Each week I take the opportunity to answer your questions and offer feedback to your comments that we spot here on the blog, facebook, twitter, and your emails. This week’s edition is a tech edition by the man many of you know as my “techie brother”. A very special thank-you to Kevin, who truly has a passion for helping people understand technology. He is very generous with his time. I will be back with my feedback next week.
Question about iCloud: We have one iTunes account so we can share apps on all our devices but iCloud now combined our contacts. With both we have 100′s of each others’ contacts on our phones. If he deletes one of mine or I add a new one, it does it to the others phone. Is there a way to keep contacts separate but still share apps, movies, music … you know, the stuff we have to pay for?
Absolutely, and my recommendation is to have two separate Apple IDs for that very reason. Remember that iTunes allows you to share your purchased content with up to 5 computers as long as you are authorized on each computer. For example, if I purchase an app under my ID, I can send that app to my wife for her to use… again, as long as I am authorized on her computer with my Apple ID (you can authorize multiple Apple IDs on a single computer). To authorize a computer, go to Store | Authorize this computer… from within iTunes.
I would like more information about what class, and/or where to start out on your own doing digital scrapbooks, i.e. photoshop, using brushes, all the techy stuff of that is overwhelming!
There are lots of sites out there, but it may be difficult to weed through the bad ones to find the good ones. One site you should check out is JessicaSprague.com.
I definitely want to know more about iCloud and how to share things when both my husband and I have separate iTunes accounts. Any way to merge them? Going forward should we share one family account?
iCloud really is an awesome service, especially now that it’s free. I use it very heavily for email, contacts, calendaring, etc. One of the great powers of iCloud is the ability to share and collaborate calendars. The larger the family, the more complex your calendar likely will be (like ours), and as a result, you will need to rely on a good, solid calendar sharing system. In order to keep things organized, I really recommend everyone having their own account. That way, family members can manage their own schedules, while at the same time, sharing with others. And having everything color-coded is the icing on the cake.
You can begin sharing your calendars either in iCal on the Mac or at iCloud.com on Mac or Windows. Unfortunately, sharing can’t be initiated from an iOS device… yet.
I have a question regarding all the fun (and often free) journaling cards and such floating around out there for Project Life. What is the best way to use them? I’ve dropped them in iPhoto and printed them off like snapshots but in order to alter them or add text, etc what program should I use? Photoshop, PS Elements or another? Obviously cost is an issue. I’d hate to drop a fortune on something just for that purpose – I am not a graphic artist.
Adobe PhotoShop is a great tool to have, but for most people, it’s overkill. PhotoShop Elements would be great for working with journaling cards, and would also give you the flexibility to do lots more than just that. You can purchase a copy of PhotoShop Elements for about $100 from your local big box store (Best Buy, Fry’s Electronics, etc).
I have a PC and Photoshop Elements 9. Any idea how my photos are organized in PSE? Does PSE go back to the original file, or does it have its own copy? My hard drive filled up amazingly fast & I need to move my photos to an external hard drive but I don’t know how that will affect PSE. Also, if PSE makes its own copy, that could explain why I ran out of memory so soon. Thanks.
Although I don’t use PhotoShop Elements a whole lot, I did some quick Googling to see what I can find. First of all, one of the complaints that users have is that Elements is a “destructive” editor. Meaning, when you make a change to an image, you are actually changing the image, not a copy of the image. This is definitely something you want to be aware of (although you can run through multiple undos to revert back).
As far as how files are organized, I’m not sure, but I would imagine they are kept within your My Pictures folder. Take a look for those files and check the file size on the directory (right-click > Properties) to see if the size makes sense.
I know you can upload photos to the iPad with the camera cord, but can you save photos (that have been edited) back to a camera card for printing?
You can’t move photos back to an SD or CF card from the iPad, but there are a couple different ways to get the pictures. First, when you are done importing the photos to the iPad, you are given two options: 1) delete the photos from the card or 2) keep the photos on the card. If you choose to keep the photos on the card, you are still able to import them to another device.
The other option is to sync the photos from your iPad to your computer through the normal syncing process. On a Mac, those photos would be synced to your iPhoto library. In Windows, they would be synced to your My Pictures folder.
Does a 2.5 year old iMac need anything, such as MacKeeper, to help maintain performance & speed?
The age of the computer itself doesn’t mean a whole lot from the perspective of keeping the software clean, and 2.5 years really isn’t that old for a Mac. There are a couple things that I recommend all Mac users do to keep their system running clean.
First and foremost, don’t install anything that you aren’t intentionally installing. Some questionable web sites require you to install certain apps or plug-ins to “work”. In some cases, this is ok, but in others, it’s not. There are too many to name individually here, but just watch for the ones that are obvious.
A utility you may want to become familiar with is the Disk Utility. There is a feature in there called “Repair Disk Permissions”. I typically recommend running this about once a month. It just keeps your hard drive and OS running clean (like an oil change).
I’m sure MacKeeper is a good utility, but it’s probably not worth the money for most. I personally don’t run any antivirus or utilities like that on my system and it runs awesome. The best defense is using discretion and reading prompts.
What type of wireless router do you have at home? Our iPad seems to have issues connecting to our wireless (often told simply ” cannot connect” and then we are not able to use the Internet.) Also, we have the original iPad not iPad 2 (I know friends are having trouble with their iPad2 connecting as well).
I am asked this question quite often, and usually by people who’s home routers are dying a slow death. My recommendation (and what I use at home) is the Apple AirPort Extreme. This is also the case for a Windows-only home. Yes, Windows! Wireless standards are just that… standard. It doesn’t matter what computer or device you are running. I know plenty of people using an AirPort Extreme in a Windows-only home, and they love them. I’ve had mine for years, and the signal-to-noise ratio (i.e.: performance) is second to none when it comes to personal wireless routers. It has a lot to do with the antenna design and the way the standards are implemented. Yes, they’re a little more expensive, but trust me… it’s worth the cost.
Can you elaborate on apple tv – How does it work? Is it like an iPod for movies/tv, i.e. You can only watch what you pay for on it? Thanks Kevin.
This is not a short answer. In fact, I could literally spend hours explaining lots of details about how this works. If you head over to KevinAllgaier.com and search my blogs for “Apple TV” and “iTunes”, I think you’ll find some good information over there. If you still need more help, shoot me an email.
Please discuss iCloud – how and what things are best kept there. And also photo stream – how it works and how it relates to iCloud. Thanks.
The quickest way to get a jump-start on learning what iCloud is would be to visit apple.com/icloud. There are FAQs and videos out there that explain it pretty well.
PhotoStream is a new service as part of iCloud, and I think it’s fantastic. It’s essentially a mechanism that allows your photos to be synced across all of your Apple devices. For example, if you take a photo on your iPhone 4s, that same photo will also show up on your iPod Touch, iPad and Mac (in iPhoto) within a few seconds (depending on your Internet connection). It has really saved me a lot of time by not having to physically sync my iPhone every time I want to use a picture. I just open iPhoto, and it’s already there.
Is there a free app to make ring tones from songs that works and isn’t too complicated?
If you use a Mac, the absolute best way to do this (and it’s free) is using GarageBand (included with all Macs). It actually has tools built-in specifically to make ring-tones.
It’s a little more difficult with Windows, but still possible. First, you will need to open the audio file in QuickTime and single out the portion you want to use. Once you’ve done that, you will need to export in an AAC/M4A format. Once you have the new file, you need to change the file extension from .m4a to .m4r (“r” for ringtone). Once that’s done, just drag and drop it into iTunes, then sync the ringtone to your iPhone.
I would love to know more about PSE 10. Where is the best place to learn how to use it? I have tried doing Ali Edwards’ tutorial about 10 times without success. I am usually pretty good with techy stuff but this just seems to escape me. Are there any online courses that you would recommend? Thanks Becky & Kevin.
Check out JessicaSprague.com. She’s got some great tutorials for you.
I bought my Macbook Pro almost a year ago and have been using iPhoto for my photos. I use TimeMachine with an external hard drive to back up my computer. Is that enough of a backup for my pictures? I haven’t deleted pics from my memory cards for the last year because I’m worried I’m not doing enough. What do you think?
Before I answer your question, I need to let you know that your iPhoto library is NOT being backed up by Time Machine if you have iPhoto open. It’s a bug that I wish Apple would fix. So please be sure to close your library once a day (preferably overnight) to allow Time Machine time to backup.
My philosophy on backups: if your data doesn’t exist in at least 2 different places (home, work, etc) on at least 2 different types of media (hard drive, DVD, cloud, etc), it’s not being backed up. Using Time Machine is a great start, but what if someone broke into your home and took your computer and external hard drive? I hope that never happens, but that’s how you have to think about this precious data.
What you’ve done so far is great. Take it to the next level and consider using an online backup service like carbonite.com. Plans start at $60/year, but it’s well worth it for peace of mind.
How can I store and file photos that are on negatives, disc, USB and SD card as well as on computer? Would love to have all photos in one place.
Your first step is to digitize all your photos using scanning services, etc. Once you have them all digital, then you need to design a good backup strategy (see previous question).
What is the best way to organize digital pictures? What system do you use Becky and what system do you use Kevin?
I use iPhoto to keep my photos organized, and then have them backed up using Time Machine, and on several external drives as well as occasionally to DVD.
Organizing your photos is a very personal decision, one that is just a little different for everyone. I actually have most of mine stored in a linear fashion based on date. If I need to find a photo, I know about when it was taken, and then search from there. Some people have the time to architect a very elegant system using face recognition, metadata, etc.
Note from Becky: Kevin is to me, what Miyagi is to the Karate Kid. : ) Therefore, much of what I have learned is directly due to Kevin. It won’t surprise you then, that I have adopted a similar system of chronological/numerical organizing in iPhoto. We’ve been doing it this way for oh … probably 8-9 years now and it works for me. I know there are more detailed ways of doing it but I stick with this because … like I said, it works for me.
I would love to know how to get rid of excess files/programs/(crap) on my MacBook. My hard drive is full & it is running so slow!
Unless you are super familiar with what files are legitimate and what files aren’t, this can be a challenge. The first place to look would be in your Applications folder. Look for apps that you know you no longer use. Simply drag them to the Trash Can and then empty the Trash Can.
The next step would be to comb through your Home folder. To get an idea of what folders are taking up the most space, highlight each of the folders individually and press Command+I (“I” for information). That will tell you how large that folder is (including its contents). From there, it’s just a matter of spending the time to find the stuff you no longer need.
Best online backup for photos… About 64 gb worth currently…. What do you recommend? PC people. Amazon cloud is cheap, but not easy to upload folders or mass amounts to. Dropbox is $100 a year. Box.com even more. Have external and laptop is all currently. So afraid of external failing. Advice??
See a few of the questions/answers above, but my recommendation for cloud-based backup is carbonite.com. Plans start at $60/year for unlimited storage.
How do you add a logo/ name to a photo that you upload to your blog. Is there an easy way or a way to add your name/logo that it automatically is on the photo when you upload it to your blog?
Once you know how to do it, it’s super easy. You will, however, need software to do this. I recommend either Adobe PhotoShop or Adobe PhotoShop Elements (definitely more affordable at about $100).
For a quick tutorial, go HERE. This shows you how to add text to a journaling card, but adding a logo or other text is the same concept.
I would like to know the best way to learn how to use Photoshop Elements. It’s not as intuitive as I thought it would be. I just want to do things like merge several photos into 1 4×6 and lay a phrase or word on a photo and get it to print. I’m thinking I wasted my money but know I just need to learn.
A few others have the same thing in mind! There are lots of online tutorials, but as I’ve mentioned – one place you might want to check out is JessicaSprague.com.
Is there a way once I down load songs from iTunes to my iPad to then transfer them to a non Apple desktop PC?
Apple has a great how-to article on how to accomplish this HERE.
I took Kevin’s advice on the no cable idea for the home (everything is running through apple tv and netflix) and LOVE not paying for cable! But my questions now are – a) should I bother to invest in a roku box and Hulu? b) does Kevin use an antenna to get the basic channels (abc, nbc, and cbs) and if so, can he recommend a reliable one?
Congratulations!! Isn’t it great?
Yes, I picked up an HD receiver antenna at Wal-mart for about $30. It’s small enough to just sit behind the TV (which is wall-mounted). It works great for receiving local channels in HD.
My son just got an iPod for Christmas. What protective software do you recommend now that he has full access to the world wide web. He is only 9. I know parental proximity is the best software available!
Oh, great question! I strongly recommend a good filtering service. One of my favorite (and it happens to be FREE) is OpenDNS (opendns.com). For more information, go to my blog at KevinAllgaier.com and do a search for “OpenDNS”.
Thanks for the chance to ask! Is there a way to record me reading a book for my kids on my Macbook Air, and then to copy onto a CD? Thank you.
I love where this is going. I actually have created my own audiobook for my kids (they think I’m a dork for doing it, but I loved it!). The best (and easiest to use) tool to use is GarageBand (it came bundled with your MacBook Air). Essentially, you will record the audio, then export to iTunes. Once it’s in iTunes, you can then burn it to CD.
Tip: you want to make sure you have a good microphone so that it sounds good. I really like any of the Blue mics (www.bluemic.com).
How can you un-erase a photo that was accidentally deleted from an SD memory card??
The good news is, as long as you haven’t overwritten the SD card (i.e.: taken more pictures), there is a good chance the deleted files are recoverable. There are lots of tools available on the web for both Windows and Mac. Do a quick Google on “recover deleted files SD card”, and you will get lots of good information.
I was wondering if you can recommend a good online storage site for my photos. I need to make some space on our Mac by deleting photos and I don’t trust having them only on our external hard drive. For the record, I don’t particularly enjoy Picasa or any other sites with the ability to share photos. I’m strictly looking for a storage site. Thanks Kevin & Becky!
For online storage of photos (not to be confused with an online backup solution), you may want to check out SmugMug.
I have two blog-related questions! One: I’m in the middle of redesigning my blog and when creating “buttons” for my navigation bar, is it better to create them in Illustrator or Photoshop? Two: do you have any tips when it comes to optimizing photos for use on a blog (i.e. resolution, filters to make them pop, etc)? Thanks Kevin & Becky! You both are awesome!
To answer your first question, it doesn’t really matter what you create them in, as long as they are saved as a PNG or JPG.
When it comes to optimizing for the web, the key is file size. PhotoShop has some great compression built-in that will keep near-perfect quality while significantly reducing the file size. You definitely don’t want to save an image smaller than you want to display it on your site (upscaling looks nasty), but you also don’t really want to use a 2,000×2,000 pixel image on your site if you only plan on displaying it at 200×200. You may also want to play around with different file types like GIF, JPG and PNG to compare quality and sizes. My personal preference is PNG these days.
What are your favorite iPhone apps?
Wow! That’s a tough one. For image editing, Camera+. For panoramics, AutoStitch. For online storage, DropBox. For social media, Twitter. For games, AngryBirds (of course!) and Amazing Breaker. For health and fitness, RunKeeper. For remote support, GoToMeeting and GoToMyPC. For ordering pizza, Papa Johns. For scheduling flights, Delta. For getting around New York City, NYC Subway. That’s just a handful of apps that I have. Unlike most, I also have a huge amount of “geeky” apps for networking, bit and byte calculations, etc.
I have started the huge task of scaning and saving my 12×12 albums spaning over 10 years. It is my New Years resolution! So far I have scanned 2 albums. My question is how should I save these files? Should I use a disc, USB or similar? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also I have photos on negatives, disc’s, USB and computer files. Any suggestions on how to best organise these.? We get so busy with life and the organising gets forgotten.
You’re right, life does get very busy! As I mentioned in a question above, organization is very personal, and difficult to respond to in a short response like this. I personally don’t organize a whole lot other than linearly and chronologically. That’s the easiest for me.
When scanning your 12×12 pages, the higher the resolution the better. If I were just going to re-print them, 600×600 is more than enough, but for long-term archive, you may want to consider 1,200×1,200. Yes, this will result in a much larger file size, but will cover your bases for long-term archive. You never know when you may be asked to put one on a billboard.
When I am browsing sites (mainly blogs I read) and I was actually on old navy when the hit happened and was denied by my internet security (kaspersky). It says that an application IE contains a link to web page – gives address, used to steal passwords, credit card numbers and other confidential data. Then it said denied. Am I in danger? I have a PC and I use IE for my web browsing etc. Is there something better?
That sounds like it may have been a phishing attempt. Basically, malware that makes it look like you have a problem and tricks you into buying unnecessary software to fix it. Very annoying. This is one of the reasons why I’m not a big fan of Internet Explorer. I would definitely switch to using either FireFox or Safari (both work great on Windows). You will very likely encounter far fewer problems, and they are much more secure than IE.