How to Upgrade Apple Airport Firmware

If you see an amber light blinking on your Airport Extreme, it may be an indication that there is a firmware update required.  These quick instructions show you how to find out if there is an update, and how to do the update.

I suspect the process is essentially the same on an Apple Time Capsule router but I don’t have one with which to verify these instructions.

The screens below show the upgrade from Firmware version 7.7.3 to 7.7.7 released in mid-2016. If you’re reading these instructions at a much later date (or are running a different version of the operating system) you may see different Firmware versions, but the instructions should be the same.

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How to Reduce the File Size of a PDF Using Preview

Ever created a PDF with images only to discover the file was huge?  Using Preview you can shrink the file easily but the quality fo the images will be dreadful.  Back in 2012, Josef Habr figured out a clever way to edit some System-level Library files to improve the quality of the images when using Preview to compress the files and posted them on http://hints.macworld.com. He spent some time coming up with some options for good, better, and best image quality too.  After he posted this, someone else pointed out that instead of editing the System Library files, you could accomplish the same thing using the ColorSync utility.  While using the ColorSync Utility is great for creating the modified filters, many have reported that you still have to move the filters into the System level Library to make them take.

Basic outline of the steps will be:

  1. Show how the default Reduce File Size option is accessed in Preview
  2. Use ColorSync Utility to create good, better and best filters
  3. Copy the newly created filters into the System level Library
  4. Verify that the new filters are available in Preview

One caution – when you reinstall or upgrade your operating system, these filters will be removed, so keep a copy of this tutorial and a copy of your filters as well so you can put them back for later use.

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How to Create Address Labels from macOS Contacts

1. Introduction – Problem to be Solved

In this short tutorial we’ll work through how to use your Contacts application in OSX to print cute address labels for your holiday cards. Every time I go through this I make a lot of mistakes, so I’m actually going to show you how to do it wrong so you’ll remember how to do it right…because I assume you’re smarter than me!

Here’s an example of how your labels will look when we’re done

2. Create a Group

2.1 Contacts (Formerly Known as Address Book)

Create Cute Address Labels on the Mac – New and Improved

Cute address labelSome of my most popular tutorials over the years on podfeet.com have been the ones explaining how to make address labels during the holidays. Years ago it involved using Excel to organize the labels, exporting them to a csv file, and then using Word to do a mail merge to make the labels. I remember my friend Diane and me spending HOURS getting this to work each year.

A few years ago Apple simplified everything by making it possible to print labels right from the Contacts application.
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How to Check Bluetooth Headphone Battery Status Using iOS 9

Problem to be solved:

You’ve got your awesome Bluetooth headphones but you don’t remember how long it’s been since you charged them.  You hate to go out for a run or cycle and halfway through get that dreaded battery low alert.  In iOS 9 for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, you can quickly find the battery status of any Bluetooth connected device including the Apple Watch, Bluetooth headphones and speakers and even the phone itself.

Credit to Bart Busschots of bartb.ie for showing this to me.

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How to Enable iCloud Photo Library

This tutorial will show you how to have all photos in their original size you take on your iOS devices to be uploaded to the iCloud and downloaded to your Mac. It will also enable all photos in an optimized size to be moved onto your iOS devices.  With this scheme you won’t run out of space on your iOS devices ever again, hopefully.  I’ve tested this with a 300GB+ photo library!

First check the size of your Photos Library, (Get Info on Photos Library in your Pictures folder).  You will need ot know this to figure out how much storage you will need in the cloud.

This process will use a lot of data, so it is suggested you perform these steps while on an Internet connection that doesn’t cost you a lot for data transfer.

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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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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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