How to Turn On Automatic Updates for OS X and Apps

One of the best ways to protect yourself on your Mac is to download and install patches as Apple and app developers release them. Rather than doing it yourself, here’s how to have it happen automatically in the background.  You might want to turn this feature off when you go on a limited data service and turn it back on when you get home, as an operating system update can use a lot of data.

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Checklist to Limit Data Use on Travel (Updated)

Problem to be solved:

I have a shared data plan between my Mifi and my iPad. Under normal use at home I never go over my 4GB plan (not even close) but about 2 days into a vacation I get a 75% usage warning. I had Katie Floyd of the Mac Power Users Podcast on the NosillaCast Episode #448 to help me figure out the root causes and how to control my usage on travel.  These instructions are the checklist she helped me create to best manage my data. Your mileage my vary but I’m betting at least some of these ideas will help you too.

I updated this checklist in August 2015 to include new items that run automatically that could be the cause of significant data usage. In this post I recommend a tool called TripMode from tripmode.ch to monitor and limit network access by application: Can TripMode Demystify My Massive Network Data Usage?

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How to Install and Configure ClamXav Anti-Virus for Mac

ClamXav can be downloaded directly or through the Mac App Store.  The Mac App Store version does not contain the Sentry tool that allows constant scanning for changes by folder, so this tutorial is for the download version which you can get at  http://www.clamxav.com/.

Note:  ClamXav used to be free but as of June 2015 is a commercial product. I think it’s well worth the $30 and by paying for it I’m helping to ensure the development of the product continues.

After installation, log out of your Mac and back in.

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How to Enable Three Finger Drag on macOS

Before the advent of the Force Touch trackpad on the 12" Macbook (and the new 13" Retina MacBook Pro), you could enable a gesture entitled Three Finger Drag. With that gesture, using three fingers you could touch the top bar of any window in OS X and drag the window around.  I personally prefer it because click-dragging feels like it would help to wear out the trackpad clicker.

I guess with the advent of Force Touch which doesn’t have a mechanical clicker, Apple believes we don’t need easy access to this preference.  Luckily, Apple does still believe in accessibility so that’s where they hid this feature.

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How to Record Skype Call Including Audio from iOS

This tutorial explains how to use Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack 3 (http://rogueamoeba.com) to capture both sides of a Skype call to separate channels and also include high quality sound coming from an iOS device plugged into a Mac.  This technique can be used to capture music, podcasts, games, VoiceOver, any sound coming from an iOS device.  Heck, you could even record audio from a phone call coming from your iOS device with this technique.

Requirements:

  • Mac running Yosemite or higher
  • QuickTime in Yosemite
  • iOS 8 device
  • Microphone
  • Headphones
  • Audio Hijack 3
  • Soundflower (also from Rogue Amoeba)

Overview: We’re going to use QuickTime to capture the audio from the iPhone, and we’ll combine it with our microphone using Soundflower (2ch) via Audio Hijack.  We’ll use Soundflower (2ch) as the audio input to Skype.  Then we’ll set up a stereo recording in Audio Hijack so that we can hear the caller but not our own voice.

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How to Make 2D Excel Graphs Look 3D

1. Problem to be solved

Flat 2D graphs are boring, 3D graphs are hard to read. 2D graphs made to look 3D are the best of both worlds. ¬†We’re going to do is add a 3-color linear gradient to the bars and then if desired throw in a background texture to add a little more depth.

Experiment with the colors yourself and the background texture to get something that appeals to you, but most importantly makes your data easy to read so you can make your point with the graph.

And yes, I know, Excel calls them charts but they’re graphs, darn it!

This tutorial was created using Office 2011 for Mac.

1.1 Flat 2D Graph

Boring!

My ClamXav Tutorial on ScreenCasts Online

There isn’t a lot of malware out there for the Mac even now, but there are still some nasty things out there attacking the platform. A while back, Bart convinced me that it was time to start using an anti-virus and he promised he had a very light, non-intrusive solution for us: ClamXav from clamxav.com. Since that time I’ve been running ClamXav and it doesn’t bother me, doesn’t interrupt me and doesn’t hog my CPU cycles, and yet I can check in on it from time to time and see the proof in the log files that it’s industriously watching my downloads folder just in case I ever pull down something nefarious.

Don McAllister of ScreenCastsonline just published my latest video tutorial on screencastsonline.com/mac/show/0487 where I walk through how to set up ClamXav to protect your system. I know it’s not a fun, happy making tool but even if you don’t use it for yourself, you might want to put it on the systems of the folks you do tech support for who might not be as careful as you. ScreenCasts Online is a paid-for subscription service but you can watch the trailer for my tutorial to see if you’re interested, and then maybe check out his free 14 day trial.

sco_logo linked to the site

How to Play Content from Your iOS Device On Your Mac

Have you ever wished you could play content living on your iOS device over on your Mac?  Maybe you have music on your phone or a podcast or even a video you’d like to play through the better speakers on your Mac.  If you’re running Yosemite, you have a new version of QuickTime that will let you do just that.  A new feature introduced in QuickTime 10 allows you to make screen recordings of your iOS device, and using some of that functionality we can trick it into simply playing the content from iOS to our Macs.

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How to Export LastPass Vault and Import to 1Password

These quick steps will walk you through how to export your LastPass vault to a Comma Separated Value (CSV) file which can then be imported into other tools such as 1Password (or even Excel).  The script and instructions that come with it are for both Windows and Mac, but I will only be showing you how to do this on a Mac.

The steps will be:

  1. Create a secure disk image where we can safely download your passwords
  2. Export your passwords from LastPass to the secure disk image as a text file
  3. Run a script to convert your data into a form 1Password can read (Mac or Windows). The script assumes you’re running 1Password Version 4.
  4. Import your newly formatted password file into 1Password

 

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