Roses Are Red. Violets Are Blue. My Tech Needs to Know… What Are You Up To?

by Barrett

Are your smartphones humming together?  These days, a couple can maintain healthy communication with a little support from their home tech.

Are your smartphones humming together? These days, a couple can maintain healthy communication with a little support from their home tech.

Allow me to state the obvious:
Good communication is key to any relationship.

But that also goes for digital communication.
And if you’re in a committed relationship, you’d better be sharing some of your data!

The Sit-Down
My wife’s MacBook Pro laptop and my iMac weren’t really talking to each other.
Not acting like they were part of our family unit.

It was like they didn’t even know the other one existed!
My wife and I were maintaining separate digital calendars.
We couldn’t even share a document or photo without first emailing it or using the Cloud.

And all this was making our digital lives together relatively uncoordinated.

I immediately realized this was all so unnecessary.
The technology solutions to alleviate these problems have existed for years.

My face brightened, and I suddenly started to channel my son’s favorite cartoon, “Bob the Builder.”

I proclaimed,
“Can we fix it? Yes we can!”

Four Tech Tips Everybody’s Already Using

Before I go any further, I feel compelled to disclaim that nothing that follows is either new or cutting edge.

You’d probably be embarrassed to admit you haven’t been working these tips.

But if you decide to read on, I won’t say anything!
(You don’t ever have to admit this was helpful…)

1. Create a Shared iCal Calendar
I apologize if this shocks you, but I am about to describe how my wife and I have been coordinating our family’s schedule for the past three years since our little boy was born.

At dinner, we take out our iPhones and open up our iCal calendars for the upcoming week.
We discuss our upcoming family events to ensure we’re both on the same page.
Each of us then adds in the requisite events into our personal calendars.

Tap, tap, tap.
Tap, tap, tap, tap.
Tap, tap, tap, tap, delete, delete, tap, tap.

(This can really ruin dessert.)

While this antiquated process facilitates a nice conversation about what’s going on in our busy lives, it’s totally unnecessary from a calendar-syncing perspective.

To upgrade this analog technique, all you need to do is simply create a new family ‘shared calendar’ in iCal and then invite your partner to join it via email.

When you create a new event for the family, the key difference is making sure you assign it to this new calendar category.

Once she accepts your invitation to the shared calendar, the new event will immediately populate in her own iCal calendar.

And she can do the same for your calendar!

Remember, you can view multiple calendars together on one screen.

Perfect two-way flow of scheduling your lives together!
Total compatibility!!

Another great feature is you don’t have to change or give up anything about your existing iCal calendar.

This is all additive.

So let’s say you’re also maintaining your work schedule in your iCal calendar.
Those events stay just with your iCal and won’t be shared.

Brilliant!

But remember, I didn’t just tell you this.
And I didn’t just activate this feature for my own family yesterday before breakfast.
(But my wife did give me a huge smile.)

Let’s move on…

2. File Sharing between Apple Computers
So my wife has asked the IT Guy on more than one occasion why we can’t ‘share’ some of our docs, so we can both contribute to and edit them.

Well, of course you can.

The easiest way you can give someone access to a file on your Mac is to simply drop it into your Public Folder.
(everyone’s got one)

You can also assign different levels of access to your Public Folder:

  • Read Only (open a file)
  • Write Only (add a file)
  • Read and Write
  • No Access

So sure, I could simply give my wife the full set of keys to my Public Folder.
But that didn’t really feel like a personal-enough arrangement.
(nor that private)

Not that there are other co-habitants on our network who can take a peek at these files in my Public Folder.
(not that I know of!)

But I wanted to create a shared folder that was specifically designated for access by my wife’s computer.

How romantic!

3. Create a Sharing-Only User
You can make any existing folder on your Mac available to someone else working on another computer on your network.
They can access the contents of that folder, but that’s it.
(No pulling a Borg on you and assimilating everything else!)

You just have to create a new ‘sharing only’ user profile:

From System Preferences, create a new sharing-only user via either

  • Users and Groups or
  • Sharing

Then, in ‘Users and Groups’ assign a password for your special guest to access the specific folder(s).

It’s a similar set up in both Lion and Mountain Lion.

Finally, return to ‘Sharing’ in System Preferences and choose that special shared folder by clicking on the ‘+’ and selecting that folder.

Q.E.D.
(quite easily done)

I presented our new ‘only for your eyes’ folder to my wife this morning.
And there was much rejoicing!

But I will absolutely deny to the rest of the world I ever mentioned this.
(I’ve erased all the evidence, but don’t forget to clear the cache on your browser. You can’t be too careful!)

4.  AirDrop
This little trick is staring right at you every time you open up a new finder window.
(And it has been since OS X Lion in 2011.)
It’s got a little parachute icon in front of it.

So if you want to transfer a file to your wife’s computer, please don’t ever admit you would put it on a flash drive and walk it over.

That is worse than scratching your nails down a ten-mile-long blackboard.
(super-shudder)

(And emailing it isn’t much better!)

Instead, all you have to do is make sure both computers have AirDrop running on your Wi-Fi network.
Then just drag and drop the file onto the other computer’s icon in AirDrop.

Once she accepts the transfer request message, the file downloads just like that!

So as long as you have a relatively new Mac that supports AirDrop,
it really couldn’t get any easier!

Plausible Deniability
All these little tricks are so easy to activate.

Take it from me!
It always feels great to be better connected to your pumpkin-angel!

Oh yes, one more thing…

This post will self-destruct in 10 seconds.
Have a nice day.

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