We’ve just released an updated version of our course, iPhone and iPod Touch Essential Training, to include information about iOS4. Garrick Chow provides in-depth instruction on all aspects of the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch, including making calls, emailing, browsing the web, managing time, getting around town, taking notes, taking photos, and listening to music. This live-action course includes hands-on demonstrations of how to accurately type and efficiently use finger gestures, and includes tips for setting up the iPhone and iPod Touch so they behave as expected. An extensive section on troubleshooting helps when the occasional glitches happen.
Home Computing - Post archive
In iPhone and iPod Touch Essential Training, Garrick Chow provides in-depth instruction on all aspects of the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch (OS 3.1): making calls, emailing, browsing the web, managing time, getting around town, taking notes, taking photos, and listening to music. This live-action course includes hands-on demonstrations of how to accurately type and efficiently use finger gestures, and includes tips for setting up the iPhone and iPod Touch so they behave as expected. An extensive section on troubleshooting helps when the occasional glitches happen.
Topics include exploring the touchscreen interface, setting up preferences, synching with a Mac or PC, typing with the intelligent keyboard, making phone calls and retrieving voicemail, finding a location with Maps, downloading and playing music and video, shooting photos and video, using accessibility features, locating a lost iPhone with MobileMe, and more.
There are often times, especially when I’m trying to convey a technical issue I’m having with my computer, when it’s much easier to show the problem than to spend paragraphs trying to explain it. Both Macs and PCs have had the ability to take screen shots (or screen captures) since time immemorial, and it’s a simple and useful task for capturing a problem visually. Screen shots are also useful for creating how-to documentation or to complement a review or other article about a piece of software, for example. Here’s a primer on how to take screen shots on your computer in case you have to capture what’s on your screen at a given time.
- To capture the entire screen: Shift+Command+3
- To capture a selected portion of the screen: Shift+Command+4 turns your mouse cursor into a cross hair. Drag a rectangle around the portion of the screen you want to capture.
- To capture a window: Shift+Command+4 again turns your mouse cursor into a crosshair. Then press the spacebar, which turns your cursor into a camera icon. Place the camera icon over the window you wish to capture (the selected window will highlight in blue) and then click. Even if the window you’re capturing is partially obscured by another window on top of it, your screen capture will be of the entire unobscured window.
In each case, you’ll hear a camera shutter sound to let you know the screen capture worked. The images you capture will be saved to your Mac’s desktop. On Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard, the file is saved as a PNG and named as “Screen shot” followed by the date and time you took the shot. Earlier versions of Mac OS X name screenshots as Picture 1, Picture 2, etc., and save them as either PNGs or PDFs.
- To capture the entire screen: press the Print Screen button (possibly labeled PrtScn or something similar, depending on your keyboard). This copies the entire screen onto your computer’s clipboard.
- To capture the active (frontmost) window: press Alt+Print Screen. Again, this copies the selected window to your computer’s clipboard.
Unlike the Mac, there is no audible feedback when you perform a screen capture on Windows, and instead of saving the screen capture as a file, Windows only copies the image to your clipboard. You’ll then have to open an image editing program, such as Microsoft Paint, and click the Paste button to paste your screen capture into the document, where you can then edit it before you save it, if you like.
Mac OS X also includes an application called Grab, located in your Applications > Utilities folder, which gives you slightly better controls over the portion of the screen you’re capturing. It also offers a “Timed Screen” option which gives you 10 seconds to get your screen ready before it takes the shot. This can be useful if you need to capture something in action and don’t have your hands free to manually perform the screen capture.
Windows Vista and Windows 7 both include an application called Snipping Tool, located in All Programs > Accessories, and it, too, gives you more and better options for creating screen captures, including the ability to grab irregular shapes and specific portions of the screen.
So if you’ve never taken screen shots before, take some time and play around with the different controls and options. You may be surprised at how often screen captures come in handy.
See the accompanying video for additional screen shot controls.
For some reason, I’m the guy people are always asking for directions. Whether it’s because of my seemingly non-threatening demeanor, or my confident stride down the sidewalk, I seem to attract all the lost and desperate drivers, trying to get wherever they’re going. Because of this, I’ve developed an inflated sense of pride in my ability to get people un-lost, and I hate to be stumped or reveal that I don’t know how to get to a particular location from wherever I happen to be. Admittedly, this sometimes results in me just making something up, yet delivering these fictitious directions with such a confident tone that the driver will cheerfully drive off in whatever random direction I’ve suggested, leaving me standing there with the awkward contentment of having made a stranger temporarily happy.
At least, that used to happen. These days when I’m approached and stumped by the rarer and rarer breed of driver who dares to take a road trip without a GPS device or smartphone, I simply ask if they can send and receive text messages. (So far, I haven’t come across anyone who does not have a mobile phone.) When they say yes, I instruct them to send a text to GOOGLE (466453), formatted as “A to B” with “A” and “B” as their origin and destination. These can be exact street addresses, the names of towns, zip codes, or any combination of the three. Within seconds, Google will text back with the same set of directions they would have received by visiting google.com/maps in a web browser.
Even if you have a GPS or phone with GPS capabilities, you still might want to use this tip just so you have a backup set of directions should your GPS lose reception or run out of power. Bear in mind that your normal charges for text message will apply, depending on what your contract stipulates, but it’s probably a small price to pay for getting a reliable set of directions. Well, at least they’ll be more reliable than what you might get if you asked me.
For more info on Google’s wide array of text-based services, including movie times, flight schedules, translations, currency conversion, and more, visit google.com/mobile/products/sms.html.
Although most people have dozens if not hundreds of fonts installed on their computers in the form of serif, sans-serif, mono-spaced, and script fonts, an often overlooked font type is the dingbat font. On the computer you’re using right now, especially if you have a version of Microsoft Office installed, you probably have at least a handful of dingbat fonts available such Webdings, Wingdings, or Zapf Dingbats.
Unlike other types of fonts, which are collections of letters, special characters, and punctuation marks, dingbat fonts are collections of unique non-letter ornaments, symbols, and shapes. You’ve most likely checked out the dingbat fonts while trying to format a document, only to quickly dismiss them when you found there were no letters in those fonts. But dingbats can really come in handy at certain times.
For example, Zapf Dingbats is a large collection of stylized stars, checkmarks, scissor, and pencil icons, and other items that could be used for bulleted lists, flyers, or the like.
Wingdings has flags, pointing fingers, religious symbols, and the cloverleaf command symbol found on Apple keyboards.
And many designers know that typing the letter C in the Webdings font is a quick way to create a single checkbox or even a series of boxes for credit card numbers on a form.
So take some time to browse through the dingbat type fonts installed on your computer, and you may find a couple of ornaments or shapes that will save you the time of firing up your image editing software to create graphics from scratch.
Recently a colleague of mine set down his passcode-secured iPhone on the desk we were sitting at. As I was marveling at how smudged the screen was from his constant use, I noticed that among the various smudges I could clearly see four distinct fingerprints, whose positions I realized revealed the four numbers he used for his passcode lock. The passcode lock is a feature of the iPhone that, when enabled, requires the user to enter a four-digit code to unlock the phone. It’s a great feature to keep your contacts, email, and account secure should your iPhone get lost or stolen. But because you have to type in your passcode every time you use the phone, the four fingerprints over those numbers can easily become the most distinct marks among the smudges.
I spent some time with the lynda.com human resource team and asked them to share a few tips on successful interviewing to help you in your job search. Here are their top four interviewing tips.
1. Do Your Research on the Company
Before going to an interview with a potential employer, always know as much as you can about the company. Find out what drives the company. How long have they been in business? How many employees do they have? What are the main products and services? This kind of information will help you understand what they might be looking for in an individual. Employers like to know applicants have done some research rather than coming in cold.
A good resource to start with would be checking out the company’s About Us page.
Recently, I was trying to figure out how many miles it was from a highway exit to the intersection of the road leading to my house. Some family friends were coming to visit and I wanted to give them an idea of how far they would have to drive before they had to keep an eye out for the tricky turnoff to my neighborhood. But without specific addresses to punch into Google Maps, I wasn’t sure how to plot the path from point A to point B.
This led me to right-clicking (or control-clicking on a one-button mouse) on the Google Map of my area and, lo and behold, up popped a contextual menu containing the command Directions from here. Selecting that placed an A marker on the map which I could freely drag around, so I placed it on the exit ramp of the highway. Then I right-clicked again near the ramp for the road where my friends would have to turn off and chose Directions to here, placing a B marker on the map, which I could again drag to a specific location. And just like that, I had the information that it was 5.3 miles to my exit—all without having a specific address for either the starting or ending points.