Archive for June, 2014

June 28th, 2014

Tech Night Owl Live

New Tech Night Owl Live interview: Choosing a broadband provider, plus Take Control of Automating Your Mac (June 28, 2014)

June 26th, 2014


New MacVoices interview: I appeared on MacVoices (video and audio) to discuss updates to Take Control Automating Your Mac. (June 26, 2014)

June 26th, 2014

Take Control of Automating Your Mac

Take Control of Automating Your Mac coverCall me crazy, but I don’t like doing unnecessary work. I already have more enough work that is necessary, and too few hours in the day. So I’ve long been in the habit of finding ways to streamline and automate everyday tasks that my Mac can do just as well as (or even better than) I can. My new book, Take Control of Automating Your Mac, shows you how to do the same thing.

This is my 45th Take Control title, and it’s one of my favorites. It was fun to write (and believe me, some of them were not!), and as I worked on it I frequently took breaks to do exactly what I was recommending—find and implement shortcuts for tedious, mechanical tasks. So in fact the book became easier to write as I went along, since I was following more of my own advice!

Usually when people talk about Mac automation, they mean Automator or AppleScript. And the book does talk about those, but not as a primary focus. It turns out there are tons of ways to simplify common tasks that don’t require any programming or even a geeky disposition. And many of them are built right into OS X—text replacement, keyboard shortcuts, Spotlight, Mail rules, and so on. If you want to get fancier (and I know I do), there are third-part automation apps that can do more things, and do them more easily, so I talk about many of my favorites, including LaunchBar, TextExpander, Keyboard Maestro, and Nisus Writer Pro. (That’s right, I think of my preferred word processor as an automation tool, because its built-in macro languages lets me perform everyday writing tasks much more easily.)

Anyone who uses a Mac can find lots of time-saving tips in this book. Spend a little time learning and setting things up, and you can reap the rewards for years. Plus, we’ve included coupons for eight popular Mac automation apps, collectively worth more than $60 in discounts, so we’re practically paying you to buy the book!

I hope you like it. Here’s a little video trailer I made to introduce the book.

June 24th, 2014

How to Get the Biggest Bang for Your Broadband Bucks

New Macworld article: How to Get the Biggest Bang for Your Broadband Bucks (June 24, 2014; October 2014 issue, pp. 80–81, as “Choose the Right Broadband Option”)