Are Your Bits Flipped? has an amazing new ebook that our members may be interested in. It’s called “Are Your Bits Flipped?” by Joe Kissell.

If you’re having trouble with technology terminology, this ebook should help you to feel more comfortable with your Mac and at the same time dispel some of those myths that you may have been under the influence of – like, how safe is the iCloud?
Don’t forget to use the PMUG discount code when ordering to get your 30% discount.
Go online here to check it out.

John Carter

What’s Special about 9:41 a.m. for Apple?

Some Apple trivia from David Passell
wiseGEEK is a free news bulletin that David receives by email every day.
Apple advertising materials show the time as 9:41 a.m., close to the moment
when Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone.

When the folks at Apple get something into their collective heads, it can
last for years. For example, since 2007, all of their marketing material
for products with screens — such as phones, watches and tablets –
displays the same time of day. Back when the first iPhone was unveiled in
2007, that time was 9:42. These days, it’s 9:41.

Read More: Continue reading

Opera Browser and Free VPN

It seems the Opera browser may soon contain a free VPN (Virtual Private Network) for your browsing. More info here.

Two comments: it appears Opera may be sold to some Chinese companies, which could be a concern; and the article notes some slowness in accessing websites, which could be a real problem if many people are using Opera and overloading the VPN servers.

Will be interesting to see how this all develops.

Jim Hamm

TRIM Support for a Mac

If you have the traditional spinning hard drive (HDD) in your Mac, maybe you’d like to upgrade to an SSD. What a difference this makes — all favorable. If you do install a third-party SSD, then you’ll want to activate TRIM. This article explains how to do this, and why.

I’ve done two SSD installs, and it’d not too difficult, even for a techno-klutz like me.

Also, does your Mac seem to be slowing down? This article has some tips on this as well.

Jim Hamm

Take Control Books has a new publication

Take Control of Apple TV, Second Edition, by Josh Centers, provides comprehensive coverage of the fourth-generation Apple TV, including all the tricks with the Siri Remote and details on the just-released tvOS 9.2.

Whether you’re considering an Apple TV or you already have one, you can more fully enjoy Apple’s entertainment device with this ultimate guide by TidBITS managing editor Josh Centers. You’ll learn how to set it up and use it to watch movies and TV shows, play music, display your photos, give presentations, and run all manner of apps on the big screen.

Josh walks you through cables, ports, and setup, and explains how to use gestures and spoken commands with the Siri Remote—yes, you can talk to your TV! He helps you navigate and customize the Home screen, plus describes getting-started settings such as inputting your Apple ID and enabling parental controls.

The book, which is organized to make it easy to find the topic you need now, also shows you how to use the built-in apps for playing iTunes Store video and describes how to download apps for Comedy Central, Disney, ESPN, HBO Go, Hulu, Netflix, PBS, YouTube, and more—complete with clickable Web activation links for 50 video apps, so you don’t have to type those Web URLs by hand! But you’re not restricted to commercial video: Josh explains how you can best view home movies and any DVDs or Blu-ray discs you own.

The book also looks at using an Apple TV to listen to your music or Apple Music, download and play podcasts from iTunes, and browse your photos. An important new feature of the Apple TV is its App Store, and you’ll find recommendations for apps that bring fitness, food, mapping, shopping, art, gaming, and more to your big screen.

Bonus! A special cheat sheet summarizes key Siri Remote tips and spoken commands so that you can easily try them from the couch.

You can get this and other Take Control Books at a 30% discount (one discount per order) by using the club’s discount code: CPN90219MUG

John Carter

Free Video Tutorials

There is a series of free video tutorials online for taking and editing photos. The camera used in the tutorial is a DSLR. Don’t let that distract you because there is an app for the iPhone that essentially turns the iPhone/iPad into a DSLR. That app is called 645 Pro. And there are apps for taking HDR photos. These are HDR+ Camera, HDR Photo Camera, Pro HDR, Pro HDR Free, and Pro HDR X. There are others, but these are the ones I was attracted to try out. Keep in mind that the Camera app in iOS 9 also does HDR.

The free photography tutorial starts here with an introduction. At the end of each video, you are taken to the next one of the 15 tutorials in the series. The professional photographer walking you through his techniques for taking and editing photos is Trey Ratcliff, and he’s also the author of one of my favorite Mac apps for editing photos: Aurora HDR Pro. Aurora HDR Pro is sold by Macphun software. Macphun also has a set of Mac apps called Creative Kit that contains just about all the tools you need for editing photos – if the editing features of Photos doesn’t satisfy you.

On the free side, there is Nik Collection being offered now by Google. The HDR and Dfine tools in that collection are quite amazing, and the really good part is that those tools are not just standalone apps, but they work as plugins to the Adobe apps as well.

The latest Adobe Elements 14 claims to have everything you would need for editing photos – although not quite as much as is available in Adobe Photoshop CS. I have to admit that when I first opened Elements 14 and tried to do some of the magic it claims to do, I was stumped. I had to rely on the free tutorials that Adobe provides online to do much of what it claims to do.

If the price of Photoshop CS and Photoshop Elements is too much for you, there is a Mac version of Photoshop CS called Pixelmator. You get this in the App Store. Pixelmator has all the same features as Photoshop CS, albeit not arranged nor named as they are in CS. Pixelmator, like CS or Elements, does require a rather lengthy learning curve. Let’s face it, nothing is as easy to use as the editing features in Photos. Pixelmator also has an iOS app, but it performs filters – like changing the overall hue-saturation. Still, it can be fun to play with.

To get a lot of editing features on the iPhone/iPad, you really must try Camera+. It is not only a stand-alone app in iOS, but it also acts as a plug-in for the Photos app on the iPhone/iPad.

In the past, I have mentioned PhotoForge2 as a fantastic app for the iPad for editing photos. Unfortunately, that app doesn’t seem to be available anymore.

Not to be outdone, Adobe provides several iOS apps in the App Store, and they are all free (Adobe wants to tease you with the hope that you’ll purchase their full apps for the Mac). You might want to try Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for iPhone. Be aware that the organizational feature in Lightroom only applies to those photos that you import into Lightroom. Also, even though Lightroom can access the images in the Photos library, you have to import them into Lightroom to edit them, and then export them back into Photos. Basically, Lightroom and Photos are two separate and distinct ways of organizing and editing photos.

John Carter

Recommended: consider these for your first 10 iPad apps | MacNN

Jim Hamm found an article that recommends 10 apps that you might want on your iPad. He did not realize that his iPad does not have a calculator. He just uses the one on his iPhone. He does miss the ability to save items to a ‘Documents’ folder in his iPad, like the one on his Mac. He wonders if Evernote could assume that function? He will find out.

He has not found any particular need to have a PDF reader app on his iPad. He seems to be able to open a PDF document fine without another app. His tendency now is to minimize the number of apps on his iPad, and delete those that he does not use frequently, if at all. This helps to reduce the number of updates to apps, which he finds to be a pain.


I must admit, I use Siri very infrequently — and I’m not sure why — but I should use her more. Following are some helpful hints on how to get Siri to help you more. I think using Siri to quickly open the camera on my Phone will be very helpful. I find that I tend to fumble around quite a bit in order to manually open the camera app to take a picture. And another example: Since we’re traveling in our motorhome, Zee just now asked Siri where is the closest Walmart. Siri told her the location quickly.

This article is from the Small Dog Electronics Newsletter: Kibbles & Bytes #977. (

Jim Hamm

Make Relationships with Siri
When you speak Siri commands, you can refer to people by relationship, rather than name. So, if you want to call your father, you can say “call my father” instead of saying “call Bruce Leibowitz.” But to do this, you need to introduce Siri to your family. First, make sure you have a “card” in the Contacts app for yourself, and then go into Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars, scroll down to find and tap My Info, and select your card. Next, make sure you have a contact card for your father, and then tell Siri, “Bruce Leibowitz is my father.” Or, if Siri doesn’t hear you correctly, open Contacts, edit your card (not your father’s!), scroll down, tap “add related name,” tap the default relationship to pick “father,” tap the info “i” icon, select your father’s card, and tap Done.

You can even use Siri to remember other types of relationships. Artie used to bring manure from his uncle’s farm for my garden and ended up with the nickname, “the spreader”. If I tell Siri “Art Hendrickson is my spreader” I can now just say “text my spreader…” and Siri knows who I am talking about. This works for nicknames but also for lawyers, accountants, doctors or any nickname you want to tell Siri about.

Take a Picture
Instead of fumbling to launch the Camera app on your iPhone you can just say “take a picture” and Siri will automatically open the Camera app and you can snap away.

Siri Converts
Need to know how many millimeters are in 4 inches? Just ask Siri and you will find that there are 101.6 mm in 4 inches. This works for currency exchange rates, too. Ask Siri how many Euros are equal to $100US you will find that 87.73 Euros is the exchange rate today. Siri has some other strong calculation features too. You can ask Siri how many calories there are in that fish sandwich or to calculate a 20% tip on your restaurant bill. You can ask her to solve math problems involving fractions and other math functions that will be faster than opening the calculator app and punching in the numbers.

Settling Up
Okay you can use Siri to look up baseball stats or other information to settle a dispute but what if you are at loggerheads and just want to get a random answer and don’t have a coin to flip. You can ask Siri to “roll the dice”, “flip a coin” or pick a random number.

Name that Tune
Siri is integrated with Shazam to help you figure out what song is playing. Just ask her “what song is playing?” and she will listen and let you know and probably try to sell you the song, too!

Find that Photo
Siri can search your photo library for you. I know how frustrating it is if your are like me and have literally thousands of photos. You can say something like “find that photo from Daytona Beach from last March” and Siri will launch Photos and take you right to any photos taken at that place and time.

Siri Takes You Out
Siri can make your restaurant reservations for you, too! Tell Siri “make a restaurant reservation for four at 7PM” and she will respond with available restaurants nearby and if you have the Open Table app installed can make the reservation for you or give you the phone number to call.

Are We There Yet?
If you are using your iPhone for navigation you can just say “ETA” and Siri will let you know how much longer you are gonna be on the road.

Leave Me Alone
Siri can do a lot for you but sometimes you just want alone time. You can tell Siri to turn on “do not disturb” and you will not be bothered. Or tell her to “turn on airplane mode” and she will turn off Wi-Fi and cellular signals.