Friday, May 20, 2011

Guest Post - How to Use Quicktime's Screen Recording Feature

This morning I received an email from my husband.  He had explored a feature accessible in the Mac Quicktime application.  He shared how to use this feature.  I am posting it here as a Guest Post to share with everyone.

QuickTime Player will record the screen video and mouse movements along with your voice:

Select New Screen Recording from the QuickTime Player menu:

What is not exactly obvious are the following two items:

#1 Before starting the recording you need to select the little triangle (allows user to select their microphone from the pull-down menu located on the recorder)
#2  After the video is recorded you get this screen at the bottom:  (The user can edit or trim the recording and also send the finished project to their MobileMe Gallery, iTunes, or YouTube account)

That's it:

Attached is a 1 minute instructional video I just made. It is only 5 MB so it should be small enough to email. The QuickTime app also allows directly posting to YouTube as well.

P.S. It helps to have a mostly one-color background. The same video was 4x to 8x larger when I was showing my messy desktop. Having a mostly white background cut the size down considerably.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Is It Time to Build an Ark Yet?

The question "Is it time to build an ark yet?"  comes to mind this week.  I am sure lots of people are experiencing some stressful times, as many areas along the rivers of this country are under water.   I  decided to check the app store to see what water apps were available for iPhone users.  Amazingly there are quite a few 'water apps', mostly covering water conservation issues.  Some of these offer means to calculate water consumption, tips and facts about the relationship of water to our health and ways to conserve.

Here is a list and description of just some that are available in the Apple App Store.

Virtual Water - is an app that brings awareness to just how much water we ingest in our everyday lives from the food and beverages we consume.   The interactive user interface allows one to compare resources and products for quick facts about amounts of water used when cooking, cleaning, eating or drinking.  It not only encompasses the common foods and beverages, but also includes information on other products that make up our virtual water footprint. 

How Blue Are You? -  is an app that provides tips on conservation of water,  It provides a calculator to see how American Standard brand products can save water and money.  It provides weekly prizes and information on rebates, location of where to find products and information on ways the products can help us be responsible in conserving an important resource, water.

Drip Detective - is a clever free app that shows exactly how much water is going down your drain from a leaky faucet.  The virtual interface allows you to tap your iphone screen for 3 to 4 drips and then it calculates how much water volume is wasted each day, week, month using gallons or cubic feet. You can also calculate the impact on your water bill. app - denotes all the locations for finding free tap water in pubs and cafes in London while you are traveling. 

Water Your Body and Waterlogged - are apps for tracking your daily water consumption to insure health and maximum hydration.  You can also access tips and facts about water and human health.  You can set reminders and goals.

My Water Diary - is a free app that tracks your water useage for common household, bathing and activities.

Toobz - Free - an app that features two game modes for connecting pipes without spilling water.  Each level your time is shortened.

Flood Rescue - a free game app that has you maneuver your boat thru obstacles to rescue persons swept away by floods. 

FloodMap Mobile - is an app for viewing FEMA flood hazard zones on a Google Map, getting flood report detailing FEMA maps, information on insurance costs, how to connect with FEMA and insurance agents and property elevations from USGS.

Monday, May 09, 2011

An Out of World Experience - Freelancing and Time Management

Imagine you will be launched into space and you have been given an assignment to build a research facility and a place for space scientists to live on the moon.  You would definitely have to manage your time to accomplish this goal. 

First you would have to estimate how long it would take to complete the task.  Realizing that multiple trips to the moon might be necessary in order to haul supplies, you would need to set aside intervals to accomplish various stages of the project.  Just as an astronaut schedules stages of his mission, freelancers must outline and plan intervals of time to complete projects.

There may be unexpected obstacles that might delay launching on time.  One would need flexible hours to accommodate changes that come up.  Just as an astronaut learns to work under different conditions and surroundings, so should freelancers. Freelancers learn that not all jobs come there way on a 9 to 5 - Monday through Friday schedule, so it becomes necessary to have flexible hours.

The astronaut needs nourishment and exercise to keep up his endurance and well being. This is true for the freelancers as well. Scheduling time for meals, rest, family activities, and exercise is a vital importance in completing any mission.

Astronauts certainly work under isolated conditions.  Freelancers must also learn to work without multitasking too much and with as few distractions as possible; devoting time to finishing the project at hand.

Just as it is important for astronauts to maintain communication, it is also true for freelancers. They must schedule time for telephone conferencing with clients and time to send emails and updates for projects. 

If you look at freelancing projects as out of this world adventures, you will understand the importance of time management in completing those projects on time. Key factors for time management would include determining time to allocate for a project, scheduling deadlines, breaking projects into manageable time intervals, allowing for flexibility of hours, time for self, need for concentration, and time for communication.  Freelancing and time management go hand and hand. 

Friday, May 06, 2011

Collage Creator - App for Your Mac

I've been exploring the FREE apps in the Mac App Store the last few days.  I ran across an app, Collage Creator,  that could be useful.  It is certainly fun and easy to use. 

You add photos to the collage window by selecting the Pictures tab and then clicking on the + sign.  This allows you to add photos by opening files on your Mac by using a file selection browser type window. Or you can merely place them in the picture panel on the left-hand side  by using the drag and drop method.  They appear in the collage window on the right-hand side.

You can move them around in the panel by clicking and dragging.  You can  resize or change the angle of orientation using the curved arrow button.  You can position them in front or behind other photos by clicking on Move Up and Move Down buttons.  There are built in buttons to Shuffle and Re-mix the photos that you have in the collage window.  You can also go to Settings Tab to bring up options for setting another photo as a background or using a transparent background.  You can set the Border Width and Color for the photos and add Shadows for those borders.  The layout can be Portrait or Landscape and can vary in size.  There are options for the type of collage arrangement using Grid, Mosaic, Pile or Center Frame modes.

Overall, I give this app a 5 Star Rating and suggest that you check it out for an easy way to create collages of your photos.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Remembering the PRINT "HELLO" Days - Exploring Basic! App

Last night I downloaded the iPad app called Basic! from the iTunes store to our iPad.  It brought back so many memories of the days I spent standing in line at the University of Texas, waiting to submit keypunch cards for an assignment.  My husband and I explored this app, inputting and running some simple BASIC programs on the iPad, tapping RUN and watching the results as they appeared on the iPad screen.

We were able to recall some of the early basic commands like IF THEN, FOR NEXT and we even played with some of the more sophisticated commands like COLOR, PLOT and LINE.  The app also supplies a list of commands by type.  The Editor  and Terminal mode are easy to use.  The app has several coding examples built in and also allows you to save quite a few of your own programs within the app itself.  There demo programs are pretty good and by jarring our memory we were able to do some pretty nifty stuff on the iPad screen.   I'm sure there are quite a few 35 to 40 year old men and women that remember writing some of their first code to PRINT "Hello" on their first Apple or Radio Shack or Commodore or Amiga desktop computers.   

As we programmed we couldn't help but remember that we had lived in a marvelous time, experiencing almost the entire computer revolution from the huge mainframes at UT to the Macs of today.   We recalled
... the keypunch days - the agony of waiting in line to submit keypunch cards that took days to get back.
...  the times that we had a keypunch typo and standing in line to resubmit the cards
...  the stress of not having our program assignment finished by Friday, because the mainframe went down.  Such agony and stress.
...  our first Apple II, equipped with a tape input device
... to the evolution to today's methods of wireless transfer of data,  cloud technology
... and now iPads that you can use while lounging in bed or traveling the world.

I am so excited about this app, that I am going to try to find some old programs to run on my iPad.   If you ever wrote software or dabbled on some of the first computers running BASIC, I suggest trying out this fun app!  iTunes Link Here.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Sending Group Emails via iPhone Mail App - MailShot is the Answer

Have you ever wanted to email a group of people from your Contact Address Book to send a message via your iPhone?    There doesn't seem to be a way to actually do this using the Mail app on the iPhone.

Normally these contact groups are created in the Mail application on your Mac computer.  If you try to select this group in the Mail app, it merely brings up the list of all the members in that Group and you have to select them one at a time in order to add them to the To: field.   This is not efficient, if you have a large group of contacts that are contained in that Group.

Today I found an app MailShot by Soluble Apps, that has a easy-to-use interface that allows the user to create Groups that will be added to your Contact Address Book in effect as a new contact which contains the emails needed to send all at once when using the Mail app. 

It was easy for me to create a Family Group using MailShot using the following steps: (1) Created a new Group (2) Selected contacts for that Group (3) Updated to my Address Book automatically.    It showed up in my regular iPhone Contact Address Book list and I could email all the members of the family without having to select them individually.

When I was ready to send an email to this new group, I opened my Mail app on iPhone and selected "Family Group" and was able to send an email to all the members of that group at once.  You can also place the selected Group into a forward, cc or bc fields.   You can send photos, documents and other attachments with this group email.   You also have the ability to deselect/select to manage the groups using the MailShot app.

The MailShot FREE app on iTunes allows you to create 3 groups with 5 persons per group; while the updated paid version allows creation of 50 groups with 50 persons per group.  There is also an iPad version.

This app is worth checking out for large email management.  So if you have a large group of contacts like 250 members that you need to email from your iPhone, you could create 5 groups of 50 each and then select each group1, group2, group3, group4 and group5 and send the email in a very efficient manner.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Bluetooth Keyboard Shortcuts That Work with iPad/iPhone Devices

If you use an iPad for any type of writing or journaling, you probably use Apple's wireless bluetooth keyboard.  I decided to post a list of some of the keyboard shortcuts that work with the keyboard bluetoothed with an iPad or iPad 2 or even your iPhone.

To pair your keyboard with your device, select General>Bluetooth in the Settings options.  Turn bluetooth ON and also turn on your bluetooth keyboard by pushing in the button on the keyboard that is located on the upper right-hand side of the physical keyboard.  Your mobile device will try to discover the bluetooth keyboard and once that it finds the keyboard, a dialog box requesting you to enter a PIN number on your keyboard will appear on the screen.  Once the PIN has been entered, be sure to hit the return or enter key.  You should then be connected and can start typing away.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Controlling Device Settings:
F1 - decreases the brightness on the device screen
F2 - increases the brightness on the device screen
Space Bar -  when your screen has gone to sleep will wake it up.

If you want to play some iPod app music in the background while you type
F8 - play or pause media
F9 - navigate forwards for media playing, next song
F7 - navigate backwards for media playing, previous song
F10 - mutes the media
F11 - decrease the volume for the media playing
F12 - increase the volume for the media playing
Option (or Cmd or Shift or Cntrl) + F9 - skips to the next album
Option (or Cmd or Shift or Cntrl)+ F7 - returns to the previous album

Keyboard Shortcuts for Selecting Text or Moving within text paragraph or document:
Cmd A - Select All
Cmd C - Copy Text
Cmd X - Cut
Cmd V - Paste
Option + Delete - delete entire words one at a time to the left of the cursor
Cmd Z - Undo
Shift + Cmd + Z - redo

Shift + Right Arrow - selects/deselects letter by letter moving to the right
Shift + Left Arrow - selects/deselects letter by letter moving to the left
Shift + Up Arrow - selects/deselects text when moving up
Shift + Down Arrow - selects/deselects text when moving down

Option + Shift + Right Arrow - allows you to select/deselect text word by word when moving right
Option + Shift + Left Arrow - allows you to select/deselect text word by word when moving left
Option + Shift + Up Arrow - allows you to select/deselect text line by line when moving up
Option + Shift + Down Arrow - allows you to select/deselect text line by line when moving down

Cmd + Up Arrow -  move the cursor to the beginning of document
Cmd + Down Arrow - move the cursor to the end of document (also works with Cntrl)
Cmd + Right Arrow - move the cursor to the end of the line  (also works with Cntrl)
Cmd + Left Arrow - move to the beginning of the line

Tab  - indents the text
Right, Left, Up and Down Arrows - will move the cursor in the body of the text
Eject Button (top row right-hand side of keyboard) - disconnects bluetooth keyboard to allow accessing the virtual keyboard on the device
Cmd + Spacebar - select a different (International) keyboard if one has been added to the list of available keyboards in the General Settings for the device.

Keyboard Shortcuts to Yield Special Symbols - Using option key and letters/numbers yields special symbols, and using option shift and a letter/numbers produces some additional symbols.  Option w - yields the symbol ∑
Option r - yields the registered trademark symbol ®
Option d - yields the symbol sigma ∂
Option p -  yields the symbol for pi  π
Option g - yields the symbol for copyright ©
Option 2 - yields the symbol for trademark ™
Option x - yields the symbol for approximately equal to ≈
Option v - yields the square root symbol √
Option k - yields the degree symbol ˚
Option 4 - yields the cent symbol ¢
Option j - yields the delta symbol ∆
Option , - yields the lesson than and equal to symbol ≤
Option . - yields the greater than and equal to symbol ≥
Option / - yields the division symbol ÷
Option n + (then release option key) followed by letter n - yields the ñ
Option e = (then release option key) followed by letter e - yields é
Option ` = (then release option key) followed by a or e or i- yields à and è and ì
Option 5 - yields the infinity sign ∞
Option 8 - yields the bolded bullet •
Option ; - yields the ellipse symbol (3 dots in a row) …
Option b - yields the integral symbol ∫
Option 1 - yields the upside down exclamation point ¡

There are also a number of symbols that can be typed when using the shift key along with the option key and a letter/number
Option + Shift + k - yields the apple symbol 
Option + Shift + 3 - yields the less than symbol ‹
Option + Shift + 4 - yields the greater than symbol ›
Option + Shift + letter o - yields the null symbol Ø
Option + Shift + 2 - yields the Euro symbol €
Option + Shift + equals symbol = - yields the ± symbol
Option + Shift + left bracket [ - yields the right double quotes ”
Option + left bracket [- yields the left double quotes “
Option + Shift + right bracket ]- yields the right single quote ’
Option + right bracket ] - yields the left single quote ‘
Option + Shift + front slash / symbol - yields the upside down question mark used in Spanish ¿

Presently, not all keyboard shortcuts work with the iPad and iPhone, such as some important ones for bold, italics and other text formatting within apps.  Not all apps will allow using the keyboard shortcuts.  The trick of hitting the space bar twice to add a period and start a new sentence  does not work. 

Sunday, May 01, 2011

MacBlend's 101 Keyboard Shortcuts App for iPhone/iPad

It is always handy to have a list of keyboard shortcuts to use while using a Mac computer.  One of my Twitter friends and Seattle's Mac guru, MacBlend has a great app that supplies you with 101 Keyboard Shortcuts and a quiz to test you on what you learn.  

Matt at MacBlend, also provides training sessions in person or via video chat training using innovative means to learn all about your Mac computers.   He has a great site which has lots of useful information.   You might want to check out his clever videos under the MacBlend TV tab and his FREE eBook entitled "20 Ways to Save Time on Your Mac".   I highly recommend following his blogs and check out his site to schedule a coffee session for some useful tips and guidance in making the best of your Mac computer.

I look forward to the future MacBlend apps and updates. I am hoping that he will add in some search capabilities to help find a specific shortcut within the 101 Keyboard Shortcuts for Mac, or possibly a reference list by Mac App or type of keyboard grouping.  For example, it would be nice to have a section of just those screen capture keyboard strokes together on one screen or to pull them up if I searched by tag "screen capture".