Opinion: Do we really need all those buttons and dials?

My first camera, back in the late 1970s, was an Olympus OM-10. The camera body had dials to adjust shutter speed and ISO/ASA, an exposure compensation dial, and an ‘Auto’ mode. A built-in light meter helped get the right exposure, and a self-timer allowed for group shots or self-portraits. The most prominent controls on that camera were for managing the film: the film advance lever, rewind knob, and crank. Its user manual makes the OM-10 look a lot more complicated than it really was, but, like all film cameras, its settings were comparatively limited.

Today’s cameras are computers with lenses, and like computers, they have a plethora of features, far more than any film camera. As with any computer, we need to be able to adjust these many settings. There are menus that allow us to enable, disable, and tweak the many features available, and buttons and dials give us quick access.

But with many modern cameras now offering a dozen or more control points – some customizable with no obvious markings – there’s a risk of overwhelming certain users. More importantly, the sheer complicatedness of digital cameras can get in the way of taking photos.

Read the rest of the article on DPReview.

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode #186: Facebook and Instagram Beg Users to Be Allowed to Track Them

Apple issued emergency security updates to its operating systems to protect against vulnerabilities exploited in the wild. Facebook and Instagram plead to be allowed to track users. And we discuss how QR codes can be switched and could pose risks to users.

Follow the The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

Track Statistics and Targets in Your Scrivener Projects

No book or long-form writing project can be open-ended; there is always a limit to the word count of your work. Whether it’s because you’re being paid for a specific word count for an article, or whether a publisher has a limit on the length of a book because of the cost of printing, you’re almost always faced with hard limits to how much you write.

Scrivener can help by providing detailed statistics about your projects, and allowing you to set targets for texts and the entire project. You can keep track of your word count as you write, and even get notifications when you hit your target.

Here’s how to track statistics and targets in Scrivener.

Read the rest of the article on The L&L Blog.

To learn how to use Scrivener for Mac, Windows, and iOS, check out my book Take Control of Scrivener 3.

Create a Digital Business Card with Carrd

I do lots of things: I write, host podcasts, take photos, and more. I wanted a way to provide a simple overview of my work that I could link to from my Twitter and Instagram profiles, and put in my email signature. Dave Mark, who is the executive editor of The Loop, and co-hosts The Dalrymple Report podcast, with Jim Dalrymple, mentioned Carrd to me. It hosts single-page websites that you can use to present a profile, a product, or literally anything that doesn’t require a full website.

I have a website, of course; this one. But when someone follows a link in a profile to a website with a couple thousand articles, and a dozen pages, it doesn’t succinctly say everything I do. On my About page, I list many of the things I do, but it’s a bit wordy. And I also wanted a more personal domain, so I chose mcelhearn.me.


Carrd, on the other hand, cuts out the cruft. I opted for a pretty classic design: some words, a link to my website, and three icons, with links to Twitter, Instagram, and email. Below them is a list of podcasts I produce, with their artwork and links to their sites (and I’ll be announcing another cool podcast soon, so I’ll add it when it goes live). Below them is a list of my most recent books, with their covers, and, finally, a form through which anyone can send me email.

It’s fully responsive, has a couple of dozen templates, and has a design interface that is quite flexible, though it takes a while to fully understand how elements fit together. There are three tiers, priced at $9, $19, and $49 a year. I opted for the second one, Pro Standard, which allows me to use a custom domain, and has some other useful features. With these plans, you can create from three to 25 sites, using custom domains or hosted on carrd.co.

I may use this service for some other simple websites; it’s flexible and fun to set up. If you need a digital business card, or any other single-page website, check out Carrd.

(Yes, that’s a referral link, which will save me a couple of bucks on my next renewal. Thanks in advance if you do sign up for the service through my link.)

Hands On with Apple’s AirTags: Find Lost Keys, Bags, and More

Apple’s new AirTags are now available, and these small devices are great for those who misplace their keys, want to track their bags, and want to keep tabs on other items. They’re easy to set up, and easy to use. Here’s how to work with AirTags.

We came up with a list of 23 items you might want to track with AirTags, but there are certainly plenty of other things you might want to track. Most obvious are keys and bags, but the list is endless.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Episode 91: iOS Photo Editing Workflows

In episode 87, we explored Kirk’s workflow for importing and editing images into Apple’s Photos app. Now, we revisit the topic by focusing on how Jeff works with photos on the iOS side, using both the Photos app and Lightroom on the iPhone and iPad. And has Jeff fallen in love with presets?

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at the PhotoActive website. You can follow The PhotoActive on Twitter at @PhotoActiveCast to keep up to date with new episodes, and join our Facebook group to chat with other listeners and participate in photo challenges and more.

How to Tell Apps Not to Track You in iOS 14.5

One of Apple’s more contentious new features is finally available in the recent iOS and iPadOS 14.5 update. It’s not contentious to users, but to companies like Facebook, who make money from tracking you across apps and websites, it represents a real challenge. Here’s how to ensure that Facebook and others can’t track you, and why you should.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Merge and Split Files in the Scrivener Binder

The Scrivener Binder lets you organize your projects in texts and folders, and you can use these texts for chapters, sections, or even scenes. As your project progress, you may want to combine certain texts, or split others, as you refine your project and its direction.

With Scrivener, you can do this is the Binder: you can merge two or more texts into a new text, or spit a text into two or more texts. You can also import texts in different formats, and have Scrivener automatically split them to create a hierarchy in the Binder.

Read the rest of the article on The L&L Blog.

To learn how to use Scrivener for Mac, Windows, and iOS, check out my book Take Control of Scrivener 3.