Tools we use: The best Mac apps for working remotely

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.
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The Yahoos of the world may be eliminating telecommuting, but the fact is, working from home is easier than ever. I work from home myself, so I’m clearly biased, but many companies find that home-based workers are more productive than their office-based brethren. Here are the Mac apps and web-based tools I use to make working from home work.

HipChat

That's not Messages. It's HipChat. Tip: To keep from getting the two confused, don't put their very similar icons side by side in the Dock.
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Automator workflow of the month: Powerful PDF tricks

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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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.

Combine PDF documents

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What’s hot about OS X’s Hot Corners

Kirk McElhearn Senior Contributor, Macworld

Senior contributor Kirk McElhearn (@mcelhearn) writes The Ask the iTunes Guy column and writes about Macs, music and more on his blog Kirkville. He's also the author of Take Control of iTunes 11: The FAQ.
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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.

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Set up a kid-friendly computer

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.

Choose a computer

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Eight easy ways to move between folders in OS X

Kirk McElhearn Senior Contributor, Macworld

Senior contributor Kirk McElhearn (@mcelhearn) writes The Ask the iTunes Guy column and writes about Macs, music and more on his blog Kirkville. He's also the author of Take Control of iTunes 11: The FAQ.
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You probably spend a lot of time moving in and out of folders in the Finder as you navigate among your files and apps. Getting into a folder is easy: Just double-click it. But what about getting out of that folder and returning to where you were? You may be surprised to find that you have many ways to move up a folder in the Finder. Here are eight of them.

1. From the keyboard

If you use the keyboard a lot, you’ll appreciate the simplicity of this technique for moving to the folder that encloses the contents of the current window. When you have a Finder window open, just press Command-Up Arrow, and your Finder window will shift to show the enclosing folder.

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The Mac office: When QuickBooks for Mac is the wrong choice

Joe Kissell Senior Contributor, Macworld

Joe Kissell is a senior editor of TidBits and the author of numerous ebooks in the Take Control series, including the just-published Take Control of Apple Mail.
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Mac users who want to (or have to) use Intuit’s QuickBooks have plenty of choices—we can run the Mac, Windows, or Web app version. One of those options probably pops out as an obvious choice, but as I recently discovered, the least-obvious solution is sometimes the best one.

My wife and I are both professional writers. A few months ago, on the advice of our accountant, we reorganized our small business as a corporation. We agreed to endure a considerable amount of extra paperwork in exchange for significant financial and legal benefits.

Accountants love QuickBooks (even if authors don’t)

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Automator workflow of the month: Automatically copy Photo Stream images

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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I recently read Jeff Carlson’s “Four things Apple could do to improve iPhoto right now,” and one point he made struck me in particular—that I couldn't make Photo Stream images appear in a folder of my choosing. Thinking how convenient this could be—for copying images into my Dropbox folder, for example—I set about finding a way.

The slow and clumsy way

A simple-but-clumsy way to do this is to access the folder where the images are stored on your Mac and then open a load of folders inside that folder to get to your images. You can navigate to this folder by choosing Go > Go to Folder in the Finder, entering ~/Library/Application Support/iLifeAssetManagement/assets/sub in the Go to the folder field, and clicking Go. This exposes a window full of folders, each folder containing an image.

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