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Macworld/iWorld Report

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Macworld/iWorld Report

I'll be speaking at Macworld as part of the RapidFire session. It's a lot of fun for everyone: each of ten speakers gets 5 minutes to demonstrate something cool. I'll be covering Moom, Desktop Curtain, and Typinator (and speaking very quickly). Here's a link to my PDF handout.

Macworld/iWorld 2013 runs this Thursday through Saturday. I'll be on the Digital Village radio program on Saturday at approximately 10:15 AM discussing the best (and worst) things I saw at the show. You can listen at 90.7 FM in Los Angeles (KPFK FM). You can also use this link which on an iPhone or iPad should start streaming whatever's currently on the air. On a Mac it should launch iTunes and start streaming things over the internet (if it doesn't happen automatically, look in your Downloads folder for something called "listen.pls." Double-click that. Bingo.) They do record the show and in a day or two you should be able to find the interview in the Digital Village archives.

UPDATE: time changed from 10:30 to 10:15.

UPDATE 2: Archived interview available here.

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How to Use iPhoto's Batch Change feature

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How to Use iPhoto's Batch Change feature

This is another one for Dad, but I'll bet it helps a zillion other people too.

Sometimes in iPhoto you want to change the names of a whole bunch of photos. For example, you might want to number them sequentially, with a prefix indicating the name of the album they're in. That's a great idea: a name like "Texas Barbeque Contest-001" is a lot more descriptive than "IMG_001.jpg" but who wants to do the work of renaming more than a couple of photos by hand? No one, that's who. That's why iPhoto has a Batch Change feature.

Here's an example.

A few weeks ago I had the bright idea of weighing myself more or less daily and using my iPhone to take a photo of the readout on the scale. Thanks to Photo Stream the pictures magically appear on my iMac, where I put them into an album. Here's how it looked a few days ago. Yes those are my toes.
iPhoto_batch_before
Nice collection of photos but the names are not helpful at all. I wondered whether I could rename them to reflect the date that the pictures were taken (and of course the photos know when they were taken because the iPhone stamps that information into every photo it takes). Turns out it was easy. First, I selected all of the photos in the album. Then I went to the Photos menu and chose "Batch Change…", like so:

iPhoto_batch_menu
That led to a box, which I configured as shown below.

iPhoto_batch_change_dialog

Then I clicked OK and that was it. Here's the result. So much better!

iPhoto_batch_after
Very powerful stuff and it only takes a minute. You should try it.

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How to Use Dropbox's Previous Versions feature

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Or,
How Dropbox Saved the Day when My Customer Somehow Lost a Very Important Document
You probably know about Dropbox, the best way to keep your files in sync across Macs, iPhones, iPads, and even PCs. I put all of my current projects into my Dropbox folder and that lets me access my stuff from any of my machines. I can work on something from my MacBook Pro while I'm out, then continue the work on my iMac when I get back to my office, without sending files around by email or by USB thumb drives. I like Dropbox a lot. Steve Jobs liked Dropbox so much that he tried to buy the company! If you're not using it, go find out about it. Here's a link to my write-up on Dropbox from a couple of years ago.

Turns out there's another reason to like Dropbox: besides making sure that all of your devices have the latest versions of your documents,
it also saves a copy of previous versions. This is fantastic, and last night it saved the day when one of my customers somehow corrupted a document that she'd been adding to for years. She didn't know about this special Dropbox feature and she thought she was doomed, but luckily she asked me for help, and double-luckily she mentioned that the file had been on Dropbox. That made recovering her document super-easy. This is going to bail you out one day too so pay attention over there.

Here's how you do it.

Go to www.dropbox.com and sign into your account. You'll see your files and folders, something like this:
Dropbox_file_list
Locate the file you're interested in and click NOT on the name of the document, and NOT on the icon, but rather anywhere else in the that line. In this example, we'll bring back a previous version of the document called "Macworld 2013 Talk.pages" and I'm going to click in the white space between "Macworld 2013 Talk.pages" and "document pages". It will look like this:
Dropbox_toolbar
Notice the toolbar that appears, and especially notice the "More" button. When you click on that you'll see a little menu, like this:
Dropbox_more_menu
Select "Previous Versions" and you're on your way! Here's how it looks:
Dropbox_version_history
From this screen it's a simple matter of choosing which version you want to roll back to and then clicking the Restore button. The restored file will replace the current version in Dropbox, so be sure you want to do this. (Or, make a copy of the current version somewhere else, like on a USB drive.) That's all there is to it.

A couple of other points:
1. You can control-click on the file's name at www.dropbox.com and get a contextual menu, from which you can choose "Previous Versions." Save yourself a step next time.
Dropbox_contextual_menu
2. You can even recover deleted files! Look for a little trash can at the top of the Dropbox window. Here's what it looks like. The rest you can figure out on your own-- totally obvious.
Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 1.04.54 PM
3. You might be wondering, "why not just use Time Machine." Well, yes, that would be another way to get an older version of the document. Remember, though, that Time Machine backs up hourly, while Dropbox backs up every time you save. Look again at the Version History screenshot above and you'll notice that many versions were saved within just a few minutes of each other. Time Machine wouldn't have that kind of detail. So, in this case, Dropbox is the better choice.


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Coming Soon: Macworld/iWorld 2013

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It's the most wonderful time of the year…

That's right, it's time for Macworld/iWorld!

The show runs January 31st through February 2nd, 2013 at San Francisco's Moscone Center. I'll be there all three days. Look me up.

There are two parts to the show: the Expo, which is a giant space filled with software programmers and hardware vendors and book publishers and iPhone case manufacturers and speaker designers (you get the idea-- if it has, or could have, anything to do with Macs or iPhones or iPads, it's in the Expo), and the Tech Talks, which are classes where you can go and learn stuff. (Of course, you can learn stuff in the Expo too-- walk right up to the exhibitors and start asking questions.) Admission to the Expo floor is $25 (good for all three days). The "iFan Pass" costs $100, gaining you entrance to over 60 Tech Talks in addition to getting you into the Expo. Prices are higher at the door so you should definitely register in advance.

Even better, use this link provided by our friends Other World Computing and get FREE admission to the Expo. Can't beat that. Check out their Macworld/iWorld web page, and see them on the show floor in booth 401. They only have so many of these passes so you should click that link right now. If you strike out, try searching www.retailmenot.com for a discount code.

UPDATE: David Sparks' MacSparky blog has an even better link because it not only offers free admission to the Expo but half off for the iFan Pass.

I will be speaking at the very exciting and informative "RapidFire" session on Thursday night. This session, scheduled for 6 PM on the Macworld/iWorld Main Stage, features several Mac and iPhone/iPad experts, each offering five-minute lessons on a variety of Mac and iPhone/iPad subjects. My lesson is called "More, Better, Faster, Funner" and it's 27 years of Mac tips presented in 300 seconds. I think you'll like it.


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