At Home with Tech

It’s time to maximize the potential of all your gadgets.

Tag: shared iCal calendar

13 Tech Tips from 2013

We’ve covered a lot of technology ground this year.
I hope you’re finally feeling a little closer to Tech Zen at home.
If not, don’t despair. It can be a long (never-ending?) journey!
So I’ve got a quick tech review to help you stay ahead of your many demanding gadgets in the year ahead.

Here are my lucky 13 tech tips to remember:

#1
You’re Going to Need a Bigger Hard Drive

LaCie Rugged with Rattle

Even if you have faith your external hard drives can withstand the forces of fate, they’ll eventually buckle under the load of all those home videos you’re shooting.

#2
There’s No Question. USB 3.0 Rocks!

The Choice

Thunderbolt is great. But USB 3.0 is just fine. Both blow FireWire (R.I.P.) away.

#3
Build Your Home TV Studio for $44

My favorite piece for this home-grown tech solution is the $2.99 teleprompter system for your iPad!


#4

That Bad Photo You Took May Be Your Best Yet

The Eye

You may not know it, but some of your best photos are slipping through the cracks. Maybe they first struck you as flawed, or you didn’t recognize their hidden value. Time to recognize your ugly ducklings!

#5
Find Your Neighbors on Nextdoor.com

Nextdoor enters the neighborhood

You can create your own virtual neighborhood based on your real one.
Talk about two worlds colliding!

#6
It’s Time to Buy LED Bulbs

Passing the Torch to Cree

The price is right for this Cree LED bulb. Convert!!

#7
Transcode Your Camera Videos to Windows Media Files
with 
Flip4Mac

When you want to email your child’s birthday party video to grandma, you’ll need the power of Flip4Mac. Then, she’ll be able to watch the magic
candle-blowing moment on her PC.

#8
Create a Shared iCal Calendar for Your Family

Connected and Happy iPhones

Missing a family commitment can be a thing of the past if your family iPhones share a calendar.

#9
Video on Instagram Gives You Your 15 Seconds of Fame

Watching a Blade of Grass Grow

If you can’t muster up 15-seconds worth viewing, you might like Vine instead.
They only offer you six seconds. If that gets too complicated, try taking a photo, and call it a day…

#10
Strap Your Smartphone into Your Car while It’s Doing GPS Duty

iPhone navigating in cup holder

Don’t let another road trip go by with your smartphone sliding about as its GPS app shouts out turn-by-turn directions from the car floor. Mount it onto your dash!

#11
Buy a Nest Learning Thermostat

My Nest and Me

How’s your 1950’s-era thermostat handling the extreme weather? Did you forget to adjust it before you left home today? Wish it were smarter? Well, now it can be…

#12
If You Buy an HD iTunes Movie, You Also Get the SD Version for Free

Movies for the Road

You just need to know how to ask for it. And why would you want the SD copy? Ask your bloated iPhone…

#13
BlackBerry is Toast

BlackBerry on the Floor

You don’t need me to tell you this news, but I really want you to read my little poem about this former giant.


Happy New Year!

Well, there you have it.
Feel free to add your own favorite tech tips from 2013.

(Yes, even I am not a Tech Jedi yet…)

Finally, thank you for visiting At Home with Tech over the past 12 months.
I hope my posts have been of some assistance or at least a bit of amusement.

I look forward to working through a few more of the universe’s many
tech mysteries with you in 2014…

Nanu! Nanu!

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

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 Calendar on your iPhone
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 calendar apps 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’ 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 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 calendar.

This is all additive.

So let’s say you’re also maintaining your work schedule in your calendar.
Those events stay just with your calendar 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).

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.
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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