Tips and Tricks

How to Resell your iPad

Now that the 3G iPad has been released in the US, many users are looking to sell their Wi-Fi models to make room for its better-connected counterpart. Fortunately, the process of restoring an iPad to its factory settings is easy. Here's how to sell your old (if 28 days can be considered "old") iPad.

AT&T releases more Details on 3G iPad Data Plans

For those of you who have been too caught up watching the tracking data for your new 3G iPad as it inches ever closer to your doorstep, delight in a new bit of additional information, this time from AT&T. On Wednesday, the exclusive 3G networking service provider posted an iPad 3G fact sheet (in PDF form) detailing how the service would work.

iPad Camera Connection Kit works Simply and Well

We knew the iPad would be a somewhat different device at its launch party in January 2010 when Apple said that it would both allow keyboard entry and import photos from cameras and SD cards. So much for being a consumption-only device. The iPad allowed Bluetooth keyboard use when it shipped, and the iPad Keyboard Dock appeared several days after.

The iPad Camera Connection Kit, however, didn't wind up in people's possession until last week. While the two-piece adapter set is designed for cameras, we ferreted out more kinds of uses, including audio input and video playback.

Let's look at the ins and outs of importing.

Apple addresses Keynote for iPad Formatting Problems

Apple’s iPad-ified iWork apps are generally praised for their polish and functionality. But one place these apps, particularly Keynote, can fall short is when opening a document imported from their desktop counterparts. Specifically, importing a Keynote presentation can often strip critical data out of the document.

If you need to wrap up a Keynote presentation on your iPad and maintain things like formatting and images, Apple has a new support document just for you.

Increase Your iPad Media Storage for just $49

Here's a cool iPad tip suggested by one of our awesome TidBITS readers. In "iPad Camera Connection Kit Works Simply and Well," 22 April 2010, commenter "Mikey" asks:

"Can you use the SD Card Adapter to watch or import h.264 movies?"

The idea is that if you watch many movies or other video content, you'd want a lot of storage on your iPad. The base $500 Wi-Fi only iPad with 16 GB of storage isn't too roomy once you start throwing media files onto it. But paying $100 more for the 32 GB model, or $200 more for the 64 GB model, may not be in your price range.

What if you could increase that storage for just $49 instead?

Keynote for iPad: Best Practices

When you create a Keynote presentation on your Mac that you intend to share to an iPad, your presentations will look their best if you follow these recommendations.

Show off Your Photos on the iPad

If you've ever hung out with photographers packing iPhones, you know it's just a matter of time before they're passing them around and showing off their photo albums. I used to do this myself, but now the iPhone stays in my pocket and I pull an iPad out of my daypack. My photos and slideshows look even better on the iPad's 9.7 inch, 1024-by-768 resolution, 132 pixels per inch, backlit LED display.

There are a handful of apps in the App store that will help you display your work on an iPad, with more being added every day. But I've found that I can do just about everything I need using the bundled Photos app and the iPad version of Keynote ($10).

12 iPad Tips and Tricks

Apple’s iPad is comfortable, like your favorite shoes or an old T-shirt. You can use it at a desk or table, or curl up with it on the couch. It’s a flexible device that fits into your life. It doesn’t really let you do anything you weren’t doing before, but you can do those things more easily and with less effort.

In my time using the iPad, I’ve found some tips and tricks for making the device even more versatile and easy to use, including accessories to buy, avoid, and re-use; tricks for writing on the iPad; and at least one really bad gotcha to avoid.

How to move from iPhoto '09 to Aperture 3

You've decided to pack-up your digital photo library and make the big move from iPhoto '09 to Aperture 3. Luckily, if you're using the latest versions of both applications, the transition has never been easier. iPhoto '09 integration is one of the many improvements added to Aperture 3. With a little planning, you can migrate your iPhoto library quickly and easily.

Dropbox: Beyond the Basics

My hands-down favorite new Mac app of the past year or so has been Dropbox. One reason I like it: I keep discovering new things it can do.

At first, I just used it for the obvious: keeping important document files in sync between my work and home Macs (and, later, my iPod Touch too). But then I realized I could use Dropbox to sync all kinds of files—such as TextExpander snippets or my 1Password keychain. That meant I could sync my keyboard shortcuts and passwords on all my systems, without the vagaries of MobileMe.

Going online to find out what else I could do with Dropbox, I found a healthy community of Dropbox users, sharing tips and hacks for the service. Dozens of those tips are available on the Dropbox a wiki. Here are a couple of ideas I found there and elsewhere that should get you started on taking your Dropbox use to the next level.

Tips to Improve the iPad Experience

As many companies have discovered, you can't successfully slap a desktop operating system onto a tablet device. The iPad uses Apple's iPhone OS, which, although based on the guts of Mac OS X, was designed with a touch interface in mind. And when you're designing something from scratch, there are numerous opportunities for coming up with ways to enhance the experience.

Now that I have an iPad in my hands, I've discovered some new techniques and hidden shortcuts, and also found myself making heavier use of existing iPhone shortcuts (including a few I didn't realize were there).

The iPad and Accessories: What You need to Know

Now that the iPad has been out for a few days and you’ve read every possible review, first-impressions article, and opinion piece, you’re probably starting to think about more practical matters: Given that Apple’s new device has the same connections—dock connector, headphone jack, Bluetooth—as my iPhone or iPod touch, will it work with the accessories I already have? Which new accessories should I buy? And will I need to carry a bottle of Windex for that screen?

You could just go out and buy new “Made for iPad” accessories. But we’ve spent the past few days testing the iPad with existing accessories to see if you can reuse those add-ons. Here’s what we’ve determined so far.

iPad Trick: Copy and Paste from iBooks

Many people are hoping the iPad can replace their traditional laptop for many productivity applications. One such group is students. If you need to copy text from one of your iBooks on your iPad, you may be disappointed to find out that the DRM on iBooks does not allow this directly. Use this tip to copy and paste content from your downloaded iBooks.

So, you've got a new document open in Pages on your iPad. You've decided on your thesis and you've downloaded your required reading via the iBookstore. You get to a page where you'd like to quote a significant portion of the text (and cite it of course), but after highlighting and copying the text, you realize the paste option does not exist in Pages.

This could severely slow down the paper-writing process.

Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iTunes 9.1

In anticipation of this weekend’s United States rollout of the iPad, Apple has released iTunes 9.1, a minor update to last year’s iTunes 9. This new version is designed primarily to provide support for the iPad and its related features such as the iBookstore, but also adds a few other nice enhancements.

The main changes in iTunes 9.1 are highlighted in typically sparse release notes, and include support for the iPad, including iBooks and ePub content and the ability to manage Genius Mixes.

There are, of course, a few more interesting new features hidden under the hood.

Buying a Printer: Tips and Advice

Walk into a computer or office supply store, or even peruse an online retailer, and the choices of printers available can be dizzying. To help you make the proper decision, we've put together a set of printer buying guides.

These guides will help you be better informed when you're shopping.

Find Free and Inexpensive Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi signals increasingly fill the air around us, and many of the electronic devices we carry with us support Wi-Fi. So why pay for Wi-Fi when you need to access the Internet while out and about? Occasionally, a for-fee Wi-Fi service may be the only option, but even then we can help you get the most out of a service for the lowest cost.

It has been eight years since I started writing about public Wi-Fi, where venues from cafés and airports to libraries and car-repair shops have been offering Wi-Fi-supplied Internet access. And although these publicly available Wi-Fi networks make up only a small fraction of the tens of millions of Wi-Fi networks worldwide, a few tips will help you find free or at least cheap connectivity when you need it, whether you're running errands around your hometown or are roaming the open road.

6 Tips for finding iTunes Store Content

At one time browsing the iTunes (Music) Store was like visiting a local music shop—pop and rock in the front racks and middle aisles, jazz to the left, classical in the back, and indy releases shuttled off to the side room where you could also purchase bongs and dashikis. But when the Store expanded and dropped Music from its name, it also lost some of its ease-of-use. With not only music but also movies, TV shows, audiobooks, podcasts, lectures, games, and iPod and iPhone applications on offer, it’s become more difficult to find the content you’re after. These tips should help you find more of the content you like.

Time Capsule Failures: When They happen and what to Do

All hardware fails at some point, but we generally withhold coverage until a pattern appears, until the problem appears to affect relatively large numbers of people, or when the manufacturer ignores seemingly obvious proof.

Editors at TidBITS have heard anecdotally for many months that users were experiencing failures with Apple's Time Capsule base station/backup appliance units that were outside the warranty period, but relatively new. But with an unknown number sold - it may be hundreds of thousands or even millions, for all we know - it was impossible to determine whether these failures were commonplace or statistical outliers.

The reason we're writing about this now? In November 2009, Apple quietly started acknowledged the problem and replacing certain affected models. And those whose Time Capsules appear to be working properly can do a few things to protect against failure and keep the devices functional.

4 Sites for Live Music Fanatics

I have what some might call an obsession with live recordings. Over the years, I’ve collected about 6,000 concerts—audience bootlegs and soundboard leaks as well as official releases. I’ve written previously about my favorite places to find recordings of live music. But I have also bookmarked four sites where I can find out which shows have been recorded and which songs were played.

A Shortcut for Googling the Current Website

Savvy Google users know you can restrict your search to a particular Website using the syntax site:[site] [search term(s)]. For example, a Google query of "ipad case" will search—and just—for pages that include the specific phrase ipad case. While many sites provide their own search feature, I find that Google’s searches often provide better results. I also like Google’s options for narrowing down your search.

The thing is, I tend to use this site-specific search while I’m already browsing the site in question; for example, I’m reading an article on Daring Fireball and I decide I want to search for articles containing the phrase App Store that Macworld contributor John Gruber has written. I could open a browser window to, or click in my browser’s search field, and manually type "app store", but there’s an easier way using a JavaScript bookmarklet, which is a bookmark containing JavaScript code that’s run when you “open” the bookmark.

25 Things You can Remote Control with Your iPhone

One of the more interesting things you can do with Apple's iPhone and iPod touch is to use it as a remote control for other devices.

Since the iPhone App Store launched almost two years ago, developers have created hundreds of remote control applications.

Some of them are for entertainment -- designed to control A/V equipment in your living room. Others control household appliances, functions on your computer, or even expensive corporate security systems.

For now, most remote control apps operate over the Internet, or via a wi-fi or Bluetooth link between your iPhone and another device.

Find only Exact Duplicates in iTunes

Here's a very simple iTunes hint that may come in very handy for those of you who may have duplicate song issues in iTunes. As you're probably aware, iTunes includes a tool to help find the duplicates; just select File -> Show Duplicates, and iTunes will create a list of all the songs it believes are duplicates.

The only problem with this feature is that it's quite liberal in deciding what is, and is not, a duplicate. As a result, the list of potential duplicates can wind up being very large--especially if you have a number of different versions of the same song by the same artist.

So here's the trick...the Option key.

Fact or fiction? 8 HDTV Claims demystified

If you’re buying your first HDTV or an upgrade from a starter set, your new television may deliver a better picture than the one you’re used to. But picking the right HDTV can be confusing, especially when your favorite blue-shirted salesperson may be steering you in a certain direction in hopes of a bigger commission. Or maybe the rep is just misinformed. Whatever the reasons, the environment has encouraged a cavalcade of claims about HDTVs—some of which were true for first-generation sets but have little relevance to today’s buyers, some of remain valid, and some of which were never true.

I’ll highlight some of the most prominent assertions made on the showroom floors of big-box retailers and explain the realities, along with tips and details for buying an HDTV, selecting the best content, hooking up the set at home, and more.

How to Save and Share ridiculously Large Files

A few years ago it was a big deal to find a place that would let you share 1 gigabyte of files.

Things change, though. Bandwidth keeps growing, and the cost of Web storage keeps shrinking. That's good news for people looking to share increasingly large files, be it an HD video recording or an archive of several files that tops out at over a gig.

There are now a handful of free and paid services that make it easy to host these gigantic files and send them to a friend, family member, or business associate.
The key thing to point out here is the individual file size limit. Many storage services will throw gigabytes at you without any real strings attached except for the fact that you cannot upload files larger than a gig. This really isn't a big deal, that is until that first time you need to do it. Below are a handful of sites, both free and paid, that are up to the task.

Apple offers Battery Tips for iPhone and iPod Users

Perhaps one of the most misunderstood things about Apple’s portable devices is the way some of the features affect battery life. Two new pages on Apple’s Web site may help users with that.

Apple posted two pages — one dedicated to the iPod and one to the iPhone — to help users get the most from their battery. Many of the tips may seem like simple solutions for those that closely follow Apple, but for new users, there are some great tips in there.

One Way to End a stuck Time Machine Backup

Have you ever seen Time Machine get stuck during a backup run -- constantly showing a tiny percentage completion, for instance?

If so, this hint may help; it explains how to gracefully exit that situation, using two simple Terminal commands.

What You need to Know about Google Buzz

Last week, Gmail users awoke to find themselves automatically signed up for a new (and very public) social network called Buzz. Alarmingly, it was created from what many people feel are private e-mail and chat contacts. And it showed their publicly shared items from Picasa photo albums and Google Reader, without their consent.

A surge of criticism ensued, and just days later, Google was backpedaling fast. It announced some quick remedies – automatic sign-up and links to Picasa and Reader accounts are kaput – and a few more are coming.

In the meantime, concern and frustration persists among Gmail’s 176 million users. Here’s our first installment of a primer explaining Buzz and how to use it in the way you prefer.

Beef up Default System Security in OS X

For any Mac, new or current, you can do several things to easily increase the security of your system. Apple has several options and system settings for enhancing security, most of which are available if you browse through the system preferences, but there are also other settings and practices that can help increase security.

Movist plays Your Movies when QuickTime can't

Movist has been around since 2007, but it’s made some big development strides over the past six months or so. The current version offers VLC some much-needed media-playback competition thanks to an interface that I find to be more attractive and easier to use.

Like VLC, Movist is based in part on FFmpeg, a cross-platform set of codecs that lets you play a plethora of media formats not supported by OS X’s own QuickTime technology. Movist also provides many playback features you won’t find in QuickTime Player, as well as some features QuickTime Player lost in the transition from version 7 to Snow Leopard’s version X.

For example, Movist offers a wide range of playback navigation options, including variable-speed playback, frame-by-frame playback, configurable-second skips, and range playback (where you set the beginning and end of a clip). There's also a built-in screenshot feature that lets you save an image of the current video frame.

All about EPUB, the eBook Standard for Apple's iBookstore

Overlooked in much of the hype about the iPad announcement was a comment by Steve Jobs in the Keynote presentation where he mentioned that the iBooks app for iPad would take advantage of the popular EPUB format for electronic books. Since we're all going to get a lot more familiar with this format in the near future, we felt it would be a good time to provide our readers with more information about EPUB.

EPUB is the same format used by the popular Stanza app for iPhone and iPod touch. It's a free and open standard format created by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), and it's designed for reflowable content that can be optimized to whatever device is being used to read a book file. The IDPF has championed EPUB as a single format that can be used by publishers and conversion houses, as well as for distribution and sale of electronic books.

The format is meant to function as a single format that publishers and conversion houses can use in-house, as well as for distribution and sale. It supports digital rights management, something that's sure to warm the cockles of the hearts of publishers, but there's no DRM scheme that is currently specified as part of the format.