Monday, 18 April 2011

Creating iTunes account without a credit card

This tip is an excellent from Chris Breen of Macworld. Great if you don't want you children to spend off your credit card while still allowing you the ability to buy apps or music for them when you need to.

"Parent and reader Karen Haas has a new iPod touch owner in the family. She writes
We recently gave our daughter an iPod touch for her birthday. She naturally wants to be able to download music and apps but she doesn’t have a credit card and we’re not prepared to give her access to ours. Is there a way she can have an account that isn’t tied to a credit card?
There is. Here’s how to set it up on your Mac..."

Read more on Macworld...

Take control of your email by creating a 'Today' smart mailbox

If you are handling a busy inbox with swathes of emails, one device to make it easier to deal with is to create a Smart Mailbox. Smart mailboxes don't file your emails, but give you a filtered view of what they contain. Much better than filing, as many emails can't be accurately filed under just one heading. Fortunately, smart mailboxes 'look' in every mailbox, so it doesn't matter if you have already filed things, they still get found.

To create a Today smart mailbox, go to Mailbox... New Smart Mailbox and set it up similar to this, by choosing from the popup criteria, and then adding extra criteria to filter more precisely. Name the mailbox"Today" and click OK.

Your results should look similar to mine. You can right-click on the Today smart mailbox to fine-tune the criteria until it shows just what you need.
You can have Mail display the result in a nice compact window by choosing View... Hide Mailboxes (you can customise your view and have this as a button if preferred) and then resize the window.

Remember too that you can have multiple Message viewing windows open, and they can display different smart mailboxes (say, emails from an important client). Your mailbox settings are retained after quitting, for the next session.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Time Capsule death and resurrection

Just like the experience of many others round the internet (see here), my 500GB Time Capsule expired yesterday. Lights out. The failure is usually due to some capacitors in the power supply overheating and expiring as a result.

I took it to pieces with instructions from iFixit,found the blown capacitors and replaced them with ones near the same spec—I used 1000uF instead of 1500uF. Watch out though... I got a nasty shock from one of the other capacitors on the board—follow the instructions in red at the following link if you want to avoid the same!

Now it's all back up and running fine again; pleasant surprise to see the green light—I half expected it to be a complete dud. I decided to leave the rubber base panel off so the base could breathe and am using it upside down to its normal orientation. At least now there is some chance that it will run somewhat cooler.

As it runs 24 hours a day, I'm adding a simple plug-in timer to shut it off at night when it's not needed, which should extend its life considerably.

If your TimeCapsule fails, you'll likely find that Apple's repair extension program won't apply (not very generous in this instance), but your data should be safe. If you are in the UK, you could contact me on 01255 672701 for help...

Monday, 4 April 2011

Easily add attachments in Apple Mail

Using Exposé (on the F11 key on a regular Apple keyboard) makes it a doddle to add attachments to an email:

Let's assume that the attachment you want to add is on the desktop...
  • With the new email open, press F11 to view the desktop
  • Locate and start to drag the attachment
  • Press F11 again and Mail reappears
  • Release the mouse and the attachment drops into the Mail window.
This works with multiple attachments too.