Are We Heading Towards a Forever Mac?

With the arrival of Apple’s in-house processors in new Macs, starting last fall, we have reached what may be a turning point in computers. The speed of these new Macs is such that they outperform even the fastest previous Macs in the most common use cases. They are faster than any previous Mac in single-core performance, which is what most people use computers for. They’re not yet faster for the most demanding multi-core tasks, such as rendering large videos, but the next version of Apple’s chip, likely the M2, will probably offer that level of performance.

Macs have long outlasted equivalent PCs, with some people keeping them for ten years, or even longer. The only problem arises when these older computers can no longer support the latest operating system, and when updates to apps used require a newer version of macOS than they can run.

But given the speed of these new Macs – currently the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and soon to be released iMac – it looks as though they will be functional for much longer than previous Macs. Until a few years ago, it was necessary to upgrade Macs to be able to keep up with the demands of software, but now, the processors are so fast that these Macs may remain in use for much longer.

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

Easily Transfer Files to an iPhone or iPad with Waltr Pro

Waltr 1
I haven’t synced my iPhone to my Mac in a couple of years. On my iMac, I have my main music library, with about 70,000 tracks that I’ve ripped and purchased over the years (from the iTunes Store and other outlets). I don’t want to mix my carefully curated library with my Apple Music library, because there are often problems with metadata getting messed up with matched files.

But sometimes I want to sync music or videos to my iPhone to have in addition to content that’s in my Apple Music library. The new Waltr Pro is one of the best ways to do this. Connect your device, drag a file, and the app recognizes which type of file it is – music, video, ebook-, photos, etc. – and copies it to the appropriate app. If you have multiple apps that can play the file, drag the file while holding the Option key, and Waltr Pro lets you choose which app it copies to.

Waltr 2
Waltr Pro can also convert audio and video files to formats you can play on a Mac. It can convert to a local folder on your Mac, or to your device, and you can edit metadata before converting. It supports tons of file formats too.

Waltr Pro was just released today; check it out here.

Complete Guide to Apple AirTags: How to Use Them, How They Work, and What to Track with Them

Apple’s new AirTag allows you to track items almost anywhere, leveraging the network of nearly one billion iOS devices around the world. You can use them to track your keys and luggage, your musical instruments and your tools, or even your bicycle or skateboard.

You can use the Find My app to locate your tagged items, and, as you get close to them, if you have an iPhone 11 or later, you can get precise directions until you find your lost item.

Here’s everything you can do with AirTags, with links to articles we’ve published that go into more detail.

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

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode #187: Pipeline Ransomware, Users Don’t Want Apps to Track Them, and Mailing AirTags

Ransomware has interrupted a major US gasoline pipeline, Apple didn’t tell more than 100 million people their iOS devices had malware, wi-fi design flaws found that could affect everyone, and we sent an Apple AirTag through the mail and followed it.

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.

How Tough are AirTags? We Froze, Washed and Dried, Ran Over, and Put Them in the Hot Sun

You take good care of your iPhone or iPad, but AirTags aren’t meant to be coddled. If you have one with a keyring, it’ll be in your pocket or purse, getting scratched and bounced around. If you put one in your gym bag, it’ll sit around in the trunk of your car in extreme temperatures in summer or winter. And if you forget one in a pocket, it might go through the washing machine and dryer.

I put a few AirTags through the most grueling stress tests I could find. Here’s what happened.

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

Create Custom Templates for Your Scrivener Projects

When you work with Scrivener, you use projects, which are packages or folders of files, containing the various elements of your writing work. These projects are what allow Scrivener to offer a full writing environment, with separate texts for chapters or scenes, character and setting sheets, and folders for storing research elements.

You can use one of Scrivener’s default templates, or you can customize your own; this is especially practical when you’ve gotten the Scrivener layout exactly how you like it, and want to use the same project settings in the future. Here’s how to create custom Scrivener project templates.

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.

I Mailed an AirTag and Tracked Its Progress; Here’s What Happened

Apple’s AirTags are designed to help you keep track of things. There are many things you can use AirTags to track, beyond the most obvious ideas such as your keys or bag.

But you may also be able to use an AirTag to track a package. I sent one in the mail to a friend, and followed it across the country. Here’s what happened.

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

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

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.)