Gifting Mac App Store apps, emailing videos, and more

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It's time to flush out the latest collection of too-short-for-a-full-entry Mac 911 questions and answers. We start with reader reader SuSu:

Gifting Mac applications

Is there a way to gift an application from the Mac App Store as you can with the iOS App Store?

No. Unlike with the App Store on your iOS device or in iTunes you won’t find a Gift This App link on the Mac App Store. What I suggest you do instead is to launch iTunes, click the iTunes Store link, and then click the Buy iTunes Gifts link on the store’s home page. On the resulting iTunes Gifts page click the Buy Now link in the Email Gift Certificates area, purchase a gift certificate that covers the cost of the application you want to gift, and then issue the gift certificate to the object of your affection.

Gently suggest how an iTunes gift might be spent

Then open the Mac App Store, select the application you want to send as a gift, and from the price pull-down menu choose Tell a Friend. In the Tell a Friend window that appears, enter the giftee’s email address and in the Message field enter a message that strongly hints that you'd like that gift certificate to be used for the purchase of this application.

Teach a man to fish…

From reader Jake Tesler:

What takes less time: A) Selecting, say, 20 files at once, and dragging them to an external hard drive, or B) Selecting four files, five different times and then copying? To summarize, does it take less time to have one transfer of twenty files or five transfers (four files each) if it is to the same destination volume?

Grab your iPhone or iPod touch, tap the Clock app, tap the Stopwatch button at the bottom of the screen, and put it to good use. I’m also available for questions regarding fish catching.

Harry Potter and the disappearing movies

Reader HPW writes:

What’s the logic behind the changing availability of movies on iTunes? For example, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2 used to be available for purchase, but now they aren’t.

It’s a licensing issue. Apple (and other entities) are allowed to sell such and such a hunk of media until the media’s owner says “Stop!” For example, the store once carried Frank Zappa’s music, but no longer does because the Zappa estate revoked the license. In this case, someone involved with these Harry Potter movies issued the order to remove the movies or the movies had a limited-release license from the get-go. This often happens when there’s a new version of a movie being issued—a director’s cut, for instance. By making the “old” version unavailable, the movie company hopes that you’ll be forced to purchase an enhanced (sometimes more expensive) version.

The limits of emailing videos

Finally, reader Phyllis Towns writes:

I take a lot of videos of grandchildren and pets with my iPhone that I would like to email to family members, but so far have not been able to do so. Is there a way to do this?

Yes, and for small videos it’s easily done. Launch the Camera app, flick the Photo/Movie switch in the bottom-right corner to the movie setting, and tap the red Record button. Tap it again when you’re finished shooting. The movie will drop down and become a thumbnail in the bottom-left corner of the screen. Tap that thumbnail and you’ll be able to play and trim your movie. When you’re ready to email your movie, just tap the Action button (the button that shows a rectangle with an arrow coming out of it) and choose Email Video from the menu that appears. A New Message sheet will appear, which contains your video as an attachment. Just address the video, add a subject heading, and tap Send to push it on its way.

The catch is this “small videos” thing. Unless your video consumes very little data (say, under 10MB) there’s a very good chance that it won’t be allowed to slip through your ISP’s email gateway. So, if you’ve shot several minutes of little Bubby frolicking with the dog, that explains your lack of success emailing the videos.

What you should do instead is find a file transfer service—one that allows you to upload your video to a server in the cloud and then send a link to the video to your nearest and dearest so that they can then download it. A lot of people use Dropbox for this very thing. Dropbox provides you with 2GB of storage for free, which should be plenty for what you want to do. Late last year our own Serenity Caldwell produced a useful video—Share Files With Dropbox—that will help you get started.

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