They arrive by Twitter, by RSS, and by email. They're passed around on social networks. They’re embedded in online articles and blog posts. I’m talking about all of those links to things you'd like to read but can’t. Making time to read everything you find on the Web the moment you find it is hard, so you probably don’t read it at all—unless you use a read-it-later service like Instapaper.
Instapaper makes it easy to save online articles for later reading: Just click a bookmarklet in your browser, and the story you’re looking at is saved, stripped down to just its text and essential images. You can then access your saved articles on the Instapaper website or using the Instapaper apps for iPhone and iPad.
Early Mac screens weren’t cluttered. But then, early Macs let you open only one application at a time—and sometimes only one window!
OS X's Mission Control lets you manage the screen clutter that accompanies today’s advanced computing environment by providing a bird’s-eye view of all your open applications and windows. You’re the one really in control when you learn how to manage Mission Control’s features.
“When your data passes through a public network—such as the Wi-Fi at the coffee shop or airport—it is at risk.” I’ve been writing variations on that sentence for 10 years now, and I expect I’ll be writing it for many more. That’s because it’s easy to snoop on such networks, and the data on them isn’t safeguarded against those prying eyes. You have to take action to keep your data safe. Fortunately, doing so doesn’t have to be hard.
You could encrypt networked data one service at a time, by securing your email sessions or configuring your Twitter and Facebook accounts to use HTTPS. (Actually, I recommend both steps regardless of whatever other security measures you take.) But that means adjusting settings in lots of different apps, one at a time. There’s a more comprehensive solution: a virtual private network (VPN).
When you set up a VPN on your Mac or iOS device, client software encrypts all of your outbound data (wrapping it in something often called a secure tunnel) and sends it to a secure server. That server has the appropriate encryption keys and other credentials to unwrap the data and send it along to wherever it’s supposed to go. Likewise, the server returns data—requested webpages, email messages, or even streaming audio and video—to the client through the same tunnel; only the client can unravel those responses or streams.
Google launched Google+ last summer to save us all from Facebook and Twitter. Twitter is too much like shouting in a coffee shop, Google argued, and Facebook’s garden, large and beautiful as it may be, has walls that are too high and opaque—particularly to Google’s search bots.
Google pitches its social network as an alternative that both simplifies and empowers the way we share things with each other. People are giving the new social network a try—the site’s traffic grew 27 percent this March to 61 million visits. But as with much technology, it’s still easy to get lost or overwhelmed.
Here are some ways to get a handle on your Google+ activity to make using the site a more useful and appealing experience.
If you’ve ever sent, or received, a big file via email, you’ve undoubtably encountered a zip file. Double-click one of these and it expands to show files hidden inside. A zip file, or archive, takes up less space than the original files, so that your documents, images and whatnot are easier to send or store. But what do you do if a file won’t expand or you come across a different type of archive? Here are answers to frequently asked questions about working with compressed files on Mac OS X.
Q: How does compression work?
A: File compression technology looks for repeated data and writes archives that eliminate these repetitions to save space. You’ll find some files shrink a lot—compressed text files can be half the size of the originals—and others not so much. If you try to compress a JPEG file, for instance, you won’t see much benefit, as the JPEG format already includes compression.
Many Mac users who give presentations have gravitated toward Apple’s Keynote application and away from Microsoft’s PowerPoint because they prefer the flexibility and slick design of Apple’s alternative and, perhaps more importantly in today's mobile-centric world, Keynote presentations can be projected from an iOS device. But if you’ve been at this a long time, it’s likely you created a fair number of PowerPoint presentations that you might like to work with in Keynote. Fortunately, Keynote can easily open PowerPoint presentations. Even more fortunately, Apple's automation utility, Automator, and scripting application, AppleScript, can make the conversion process even easier.