I'm Christian Boyce, a Mac, iPhone, and iPad consultant.
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How to Print Mailing Labels from your iPhone or iPad (2014 Edition)

How to Print Mailing Labels from your iPhone or iPad (2014 Edition)

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MyMailingLists icon

You can use your iPhone or iPad to print mailing labels for any or all of your iPhone/iPad's contacts. It's December already-- if you want to get those Christmas cards out you'd better get crackin'. Printing mailing labels will help.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, how about joining my mailing list? I have hundreds of Mac, iPhone, and iPad how-to articles on my blog already and you'll get an email every time I write another one.

(I wrote about printing mailing labels from the iPhone and iPad in 2012, but things changed so much that I wrote a new post in 2014. This is the new 2014 post.)

Step 1: download the very excellent myCardLists app from the App Store. It'll cost you 99¢-- a bargain. myCardLists works on the iPhone and on the iPad as it is a so-called "universal app." I've been looking for an app that can mailing labels for a long, long time; I can stop looking now, and so can you.

Once upon a time we could use Avery's "Templates Everywhere" app to print labels, but it was pulled from the App Store. The replacement was Avery's "Design & Print" but I am sorry to say it is almost unusable. It crashes for no reason, the buttons don't respond when you touch them, and worst of all it prints lousy labels. The City and State are on the same line as the street address (!) and they don't line up with Avery's own labels! Yes, it's free, but's horrible to use. Trust me: the 99¢ you spend on myCardLists is the best money you'll ever spend.

Here's how you use myCardLists.

(Note: I am going to show screenshots from myCardLists on the iPhone here. It works identically on the iPad-- it's just bigger.)

Launch the app. You'll see this:

myCardLists_no lists

Do what it says and tap the "+" (at top right) to add a new list. You'll name it in the next step. I chose "Christmas 2014" from the scrolling list.

Making a list

Now we have a list. We could make more lists while we're at it (maybe you want to send a lot of Christmas cards, but invite just a few to a party). One list is enough for us here.

Mailing labels 03

Once again, do what it tells you: "Tap to add names." On the next screen touch the plus sign with the Santa hat.

Adding Names to the List

That leads to this screen:

Selecting names from Contacts app

Now you have a decision to make, but it's a no-brainer: choose the top option. This lets you pull contacts in from your iPhone's Contacts app. You don't want to type the names and addresses in by hand (though you can, and you can even do some of each).

You'll get a message saying "MyCardLists would like to access your contacts." Nice of them to ask (actually, it's required by iOS). Allow it. That leads to a screen like this (thought it won't be blurry):

Adding names to the list

myCardLists shows you all of the contacts in your iPhone, but they probably don't all belong in your Christmas 2014 list. What you're seeing there are possibilities-- they aren't in the Christmas list yet! Tap the names you want to include and you'll get big green check marks next to their names, as you can see in the picture.

When you're done, tap "Import" at top left. This brings the selected contacts into the list. You will notice a column at the left (outlined in blue by me)-- tap in that column, if you'd like, to show you've written to that person. The column on the right (outlined in red by me) is for keeping track of whether that person has written you. Note: I used the little gear icon at bottom left to turn on the snowy background scene before taking this screenshot, just to see how it looked. I changed my mind and turned the background scene off after that.

The Finished List

Note: this is where you could change fonts if you'd like. Tap a person's name and you'll see his label on a yellow background. There's a TINY "Change Font" button at top left on that screen. Tap that and choose the font you want.

You are nearly finished. Tap the button at the bottom right-- the so-called "share" button. This is the one:

Mailing labels share

Now you choose between printing a list and printing labels. We want labels. Maybe that's why it's bold in the picture.

List or Labels

It might seem a little strange but you now get to choose which people from your Christmas 2014 list get printed. I wanted all of them. They will all be checked by default.

Who gets a label

Tap the Print button at top right and choose your label template. Happily, myCardLists has the common Avery label formats; I chose the old reliable, Avery 5160 (3 across and 10 down).

Avery 5160

If you have an Airprint printer, or if you installed Printopia on your Mac to turn a non-Airprint printer into an Airprint one (Larry), you can print your labels right now. Tap the Airprint button and away you go. For the rest of you, tap the Email button. When you do, your labels are attached, as a PDF, to an email. Send it to someone who can print the attachment for you.

Here's how the Print box on my Mac looked when I went to print the PDF.

Print preview

(Yes, it looks like the labels are squirming around on the sheet, but that's done to center the writing on each label. This gives you a better chance of successfully printing within the physical confines of the label.)

In my experience, the labels landed EXACTLY where they needed to be, with no "creeping" up or down the page, whether printed directly from myCardLists via Airprint or from the PDF on a Mac. They printed perfectly on the first try either way. I was impressed. You will be too.

The myCardLists app has a nice little website with help and tutorials-- see http://mycardlists.net. There's room for improvement in the app's interface but it's already easy to use, it doesn't crash, and it prints like magic. If you want to print mailing labels from an iPhone or iPad, myCardLists is the app for you.

Check out my other posts-- there are more than 400. Need more help? Email me. But first, join the mailing list. People on the mailing list go to the front of the line.



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How to Get Rid of Ads in Safari, Chrome, and Firefox on the Mac

How to Get Rid of Ads in Safari, Chrome, and Firefox on the Mac

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There are more than a billion active websites, and whichever ones you go to, I am positive that you aren't going there for the ads. You'd never do that. Because no one likes ads.

steve_jobs_yuck

Ads distract from the information we are looking for when we visit websites in the first place. Worse than that, they slow things down, because they have to load (that is, they have to come to your Mac from a server, over your internet connection). Plus, sometimes they cover up what you want to see, forcing you to click to make them go away, and sometimes they're sneaky and invisible, taking you to websites you didn't intend to visit. If they're made with Adobe Flash they're even worse, as Flash ads shorten battery life, make your Mac run hot, and sometimes make it crash.

Which NYTimes.com home page header do you prefer?

The standard one, with ads?

NYtimes with ads

Or the cleaned-up one, without ads? I think I know the answer.

NYtimes no ads

Cleaning things up is easy. I'll explain it all shortly, with links to everything you need. But first we need to talk about a different kind of ad-- the kind that takes over your browser, changing your search engine and home page. The kind that keeps popping up no matter what you do. This kind of ad comes from adware, a very close relative to malware. It's important to get rid of it, so even though I've brought up "adware" second, I'm going to tell you how to fix it first.

Adware is designed to inject ads into everything you view on the web, even if the original page didn't include ads. The people who create adware are looking to get paid, and get paid they do-- every time one of their advertisers' ads is shown. Some adware, notably Genieo, tries to convince you that they're doing you a favor. Others, such as Vsearch, try to hide in the background, hoping you won't find them so you won't be able to remove them. If your Mac's web browsing is full of pop-up ads that you can't get away from, your Mac probably has "adware." You need to get rid of it.

Here's how you get rid of it: you use the excellent AdwareMedic, shown below.

AdwareMedic icon

If you're using Mac OS 10.7 or higher, you can use AdwareMedic to clear out every piece of adware known to Man. If you're using 10.6 or older, you'll have to remove the bad stuff by hand, and it's a chore (I know, I've done it). The AdwareMedic website has instructions for doing it by hand, in case that's your only option (or in case you don't want to install a program from a total stranger and have it do things to your system). AdwareMedic is "Donation Ware" which means you can try it and use it without paying for it, so download it and try it now and see if your Mac's been infected with this adware junk. Thomas Reed, the author of AdwareMedic will graciously accept your donation of any amount (handled via Paypal). I recommend you download and run AdwareMedic even if you don't think you have an adware problem. You might be surprised.

AdwareMedic scans your machine and presents a list of the bad things it finds. You can safely remove them all. Here's a representative screenshot:

AdwareMedic Screen

One click on the "Remove Selected Adware" button and you're all set.

(I am not affiliated with AdwareMedic, and I made my donation just like anyone else would. AdwareMedic is simply the best product I've found for automating the difficult job of removing adware, and I want to spread the word.)

Now, back to our original point: how to block ads, and especially how to block Adobe Flash. You achieve both of these goals by installing browser extensionss. For ad-blocking, get the free AdBlock Plus extension.

Adblock plus

AdBlock Plus has an option to allow some ads-- the ones that aren't animated, that aren't noisy, that don't try to fool you into clicking the wrong thing, and that don't obscure the main content. This option recognizes that, for some sites, ads make the world go round, so if they're unobtrusive, AdBlock Plus allows these ads to show-- but only if it's OK with you. You can hide all ads by making one little change in AdBlock Plus' settings. AdBlock Plus works in Safari, Firefox, and Chrome-- go to AdBlock Plus' website using one of those browsers and they'll show you the appropriate software. If you use more than one browser, visit the site with each one.

Note that you can also enable ads on a particular site-- it's as easy as clicking the AdBlock Plus button in the toolbar and making it say "Disabled on this site." For example, let's say you wanted to allow ads on THIS very website, because you wanted to support Yours Truly by using my Amazon links and other small, unobtrusive ads (right-hand column). You'd click the AdBlock Plus button in the toolbar and disable AdBlock Plus for this site-- and then forget about it.

Adblockplus disabled

That takes care of the ads.

To hide Adobe Flash content, install the ClickToFlash extension (for Safari), the FlashControl extension (for Google Chrome), or the FlashBlock extension (for Firefox).

Clicktoflash icon Flashcontrol Flashblock icon

Each of these extensions has controls that you can adjust, and each is free, though you can donate to support Flash Control on Chrome. They all work the same way: they prevent the Flash from loading until you click on a Flash placeholder. Placeholders are exactly the same size and in exactly the same place as the Flash animation, so page layout remains true. Most of the time you won't click the placeholders-- and most of the time you won't miss a thing.

Here are before and after pictures.

Before: ads and Flash content.

Speedtest with ads and flash

After: no ads, and Flash content replaced with clickable placeholder (AdBlock Plus knocked out the ads on the sides, and ClickToFlash blocked the Flash content):

Speedtest no ads flash placeholder

In Conclusion

If you want a cleaner, faster web browsing experience you ought to run AdwareMedic, then install AdBlock Plus and one of the Flash blockers. You'll be amazed at how much junk goes away. Everything mentioned in this article can be downloaded and tested for free so you really have nothing to lose. Give these things a whirl and see how good your web-browsing life can be.

Check out my other posts-- there are more than 400. Need more help? Email me. But first, join the mailing list. People on the mailing list go to the front of the line.



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Schedule Outgoing Emails on Your Mac with SendLater

Schedule Outgoing Emails on Your Mac with SendLater

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SendLater144

Let's say you send a lot of emails after business hours, because that's when you have time to do it, but you don't want the recipients knowing you're working so late. Or, maybe you want your emails to be at the top of your recipients' mailboxes the next business morning rather than buried under other messages that came in after yours.

Or, maybe you want to be sure you remember to send a Happy Birthday email to your friend on the 29th of November but you're thinking of it on the 22nd.

If you're using Apple's Mail app on a Mac, a Mail plug-in called SendLater gives you the power to do all of the above. I use it here and I absolutely love it.

(Plug-ins add features and options to other programs. SendLater adds a "send this email later" option to Apple's Mail program, so you'll still be using Mail, but with a new option. There are other ways to delay the sending of an email but in my experience, SendLater is the nicest way to do it.)

Here's what an outgoing mail message looks like after you've installed SendLater: totally normal, with a "Send Later" button added.

Sendlater button

(This is the message I want to write today, and send in a week.)

When you click the "Send Later" button you get options, as shown below.

Sendlater02noshadow

If you want the message to go out on a certain day, at a certain time (I I do here), you use the Time and Date option. If you want to wait a few minutes, hours, or days from now, use the Time Distance option. If you want to send the message at a certain time on the next working day, or at a certain time tomorrow, or at a certain time today, use the Special Date option.

Here's a nice touch: no matter which option you choose, the next time you write an email and click the Send Later button, the options you chose last time are still there! So, if you want to send a bunch of emails over the weekend and have them go out at 8 AM Monday, you only have to choose "Next Working Day 8:00 AM" once. SendLater remembers your settings until you change them yourself.

Another nice touch: clicking the little calendar icon Calendar icon in the SendLater pane gives you a fun pop-out, which lets you choose a date by clicking and a time by dragging the clock's hands.

Date and time picker2

When you schedule sending a message with SendLater the message stays on your Mac, in the Mail program's Outbox, until the moment for sending arrives (or until the next time you launch the Mail app after that time). So, if you're hoping to write a bunch of emails and have them go out while you're away from your Mac you should leave your Mac on with the Mail program running.

SendLater works with Apple's Mail program on OS 10.7 or higher. You can try it for free; click here to download it. (Click here to read more about SendLater, at the programmer's website.) Registering the SendLater plug-in costs $9.95 and in my opinion it's completely worth it.

Check out my other posts-- there are more than 400. Need more help? Email me. But first, join the mailing list. People on the mailing list go to the front of the line.



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