Thursday, September 30, 2010

Auto Response Using Mail App on Mac

Sometimes one might want to send out a message to a group of contacts in reply that informs the list of contacts that they are unavailable.  Using Mac mail app one can set up a rule to do so.

Select Preferences in the mail app and then click on Rules.
Once you have accessed the Rules tab, then click on Add Rule and a section for conditions to meet the rule will appear on the display window and using the pop-down menus select the conditions that apply to your rule:  who you wish the rule to apply to (recipient) and what actions you wish to perform when conditions are met for those recipients.

 If you select the Reply to Message action, then you can enter the typed message to return to each of the recipients.  You can also direct actions to any of your mailboxes.
Be sure to check out the auto response and action scripts that you can apply using the mail app for Mactintosh.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Another Google Voice Feature - Continuing Conversation on Another Phone

Google Voice has a convenient feature to allow the user to switch phones during a conversation.  Say you have answered whoever called you on your computer headset and you were just about to leave to run some errands, but want to continue the conversation as you head out the door.  

Merely press the * star key while talking and your other phones will ring, say your cell phone.  The cell phone will ring, you answer it and hang up the original phone or computer and continue the conversation as you head out to run your errands.

Making Ringtones in iTunes Works!

There has been a lot of posts about iTunes 10 not allowing custom ringtone creation.  I found that I was still able to create a ringtone from my favorite iTunes selections by using the following method:

(1)  Select the song in your iTunes library and then using cmd I to bring up the information box about that song.  Click on the Options tab and then check the 'Start Time' and enter '0:40' for the 'End Time' for that song or some interval of the song clip that is equal to or less than 40 seconds.

(2)  Select that same tune in your iTunes library and right click (using a Mac) to bring up the contextual menu and select 'Create AAC Version'.  You should then notice the addition of the same song in the iTunes list with the shorter time length.

(3)  Select the short version of the ringtone from the iTunes list and then hit the delete key.  The option to 'Remove' the file will then be selected and the option to 'Keep File' should be selected at this time.

(4)  Bring up a finder search window and type in the name of the song, until you locate the file that you kept which is located in your iTunes library and has the extension .m4a

Using 'cmd I' bring up the Get Info window for this m4a file and change the .m4a extension in this information window to .m4r

(5)  The file that is located in the directory should now have .m4r as an extension and by double clicking on this file, it should automatically be loaded into the Ringtone Section of iTunes as illustrated below:

You can rename the ringtone by clicking on the name in the iTunes directory if you wish. 

(6)  Connect your iPhone to iTunes via cable and then sync your new ringtone.  Remember to select that ringtone in the Sync Ringtone tab when your  iPhone is connected and then click on Apply or Sync.

Syncing Updated Apps to iPhone or iPad Problem?

There seems to still be some problems with app syncing as far as I can tell.  The following scenario is what I have noticed on my both my iPad and iPhone when syncing apps using iTunes:

(1)  I delete some of the apps from the APPS list in iTunes using the 'delete key' on my keyboard and I select option to 'leave the files' instead of 'remove to trash'.

(2)  The apps that I deleted do not show up as an option in my 'apps tab' when connecting a device.  I sync and those apps are removed from the device, which is what I wanted.

(3) However, when I check for updates and update all via the option at the bottom of the iTunes Apps Window in iTunes, these 'deleted' apps (which I assume must still be on my purchase list with Apple) get added back into the Apps list as 'new apps' and I assume are then recognized as 'new apps'.

(4)  Since I have 'Sync new apps' option checked, they get put back onto my devices with the subsequent sync.  This is evident on my iPhone as they appear as icons that are not in any folder.  On my iPad since all the pages are full, they appear when I use a spotlight search and are clickable from the search list and can be run.

Has anyone else noticed this problem for syncing apps in iTunes?

I suppose that Apple is trying to give us a second chance to reinstate apps that we update and have bought, but I find it a little confusing.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Shortcut Tip: Moving Files from Mac Desktop to Trashcan

I've been using my Magic Trackpad consistently with my Mac Pro.  There is one thing that I have not quite mastered and that is the three finger drag of a group of files to the trash can.  I seem to loose the files all over my desktop or drop them accidentally into an open browser window or into the dock next to the trash can icon.

This has been frustrating me, but I have come up with another couple of means to remove or send files to the Mac trashcan.  There is a shortcut that works nicely:  cmd delete.  Merely select the icons or files that you wish to move to the trashcan and then press the cmd and delete keys.

Another means is to right click on the icon of the file you wish to delete and select 'move to trash' from the pop-down option menu.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Syncing Apple Contacts with Gmail

Now that I have started using Google Voice and Google Talk, it is a lot simpler to make a call by selecting phone numbers from a contact list rather than actually typing in the numbers on the Google Chat or Talk dialpad.   So how do I efficiently move my contacts from my Address Book on my Mac to my Contacts list in Gmail?

(1)  First open Address Book on Mac and select the option to Export (Archive or backup the contacts) to your hard drive, should something mess up.   Select Export and then Address Book Archive and enter the appropriate name for the file you are saving and the destination folder or drive to store this archive.

(2)  Select Preferences under the Address Book menu and click on the Account Information tab and make sure you check the Synchronize with Google checkbox.  This will allow the addresses and contacts from your Mac Address Book to be synced with your Gmail contact list.

You will need to enter your gmail email address and password to allow the sync to your gmail account.

(3)  Select your Systems Preferences under the Apple menubar and select MobileMe.  Select the Sync Tab and make sure that your sync preferences are selected properly and click on the Sync Now to perform this sync right away.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

5 Unusual Travel Apps for iPhone

As Autumn rolls in, I get the urge to travel.  Traveling this time of year is normally a popular endeavor due to being less crowded and having more desirable temperatures and weather conditions than the summer months.

There are so many apps available for mobile devices to aid in your traveling adventure.  There are all the common ones:  for booking a room ahead of reaching your destination, while driving along the road, checking your email, social media sites, posting to your blog, finding sites and guides about the cities and restaurants.

I was thinking about the more unusual ones that I have downloaded that I wished to share.

CardStar - is an app that allows me to keep track of all those membership cards that take up so much space in my wallet.  You know the ones, the rewards cards with scanner friendly barcodes.  I keep track of my frequent flyer numbers, hotel membership cards that allow me to give the clerk at the hotel the number so that I can get credit for all the points for that hotel chain or loyalty program.

Service Bell - is a cute simulation of the bell that sits on the hotel counter that makes a remarkable sound to use while standing at the counter and the hotel clerk is busy sneaking a cup of coffee in the back room.  Just set your iPhone on the counter and ring the bell to get their attention.  Service Bell Link

Treadmill VR - is a great app to add the outdoor feeling while using the workout fitness facilities at your hotel.  Place your iphone on the treadmill tuned to your favorite background of a beach motiff or wooded forest and choose that male or female to jog behind to liven up your early morning exercise routine listening to your ipod playlist selections.

Taxi Magic - is an app to locate and call your own cab on those mornings that you have overslept for that conference meeting and need to get going fast without standing in line at the frontdesk waiting for someone to call you a cab.

SodaSnap - is an app that you can use to quickly take photos of your travels and adventures and send to your friends  in email postcards

I was just thinking you could also utilize some of these same apps at home.  Just wondering how the hubby will respond to the service bell, when I am wanting special delivery of coffee for my early morning coffee break.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Visit to New Apple Store in Idaho

We finally made it to the mall to check out the new Apple Store for Idaho.  We missed the grand opening that occurred on the weekend we were camping.

I was amazed at the number of people in the store on a Monday afternoon.  The store was centrally located on the main level of our mall and was housed in a very large space.  Typical of most Apple Stores there were rows of tables with all the Apple devices connected for a hands-on experience.  Also prevalent were the many Apple techs in their blue shirts, sprinkled around the store that were eager and friendly to answer any and all questions we threw at them.   The customers were a variety of ages and many were eye-ing the iPads and putting them on their wish lists.   There were also a large number of customers demoing the laptop and desktop Macs.  I would suspect many of these were interested in converting from PC's to the Mac platform.  (a wise decision in my opinion!)

I was especially interested in the turnout for the grand opening and was told by the young sales person that they had flown in extra help from all over the country for that weekend.  There was a line outside of the store and many many eager customers were there for the grand opening. 

It was nice to see the latest devices such as the iPhone 4, iPod Touch with 'FaceTime', iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle, along with all the accessories. Until you see one of the shuffles and nanos in person, you can't imagine how tiny they are.

Seems they are selling quite a few of the nanos, which allow you to listen to music from your mp3 library, connect to FM radio, view photo album and utilize the clock app with timer, alarm.  The nano's touch screen is amazing and the clip on the back very convenient for attaching as a watch to a strap.  One of the salespersons said the strap was soon to be available.  It was all I could do to not buy one of the red ones.  Candy Apple Red Nano - perfect Christmas Gift! 

JKase Premium Red Leather Sleeve Case for Apple iPhone 4 / 4G [Retail Packaging]We did purchase a new airport express and I got a snazzy red Italian leather iPhone case

The checkout was swift simple and fun to experience, as the salesperson used his iphone to quickly swipe my AMEX card and send me a receipt via email.  All my data conveniently popped up for emailing me the receipt.