How to work with iWork's new file formats

Ted Landau Senior Contributor, Macworld

With the recently released 2013 versions of iWork for OS X and iOS, syncing documents across Macs, iOS devices and even iWork for iCloud is now a seamless transparent process: Open and edit a document in one location, and the changes are instantly reflected at every other location that has access to the file. With very few exceptions, a document’s appearance remains identical on each platform. Warnings about file conversions and omitted features have all but vanished.

For anyone who has struggled with iWork file syncing over the years, this is fantastic news. It wasn’t always this way.

In the beginning…

Read more »


How Mac experts set up their desktops

Lex Friedman Senior Contributor, Macworld

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

These days, I work on a 13-inch MacBook Air. On workdays, I connect it to a second display—a 17-inch ViewSonic monitor. My laptop serves as the primary screen, with my Dock at the bottom, and windows arranged somewhat haphazardly: Almost all apps live on the right (laptop) display, with extra Safari windows offloaded to the second monitor.

This approach is totally normal to me. But I’ve come to realize that while maybe no man is an island, almost every Mac is: Everyone uses a different desktop setup. And it’s interesting to learn how other folks use their Macs, because it might influence how you do things.

Read more »


Fact or fiction: What affects Wi-Fi speed?

James Galbraith , Macworld

James is the director of Macworld Lab.
More by

Michael Brown Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Michael manages PCWorld's hardware product reviews and contributes to TechHive's coverage of home-control systems and sound bars.
More by

Believe it or not, there was a time not long ago when surfing the Internet from your back porch required a very, very long ethernet cable. These days Wi-Fi seems to be everywhere, with inkjet printers, digital cameras, TVs, and even refrigerators connecting to home and office networks without the need for cables.

But for all of the gains made in Wi-Fi technology, much confusion remains about wireless networks and the problems that can plague them. To help clear up some of the confusion, we gathered a list of common beliefs about Wi-Fi speed and set about proving or disproving them using the tools available to us here in the Macworld lab.

‘The farther away from the router you are, the worse your signal strength will be.’

Read more »


How to make the most of Mavericks's Finder tags

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.
More by

Mavericks’s Finder tags feature gives you the ability to assign labels and keywords to your files and folders, which is a mighty fine thing if you’re organizationally inclined. However, regardless of how keen you are on the idea of tagging your files, the process requires time and effort, particularly if you intend to tag the nearly countless files already on your Mac.

That doesn’t mean that Finder tags should become Mavericks’s “Mission Control”—a feature that can be helpful, but that few people touch. Rather, tagging requires a measure of will and some tools and techniques to make it as easy as possible. Let’s begin.

Use Smart Folders to find old files worth tagging

Read more »