Yosemite Yes


Yosemite is another step towards the perfect operating system for Mac users of all kinds.

MacOS X (10.10) Yosemite is the current release version of Apple’s operating system for desktop and laptop computers.


My MacBook Pro 2009 laptop looks quite different with Yosemite installed, it looks like a graphic designer has tweaked and sharpened pretty much everything about the appearance without the usual consideration to keen fans of the previous version. I bet it looks great on a retina display.


Once you’ve adjusted to the colours, shapes, fonts and new icons it all makes sense. I had a lot of time to adjust to the new startup screen, quite a few hours in fact. Installing Yosemite was scary even though I had backed up before I began. There was very little feedback during the process, the estimated time to install changed from 17 minutes to 18 minutes and back again for about 2 hours, and the cooling fans were blasting away all through the upgrade. The most worrying moment was midway through the 2 hour process when my iPhone alerted me that my laptop had been upgraded. My phone was telling me that my computer had been upgraded, we’ve come a long way eh?

new mail icon

After running Software Update once more to update my Apple apps to the latest versions, everything seems to be working fine, better even than Mavericks. Some things have moved around in the menus, there’s a new System Preference called “Extensions” which veteran Mac users will recall with some horror from System 7, fear not, these are different extensions. There’s lots of other new things as usual, take a look at Apple’s website to find out more.


Do you need to upgrade? If you want to use some the new features such as iCloud Drive and Family Sharing and if you have an iPhone or iPad with iOS 8 then go ahead and update now.


If you’d like some help with upgrading to Yosemite on your Mac(s) and configuring iCloud for you then please get in touch

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Filed under Apple, IT Support, Yosemite

Add a Signature to a PDF




Apple’s Preview app comes with a handy utility for creating and managing signatures which can be attached to any PDF.


Here’s how:

Edit Toolbar


Open the PDF and make sure the Edit Toolbar is visible

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 11.00.40


Click on Sig in the Edit Toolbar and click the + button to add a new signature. Sign your name in black ink on a white piece of paper and hold it up to your iSight camera, making sure you rest the signature on the blue line. Click Accept when ready and your done.


Now you can click anywhere on the PDF to add your signature. Move it around to place it in the correct position and then Save the document.


You can add other signatures if you need to commit fraud or your signature changes.

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Filed under Apple, IT Support, Preview, Top Tips

iPhone 5C and 5S

iphone 5c 5s reviewpicture from endgadget, copied from MacRumours

Apple announced some new phones, again.

The 5C is a plastic iPhone, as if there isn’t enough plastic in the world. Soon there will be Chinese billions of plastic iPhones cluttering up our island beaches. On the positive side at least that means billions of people will have access to a great mobile operating system, as long as they’ve got access to lots of $$. In the UK this phone will start at £469 as a SIM free phone, that’s not a cheap deal.

As for the Gold, Silver and Platinum (space grey!) 5S, have Apple looked at the world and decided we all value metal? Its not even real metal, its coated aluminium from Iceland or Australia and tin from the island beaches where the plastic iPhones will end up.

No, no, no, no, no. Wrong Apple.

Do you need to upgrade? Of course, you will always need to upgrade. Do you need to upgrade to iOS7 now (or on 20th September 2013)? No, but do it before Christmas.

The faster, quicker, zippy iPhone 5S includes a fingerprint scanner to unlock the phone. Can you use a fingerprint scanner in an emergency? Or when drunk? I don’t want to find out. But I do want a plastic iPhone, not one I have to buy a plastic case for ‘cos that is really taking the michael.

Brilliant news that iPhoto, iMovie, Pages, Numbers and Keynote are free now, but especially not after I persuaded a client to download the £10.99 iPhoto from the App Store recently.

Maybe its just because I’m a bit skint at the moment that this new phones announcement feels to me like Apple are trying to say “We serve the rich and the poor must pay”, the Jobs legacy or the Cook trumpet? I’m sure iOS7 will be brilliant and improve our digital lives and I will be downloading and installing it on my iPhone 5 as soon as I can.

I was rather hoping Apple would make a free phone, they have more money than 99% of us.

Meanwhile, in darkest Radstock, development of the courgette telephone is still underway. My hopes are pinned on vegetable telecommunications, I believe it’s the future.

1 Gourd

Image and representative technology © Thomas Pinkney c.1993

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Filed under Apple, iOS7, iPhone, iPhone 5, password, security

Offline Google Maps on your iPhone / iPad


The latest version of Google Maps for iOS (v2.0) has a new feature that allows you to download the mapping data to your device to use offline when you don’t have a WiFi connection or have a poor 3G signal.

Here’s how to get the data for offline use:

Whilst connected to WiFi or in a good 3G signal area open Google Maps and find the area you want to store offline, make sure you choose a large enough area to suit your needs. In the Search area type “OK Maps” and press Search, the map data will be pre-loaded and stored for later use.


Now you can use the data offline, zoom in and find your route. Ideal for a bicycle or walking route, use it like a paper map or road atlas, download the map data for your holiday destination and avoid roaming charges. When finished or no longer required you can clear the downloaded data from your device; choose Settings (in Google Maps), About, terms and privacy, Terms & privacy, Clear application data.

Not all areas are available for pre-loading, although I haven’t found anywhere that doesn’t work yet. Google Maps may say that the area you have chosen is too big to cache, just zoom in a bit more and try again.

Make sure you update to the latest version of Google Maps for iOS before trying this.

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Filed under Apple, Google, iOS6, iPhone, Maps, Offline, Top Tips

Master Your Mac with Keyboard Shortcuts


Switch between Applications as quick as a flash using your keyboard, hold down CMD ⌘ and press TAB ⇥ once

This post is specifically for Mac Users

I repeat … hold down CMD ⌘ and press TAB ⇥ once

Its one of the best keyboard shortcuts, second only to COPY and PASTE. Use it more often and you’ll be much more productive, never again will you have to move windows around to get to the one behind or shrink a window to the dock or quit an Application just to get it out the way.

CMD ⌘ and H is the best friend of CMD ⌘ and TAB ⇥. It hides the current Application and all it’s windows.

Just these two keyboard shortcuts will help you navigate your computer quickly and easily and give you more time to think about the problem. In this way, you can hop between Excel, iTunes, Mail, Safari, Pages, Photoshop*, iMessage, iPhoto, Skype & even Windows 7, or any other running Application. Press CMD ⌘ and H to hide an Application and switch control to the one behind it, press them again and again until everything is hidden, except the last one which you cannot hide.

Try it out now!

Press CMD ⌘ on your keyboard, keep your finger or thumb on it

(you might want to read the next bit before proceeding)

Now press the TAB ⇥ key once but keep your finger or thumb on CMD ⌘

A horizontal row of icons appears of all the applications that are currently running on your computer. One of the icons is highlighted with a white border and the name of the application below it.

  • Take your finger off the CMD ⌘ key and the highlighted application will be brought to the front and these instructions will be hidden behind the window
  • Or press TAB ⇥ again (with your finger still on CMD ⌘) to move to the next icon in the row, and again and again to loop around.

Go ahead, try it now for free.

Used in conjunction with CMD ⌘ and H (to hide the current Application and all its windows) these two simple shortcuts will improve your computer navigation skills and help make your computer work for you.

This is quite old-school now, it feels like a Microsoft sort of thing and I suspect its inclusion some years ago was in part due to Windows XP or even earlier. The traditional keyboard is being ousted as an input device as operating systems move towards touch-screen input. LaunchPad and Mission Control are graphical extensions of this simple concept, but it is worth understanding the purpose of the TAB key before it is relegated to a button on the side of the touch-screen device or forgotten completely.

There are plenty of other keyboard shortcuts for beginners and professionals to remember, there’s even some on a Blackberry keyboard. This must be a huge stumbling block for operating system developers; it is quicker to COPY using a mouse and keyboard than it is with a mobile device. Voice activated control is getting better but lacks user confidence and trust. The keyboard is here for a while longer, so learn these shortcuts and you’ll appear like you know what you are doing, even if you don’t.

Extreme Pro-Tip 1 : press BACKTAB (SHIFT ⇧ and TAB ⇥) to move between Applications in the other direction.

Extreme Pro-Tip 2 : press Q to quit the highlighted Application.

* Adobe Photoshop and some other applications reserve the use of CMD H for other shortcuts within the application. You can reassign them in Photoshop using Edit / Keyboard Shortcuts.

Download a PDF of useful Apple Shortcuts

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Filed under Apple, IT Support, Mountain Lion, Top Tips

iPhone 5 Review

Apple’s latest iPhone model is another step forward for the smartphone. We rely on these devices so much now; checking email, updating schedules, locating the nearest bar and idling a few moments on the train, oh and making phone calls too. A world without them would seem dull and slow.

So do you need the iPhone 5?

Yes, you do. It’s lighter ( a noticeable 25g lighter than an iPhone 4), thinner, smarter and quicker. Pick one up and you’ll immediately feel the difference.

Most of the iPhone 4’s features have been improved;

A bigger screen (9mm taller) which adds an extra row of App icons and gives you widescreen without letterbox and at a higher screen resolution (1136 x 640 but still at 326 pixels per inch). It’s not the biggest screen on the smartphone market, but it is a better experience. If it was any bigger you wouldn’t be able to use just one hand to operate it, and it would have to be called an iPad mini (available soon).

If you are an iPhone 3 or 4 user, sign up to iCloud for free and backup your phone first. With your new phone, login to iCloud and as if by magic all of your old phone’s settings including email, alarms, calendars, contacts, everything in fact, appears on your new phone. No hassle, no fees, all thanks to iOS6 and iCloud.

The iPhone 5 has a new processor too, the Apple designed and Samsung manufactured A6 chip which is faster and uses less power than the previous iPhone processors. Apple and Samsung seem to be falling out at present so I expect the next iPhone will have yet another new processor inside. Just as long as it is as quick as this new A6 then all will be well.

iPhone 5 comes with a new iSight camera which works great with iOS6 and the new Camera.app, it is panorama fun but Apple say “don’t point it at the sun”, I’m not sure why since lens flare can be a good thing. Video is recorded in 1080p HD, just a few years ago such a camera would cost hundreds of pounds.

earPods come with the iPhone 5 and are a great idea and work well, they fit perfectly in my lugholes and the sound is really good too. Designed for right-handed users but not that much of an issue for the sinistrally challenged. The speakers on the phone are better than previous models, but send your music over AirPlay if you need a sound that isn’t just for you.

A new charging and synching connector works much better than the old 30 pin one. I like the way that the serial connector has shrunk and shrunk into the tiny Lightning connector, I just wish someone had thought of it ages ago and it was as ubiquitous as USB has been. I now have to buy spare USB to Lightning or 30 pin to Lightning connectors. All of my Apple iPods and iPhones came with a USB to 30 pin cable, apart from my first iPod which had a firewire connection and the first Shuffle which didn’t need a cable, so I had a few charging stations around the house and office for my iPhone. With just the one cable now I need to buy more, but so do thousands of others and there’s a world shortage. I’m slightly more disappointed with this than when the floppy disk was dropped by Apple, at least then you could buy blank CDs cheaply.

One of the best things about the iPhone 5 is the 4G chipset delivering mobile broadband at speeds up to 100Mbit/s, quicker than UK home broadband speeds. However, there’s a big catch for UK users; only EE (a merger of T-Mobile and Orange) can provide such 4G services at present and will (are) only be available in 16 cities in the UK to begin with. Worse news is that the 4G frequencies used inside the iPhone 5 will not compatible with other UK providers 4G services, so only EE users will be able to benefit from the freedom that such speeds will bring to the iPhone 5 user. Travel to India and soon 4G will be available across the whole sub-continent, even shanty towns will have better mobile broadband than the UK. This is going to be a big issue in the UK, if O2 and the others use spectrum frequencies from the old analog TV signals to provide 4G, we’ll have to wait for the iPhone 5S before being able to make use of the faster speeds. EE is using the 1800MHz spectrum to provide 4G, which is one of the frequencies used by the iPhone 5. Governments sell licences to transmit and receive signals through the skies above us, the air has been privatised, we just haven’t noticed.

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Filed under 4G, Apple, iOS6, iPhone, IT Support, Lightning

Top Tips for Lion Users

and only one for Snow Leopard users

Airdrop. The easiest method of filesharing between computers, ever. Use it whenever you need to move files between computers that are within wifi range of each other. You don’t even have to connect to a network or be on the same local area network. It is simple, quick and easy to use. Its almost how sci-fi writers imagined file sharing would be, without the mind linkup. How it works under the hood is much more complicated and difficult to explain: Airdrop is based on Apple’s own interpretation of the WiFi Direct standards which enable adhoc 5GHz peer to peer WPA2 networks in a similar way to bluetooth. Airdrop is an IT Manager’s nightmare because it’s so easy. Check if your computer can use Airdrop here.

If you haven’t been using LaunchPad, Mission Control and full-screen apps you really should try them again. They make navigating your way around your Mac a lot easier, but if you don’t get on with them how about using keyboard shortcuts instead?

CMD and TAB is the quick and easy way to swap between programs, press CMD then TAB and keep your finger on the CMD key, you’ll see what other programs are currently running (and using the RAM), press TAB to tab between them, press Q to quit the highlighted program or let go to select.

CMD and H will hide the current program and reveal the one behind it. Using just these two keyboard shortcuts is all you need to navigate around your Mac, they’ve both been around for years and are not a new feature of Lion or Mountain Lion.

Upgrade to Mountain Lion. Apple have been quite cheeky with this latest update to the operating system, its more like a bug fix for Lion with some cosmetic (but worth it) changes and additions. If you are a Snow Leopard user you can go straight to Mountain Lion and save yourself the cost of upgrading to Lion, check if your machine will work with Mountain Lion here.

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Filed under Apple, IT Support, MacOS X Lion, Mountain Lion, Snow Leopard, Top Tips