Taming the Fonts List

One of my favorite things about the Mac is the way it handles fonts. I find the “Show Fonts” menu item that is almost always under the Format menu in each application to be invaluable.

show_fonts

At least it was working until I did some graphic projects on my Silhouette Cameo. Somehow there were a lot of weird fonts showing up in my Favorites List--ones that certainly aren’t my favorites:

favorites

I will admit I had used them--but they were cluttering up my nice, clean Favorites list--the one I expect to use when I work on the Dr. Mac Consulting Newsletter. Although I could easily figure out how to add a favorite…

add_favorites

…getting them out of that list was not so easy! I did some logical deduction. If I want to remove something from the dock, I just drag it out. Yes, just grab the fonts you don’t want in the list and drag them out! My list was clean!

cleaned Favorits

That worked, but let’s do this even better! If I click the + sign in the lower left corner, I can make a new collection, name it whatever I want and then add fonts to that collection.

dr_mac

That’s not quite how it works. I can get a list of fonts and it will include the faces like bold and italic--but I don’t get that nice list like the Favorites List.

All is not lost! In many Apple applications there is a menu item under the application’s name called Provide_______Feedback. It is not available in all apps, but take a look around and you will find one.

provide_feedback

Just make sure it includes the feature you want to complain about.

feedback_form

Does it work? I have never gotten a direct answer back from Apple, but I have noticed that some things that I reported have changed! I have a friend who is a Product Manager at Apple. He says that at each meeting for their product, a stack of feedback forms is waiting for him. He distributes them to his team. His team is expected to respond to Apple in some way for each feedback form. So, yes someone reads them and someone is tasked with deciding if the issue needs to be fixed. It’s really heartening when you see your request in a future Apple update.

--Pat

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Canning

I hope that title has you a little intrigued!

I’m talking about preserving food, in this case, tomatoes, for use in the fall and winter. We picked up a lug box of canning tomatoes at a roadside fruit stand. The tomatoes on display were $1.99 a pound and they were beautifully perfect! However, I was looking for the not-so-perfect fruit. A few bumps, bruises and splits don’t matter when you are peeling and chopping them anyway. I got a lug box (about 25 lbs.) for $5.00.

tomatoes

I began learning about canning fruits from my grandmother. She died before the first personal computer was invented, so I KNOW she didn’t use our modern technologies to preserve foods. Instead she relied on the knowledge passed down from her mother and grandmother, friends and other relatives and books like the Ball Blue Book.

ball_blue_book

The book in the photo is my trusty copy of the Ball Blue Book. It is over 30 years old and I use it each time I can something. However, it is not always easily available. It tends to get lost in my cookbook bookcase.

That is just what happened on Friday. I needed the recipe and information on canning tomatoes.

canning_tomatoes

When I could not find the book, it was time to use a little technology! My iPad can often be found on my island or kitchen counter, so my first thought was the Apple App Store. I typed in “canning” and this is what appeared:

canning_apps


Right there was a free app, How to Can. Since playing on my iPad wasn’t getting those beautiful tomatoes into jars, I “bought" it.

The app contains good basic information about the canning process and is full of good advice from a well-respected information source. The app has a link to how to subscribe to Mother Earth News on each screen. This app is also an advertisement, so the free price is justifiable for lots of good information.

basics


It is easy to visually find your way to the information you are looking for using the illustrated index on the left side:

general_tomato

Most important, it has the information on how long to process (boil) the canned tomatoes:

tomato_timing

In a few short hours, I had 19 pints of diced tomatoes cooling on my counter, ready to be labeled and stored for use this fall in chili, soups and stews. They look so beautiful!

canned_tomatoes

--Pat

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Increasing Storage Space with a Transcend Drive

Last fall it was apparent that my trusty 17” MacBook Pro could no longer meet my needs. While the processor was adequate, I was always low on RAM and my hard drive was perpetually full. The RAM was maxed out and I had simply outgrown the 500 GB drive.

I move my computer all around my home each day. In the morning it travels downstairs from our bedroom to the island in our kitchen. When I head for my office, it moves to my desk. If I am sewing or using my Silhouette Cameo, it is generally on those work tables. If I work on the deck or our front porch, it goes with me. When I move to the family room in the evening, it us usually on my lap or beside me on the couch. When I head back upstairs, it moves again.

Since Apple discontinued all 17” screens, I begrudgingly moved to the 15” MacBook Pro model. I upgraded the processor, maxed out the RAM at 16 GB and added the 1 TB SSD drive. I also upgraded the video card. This new computer is a beast! I do miss the extra screen real estate, but adding an external monitor would mean giving up portability, so I have made changes to my workflow to compensate for the missing pixels.

We took a three week trip to the British Isles, Normandy and Guernsey in the late spring. With two DSLRs and two iPhones being used to take pictures, I quickly noticed that my extra 1/2 TB of drive space was filling up way too fast. I plan on keeping a computer for 2 to 3 years. At the rate I was filling the drive, I would be back to finding ways to trim my files all too soon!

There is one thing about my association with
Bob LeVitus. We share a email address and the world uses that address to reach Bob. So I get to see lots of press releases about new products. The one for Transcend caught my eye. It promised the ability to add a very fast hard drive to my MacBook Pro.

Even better, the drive is tiny and it will fit into the SDXC card slot on my computer

transcend

Since the drive is almost flush with the side of my computer when it is installed, my plan was to leave it in place.


installed

I planned to use the drive to store my photo library. However, that plan quickly changed. Although I could use the drive as a backup drive…

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 7.26.33 AM

I could not back it up as a part of my normal Time Machine backup routine:

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 7.27.13 AM

The Transcend name is grayed out and it looked like there was no way to change that. A trip to Disk Utility found the problem:

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 8.13.44 AM

The Transcend is formatted in ExFAT, a Microsoft file system optimized for flash drives. The exFAT format has been adopted by the SD Card Association as the default file system for SDXC cards larger than 32 GB. The format can be used by Mac OS X starting from 10.6.5 onward.

While a Mac computer can read and write files to the drive, Time Machine cannot back up drives that do not include Apple's Apple Filing Protocol (AFP).

If I (you) want to back up files that are stored on a Transcend drive, it needs to be formatted to the Mac OS Extended or Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format
.

For now, I have retained the ExFAT format. My iPhoto Library is around 250 GB, so it is too large to fit the drive. My iTunes Library hovers around 120 GB, so it fits as long as I keep the trash emptied and I don’t go overboard on storing podcasts!

The MSRP on a
Transcend 128 GB drive is $119.00. They are readily available on Amazon for about $80.00. That’s not a bad price for a portable storage device that stores in you MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, making it difficult to loose.

When I bought my
Transcend JetDrive Lite 350 128GB Storage Expansion Card, I was able to gain 128 GB of storage space. The drive is fast enough to play a movie smoothly but small enough to be almost unnoticed. At this time I cannot back up my iTunes Library to Time Machine, but everything stored in it is free (podcasts) or is also stored on one of my other computers or it has been purchased from Apple and I can always download it again. I might loose my playlists, but for me that loss would be insignificant. My Transcend drive is a winner!

--Pat


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Back

I gave up on blogging last fall. It wasn’t a conscious decision--it just happened.

Ron and I headed to Boston and New England last fall to attend the
Catholic New Media Conference. From there we went exploring. Although both Ron and I had been to conferences in Boston, we had done little exploring. Neither of us had ever spent much time in that area. It was a wonderful trip that ended abruptly. Ron had been having lots of headaches that were attributed to a series of sinus infections. However, when the infection was under control, the headaches continued. We stopped to see a doctor in Newport RI. He gave Ron yet another round of antibiotics and cautioned us that if he was not better in three days, we should head home immediately Three days later we arrived in Bath ME. Ron awoke in the middle of the night with another pounding headache, so we got in the car at 3:00 a.m. and headed home.

When we arrived Ron went to the emergency room. A CAT scan revealed a subdural hematoma, Ron was admitted to the hospital. Later in the week they operated to relieve the pressure. He (we) was very fortunate. The blood was above the dura. There was no brain damage. As soon as the operation was complete, Ron quickly regained his mobility, his neurological symptoms disappeared in just a few days and the headaches were gone.

However, the holiday were upon us. Our daughter and granddaughter who had been living with us while our son-in-law was in Iraq bought a new home. We helped with the move and helped them get settled.

When things finally settled down, my writing routine had been destroyed. I was (and am) disenchanted with my web page development software. I have been exploring the options that are available to me, but moving to a different platform means weeks of work as I transition years of blogging to something new.

I can’t wait any longer, so I will continue using RapidWeaver for the present time. It’s time to get back to blogging. I’ve begun to miss it. Thanks for coming back!

-- Pat
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Answering reader questions about the arrows on screenshots

I get lots of questions about how to do things on Apple products. In this case, the reader asked:

In her article…”Dealing with Adobe Flash Player" Pat uses some red arrows to illustrate items in the Safari Preferences/ Extensions section. Are those arrows made with Skitch, or if not, what program ? They really help to pinpoint what to look at.

While others extoll the wonder of Skitch, I try to use Apple's included programs as much as possible so that I can easily explain them to others.

For those screenshots, I started with a screen shot made using Command - Shift - 4. This command changes your cursor into crosshairs on your screen. It also shows the position of the cross hairs on the screen.

crosshairs

There is another keyboard combination, Command - Shift - 3. It will take a shot of the entire screen. I seldom use it because I usually want just a portion of the screen.

I have my Mac set to open Preview when I double-click a graphic. To set this up, highlight the file.

select_icon

Now go to the File menu in the Finder . Select Get Info…

Finder_File_Info

You will then see a box similar to this:

info

In the Open with menu button, select Preview. Below that button, there is an button to “Change All… Select that button if you would like all graphics to open in Preview.

When you open the graphic in Preview, the tool bar may be too short to show the Edit tools. In that case, click and drag the lower right corner of the window (notice the red circle below.

resize

The last item in the standard Preview toolbar is Edit. It is possible that you will not see the entire toolbar unless you open the window to a wide view.

When you click the Edit button, it will turn blue and many icons will appear. You will want to open the window wide enough to see all the icons.

editing_tools

You can see the tools and what they control in the above picture. Notice that I snuck in an extra, the Text tool. While its color is controlled by the Color button, the font choice and size are controlled in the Preview > Tools menu

fontsshow_fonts

When you are finished making changes to the picture, Save it.

You can add questions and comments to blog articles by clicking the word Comments at the end of the article.
comments

It will open an additional area where you can type. I use the Disqus commenting system. You may already have a Disqus account if you leave comments on other web sites.
add_comment

The reader asked several other questions. I while I will be answering the one about 1Password here on the blog, another question is specific to his computer. In general, I do not answer that kind of a question here. If you want specific help, please consider sending a request for help. We can use our special software to take a look at your computer to teach you how to do something. The cost is $60.00 per hour. Send us a message at urgentrequest@boblevitus.com or give us a call at 408 627-7577.

--Pat
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