Daily Tip: Create a station in Apple’s Podcasts app

Apple released version 1.2 of Podcasts for iPhone and iPad with several big changes, including custom station creation. I like this feature a whole lot, as it lets you group podcasts however you like and moves between new episodes across shows automatically. I’ve already made several, including science, drama, fun and tech. Here’s how to create a custom station in Podcasts for iPhone and iPad version 1.2.

  1. Subscribe to some podcasts. Enter the store and pick a few that you like.
  2. Tap My Stations and then New Stations.
  3. Enter a name for your new station. A list of your subscribed podcasts appears.
  4. Tap those you’d like to add to your station. When you’re finished, tap Done.

That’s it. While on the My Stations screen, tap Edit to re-order your stations. You can delete a station (but not the podcasts it contains) by swiping across its title.

makenew

 

lists

This post is part is one of 31 tech tips I published in March, 2013You’ll find the rest here.

Daily Tip: Use Alt to resize Finder windows

Today’s tip comes from Robb Lewis, who notes that if you hold Alt while resizing a window in OS X, the window will resize while staying centered on the screen. Very nice. Add the shift key to keep everything proportional.

Note: I tested this in Mountain Lion and it worked, but it didn’t work in Snow Leopard. I did not test in Lion. If you do, let me know what happens.

This post is part is one of 31 tech tips I published in March, 2013You’ll find the rest here.

Daily Tip: Option-click menu bar items for additional information

The menu bar items Apple puts in OS X are pretty useful, but you can make them even more so by holding down the Option key when clicking on them. Note that this trick doesn’t work with all menu bar items, just Apple’s (as far as I’ve found. I haven’t tested every app, of course!). Here’s a look at the result of several items with and without an Option-click (note that I’m using Snow Leopard in these screenshots).

batteryplain
Battery, right-click

Battery, Option-click
Battery, Option-click

WiFi, right-click
WiFi, right-click

WiFi, Option-click
WiFi, Option-click

Volume, right-click
Right

Volume, Option-click
Volume, Option-click

Bluetooth, right-click
Bluetooth, right-click

Bluetooth, Option-click
Bluetooth, Option-click

The odd thing is there’s a difference in the Time Machine menu, too, but OS X won’t let me take a screenshot of the Option-click version. When you Option-click, Back Up Now turns into Verify Backups, and Enter Time Machine becomes Browse Other Time Machine Discs.

This post is part is one of 31 tech tips I published in March, 2013You’ll find the rest here.

Daily Tip: Change iPhone folder names to emoji

This one’s a bit of fun. You can change the name of an iPhone folder to an emoji icon, or combine emoji and text for a fun, nice-looking change. The first step is to enable emoji, then alter the folder name. Let’s get started.

Activate Emoji

iOS treats Emoji as a distinct keyboard, so you enable it in the keyboard preferences. Follow these steps:

three

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap General, then Keyboard
  3. Tap Keyboards, then Add New Keyboard
  4. Scroll until you find Emoji, then tap it
  5. Exit Settings

two

Change your Folder Names

You’re all set. To activate the Emoji keyboard, do the following whenever you’re entering text:

  1. Tap the globe icon to switch to Emoji (or tap and hold for a pop-up list of active keyboards)
  2. When you’re done, tap the globe icon again to switch back

Now that we’ve got that sorted out, it’s time to add icons to your folder names.

Open and folder and tap-and-hold any icon to enter “jiggle mode.”

one

  1. Tap the folder’s label field.
  2. The keyboard appears. Tap the globe icon to switch to the emoji keyboard and find a descriptive icon.
  3. Tap the home button when you’re done.

That’s it. You can combine letters and emoji if you like, or use the icons alone. I think it looks cute.

This post is part is one of 31 tech tips I published in March, 2013You’ll find the rest here.

Daily Tip: Find draft emails quickly on iPhone

Here’s a trick I found quite by accident. You can jump directly to a list of your draft emails in Mail for iPhone by pressing and holding the compose button:

draftslist

Jus hold your finger down and this list pops up. Tap any one to jump right to it. I just happend to press and hold the compose button and up popped the drafts list. Excellent.

This post is part is one of 31 tech tips I published in March, 2013You’ll find the rest here.

Daily Tip: Export your feeds from Google Reader

Google has given Reader its walking papers. It’ll be gone as of June 1, 2013. Here’s how to export your feeds to an OPML file:

  1. Log into your Reader account at google.com/reader
  2. Click the gear icon and then select Reader Settings.
  3. The settings screen appears. Click the Import/Export tab.
  4. At the bottom of the screen, click Download your data through Takeout.
  5. You may have to sign into Google again.
  6. A new screen appears. When your file is ready, it’ll say “100%.” Click Create Archive.

reederexportfile

At this point, the process begins. How long it takes depends on how many feeds you subscribe to. If you don’t feel like waiting, opt to receive an email when your file is ready. Otherwise, click Download when the process is finished (you might have to sign in yet again). Your file will download.

results

The result will be a folder on your computer with files that end in .json and one that ends in .xml. Now you’re ready to find a new client and import your feeds via that .xml file. But that’s another post entirely.

This post is part is one of 31 tech tips I published in March, 2013You’ll find the rest here.

Daily Tip: View long titles in Music for iPhone

Apple’s Music app for iPhone does a nice job of playing back your songs, podcasts and audiobooks. Unfortunately, the iPhone’s small screen prevents you from seeing a long title — be it a song, album or artist — at a glance. Fear not! There’s a simple fix.

Just tap and hold on any long title for a pop-up that displays everything in full, no matter how lengthy.

musicapppopup

This post is part is one of 31 tech tips I published in March, 2013You’ll find the rest here.

Daily tip: Spotlight math

Recently I mentioned that I still use the calculator Dashboard widget. A lot of you responded with, “Why don’t you use Spotlight?” The truth is, I didn’t know Apple’s Spotlight could do math! Sure enough it can. Here’s how:

  • Tap Command-Space to bring up Spotlight (or whatever keyboard shortcut you have assigned to it).
  • Type your math.

That’s it. Basic operations work, like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. But that’s not all. Check it out:

spotlightmath

This post is part is one of 31 tech tips I published in March, 2013You’ll find the rest here.

Daily Tip: Disable in-app purchases

The BBC recently posted a story about a boy who racked up £1,700 worth of in-app purchases. In a very generous move, Apple has agreed to refund the money to the child’s parents. Of course, it’s not Apple’s job to parent your kids, and there’s a very easy way to disable in-app purchases via the Restrictions setting in iOS. Here’s how to do it.

purchasesoff

  1. Tap Settings then General
  2. Tap Restrictions and then Enable Restrictions
  3. Enter a Restrictions passcode, one that your child can’t guess (1234 is out)
  4. Scroll down and move the In-App Purchases slider to the Off position

That’s it. Your child can no longer make in-app purchases. I know many kids have their own iPod touches and even iPads. If they’re young and not buying apps with their own money, you should do this. If you share an iDevice with your kids, choose a complex Apple ID and do not share it.

This post is part is one of 31 tech tips I published in March, 2013You’ll find the rest here.

Daily tip: Make quick text shortcuts on OS X

Last year I explained how to create text shortcuts on the iPhone for faster typing. You can do the same thing on a Mac, using text replacement. There’s a preference pane that will let you set it up. To get started, just follow these steps:

Launch System Preferences and click Language & Text.

langprefpane

  1. Click the Text tab.
  2. The Symbol and Text Substitution field appears. Its three columns show 1.) if a given substitution is enabled, 2.) the trigger text you’ll type 3.) the resulting replacement.
  3. Click the “+” at the bottom of the list to create a new substitution.
  4. Choose your trigger text. This is what you’ll type. For example, “thx” (minus the quotes).
  5. Choose the replacement text. This appears in place of your trigger text. For example, “Thank you.”

That’s it. But there’s a caveat here.

This does not automatically work with every app that accepts text input. To use it with Apple apps like Messages, iPhoto, Mail, Safari, and TextEdit, simply select Text Replacement from Substitutions under the Edit menu (below). Also, it’s a 1970 Chevy Nova compared to the LaFerrari that is TextExpander. But for light work in those apps, at least, it’s a help. It would be nice if we could sync these between Mac OS and iOS.

enabletr

This post is part is one of 31 tech tips I published in March, 2013You’ll find the rest here.