The Boyce Blog: December 2009

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Another Reason to Like Snow Leopard

Ever use the "Help" menu in 10.3 or 10.4. or 10.5? If you have, you know it's the slowest thing ever. But, in 10.6 (Snow Leopard), it's fast. Really fast. So, now, it's useful. If you'd previously given up on getting help from the Help menu, and you're now on 10.6, give it another try. You'll like it.
mac help

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

iCal College Football Bowl Calendar

It's time for the college football bowl games. Here's a handy iCal calendar with the entire schedule. It's updated to show you the most recent information (dates, times, TV network, and even the scores). Click the link, add it to your iCal calendar, remember to tell it to refresh (recommendation: daily), and you'll have the information at your fingertips. Or at least on your computer.

Thanks to for the calendar.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Address Book to Google Maps

Google Maps is fantastic, better than Mapquest in my opinion. If you're not using it you are missing out on a terrific service, and of course you can't beat the price (it's free). Enter into your browser, type in any address, and presto, you're looking at a map of that location. You're only a click away from getting directions, and traffic, and more. It's super.

Even more super is being able to bring up the map without typing in the address. That's what you can do if you use Apple's Address Book (the brown one whose icon is shown at the top of this hint). Bring up a contact in Address Book and click next to the address. If it's a home address, click where it says "Home." If it's a work address, click on the word "Work." You can see part of the word "Work" in grey in the picture below. That's where I clicked.

Select "Map this Address" and you're taken to Google Maps, where the address you clicked on is displayed on a map. Like so:

Isn't that cool?

(By the way, if you're wondering why your menu doesn't show "Make Envelope" it's because you don't have my custom "Make Envelope" AppleScript installed on your machine. It turns out that Apple allows us to create our own menu items that do anything we want them to do, and I thought it would be handy to be able to create an envelope by clicking on an address. So I did the programming and now I have the "Make Envelope" option on all of my machines. If you have an idea for something you'd like to do with an address send me an email and we'll figure out how to do it.)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Even More Stuff I Like: Cameras preference pane

One of the things I like about iPhoto is it kicks in automatically when I connect my camera. One of the things I don't like about iPhoto is it kicks in automatically when I connect my iPhone for synching or charging (iPhoto kicks in because it thinks of the iPhone as a camera, and wants to import its pictures). You might be thinking "Go into iPhoto's preferences and tell it not to connect automatically, as shown below"--

iPhoto General Preferences
... but if I do that, iPhoto will NEVER launch automatically, and I usually want it to-- just not when I connect my iPhone. I do want iPhoto to open when I connect my camera, but I don't want iPhoto to open when I connect my iPhone. I want it both ways-- but how can I do that?

The answer is "You use the Cameras preference pane, available via this link." And guess what: it's free.

(Note: if you're using 10.6 (Snow Leopard) you have something like Cameras built in. It's in the Image Capture program, inside the Applications folder. You don't improve things by having two programs trying to control your cameras, so if you're using 10.6, find the Image Capture program, make your adjustments there, and forget about installing Cameras. If you're using 10.4 or 10.5, Cameras is the way to go.)

When you install Cameras you get a new item in your System Preferences, in the "Other" section. At first, it's pretty empty in there, but as you connect cameras to your Mac you'll get messages like this one:
Cameras preference pane
(The "No Name" camera is the camera card in my Olympus. I want iPhoto to open when I connect that camera.)

I get a similar box when I connect my iPhone the first time, but I make a different choice:
Cameras preference pane 2
I could leave it at that, but there are some other options. If you open the Cameras preference pane in System Preferences you see your list of cameras and the instructions for each one, like so:

Cameras preference pane 3
You can click in the "When Connected" column for more options:

So... if you want some other program to launch when you connect your camera, Cameras can take care of that too. (So can Image Capture.)

I used Cameras until I updated to 10.6, and it worked great. As of 10.6 I'm using Image Capture, and it's also working great. Thanks to these programs, the days of iPhoto launching itself when my iPhone connects for a sync are over, and while I'm not sure that I'm doing anything productive with the few minutes I'm saving each day it's nice to think that maybe I am. Give this tip a try and save some time for yourself.