7 essential mac OS tricks users never knew about

Just like windows, Mac has its own set of tricks that it can perform with the shortcuts it provides. These 7 tips and tricks are extremely useful. Yet, you never knew about them!

Incremental Volume

Often when you’re listening to music or watching a movie, either the volume is too loud or too less. Mac offers the perfect solution with ¼ volume increments. This trick works with brightness as well.


Increase/Decrease volume or brightness by pressing the function buttons (F1/F2 or F11/F12) with option + shift key.

Negative Display/Dark Mode

Even though apple now plans to add a ‘Dark Mode’ to its latest Mac OS X offering –Yosemite, there is a way you can run your Mac device running Mavericks or earlier versions with a dark theme.


To make this feature work, you need to first go to System Preferences < Keyboard < Shortcuts Tab < Accessibility (from the list on the left) and select the option ‘Invert Colors’. Once selected, you can press Control + Option + Command + 8 to activate the feature.

Silent Turn On/Off

If you’re like me and hate it when your Mac device makes a sound when it is turned on, you can make it boot in silence by pressing the mute key (F10) + Power button.

Clean Text Paste

When you’re copying text from one source to the other, sometimes, hyperlinks and format of the text gets copied to the clipboard too. Too avoid this, copy the text as you normally would (Command + C) and press Command + Control + V to paste unformatted text. It’ll save you the hassle of formatting text all over again.



Define Anything

Did you know, your Mac and iOS devices come with an in built dictionary? To use it, either select the text and press Command + Control + D to define the selected text or just use this shortcut and the text around the cursor or mouse pointer will be defined for you.


This feature works well in browsers (including the address bar) and within default applications like any PDF opened with preview. Unfortunately, this does not work with 3rd party applications like Microsoft Office.

Special Characters

Sometimes you want to type or search words with special characters but weren’t able to figure out how to type them with the default US keyboard that Apple provides.


Well, the simplest workaround is that you long press the alphabet and get supporting special characters; then, just press the number against the character you desire and boom, it gets typed for you. Thankfully, this feature seems to be working with at least some of the third party applications (Microsoft office).

Preview

The preview app in Mac supports multiple formats. However, unlike windows, you cannot scroll within the folder to view different items. As an alternative, select one of the items within the folder and press spacebar. You can now scroll through multiple items within a folder by simply pressing the left/right direction keys.

You can now proclaim yourself to be a pro mac user! If you've got any shortcuts that you find extremely helpful, share them with the world and help fellow Mac users.

All GIFs courtesy BuzzFeed.

5 awesome photography apps for smartphone photographers

You might not be able to buy yourself a great DSLR that takes stunning shots with those blurred backgrounds but you do possess a decent smartphone that supports a decent camera to take decent photos and trust me, that is probably all you need to get started.

First off, to understand whether your phone comes with a good camera or not, you need to understand one basic rule of thumb (and unfortunately I have to break the myth) – MORE megapixel does NOT mean BETTER camera quality. It is all about the lens that your phone’s camera has and the camera software that the maker has installed on the phone that really counts when it comes to good camera quality on a smartphone.

To give you an example, the iPhone 5S and HTC’s M8 come with an 8 megapixel and 4 megapixel camera respectively. However, these phones have been known to take some of the most stunning photos that a phone can ever take. In fact, the M8’s camera software takes it a step further by providing some great post processing tricks but sometimes you might find that that is just not enough.

Thankfully, smartphone technology is advancing at a great pace and R&D of various companies is yielding great products. To add to that, 3rd party developers have come up with clever solutions that unleash the true potential of the phone’s camera and its capabilities by giving complete control to the user.

VSCO Cam

If you believe you’ve taken a great photo, VSCO Cam is a great app that has heaps of presets that can provide for the perfect post processing effect on the photo of your choice. The app has a minimalist view which is in accordance with what seems to be the latest fad in the appearance of any smartphone’s OS.

Power users who are familiar with terminologies like f-numbers, ISO, white balance, etc. will also find this app useful as it allows you to access the RAW data attached to an image. More importantly, the app maintains the resolution of an image while performing imports/exports to make sure the quality of any image is not compromised.

The app is available for free at the iTunes app store (click here) and Google Play Store (click here) but does offer some in-app purchases.

Rookie - Photo Editor

This is another great post processing app that has literally tons of presets to choose from. Much like the Fonta App that I reviewed few months back, this app allows you to add your own text, graphics and frames that can help you convey messages in an image in a beautiful way.

For photographers who wish to go to the advanced level of this app, you can crop, rotate, straighten and also edit the brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, vibrancy, colour temperature, tint, fade, highlight, shadow, sharpen, double exposure and clarity.

The app is available for free at the iTunes app store (click here) and much like VSCO Cam; Rookie also offers some in-app purchases.

ProCamera 7

While VSCO Cam and Rookie offer post-processing solutions, ProCamera 7 stays true to its word and offers real time features while taking a photo. You can change the exposure, choose between wide varieties of capturing formats (widescreen, square, etc.), aspect ratio while cropping an image, night mode, and of course, a plethora of presets to choose from when you’ve taken that perfect image!

What’s even better, the app also features an in-built QR code scanner that can make your task easy for finding concerts and events to capture. What do you do when you’ve taken a great photo? You share it with the world! ProCamera 7 allows you to share the image to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo and even Microsoft’s dropbox.

The app is available on the iTunes app store (click here) for $4.99*. Even though the app is paid, it is worth the investment and you certainly won’t be disappointed.

ProCam 2

Much like ProCamera 7, ProCam 2 is an app that lets you do a lot of things while taking a photo but what stands out is the fact that this app gives you RAW image data much like a standard DSLR does.

The app features 12 different shooting modes and a host of settings like WB (white balance) lock and compensation, lossless TIFF Format, spot focus, spot metering, live filters, aspect ratios, resolutions, and a bunch of other stuff that you would love to play around with.

For professional photographers who are concerned with their images having the correct credits, the app offers copyright stamps, date/time stamp and a location stamp.

ProCam 2 is currently available on the iTunes App store (click here) at a 50% discounted price of $1.99. This is another great app that you won’t regret investing in.

Facetune

If you like to take selfies or people photography is your area of interest, Facetune is the app for you. 

The app features include red-eye reduction, rotate or flip a photo and filters to tweak your image. However, what stands out in this app is the ability to retouch specific areas of your images.

Facetune is a must have tool for the selfie lovers and photographers who’s area of interest is people. The app is available at the iTunes app store (click here) and Google Play Store (click here) for $3.79.

With little to no investment, if you add these apps to your arsenal, you will become a pro smartphone photographer in no time. If you know of any other app that you think might be worthy enough to make the this list, feel free to share your views and experience in the comments.

BONUS

645 PRO Mk II

If you've always wanted to own a professional camera but could never afford it, this is the app you want.

To suggest some statistics, the app features 9 shooting modes, 21 filters for post processing, and a 54 page comprehensive user manual. Which app in the world comes with a 54 pages user manual?

The app features a histogram, self-timer (if you can find a decent stand for the iPhone), independent focus, white balance and exposure locks, spot and matrix metering and night mode exposures combined with high ISO support from extremely poor lit subjects. The app also has the ability to store images in TIFF format which is always a bonus for pro photographers.

The 645 PRO Mk II is available at the iTunes app store (click here) for $4.99 and makes for the most sound investment when it comes to photography apps.

*All prices are in Australian Dollars. Prices may vary depending on the region the app store and play store are accessed from.
All logos and graphics are a property of the respective owners.

What buying Word Lens by Google means to people who love travelling

We’ve all translated words and even sentences from one language to another to learn new languages or sometimes just for fun and whenever we’ve done that, Google Translate has been there to seamlessly translate gibberish to languages that make sense to us.

As is customary with many large companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc., they keep buying startups smaller companies that have great products in the market. Recently, Google made one such acquisition when they bought Quest Visual Inc., the company behind the great app, ‘Word Lens’ which brings augmented reality to the smartphone market.

While Word Lens is able to do a decent job with the translations, it is nowhere near the algorithm used by Google for its Translation app. For now, the former app is limited to only French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, which is not a big list when compared to the languages offered by Google Translate. Moreover, when it comes to grammar, the app is a bit dodgy. However this does not take away the fact that the technology used by Word Lens is truly amazing and seeing text translate in real time will make you wonder how far technology has come.



What does Google’s acquisition of Word Lens means to everyone?

As people travel more and more, it is essential to either learn new languages (which by no means is an easy task) or have powerful applications (like Google translate and Word Lens) that will do the job for you, which seems more likely than spending hours learning new languages.

Now that Google has acquired Quest Visual, ‘Word Lens’ can go from strength to strength by using Google’s algorithm to translate words and make more sense of the sentences by using correct grammar. Looking at the wide list of languages offered by Google, the app can increase their database of languages and make the translations even more seamless, and so seems to be the intentions of the company too.

As Quest Visual tries to make its transition to Google, the company has been generous enough to make the App and the languages available free of cost for Android and iOS users. You can download the Android version here while the iOS can be accessed from this link [direct link].

Update Unavailable with this Apple ID Error and Fix


Yesterday, when I checked the App store for updates, it showed I had 4 apps that had rolled out a newer version and required an update. I clicked the manual 'Update' button next to the Apps that I wanted an immediate update to, only to realise that my Apple ID was not authorised to make the update as the Error suggested -

"Update Unavailable with this Apple ID - This update is not available for this Apple ID either because it was bought by a different user or the item was refunded or cancelled."
Fearing a hacked Apple ID (which even though seemed highly unlikely), I changed my Apple ID password and tried the following fixes -

  1. Sign out and Sign in of the the App Store through the phone's settings.
  2. Change password and sign in again.
  3. Delete and reinstall the causing the problem.
  4. Install from iTunes. 
My iPhone (5S) was bought new and I have never had any other Apple ID on this phone other than the one that I've always been using. I have used the same Apple ID in multiple countries but have never faced any problems. Frustrated, I searched the internet and the Apple forums suggested that it was not just me who was facing this problem, others were also in the same boat, however, this problem was only limited to a few users. I was convinced that the issue was not at my end and it was Apple's servers that were acting funny.

Unsatisfied, I kept trying the update button roughly every two hours but the issue persisted. Before going to sleep, I tried to update once again but it still wasn't ready to authorise my Apple ID. However, when I tried updating the Apps in the morning, it updated just the way it should. Thus, the only solution is to be rest assured that the problem is not at your end and Apple is most likely to resolve it.

Top Tip: have patience, it will get resolved on its own.

ALL ABOUT iPhone 6

With a 6 mm thickness and 4.7” screen size, this year’s iPhone promises to be bigger, powerful and even thinner – A perfect example of technology done right!

Image Courtesy www.macrumors.com

As is customary with each numbered iPhone launch (3G, 4, 5 and so on), Apple incorporates design changes into its phone that and these models have been a hot topic of discussion since they always bring with them not just newer technology, but design changes from the previous models and this year’s iPhone 6 is not going to be any different. If anything, this year’s iPhone launch is going to be one of the most anticipated devices.


If you thought that the iPhone 5/5S were already very thin, rumour mill has suggested the next generation iPhone is going to even thinner than the current iPhone 5/5S. To be precise, the current 5/5S stack up at 7.6mm and the company plans to reduce this to almost 6 mm, shaving off almost 1.6 mm of the thickness.

To get a fair idea of how thin the device will most likely be, the current generation iPod comes in at 6.1 mm thickness, which can give a decent idea of what Apple aims to achieve with the iPhone. Unbox Therapy has done a nice comparison video that highlights the thickness of iPod and what could be expected from iPhone 6.



Reducing the thickness of the phone is not something that is being eagerly awaited. The size of any smart phone has always been another fierce topic of debate. With some preferring the 3.5-4” screen size, which gives them better one hand usability, many people have urged phone manufacturers to increase the screen size so that they can see more information on their display.

Leaked image of the batteries of the iPhone 6 in production tray | Courtesy: www.nowhereelse.fr

While Apple has always catered to the former, its rival, Samsung has always been bold by introducing over the top (personal perception) screen sizes. However, private and confidential documents leaked from a recent Apple vs. Samsung law suit reveals that Apple has acknowledged the fact that people want larger screens and has finally decided to increase the screen size. If rumours are to be believed, iPhone 6 will feature a 4.7” screen and there is also a possibility of a 5.5” iPhone being launched eventually.

iPhone 6 front panel compared to iPhone 5S
Courtesy: www.weibo.com

Apple is most likely to take design cues for its next generation smart phone from the iPad Air and iPad Mini with a single aluminium back and rounded edges. Some sketchy rumours have also suggested that the phone might have a curved screen like LG’s G-Flex or Samsung’s galaxy round. However that is highly unlike at this stage.

When can you expect the phone to hit the market?

Apple has gone into production with the iPhone that will support a 4.7” screen and is most likely to launch it in fall this year, keeping in line with its previous launch cycles. The larger 5.5” screen is likely to launch a little later i.e. in the month of November. The delay is owing to the challenges that the company faces with the device’s display screen and battery life.

Internet world has been going crazy with mock-ups of what the next generation iPhone might look like. Case manufacturers have gone a step further and even started making cases for the phone.





Concepts by Martin Hajek:




SOLVING ACTIVE GEOLOCATION ICON PROBLEM IN iOS 7.1

iOS 7.1 Geolocation icon static

Apple released iOS 7.1 for iPhone and iPad couple of days ago and since then the Internet was bombarded with this peculiar problem of geolocation/geofencing icon staying in the status bar despite closing all active apps that might be using location services.

After updating my iPhone 5S to iOS 7.1, I found that the geolocation icon in the status bar would just not go despite closing all apps that used location services. Though not causing any serious usage issues, seeing that tiny arrow was very irritating.

Turning to the Reliable MacRumors forum for all Apple related queries, two gentlemen, legacyb4 (Unfortunately no profile link) and C DM from the forum helped me resolve the issue.

To solve the problem, the trick is, first you need to identify the apps causing the problem. To do this, close all the applications from the multitasking screen and go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services. Here, you’ll find a complete list of applications that ask for permission to access your location. Typically, there will be some apps that you have allowed the access and some that that are already off. You need not bother with the apps that are already off.

To identify the apps, you will need to turn each app off and on to check the apps causing the issue. Once you’ve identified the apps, head over to Background App Refresh (Settings > General > Background App Refresh) and switch off Background Refresh for those particular apps.

Summary:

1. Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services
2. Identify Apps causing geolocation icon to stay in the status bar by switching each app off and on.
3. Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh
4. Switch off Apps identified in step 2.

While you might not be using the app and its closed from your multitasking screen, the App is refreshing in the background and actively using your location to provide updates from your local area. However, following the above steps should solve the issue.

FONTA – DESIGN YOUR IMAGES WITH BEAUTIFUL TEXT [APP REVIEW]

Fonta is a small yet powerful image-designing app available on iTunes App Store that adds beautiful text to your images that is easily customisable. App developer ThirtyFive Inc. claims Fonta will turn your images into gorgeous text based designs.

An image with text created on Fonta by ThirtyFive Inc.

The app supports over 60 fonts and a wide variety of shapes and frames that can be easily resized and repositioned according to the user. Apart from a wide collection of fonts and shapes, the app also supports sharing capabilities to a wide variety of social networking apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Apple’s native messaging app and even 3rd party messaging app WhatsApp too.

View a tutorial on Fonta by clicking here.

Initially, getting the hang of various features of Fonta can be a little tricky but learning a bit about the app from its tutorial videos can make you a pro in no time. The only drawback of the app is that in case you decide to save the image to your gallery, it will change the format of the image to .jpeg/.jpg and currently supports an image resolution of 640 X 640 only.

The app is available for $0.99. However, recently, the app was also available for free and can be downloaded from here [direct link].

E-CIGARETTES: Clever Marketing or Wonder Cure


E- Cigarette is the tool to help people kick the nicotine addiction. It looks like a cigarette and glows like one. The electronic cigarette is an individual nicotine vaporizer. The most harmful thing about smoking real cigarettes is the tar and other chemicals that you consume while smoking. E- Cigarette is supposed to be healthy and safe compared to the real butt. The real question is, are e-cigarettes really a wonder cure or there is just clever marketing behind it?

The pressure to kick the butt is intensified due to smoking bans in many developed countries and also the family pressure as awareness increases. This nicotine addiction is toughest addiction to give up. Many products are available in the market as alternatives to cigarettes. There are nicotine patches, nicotine gums, prescribed drugs which are widely available, but these have not been very successful and not much written about. The latest smoking cessation way is the e-cigarettes, made in China. Also called the e- cigs have been named electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) by the World Health Organization (WHO).

They look like the real thing in size and its looks but are longer or shorter than cigarettes. Some call the e-cigs as ST, which stands for smokeless tobacco. But ST has chew tobacco and snuff. E-Cigarettes are also commonly known as Nicotine inhalers, Smokeless smokes, Vapes, E-puffs. The e-cigarette has an atomizer and when you take a drag on any electronic cigarette it will activate a sensor that will set in motion a heating element in the tube which is the atomizer. Inside the electronic cigarette there is a cartridge which has liquid nicotine. The other end of the e-cig has a LED light which acts as a mode indicator. This stuff glows when the device is in use. The heating element in the cigarette turns the nicotine into vapour with is taken in by the smoker. The liquid nicotine is available in many flavours like chocolate, cinnamon to strawberry.

Many researchers from Stanford have said that vapours from these e-cigarettes are complex mixtures and is not pure nicotine. The inhalation of such complex mixtures might not be safe. There also unexpected side effects of these smoking products like, exogenous lipoid pneumonia which is a chronic inflammatory reaction due to glycerin-based e-cigarettes. There is no proof that e-cigarettes really are effective for nicotine addiction.

They have been marketed very strongly as safe alternatives but these products may have the risk of nicotine poisoning and addiction. So it is still undecided if it really is a wonder cure or just a marketing tactic.

This novel product means different to different people. For some it is a great alternative, for regulators it is a mystery, for medical professionals they are more on the better side and for manufacturers it is way to cash in. But one thing is for sure, they are here to stay approved by regulators or not. Earlier even cigarettes were considered a remedy for stress and concentration but we all know better. The e-cigarette may take the same path once its effects are studied and understood. In the meanwhile the big company manufacturers are making big bucks and customers feel they are kicking the nicotine addiction.

Thank you, +Neha Malegaonkar!