Tip: Spotlight searches with Boxcryptor

Filed under: Mac Tips | Tags: , , , , , |

Quicksilver splash

I have been trying to get Boxcryptor to play nice with Spotlight but it has been a no go.

There is a way to turn it on. However, it has not worked for me. 

I have found a work around with using the out-of-beta version 1 of Quicksilver. By putting the Boxcryptor volume into the Quicksilver catalog, I get an index of the Boxcryptor volume. 

It is not a perfect solution. Searching for a folder when saving still requires Spotlight (which still won’t work even if you have Quicksilver installed). However, this work around does the job if you are just looking for files on your hard drive.


OSX User Interface – Kickin it Like Harry Potter!

Filed under: Editorials | Tags: |

If your desktop is like mine, you have windows on top of windows. So you do your best to have windows sticking out, just a bit so you can click on the window you want.

SS1

However, you don’t want to click the “close” button! Think about it: how many times have you clicked on a background window to switch to it and accidentally closed it, or launched a new email, or switched the view in that window — when all you wanted to do was to get to that app?

Apple, I know you have ways to get to the program…. but they suck:

  • Alt-tab is too slow unless the app is the next app in the list. And if I pass the icon, I either have to go all the way around or play finger twister with shift-alt-tab!
  • Mission Control is fine, but invoking it on a mouse is doesn’t feel right: the mouse jitters, trying to two finger tap twice, but not click is like a little game of DDR for your right hand. The three finger swipe works well, but it means moving the hands off the keyboard mouse combo.
  • Dock? Come on! I don’t want to have to try to find the icon. I just want to get to the program that’s right there (without closing it)!

And sometimes, you aren’t sure which app is sticking out beneath your active app: is that bar for Mail or Finder?

So, how about this Apple: you already allow scrolling in apps that don’t have focus, how about when the mouse is over a background window, you have that window slide out a bit, or have a little tab appear (that doesn’t close, or do anything in that app) to let you select that app? Or both:

SS3

It would be a bit like the group photos in Harry Potter where people rearrange themselves so you can see who is in the back row. If I move over the cursor over an bottom app, it moves out from under the top app to provide a better view. If I want the app, I click the tab (or some other “white space”), that doesn’t close the app, or launch an email, or anything else, other than letting me select the app. How about it?


Why can’t I check my Apple repair status online?

Filed under: Editorials | Tags: , |

Dear Apple,

You know I love you, right? I buy your computers. I buy your phones. I’ve stood in lines. I buy AppleCare. I buy ProCare. I bought MobileMe subscriptions.

I’ve had good experience with your Geniuses. And I love being able to get my systems repaired when there’s a problems.

But… how do I say this?

WHY CAN’T I CHECK THE REPAIR STATUS ONLINE?

As good as your in-store experience is, calling your store on the phone is … pretty bad. I start off by stating that I’m calling to check a repair status, and both times (with different agents) I got a terse, “well, what’s your name?” I understand that you need my name. However, I don’t start off with “I-need-to-check-my-repair-status-my-name-is…” First, because my name is not “John Smith”; I’m going to have to spell it for you. And second, because I figure your associates may need to pass me to someone else, or change screens, or what-not. So, I pause before telling your agents more.

And what is with the indefinite repair times? The first time I called, on the day I was told to check back when dropping off the MacBook in store, I was told that there was another part that needed to be ordered (that’s fine, thanks for looking out for me). However, that’s when we started going round and round about when the laptop might be ready:

When do you think the part will be in?

We get shipments daily.

Do you think it will be in tomorrow?

Probably not.

Ok, so… when do you think the repair will be done?

We’ll call you when it’s ready.

I’m sure you will. But, uh, can you give me some idea of when it might be ready? Just generally speaking… By the end of the week? Next week? Next month? I rely on that machine,

It may be by the end of the week or early next week.

So, I waited and called on Monday, when I got the second terse, “well, what’s your name?” I provided the info and after waiting a bit, I was told that it may be ready in a couple of days and I will get a call. I replied that I was told that they were waiting on a part and asked if it had come in?

I didn’t ask that, you only asked for a status check…

/sigh. True enough. However, come on! Why does calling an Apple store have to be like calling a badly run mom-and-pop? I asked if there is an online way to check repair status?

Uh, no. We don’t have that.

While I doubt that I’m the first person to suggest this, I’ll do it anyway: Apple, could we please have an online way of checking repairs? Pretty-please?

 


Mac Tip: Removing files from Favorites side bar in OSX 10.7 Lion

Filed under: Mac Tips | Tags: , |

Among the changes in Apple’s OS X 10.7 is how to remove files and folders from the Favorites sidebar in Finder.

I recently noted that I had accidentally dragged a file in to the Favorites folder.

No problem. I’ll just drag it off.

Except that dragging an item off the Favorites sidebar doesn’t work any more in Lion. Thanks Apple!

Thanks to a bit of googling and other users with the same problem, I found the trick.

Hold down the “Command” button while dragging the file. 

The file comes off with and vanishes with the regular puff of smoke when you let go of it outside of the Finder window.


Predicting Future Tablets

Filed under: Editorials | Tags: , , |

iPad

This is one of those, “crystal ball gazing posts.” The kind that, due to the effects of obviousness, are only useful if it is wrong. If I happen to be correct (at some unspecified time in the future) then it was meant to be, so who cares. If I am wrong (which I am up until the very point that I am right), the outcome is also obvious by virtue of the prediction having not come to pass. Also, it isn’t useful in any kind of making-a-difference-in-your-life way, but more in a “ha-ha, you’re wrong!” kind of way.

In either case, predicting anything is a fairly useless exercise. So here goes nothing. Also, if you suspect I am padding out this post with this preface, you can give yourself a pay on the back.

Prediction: tablet screens need to become the size of a sheet of paper (approx 8 1/2 by 11 inches)

The iPad is too big already! I can’t fit it into any pockets! Who needs a bigger one?

I agree that it is too large – to be easily pocketed; save in tactical pants tricked out for uber geeks. However, for handwritten notes or sketches, it is too small. The number of apps that permit you to zoom in and out because using a stylus is too imprecise, attests to that. True, that is primarily the fault of the digitizer which will no doubt improve in each generation. However, a page sized note page still beats out a 7.5 x 9.5 inch screen.

I already have a problem with taking an iPad anywhere. It doesn’t fit in a pocket. I don’t want to just carry it, for fear of dropping it. And, getting a murse for it, is going down the path of buying accessories for my accessories. So, here it is: the iPad is just too damn BIG.

So, make it bigger?

Yes. Make the screen the size of a sheet of paper and let it finally be a notepad replacement. Up the digitizer sensitivity and let me use it to sketch, take notes without all the current workarounds. Then, I can carry it in a folio, and feel that I have actually carrying something useful in exchange for the inconvenience of having to carry another item (that doesn’t fit into a pocket).

Creative Commons License photo credit: Rego – d4u.hu


Mac Tips for Lawyers: How to quickly save to PDF

Filed under: Mac Tips | Tags: , , , , |

I’m thrilled to be doing Mac Tips section in the Colorado Bar newsletter. Here’s the first one:

One of the great things about being an Mac based attorney using is the built-in option to save any document as a PDF. You don’t need any plug ins or even Adobe Reader to do this. It’s all built into Apple OSX.

Unfortunately, Apple still makes you go through a number of clicks to save to pdf:

1. You have to hit Cmd+P to bring up the Print Screen.


2. Select the PDF button in the lower left corner of the Print Screen. Then select the save as PDF selection.


3. Finally, you get to select where to save the PDF.

Over the course of a day, having to move your mouse to the PDF button and select the correct option quickly becomes a drag.

The EASY way to save to PDF in Mac OSX

Read the rest of this entry »


Streaming Video On iPad 3G

Filed under: iPhone iPad iOS | Tags: , , , |

During a slow moment at the 2010 Ask-a-Lawyer at the Colorado Springs Citadel Mall (part of the annual Law Day activities), I fired up NetFlix to check the video quality for videos streamed over 3G. Here is a quick screenshot of “Star Trek: First Contact.”

Some artifacts, but considering this is screen grab of a video, it is quite good!


iPad Wifi+3g VS iPad Wifi And A Sprint Or Verizon Mifi

Filed under: iPhone iPad iOS | Tags: , , , |

After using the iPad for two weeks, I decided to return the wifi model and order the 3g. I currently have a Verizon Mifi, and I strongly considered keeping the iPad wifi for a wifi + Mifi one-two punch. However, I ultimately decided the ipad 3g was a better fit for my needs. Here is a break down of the pro and cons of a Mifi + wifi iPad versus a 3g iPad:

Mifi plus iPad wifi:

PROS
  • Network diversity. Having internet access on a non-AT&T network gives me access at times when AT&T is congested, or when I am in areas with poor AT&T connectivity.
  • Connectivity for 5 devices. A Mifi lets 5 devices connect to the internet at the same time. One of the less known features of a Mifi is that it also works as a router. A Mifi can create a network between computers and even printers. You can share files, even print files, via a Mifi network.
CONS
  • Battery life. At best, a Mifi gives me a little over 3 hours of battery life. Considering the iPad’s all day battery. I do not want my internet connection to conk out before my connection device.
  • Two devices to carry and charge. Each day I use the Mifi, I have to remember to take it out of my case and charge it. If I do not, the next time I need to access the internet while away from the office, I risk facing an empty battery.
  • Expensive monthly charges. At $60 per month for 5gb, the Mifi is pricey (although comparably priced to other wireless modems). However, if I can connect to every service I need to via a 3g iPad (at present, only an aspirational goal), cutting my mobile internet charge to $15 to $25 per month would be a substantial savings.

3g iPad

Pros
  • Longer battery life. The Wifi iPad gave me all day battery life. I will test the battery life of the 3g iPad when it arrives. Currently, I expect at least 6 hours of connectivity.
  • Cheaper monthly charges. Since I have wifi both at the office and at home, I am going test out the lower tier internet service: $15 per month for 250mb. Apple states that you will get three warnings as you approach the bandwith cap. If 250mb is not enough, I may upgrade to the $30 unlimited connectivity plan.
CONS
  • Stuck with AT&T. Having one network for both my phone and iPad increases the chance of being without any network access as I travel around Colorado. When going to mountain towns, having a second carrier (whether Verizon or Sprint) can make the difference between getting online and having no connectivity.
  • No tethering. At present (and for the foreseeable future) there is no way to tether the iPad to other devices. This will likely change with jailbreaking and unauthorized applications. However, that adds an additional layer of complexity, the risk of service termination, and the risk of incompatibility with software.

Which iPad are you choosing and why? Tell me in the comments!


iPhone 3G for lawyers

Filed under: iPhone iPad iOS | Tags: , |

I got to say, I love my iPhone.  It is a great convergence device: phone, music player, calendar, web  browser, camera, map and GPS; all in one device. I previously had the first generation iPhone and after a trip to Denver on launch day (line was too long at the Park Meadows Apple), and a second trip the following day, my wife (another lawyer) and I got our 3g iPhones.

I won’t go in to the third trip to get the white one exchanged for business black model, except to say, it was worth it.  Oh, they only had the white one when you went?  You are right, in a case it looks just like a black one (almost).  It is fine.  Really.

If all of this seems rather obsessive and reminiscent of the “tullip craze,” you just stick with your Treo.

There are tons of 3G iPhone reviews so I will try to direct my mini-review to a lawyer’s use of the iPhone, or “How to Justify Your Techno-Lust to Your Office Manager Without Coming Off as a Total Fan-Boy Whose Income to Expenses Ratio *Really* Needs to be Reviewed.”

I primarily use the iPhone, (un?)surprisingly, as a phone.  Along with a virtual PBX service like RingCentral or GrandCentral, the iPhone is a great way to let my clients reach me anywhere I may be without having to rely on a receptionist not picking up a call in time or not being able to find me.  Client’s call one number and it always reaches me where ever I may be.

I also use the Aliph Jawbone 2 Bluetooth headset which lets me take calls on the go.  I have the iPhone mounted in my car which allows me to see who is calling via the very nice, large, clear display.

Which brings me to my second use of the iPhone: the camera.  I use the iPhone to photograph all of my clients and associate the picture with their contact.  So, whenever a client calls, their picture comes up.  It may seem like a little thing but a photograph is an excellent mnemonic for helping you remember who you are talking to and the status of their case.

After or even during a call, I can pull up the Notes application and notate the critical points of the call and then email them back to my office for future reference.  With the Evernote app, I am even toying with the idea of having Evernote folders for each client and just adding phone notes directly from the iPhone which will then sync directly to my desktop.

iPod.  I know what you are thinking, “The iPod is a *non-business* use!”  Au contraire mes amie.  I have used the iPod to listen to CLE courses and I use it daily to listen to podcasts during my commute to stay current on technological advances and marketing.  As you probably already know, the iPhone handles calls while listening to the iPod beautifully:  the sound of the podcast fades away (and the podcast is paused) and the phone rings.  After the call, the podcast fades back up.

I cannot even count the number of times I have used the Google maps function to search for businesses.  If I am looking for a doctor’s office, I just enter the name and I get a pin on the map.  I can further select the name and get a phone number, which, I can click and call that office.  Plus with the GPS in the 3G, I can not only get a route to that location, but also see exactly where I am on.  Now the GPS is not as good as a full featured GPS, but you could make that same complaint of the camera not being as good as a stand alone camera.  Both criticisms are correct.  However, both miss the point:   you now have a camera, gps, browser, iPod, datebook, etc in one device aka in one pocket.  Consider how many electronic gizmos you won’t have to cram into your Dockers?  Even Batman does not use a utility belt anymore.

And syncing of events and contacts over Mobile.Me.  Yes, there have been a lot of problems – or so I read.  For me, it has just worked.  If a client needs to change a phone number when I am out of the office, I just update their contact record and the office is updated automatically.  Same goes for adding or changing appointments.  No need to sync to make these changes, they just happen over the air.

But do you really need 3g when many of these functions are available in the 2.0 software.

You are still using a black and white printer, aren’t you?  And your secretary has a 15 inch monitor, doesn’t she?  Is it a CRT?  Dell.com – I’m just saying.

While you do get a lot of the functionality I have described in just by using the 2.0 software on a first generation iPhone, there are several advantages of upgrading to 3G:

  • It is significantly faster.  If you ever have to look up a case or address or anything using the iPhone, you will immediately appreciate the speed boost of 3G.
  • The sound quality is much improved.  The telephone audio quality is noticeably improved and the speakerphone is much louder, which makes it much more usable.
  • If you are on a 3G network during a call, you can still access the web during the call.  If you ever needed to look something up during a call, you will appreciate this function.

If you have read other reviews, you know there is also plenty to criticize Apple over:  no cut and paste (oh come on, it is a year later!), no voice dialing, not turn-by-turn GPS, no tethering, no improved camera, no video, no editing of documents (though I never understood this personally), and fewer devices will charge it.

That is the agony and the ecstasy of Apple:  offering just enough to make you want a product and withholding items so basic that you want to pull your hair out.

If any of these omissions is a deal breaker, then the iPhone is probably not for you.  Otherwise, the iPhone 3G offers solid performance in every feature it offers, with a great UI, great overall user experience, wrapped up in a very attractive package.