Friday, June 25, 2010

MSN, GoogleTalk and other IMs on the Mac

A follower on Twitter recently asked about using MSN on the Mac:

@maxweaver MSN for Mac v. 8 seems to be seriously buggy - any recommendations for an alternative program?

I suggested to Kel to try Adium as it is what I use to access MSN.  Adium is a third-party client for connecting to a whole range of Instant Messenger services.  Not only can you use it with MSN, but also AOL, ICQ, GoogleTalk, Yahoo Messenger, AIM, MySpace IM and more, even Apple's MobileMe.

From the Adium wiki:

Adium is a free and open source instant messaging application for  Mac OS X, written using Mac OS X's Cocoa API, released under the  GNU GPL and developed by the Adium team. Based on the libpurple protocol library, Adium can connect you to any number of messaging accounts on any combination of supported messaging services (see further down for the list) and then chat with other people using those services.

Note: We do not host any IM services ourselves. Adium is a third-party client for connecting to services run by other people (mostly companies).

 Click on the little green guy to download and install Adium now.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How to Opt Out of Apple's iAds

When you upgraded to iTunes 9.2 you would have noticed in the new User Agreement that bit about how Apple collects data to serve up ads that are targeted at you.

There is a simple opt out procedure. Unfortunately you can not stop the iAds appearing on your iPhone or iPod Touch but you can stop the collection of your data to target you with those ads.

Just visit the following address on your iPhone:

You'll then receive a message similar to the one shown below:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Software Updates from Apple

Does your software need updating?

Apple's software developers regularly improve their software and release free updates to those who have installed and use these programs.

Here is how you check to see if any of the software you use needs updating:

Look in the top left corner of your screen for the Apple icon:  and click on "Software Update".

The Software Update will then check for any available updates and give you the option of downloading and installing the updates.  You should usually just accept all the updates.  Some require a restart and others don't.  The way to tell is by the arrow to the left of each update - those updates with arrows require a restart after installing.

As with any installation you will be required to enter your administrator password.

* Note: Macs running Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or later can automatically run the Software Update checker in the background so that you can be automatically notified when updates become available.  

More information on the Apple website: Mac OS X: Updating Your Software

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Apple Remote - the Whole World in Your Hands

Something that doesn't receive much attention is the Apple Remote control.

What?! A remote control for a computer? I hear you ask.

That's right, for the past few years now the Apple Remote has come with all Apple computers. It looks and functions a lot like the iPod, in fact most people say "is that an iPod?" when they first see it.

All Apple computers come with the standard communication technologies built in - wi-fi, bluetooth, bit did you know your Mac also has infrared? Like the TV remote control, the Apple Remote communicates via infrared. It's very responsive - I've been able to use it from another room by bouncing it off walls. Apple claims it can function at distances of up to 30 feet and I can attest to that, having used the remote to control my dinner party playlist from outside through a window.

It is REALLY useful to control the music. I use it many times every day as my computer is hooked up to an amplifier and functions as my main music player. But the remote can do much more than interact with iTunes enabling you to change the volume and skip tracks.

Front Row
There is also a Menu button and this opens up a whole new world. Sit back, get comfy, and push this button. You'll be launched into the world of Apple entertainment!

Any music on iTunes via playlist, album, artist, etc, can be accessed. You can even access the latest & most popular music videos and watch previews.

You can access your photo collection and flick through those or just watch a slide show with added background music. This is a pretty good way of showing off your photos to others.

All your movies are accessible and controllable via the Apple Remote meaning your computer really can become your personal entertainment unit. There is even a section where you can watch the latest movie previews in full high def quality.

Other Programs
The Remote works with other programs too. Quicktime or even VLC can also be controlled with the Apple Remote. Try it with other programs, you'll be surprised.

If all this wasn't enough for you, then you'll be interested to know that there are programs that have been developed to expand the use of the Apple Remote even further. Mira lets you add access to other programs than the standard ones that Front Row currently provides. Remote Buddy gives you control over more than 100 applications, virtual keyboard and mouse, presentations, media center software and important system settings.

There are also programs like 'Back Stage', 'Center Stage', 'Media Center', 'Boxee' and 'Live Station' that give even more entertainment functionality to the Apple Remote than Front Row provides.

CenterStage UI Demo from Gizmodo on Vimeo.

Apple have recently released a new Apple Remote, which is much larger. This one works with the iPod and iPhone also. Here is what it looks like:

Thank you and good night
I'll end with one more tip for your Apple Remote though there are plenty more that were note covered in this short article.

At the end of the day you can simply put your Mac to sleep by holding down the play button for a few seconds until your Mac's screen goes black.


Apple Remote
Pairing your Apple Remote with your computer
How to replace the battery in your Apple Remote

* Photo by raybdbomb, some rights reserved.
* Photo by kumazo, some rights reserved.

* Final note: I even put it through a full wash cycle...twice. After the second time it required a battery change but still works fine.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Download Safari 5

Apple has released Safari 5 out into the wild. I've just downloaded and tried and I'm already liking it. I'll tell you just one feature that I like and then you can head off to the Apple website to read more and download it and try it out.

The Reader strips out all the stuff around the sides and gives you the article..JUST the article. No ads, no flashing banners, nothing, just simple text.

Check it out, here is a New York Times article as you would normally see it:

To view this article in 'reader mode' just look up in the right side of the address bar for the 'reader' button:

Click it to turn it on:

Now here is the same article in 'Reader mode':

Now go to the Apple website for more information and to download it and try it out yourself:

Monday, March 22, 2010

How to create an US AppStore Account

Do you ever get a link to an iPhone App and when trying to download it you get the message that this app is not available outside of the US?  
You can open a US iTunes account, here's how:
  1. Open iTunes(log out, if logged in)
  2. Select the US flag icon from the bottom of the page
  3. Search and download any free app
  4. A pop window will ask you to either sign in or create a new account
  5. Create a new account
  6. Enter your information like Email, password etc. and select NONE for payment
  7. Continue with the process and verify your new account via email
  8. Click done when you see a congratulations screen

Now you can download that app.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

FREE Downloads

Did you know that at the Apple website you can download a bunch of
free stuff?

Click on the Apple to go to the downloads page: