Ask Dave Taylor http://www.askdavetaylor.com Online Help and Customer Tech Support for All Thu, 21 Aug 2014 14:37:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Can I download free ebooks for the Apple iBooks system? http://www.askdavetaylor.com/can-download-free-ebooks-apple-ibooks-system/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=can-download-free-ebooks-apple-ibooks-system http://www.askdavetaylor.com/can-download-free-ebooks-apple-ibooks-system/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 14:37:15 +0000 http://www.askdavetaylor.com/?p=8962 I really like Apple's iBooks program and how I can add an ebook on my Mac system and have it show up on my iPad too. Handy, ensures I always have something to read.

But it's an expensive habit! Is there a way to get or download free books for iBooks without violating copyright laws or resorting to torrents?

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As a book writer who appreciates receiving those royalty checks every month, I’m very glad that you aren’t resorting to BitTorrent or the like to get cracked versions of commercial titles. I understand the temptation, though, particularly for a fiction work that you might well bail on 20 pages in as you realize that it’s just not very good. The price of accessible self-publishing. Still, even bad authors deserve their royalty for the work they’ve produced.

But some authors are smart and make some of their work available for free to readers as a way for new people to learn about them and hopefully buy their other books once they’ve been converted into fans. And then there are the thousands upon thousands of books available through Project Gutenberg and the like, books that have fallen into the public domain because their copyright has expired. This includes a lot of classic titles, including all of Shakespeare’s works, Robert Louis Stevenson, Lewis Carrol, and much, much more. Problem with Gutenberg titles, however, is that they’re not formatted for an ebook reader like iBooks and the experience of reading a PDF is far inferior.

Fortunately for all of us, just as Amazon has a free section of the Kindle store, so does Apple have a free books section of the iBooks store. Let’s have a look!

To start, launch iBooks. Mine is full of books already:

ibooks on mac os x

On the top left see the “iBooks Store” link? Click on it…

apple mac os x ios ipad ibooks store

Very nice. Very much like the iTunes Store, actually, but no surprise there.

You need to scroll down a ways and look on the right side for the menu of options:

categories and options in the ibooks store

Find “Free Books” and click on it.

Then you’ll find that unlike all the other sections of the iBooks Store, this one’s often a bit messed up. Doesn’t seem like giving away content is a high priority there at Apple :-) but that’s okay. It all still works. (I’ve cleaned up the following screenshot for aesthetic reasons):

free books for your ibooks ebook reader from apple

Find a book or three that you like, tap on the cover to learn more. That’s what I’m doing here:

bates motel jaio's story ibooks ebook free

Sure looks interesting since I’m a fan of the A&E TV series Bates Motel, so I’ll download it.

That’s easily done by tapping on “Free” immediately under the cover image on the left. After a few seconds it opens up:

A&E Bates Motel - Jaio's Journal free from apple mac ipad

Now just sync your iPad with your Mac and that ebook will automatically be copied across. About as easy as it can be.

And me? I need to go read through Jaio’s Journal to see if I can pick up some clues about one of the major storylines in Bates Motel. :-)

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Easy way to redeem Starbucks iOS App cards? http://www.askdavetaylor.com/easy-way-redeem-starbucks-ios-app-cards/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=easy-way-redeem-starbucks-ios-app-cards http://www.askdavetaylor.com/easy-way-redeem-starbucks-ios-app-cards/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:42:23 +0000 http://www.askdavetaylor.com/?p=8952 I love that Starbucks picks a different iPhone or iPad app each week to feature at the stores. For free, why not grab the app and give it a whirl? Problem is, I hate entering the redeem codes. Is there an alternative that's easier?

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If you’ve been to a Starbucks in the last year or three, you’ve seen stacks of these cards sitting by the register or near the coffee pick up area, cards offering a free song from a CD or a free app or game. They don’t say much about the content (the entire back of the card is information about how to redeem it and get the free content) but it’s free, right, so why not download the song, try the app, and see if it’s any good.

Worst case, you delete it again. No harm, no foul, just a few minutes wasted.

If you have the Starbucks app for your smartphone that also has a section with a pick of the week, but they’re not the same picks as the cardboard cards are in the stores, which I find a tiny bit confusing. But hey, more free content. :-)

If you haven’t seen these cards — and they might be US only, I don’t know — they look like this:

starbucks free app card - teggle

Flip it over and the redemption code is a definite hassle to enter correctly, I completely understand what you’re saying!

Fortunately, you don’t need to enter it at all because your iPhone has a camera.

Launch the “App Store” and look at the bottom of the screen:

iphone app store 'featured'

Swipe down, down, down to get to the very bottom of the “Featured” view and you’ll find a “Redeem” link:

redeem link at bottom of featured screen in iphone ipad app market

Tap on it and here’s where the magic happens…

how to redeem starbucks app card

See the link in the middle? Tap on “Use Camera”.

Then just point the camera at the back of the card. It’ll find and identify the redemption code and its box:

iphone finds and processes redemption code

Then a second or two later…

downloading and installing new app

And just a moment or three after that, it’s installed and ready to go:

iphone ios app installed, let's play

So now you know. Use your camera to redeem those codes and you’re good to go in seconds with just a few taps. Slick.

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How do I stop Facebook Video Autoplay? http://www.askdavetaylor.com/stop-facebook-video-autoplay/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=stop-facebook-video-autoplay http://www.askdavetaylor.com/stop-facebook-video-autoplay/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 14:34:54 +0000 http://www.askdavetaylor.com/?p=8929 I don't know when it changed, but I just hate how on Facebook it now automatically plays videos that are in my news stream when they're on screen. And given my friend's senses of humor, it's dangerous too because so much is NSFW. How do I disable this "feature" Dave?

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First off, in case you haven’t seen the acronym before, NSFW = Not Suitable For Work, a fancy way of saying “dude, you do NOT want your boss walking by when you have this on screen!” Things NSFW are typically also NSFC (not suitable for children) either, if you’re thinking that working at home shields you from that office protocol issue.

To disable the video autoplay feature from your mobile device (tablet or smartphone) you’ll want to follow my earlier tutorial: How to quickly disable video autoplay on your mobile device.

Disabling it in the Web browser is easy too, and the fact that it’s so easy tells me that it is indeed a new addition to the zillion Facebook privacy, security and preference settings.

Start by clicking on the gear icon that’s on the top right of every Facebook screen:

settings / gear menu in facebook

Choose “Settings” near the bottom, then look on the left side of the resultant page of options. Near the bottom of the list of settings you’ll see this:

various facebook preference and usability ui ux settings

The choice you want is highlighted in the image: “Videos”.

Click on it, and there’s one lonely entry:

facebook video settings auto-play videos: off

That’s the option. Choose “Off” instead of the default of “On” and you’ll be good to go, without those pesky videos automatically playing and driving you crazy!

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Found your stolen device with Find my iPhone? Now what?? http://www.askdavetaylor.com/found-stolen-device-find-iphone-now-what-vigilante-danger-risks/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=found-stolen-device-find-iphone-now-what-vigilante-danger-risks http://www.askdavetaylor.com/found-stolen-device-find-iphone-now-what-vigilante-danger-risks/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 16:43:46 +0000 http://www.askdavetaylor.com/?p=8935 I have two different programs running on my computer that cause it to check in with central servers every few minutes, Find my iPhone (part of Apple's iCloud service) and Absolute LoJack (which is well-nigh impossible to find and disable).

They both offer me the ability to identify the location of my computer if it's stolen, but what Apple doesn't help with is what to do once you find your stolen device again. And that's a dangerous task to take into your own hands...

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I’ve already written about the startling high percentage of devices that are stolen nowadays, whether smartphones, tablets or laptop computers (see Your Devices and Data are at Risk) and how a lot of the times it’s not even the device that’s the target, but the data on the device.

If you’re not paranoid, you should be! With my heightened awareness, I’m also amazed at the number of people who just walk away from their laptops, tablets and even smartphones while in public places. Bathroom breaks can end up being 5-10 minutes if the restroom’s busy, and those people who walk out to take a phone call, leaving their gear sprawled all over a coffee shop table or library work carousel? Yikes. Dangerous.

This time, however, I want to write about the other side of this situation: what do you do if your device is stolen?

The first step is always to file a police report. If someone grabbed your shiny new Galaxy S5 out of your hand on public transport or picked up your computer bag while TSA agents patted you down and interrogated you, the sad reality is that you might be out of luck. Certainly the subway or bus security person is going to shrug and tell you that even with their video footage (if any) there’s not much they can do.

“Ah, but I have Find my iPhone!”

Okay, so your device is stolen and you check, just to find that the $#@$# thief has booted it up and is online:

found my stolen macbook pro. now what?

With software like Find my iPhone or Absolute LoJack you can remote wipe your data or even send a sound or message to the thief:

erase media remotely through find my iphone

Sending any sort of communication is the dumbest of all possible options, in my opinion, because it tells the thief “power down now, then remove the drive and plug it into a different computer” or “reformat this. now.”. Besides, odds are that you want your device back and are now excited that you know where the bad guy currently is located.

I mean, on the map above, I could zoom in, then show up at their door and demand my computer back. That’s not a bad idea, is it?

Oh is it a terrible idea. In fact, the news is full of stories of home-brew vigilantes who show up at the residence of a thief and demand their gear back, just to be beaten up, stabbed or otherwise assaulted. Or, perhaps, just laughed at. “Prove it!” would be an unsurprising response.

But the police aren’t motivated to go in and bust someone who ripped off a $200 Android tablet or smartphone. Don’t believe me? Try this story about a guy who stood in front of the thief’s house, called the cops, and they said “sorry, we’re busy with real crime”. Or this one about the police saying that a “find my iphone” map was insufficient data to justify a search warrant.

device theft awareness month, absolute lojackAnd then there are the vigilantes and the horrible results of their attempts to recover their own gear, like this terrible story of a 13yo boy murdering a boy who showed up at his apartment, accusing him of having stolen an iPhone. Or stories like this one where the victim attacks the thief, with predictably bad results. And this guy who got arrested for attacking his iPhone thief. And this dude who was arrested after attacking the wrong guy after using Find my iPhone to identify who he thought was the thief.

The danger of trying to recover stolen goods yourself coupled with the lack of interest from the police department combine to make a superb case for the value of Absolute LoJack: A subscription includes the services of their crack device recovery team.

Doug Lubahn from the Absolute Investigations and Recovery Team relates a story about them investigating a series of tablet thefts from the Detroit Public School District in cooperation with Detroit PD, and receiving death threats from the criminal gang that were masterminding the crimes. By the time the head of the gang was arrested, the charges against him included two counts of murder. Not the kind of people I want to tangle with. Do you?

It’s like insurance. We spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on our devices, but how much have you invested in backups, recovery of your gear if it’s stolen or additional renters or homeowners insurance if all is lost and you just need to replace what you have?

It’s time to learn more, time to play it safe before it’s an issue.

Tip: This month is Device Theft Awareness Month and this post is part of the campaign. The good news? Sign up for a year of Absolute LoJack protection for your PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone and you can get 30% off by using UNCOVER30 as the special code. Check it out: Sign up for Absolute LoJack before it’s too late.

Bonus tip: Absolute LoJack is running a sweepstakes too and everyone gets a one-month trial of their security suite too. Enter here: Absolute Software Laptop Lifeline Sweepstakes 2014.

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Review: verykool s505 Unlocked Android Smartphone http://www.askdavetaylor.com/review-verykool-s505-unlocked-android-smartphone/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=review-verykool-s505-unlocked-android-smartphone http://www.askdavetaylor.com/review-verykool-s505-unlocked-android-smartphone/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 14:00:59 +0000 http://www.askdavetaylor.com/?p=8917 Ever wanted to buy a phone that wasn't tied to a particular carrier so you could just drop in the SIM card of your choice and go? There's a market for unlocked smartphones and one company that has a surprisingly robust lineup is San Diego-based Infosonics / verykool.

To learn more, I tried out the s505 "Spark", a phone with almost exactly the same specs and dimensions as the Samsung Galaxy S5...

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First off, let’s talk dimensions. The s505 143.5mm x 71.6mm x 8.25mm. How big is that? Well, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is almost identical, as I said, sizing at 142mm x 72.5mm x 8.1mm. The screen’s darn nice too, measuring 5-inches diagonal at 1280×720 (720p) HD resolution.

The big difference is that the s505 is designed to be an open market phone, designed to be purchased as-is rather than as a subsidized purchase through a carrier that’s tied the device down to a particular protocol or frequency setting. If you’ve ever switched carriers just be told that you needed to get a whole new set of phones because the old devices were “tied to the other carrier network”, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

It’s considerably bigger than the iPhone 5s too, if you’re curious:

verykool spark s505

Verykool s505 Spark vs. an iPhone 5s

I’ve always felt that the locking of devices by carrier was anti-consumer, and brings into question the meaning of “buy”: are you leasing a phone from T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, or are you actually gaining ownership of the physical device, and can then do whatever you want to it?

And so a new market of vendors has been slowly growing on the sidelines, companies like verykool that offer smartphones that are functionally identical to the major vendors, the Samsung, Apple, Nokia, HTC devices, but at a more consumer-friendly price and without the constraints of being tied to a specific network.

s505 without back cover, showing battery

Back cover off of the s505, it’s a typical non-Apple device

Which isn’t to say that the Infosonics / verykool s505 Spark isn’t constrained by cellular technology. In fact, the device that the company sent me is a GSM phone, which means that it’ll work on GSM band 850/900/1800/1900 and WCDMA850/1900/2100, which means that it works with AT&T, GCI, ACS and Sprint, but not Verizon or T-Mobile. The company has a different version of the s505 that works with T-Mobile, and Cricket uses an EVDO technology that just isn’t part of the s505 chipset, so Cricket users are out of luck.

But let’s talk AT&T Wireless for a minute. The s505, priced at $199 and available through large retailers like Walmart, New Egg, Petra and Amazon, is functionally quite similar to the Galaxy S5, as already discussed. Except the S5 will set you back a cool $649 as a Go Phone (e.g., without a long term service contract). That’s quite a difference!

verykool s505 spark with cover/case

The s505 Spark with the verykool-supplied case. There are no options.

The s505 also includes 3G HSPA+, 3G and 2G connectivity, a built-in FM radio, 1080p HD video recording, a 12Mp rear-facing camera and 2Mp forward-facing camera, speakerphone capability, proximity, light and gravity sensors (for all those games, of course) and a decent size 2000mAh battery integrated into the unit.

And support for two SIM cards simultaneously, which means you can have both your work phone and personal phone on the same device. No need to carry and hassle with two cellphones. Darn helpful for a lot of users.

infosonics s505 - two sim cards

Support for two SIM cards = two phone numbers!

If a third-party phone like the verykool s505 “Spark” can work for you, it really is a good deal, functionally identical to every other Android smartphone, able to jump carriers (as explained earlier) and with support for two SIM cards. If you can use it and can figure out the case situation (aftermarket S5 cases don’t quite fit, the one shown above is your only option at this point) there’s no reason not to pick one up. Start here: verykool.net.

Disclaimer: verykool supplied us with a test s505 Spark phone for review purposes. And we like it!

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Can I change the Twitter Trending Now List? http://www.askdavetaylor.com/can-change-twitter-trending-now-list/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=can-change-twitter-trending-now-list http://www.askdavetaylor.com/can-change-twitter-trending-now-list/#comments Sat, 16 Aug 2014 14:19:57 +0000 http://www.askdavetaylor.com/?p=8906 When I go to Twitter.com, the trending list is for people who live in New York City. That's nice, but I'm based in Mexico City, not NYC. How do I change the trending now list in Twitter?

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Starting with Google’s Zeitgeist analysis of searches, it’s become quite the trend for social media companies to support hashtags and then offer up a listing of the most popular of them for a given subset of all users of that service. Facebook supports hashtags, Google Plus supports hashtags, even Pinterest does. But Twitter was one of the first, and with its constant stream of tweets — millions an hour — the system has hundreds of millions of words to analyze and calculate.

As you know from your own experience, by default Twitter endeavors to show the trending words and hashtags for your local area, but it doesn’t always get things right. I mean, you’re in Mexico City, so it got the “City” part right, but that’s a pretty long way from New York City, for sure. Makes me wonder if that wasn’t something to do with your ISP, because I’ll often have my location mis-identified. In fact, just this afternoon I was in Boulder, Colorado and Google was convinced I was somewhere in mid-Oklahoma. But Mexico City to NYC? Probably not!

Anyway, turns out that it’s easy to change your Twitter “Trending Now” location by clicking on the “Change” link. Which is pretty obvious. :-)

Here’s my default “trending now” Trends list on my Twitter home page:

twitter trending now trends - united states

See the “Change” adjacent to “United States” on the top line? That’s what you want to click on!

Now you’ll see a number of suggestions and a box where you can type in the city or location you desire:

twitter trends trending now location geolocation region

Start typing in a few letters and it’ll promptly suggest cities it knows that match.

Here I’ll check the Twitter Trends from Seoul, Korea:

twitter trends for seoul korea

The results? Well, I don’t have a clue since I don’t read any Korean:

twitter trends seoul korea

Well, heck. Go back and change it again, this time to London, United Kingdom:

twitter trends for london england united kingdom uk

Notice the differences between this set of trending topics and those shown in the very first image in this post.

Curious globally about what’s trending in the world of Twitter? You can do that too, use “worldwide”. Me, I prefer something more local so I’ll specify “Denver”:

twitter trends trending now trendingnow worldwide globally

Now your assignment is to figure out what #TRXYE means, since it only shows up on the Denver trending list…

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Wipe and Reformat an Android Device? http://www.askdavetaylor.com/wipe-reformat-android-device/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=wipe-reformat-android-device http://www.askdavetaylor.com/wipe-reformat-android-device/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 14:04:28 +0000 http://www.askdavetaylor.com/?p=8897 I'm giving my Android phone to my Mom and want to wipe all the data off of it first, so she can start from ground zero. What's the easy way to reformat and wipe the data clean?

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Just as all iOS devices work similarly, so do all Android devices, at least with something as basic as system settings and configuration. I’m glad you’re giving this device to your Mom, though, because there’s some reason to believe that even a system reset doesn’t perfectly remove everything from the device (see Destroying Data is Hard Work for an example of what I’m talking about).

At the least, however, if you have 2-step verification set up on your various online accounts — and you really should! Here’s a link to the many articles I have on this site about setting that extra-safe security for most common online services: Set up 2-step verification — the new owner of an Android device shouldn’t be able to get onto your system. You might also contact the mobile carrier too so that they don’t use your billing information for subsequent usage. That would be bad, and even more so if your Mom’s in the loop, with all her calls to China and the Middle East. :-)

Fortunately it’s pretty easy to reformat your device!

Start by finding “Settings”:

settings app on Android tablet

Once you tap on it, you’ll be in the complicated world of Android settings.

There’s a lot to see!

how to reformat hard reset wipe delete remove data android

None of these, however, are what you seek!

Swipe down on the left side to find “Backup & reset”, then tap on it:

how to reset to factory settings android tablet

Now on the right side, you’ll want to choose “Factory data reset”.

This actually has an option to leave your photos intact. You probably don’t want to do that so make sure you look at the options closely.

Then, finally, you’ll be looking at this:

factory data reset format - are you sure?

And if you’re sure, click on “Erase everything” and you’re good to go.

Now that device is ready for your Mom. But is she ready for Android? You’ll find out…

 

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Upload photos to Dropbox from an Android device? http://www.askdavetaylor.com/upload-photos-dropbox-android-device/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=upload-photos-dropbox-android-device http://www.askdavetaylor.com/upload-photos-dropbox-android-device/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 14:57:35 +0000 http://www.askdavetaylor.com/?p=8889 I'm a bit confused that when I'm looking at photos on my Android tablet, I don't see the "upload to Dropbox" option. So how do I upload photos to my Dropbox account from my tablet?

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For something as straightforward as a cloud-based storage solution, it’s surprising that the user interface with Dropbox ends up being so different on different operating systems and platforms. Then again, it’s quite possible that’s because the different operating systems, especially mobile versus desktop, only offer specific ways that the Dropbox program can slip into the user interface in the first place. On an Android tablet there’s not really the contextual menu configuration that you might be used to with a Windows PC or Mac system, for example, so even if it could be added, there’s no menu onto which to add the “Upload to Dropbox” option!

As a result, for desktop systems, the path of choice is to find the photos and choose “upload” while on mobile devices like an Android tablet, iOS-based iPad or iPhone, Windows Phone, etc, the easiest solution is to download the Dropbox app, log in, then upload the photos and videos you want — and any other files you can find and access, depending on OS — from directly within the Dropbox app.

I went through these steps on my Trio AXS Android tablet to illustrate. To start, launch the Dropbox app. Here’s what I see, with my set of folders on the server:

dropbox app on android tablet: main screen, folder view

Lots of folders. I’m a big fan of organizing things!

Notice the icons too: Any folder icon with tiny people inside is a shared folder, and any icon with a tiny globe (like “Public”) is publicly accessible without a password or the need to know a cryptic URL.

The pics I want to upload from the Trio tablet I’d like to have end up in my “Screenshots” folder, so I need to swipe down just a bit to find it, then tap to go into the folder:

'screenshots' folder in android droid dropbox

Here’s where it’s a bit confusing, because the “Up to Dropbox” link moves you up a level in the file system on the server, it doesn’t give you the ability to upload content to your Dropbox account.

To accomplish the desired photo upload, tap on the three vertically stacked squares on the top right to pull down the action menu:

menu of choices and options and actions dropbox android

You can guess which one you want: “Upload here”.

Tap on that and you’ll be able to pick what kind of content you want to upload:

what do you want to upload to dropbox? files, photos or videos?

I’m uploading photographs, so “Photos or videos” is the right choice.

A tap and now I’m looking at a display view of the images and video content that’s on the tablet:

choose what to upload to drop box, then tap upload

From this point, simply tap on each of the items you want to upload, confirm that the little checkmark lights up on the top right of the thumbnail (you can see I have selected two videos so far, and no photos), then tap the big green “Upload” button.

That’s it. The images, photos, video segments and whatever else you’ve chosen will now upload one at a time.

Done. Not too difficult once you know that you have to work from within the Dropbox app.

 

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Change size of added text in Preview PDF? http://www.askdavetaylor.com/change-size-added-text-preview-pdf/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=change-size-added-text-preview-pdf http://www.askdavetaylor.com/change-size-added-text-preview-pdf/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 14:53:25 +0000 http://www.askdavetaylor.com/?p=8880 I constantly use the Preview app on my Mac system to fill in forms and other paperwork. Works great. Except when the font is too big, at which point I'm stuck because I can't figure out how to make the text smaller. Help!

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Of all the apps that get zero visibility in the Mac universe, there are few as useful and powerful as “Preview”. It has a lot of capabilities that most people don’t realize because I suspect that just about everyone uses it as a PDF reader and nothing else. But it actually lets you annotate PDFs and fill in PDF-based forms, among other things. You can also consolidate multiple PDFs into one, remove specific pages if you want to tweak things, and much more.

Heck, you can scan and then insert your actual signature, something I’ve been doing for years with great effect.

Frankly, I would be happy if I never had to print out a document so I could fill it out. But that’s another story.

The way that it’s designed to work with text annotation, however, is frustrating because there’s a menu item that’s not the correct choice, even though it absolutely seems like it should be.

Here’s an example. I’m filling out a PDF form and click in the space, then type in my name:

text annotation added to mac os x preview doc pdf too big

That’s big for the space allocated. Not so good.

I click out of the region, then click on it again to select it, then look on the “Tools” menu:

tools menu in preview app

“Adjust Size…”. That’s it!

But it’s not. That’s why it’s grayed out. Confusing, eh?

Instead, you need to actually bring up the Edit Toolbar by clicking on the tiny toolbox at the top right of the document:

show edit toolbar option in pdf preview reader app

Ahhh… now you see the toolbar and can click on the “A” (font) menu:

edit toolbar ribbon shown in mac os x apple preview

That’s it. Just choose a smaller font size and it’ll clean up that doc in no time:

smaller text in pdf preview doc

That’s much better. Even more useful, you also just set the new default as Preview remembers the last font size you specified, so next time it’ll be 12pt Helvetica, or whatever you specified.

That’s it. Glad you know about the secret powers of Preview. It’s one of my favorite Mac apps.

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Force an Android system update? http://www.askdavetaylor.com/force-android-system-update/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=force-android-system-update http://www.askdavetaylor.com/force-android-system-update/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 14:04:40 +0000 http://www.askdavetaylor.com/?p=8868 I've been using an Android-powered tablet and can't figure out how to have it check to see if there's an update available for the Android OS. What's the secret?

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There’s no actual secret involved in figuring out how to force your Android device to check and see if there’s an update available, actually, though I like the idea of there being a mysterious and arcane knowledge that you could tap into if you were just one of the Illuminati, part of the secret club. Hmm… maybe I should start the Android Insiders Club. Proposed motto: “If you need to ask about joining, you’re not ready to be a member.”

More seriously, though, just like every other operating system, everything you need to know about Android is accessible from the Settings app. And on Android, that app’s icon looks like a couple of sliders in a box.

You can see it’s highlighted in the screen capture below:

look for 'settings' on the home screen of your Android tablet

If you can’t find the Settings icon because it’s not on any of the main pages, no worries, tap on the button with the six tiny squares within: that shows every single app installed on the tablet, whether they’ve been promoted to one of the home screens or not. (yeah, it’s kinda like Windows 8 in this regard, but I better not say that or all the Android fanatics will get upset with me!)

Tap on Settings and you’ll see a huge number of options:

all the settings fit to tweak in android 4.4 jellybean

All well and good, but what you want is actually at the bottom left and sure doesn’t jump out as being something to explore: “About tablet”.

Tap on that option, however, and you’ll see:

force an android system update

Ah, there we go, “System updates”. That’s what you want.

Tap on it and it’ll check with the “mother ship” to see if there are any updates pending. If not:

no updates for your android jelly bean 4.2 os

Easy enough. “OK”.

If there is an update pending, I strongly STRONGLY recommend you plug in your tablet before you begin updating, because it’s really a bad thing to have the tablet die partway through the process.

That’s it. No secret handshake, no meeting room behind the meat counter. Just a few taps.

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