Open post
tiny tip logo

Tiny Tip – Show Hidden Files

HiddenThis week’s Tiny Tip is from Bart Busschots. The problem he is solving is how to easily show hidden files in the Finder. There are various tools to do this, including using the defaults write command in the Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES

After which you have to relaunch the Finder. It’s not hard to do but you always have to look it up, and after you’re done looking for the hidden file in question you have to flip the switch to NO, and relaunch Finder again.

The Tiny Tip Bart discovered has been available since Sierra, but I sure never heard about it. It’s a beautiful thing.

With the Finder in focus, simply hold down command-shift-. And instantly all windows will show all hidden files! Hit the same keystroke again and they disappear.

I LOVE this tip. The keystroke is even easy to remember because . is often at the front of all hidden files, so command-shift-. Is entirely memorable.

Open post
tiny tip logo

Tiny Tip – Starbucks App Confused by Face ID on iPhone X

StarbucksThis one might count as a nano-tip, but if you’ve got the problem this solves, it might be a mega tip for you.

One of the cool things about Face ID on iPhone X is that you don’t have to enable it for sites and apps that already used Touch ID. The API (Application Program Interface) just sees a biometric authenticator and doesn’t care if it’s your fingerprint or your face unlocking the phone.

However, Steve found that after bringing up the Starbucks app on his iPhone X, he could not open the app due to authentication issues with Face ID. When the Starbucks app requested his credentials, Face ID was activated as expected. The app would appear to accept Face ID for authentication, but then the app would freeze.

At first, Steve thought that the Starbucks app was not compatible with Face ID. It’s been really awesome how if you’re in line and you realize your balance is low, you could so quickly reload your card. There was no way Steve was going back to typing in his password every time he needed to reload his code.

Continue reading “Tiny Tip – Starbucks App Confused by Face ID on iPhone X”

Open post
tiny tip logo

Tiny Tip – Safari’s Reader View

ReaderThe tip I’m going to give you today transformed my enjoyment of the Internet, both on iPhone and on Mac. Oddly I think it’s been around for a long time, but I think it’s been enhanced in recent versions of Safari. If you’ve already been using it, go ahead and say “I knew that!” But if you haven’t used it, you’re going to love this tip. Let’s start with a problem to be solved, shall we? Continue reading “Tiny Tip – Safari’s Reader View”

Open post
tiny tip logo

Tiny Tip – Previous Recipients

Previous recipientsThere’s a rather hidden feature inside Apple Mail that is helping you right now but may trip you up in the future if you don’t know what it does and how to manage it. It’s called Previous Recipients.

The problem Previous Recipients solves is this. You get an email from someone with whom you haven’t corresponded before. Maybe you know them but you don’t know them well enough to have ever added them to your Contacts.

Continue reading “Tiny Tip – Previous Recipients”

Open post
tiny tip logo

Tiny Tip – MacTracker for Current Price of used Apple Devices

It will be hard to top the first Tiny Tip. So many people have told me they love the strategy of creating a Delete Me folder! Don’t set your expectations that high for every Tiny Tip, though. In the words of Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa, “They can’t all be winners.”

When you want the new hotness coming out of Apple, one of the ways to justify your expensive purchase is to resell your existing Apple products. The good news is that Apple devices hold their value really well. The bad news is it’s tedious to figure out what your devices are worth.

Traditionally I write down all of the specs of a machine, and then go over to eBay. I search for the same device on eBay while setting the filter to sold items only. Then I create a spreadsheet and start recording the last 10-12 that have sold recently. I keep detailed notes in my spreadsheet on how they might vary from the one I’m trying to sell.

I throw out the super high ones, which are usually those sold by a company. Then I throw out the lowest one if it’s got something clearly wrong with it or it has something fundamentally different spec-wise from the one I’m selling. I average the selling price in my beloved Excel to determine a price. If I’m selling to a stranger, that’s a fixed number, if it’s to a friend who maybe could use a little bit of help with the price, I’ll lower it a bit. At least I know the value of the equipment, but this process takes 3-4 hours.

Mactracker logoBut that’s not the Tiny Tip. For Father’s Day I got Steve a new iMac, so I needed to figure out what his old one was worth. It’s a 27″ Mid-2011 model. I was too lazy to walk all the way down to his office and pull the specs directly, so I popped open the fantastic free app, MacTracker. (Available in the Mac App Store and in the iOS App Store.)

MacTracker has been around forever, but it’s continued to get better and better over time. The developer now includes all desktops, laptops, iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, Airport routers and more. You can find out everything about these devices, up to and including hearing their original startup sounds. It’s super cool.

Mactracker showing current priceBut that’s still not the Tiny Tip. HERE’S the Tiny Tip. I looked up Steve’s iMac model in Mactracker and I noticed something new. The Initial selling price was there, but below that was “Current Price” with a US flag next to the price. Boom, you know the current selling price!

But wait, there’s more. I noticed that it was in blue, so I clicked it. I got a prompt asking if I wanted to open the link in a browser. I trust Mactracker, and it was awfully sweet of it to ask permission so I allowed it.

The price link in Mactracker took me to a site called bidvoy at us.bidvoy.net. Now here’s the really cool part. Bidvoy shows you the price over time. There’s a pulldown to choose from some standard time frames from the last 6 months to 2 weeks, or you can set a custom range. The data points even have a trendline through them.

Below the graph you get the average over the last 6 months (which is the number you see in Mactracker). You can see the weekly trend, how many auctions and the price margin. Not sure what that one was.

Below that you can even see the best time to purchase based on this historical data, and the best time to sell. For Steve’s model, you want to buy on a Sunday between midnight and 4 am, and I should try to sell it (if I’m doing an auction) on a Tuesday between 4 and 8 am. They show the prices for those two times, but it doesn’t entirely make sense. The average for Steve’s iMac is shown around $600. The best time to sell says almost $800, but the best time to purchase says $650. I would think that the average should be between the best time to sell and buy, wouldn’t you? Still interesting.

Bidvoy showing graphs

But bitvoy isn’t done yet. After the graphs, you can see a list of the same model currently-selling on eBay. For each one they show the current bid price (or buy it now price), the time left, and a red, blue or green badge telling you if it’s underpriced, normal, or over priced. If you see one that strikes your fancy as a buyer, you can click on it and go right into the sale on eBay.

One caution on using Mactracker and bidvoy. While this is easy, if the Mac you’re buying or selling isn’t the average model, the price you see here will not be representative. For example, in looking at the current auctions, I realized that this includes not just the i7 version I bought for Steve, but also the i5’s that are less valuable. I cranked up the RAM and disk when I bought it for him, so that should be taken into account too.

Using Mactracker and its connection to bidvoy is a great starting point and can get you most of the way there with the simple click of a button. I should mention that the iOS version of Mactracker doesn’t have this current price feature, so you’ll need to view it on a Mac.

I’ve just realized that the definition of a Tiny Tip is that it could be described in one sentence or two but that doesn’t mean I can’t make a lengthy post about it anyway!

Open post
words tiny and tip and a triangle

Tiny Tip – Delete Me

I have a tip that is one of the most useful I’ll probably ever give you, and is also one of the simplest.  I’ve been wanting to give little tips from time to time so I have created a new type of post called Tiny Tips. I even made a little logo!  No, it’s not going to be a spin off podcast…

Let’s start with the problem to be solved. We all create temporary files for a myriad of different reasons. Maybe you export images from Photos in a specific size just to post to social media. Or you print things to PDF just to send them to someone but don’t need a copy. There’s a lot of reasons we do this. And most of us plop them all on our desktops. A few of us have a tidy little folder they go in, but the clutter is still there, it’s just swept under the rug.

Eventually we buckle down to clean up this mess we made for ourselves, but we have to open each document and image to figure out whether they need to be kept.  We procrastinate and fill up our drives with useless stuff.

I have the solution. Continue reading “Tiny Tip – Delete Me”

Scroll to top