Silence Notifications on Your Mac

Silence Notifications on Your Mac


The Mac's built-in Notification Center is a great way to keep up to date on what's going on with your email, Facebook, Twitter accounts and more. But yesterday I was attending a presentation where the presenter had email notifications popping up every few minutes which was distracting. Also I have friends who sometime use creative language in their emails and I don't need that popping up on the screen and broadcasted to a hundred people.

The good news is Apple included an easy way to temporarily turn off notifications for situations just like this. Click READ MORE for step-by-step instructions.

Read More

3 Quick volume control tips for your Mac

3 Quick volume control tips for your Mac

Apple keyboards come with volume control buttons built into the F10, F11, and F12 keys. But did you know that by using the modifier keys on your keyboard (Command, Option, Control, and Shift) you can do even more with those keys? Try these out on your Mac at home.

  • Hold down the Shift key to silence that beeping sound your Mac makes when you change the volume.

  • Hold down the Option key when pressing on the of the volume controls to quickly open the Sounds Panel in System Preferences.

  • Hold down both the Option and the Shift keys when adjusting the volume to adjust the sound at 1/4 the normal rate.

Read More

Three great ways to make reading the web on your Mac easier

Three great ways to make reading the web on your Mac easier

Most people spend a good amount of their time online reading. What you might not realize is both you Mac and iPad have built in feature that can make the reading experience so much better. Here are three simple ways of making reading earlier on these devices, and all these features are already built in.

Read More

iPhone Emergency Alerts - Your 1 AM Wake Up Call

We've had some stormy weather the last few days here in Minnesota. A tree fell over a neighbor's house and another neighbor had their garage destroyed by another fallen tree. So it wasn't a big surprise when the emergency alerts feature kicked in on our iPhones.

Emergency Alerts

A while back Apple added a neat feature to the iPhone. If the government issues an Amber or Emergency Alert in your area your iPhone can alert you through the notification center feature. As we discovered the alert will light your phone up and will play an alert tone not all that different from the alert tone you would hear on your television. If your iPhone is on silent mode it will vibrate instead.

Excited At First

At first I was excited to discover this great feature when it alerted us to a government issued flood warning in our area. It was about 8 pm and the alert was in effect till about 2 am. What a great feature I thought.

Then the alert went off again at about 11 pm. The flood warning was extended till 3 am and it was giving us an update. This wouldn't have been a problem except my wife had just gotten to sleep and we keep our phones next to our bed. Like many people, we use our phones as an alarm clock. Also, sometimes you want to play a game or check the news before getting out of bed.

1 am Wake Up Call

Near 1 am the alert went off for a third time which is when my wife asked me how to stop it. At first I though I would have her turn on the Do Not Disturb feature but then paused. Do Not Disturb is designed block calls and alerts but it also lets emergency calls through. These alerts, by their very name, are considered an "emergency" and might be let through. Since I had no way of easily testing this because I can't create my own emergency alerts, I showed her how to turn the alerts off entirely so she could sleep in peace through the night. She then suggested that I share this story with all of you.

Turning Off Emergency Alerts

Obviously for safety I don't suggest just turning Emergency Alerts off casually. But we really needed the sleep and our home is not in an area that floods. So we checked local news websites for information about the storm to be safe and decided we no longer need the updated alerts through the night. If you are in a similar situation here is how to turn the alerts off.

  • Go into your settings on your iPhone and find the Notification Center section.
  • Scroll down the very bottom of the menu and you'll a section marked Government Alerts which you can toggle on and off.
  • Switch these off and remember to turn them back on again later if you wish.

Be safe everyone one, but also try to get some sleep.

iPhoto Notification Settings Menu with an arrow pointing to the Government Notification section

Removing App Numbers or "We don't need no stinking badges!"

My wife and I recently updated the podcasts app on our iPhones. Although I enjoy the new features with the update I don't need the red number telling me how many new podcast episodes I have. It gives a certain sense of urgency. Since I am almost never caught up with all the podcasts that I subscribe to it means there will always be a bright red number staring back at me whenever I look at the podcast icon. So I decided to turn it off.

If you have an app that displays a number when you don't need it to there is an easy way to remove it.

  • First go to the Settings app on your iPhone and tap on Notifications.
  • Find your app in the list, in this case I'm choosing podcasts.In this menu you can adjust how the app is allowed to send you notifications.
  • Scroll down until you see the option Badge App Icon and change this setting to off.
  • Now hit the Home button and you'll see that the app no longer displays the red numbers.

Send questions and request to:

Organizing Apps and Creating Folders on the iPad

Who doesn't love apps? Considering how cheap they are you probably have more than a few on your iPad or iPhone.  The first time you download a new app on your favorite iOS device you get a quick pop-up tutorial on how to organize apps, but who can remember that?  Don't worry because in today's tutorial we'll walk you step by step through the process of rearranging and sorting your apps into folders.

The first step to organizing your apps is to put your device into organization mode. To do this simply press and hold your finger on top of any app in the home menu till all the apps start to shake. This is organization mode where you can sort and delete apps. I like to think the apps are shaking because they are afraid you might decide to delete them off your device.

While in organization mode you can move an app by touching and holding your finger on any app and dragging it across the screen. The other apps will move aside to make room for the app wherever you want to place it. If you want to move the app to another page or create a new page for apps just drag your app to side of the screen and hold it for a moment and you'll be taken to a new page.

To create a folder drag an app directly on top of another app and hold it there for a moment. An app folder will be created and it will automatically be given a name based on the apps that are in it. To change the name of the folder just tap on the name and type in a new one. To exit the folder just tap anywhere outside of the folder.  If you change your mind and want to move an app out of a folder just open the folder by tapping on it, enter organization mode by touching and holding an app, and drag the app outside of the folder area.

When you enter organization mode you will see a small "X" in the top left corner of the app, tapping on this will delete the app from your device. Although you can easily download the app again from the App Store for free, you will lose all the information saved inside the app.

When you are done organizing you can leave organization mode by pressing the home button. All the apps will stop shaking and the iPad will return to normal use.

One more thing.  Apps can be stored on several pages which can be navigated by swiping across the screen.  There is a section of apps the bottom of the screen that are visible on every page. This is called the doc and if you have an app you use all the time this is a great place to store it. You can keep a total of 6 apps in the doc.

iPad screen with a folder holding 2 apps

iPad screen with a folder holding 2 apps

Using Spotlight as a Quick Access Calculator

Spotlight is that little magnifying glass in the top right corner of you screen. It is a great way to quickly search for file and applications on your Mac, but I like to use it as a calculator.

It's really simple and fast. Just click on the magnifying glass (or use the keyboard shortcut command + Spacebar) and type in a math problem. For addition you use the +, for subtraction us -, for multiplication use *, and / for division. You can even use parenthesis' for a math problem like 78+15+(54/24)*24 (the answer is 147). Sure, it won't do your advanced calculus for you (see WolframAlpha for that) but it is a great quick fix when you need it.

Spotlight Calculator

Spotlight Calculator

Quickly Look Up Definitions with a Simple Gesture



I've been using this trick for a while now and thought I might share it with all of you. You can quickly look up the definition of a word on your Mac by tapping on it with three fingers. If you're using Mac OS 10.8 Mountain lion then simply place your cursor on top of a word then tap on your trackpad with three fingers at once. Your mac will look up that word in the Oxford American dictionary and thesaurus and show you the results in a pop-up window. If you are using Mac OS 10.7 Lion then you will need to tap twice instead of once.

I've included this very short video to show you how it works.