Mar 01

This might be why email is not sending.

seal-approval-stamp-21954193Because we are bombarded every day with scams and cons via email, its not surprising that a dialog box claiming “your identity cannot be verified” would scare most people.

The natural thing to do is click Cancel and thank your lucky stars that you avoided yet another attack on your wallet or identity. Thing is though, this message is perfectly legit and by clicking on Cancel you might very well stop email from working altogether.

When you are faced with this message…

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… the best thing to do is click the Connect button.

Then, click on Always trust… and then click Connect.

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When prompted, enter your Mac ,log on password and click OK. The certificate will be renewed, your email provider will be happy, your Mail program will be happy and email will start flowing once again.

But remember, even after you have done this you may be asked to do it again sometime in the future as your email provider renews its certificates.


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Feb 06

Get to know Reminders

729159_44616766reminderIt is no secret that Apple have been pushing to blur the lines between using your iPhone and your Mac. Flagship products like Pages, Numbers and Safari have all been designed to look and feel the same no matter which Apple product you might be using.

One such example is the Reminders app and if used correctly, and in conjunction with iCloud, can save your bacon when it comes to paying bills or remembering your anniversary. It is also a gem if all you have is a desktop computer.

And even if you’ve already starting using this app I am willing to bet you’ve never used it like this. Try the following and I bet you’ll agree.

First the basics. Open your Reminders application on your Mac. (By default it is in the dock but if you have moved it, you’ll find it in the Applications folder.



Once opened it should look something like this.


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As you can see I have a few different reminders and I created these with the Add List button. But for the purposes of this exercise lets pretend I only have one; Things to do this weekend.

Now its time to create your first reminder and you have two ways this can be done but only one of them is awesome!

The first way is to click on the + button and type the reminder.

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From there it’s another click on the mouse in the info field to set when you want to be reminded.

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And once all of that has been done, click Done and well, you’re done.

But there is another way and it uses plain english to get the job done with a fraction of the effort.

As before, launch the Reminders application and click on the + button (or click on the File menu and choose New Reminder or Command+N but the important thing is getting a fresh reminder)

Now, type at 9.00am tomorrow build a space station


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Instantly the correct day and time or embedded into the reminder and the job is done.

Similarly you could type: 4pm on Wednesday write the great Australian novel and you’d get this:

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But it gets better if you decide to delve into the Get Info button.
Here you can set a reminder that activates when you arrive or depart a certain place. This is especially useful if you are syncing your reminders with your iPhone or iPad via iCloud.

For example let’s suppose you want to be reminded to buy flowers for your wife when you leave work.
Lets further pretend you work for Universal Exports. (James Bond fans will know what I am getting at there)

In the reminders application create your reminder:

Buy the Minister for war and finance flowers.


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Now click on the info icon and change it to a location based reminder, type in your work address (or just type work if it’s already in your address book) and change it to Departing.

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Click Done.
So now, when you walk away from the office your iPhone will remind you to buy flowers- no doubt saving your life and the fate of the civilised world taboot.


One final trick for reminders when using it on your iPhone is to use Siri.

Simply say to Siri “When I leave here remind me to buy flowers” or “When I get home remind me to feed the cat”

So when to pull up in the drive way your phone will ping and remind you in the nick of time.

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Feb 01

One of the best apps you can get for your iPhone

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s nothing glamorous. It’s not even a technological breakthrough but this little app will transform the way you pay for parking and banish that little box of lose change in your car to the annals of history.

My app of the moment is parkmobile and it is freely available from the Appstore. And I love it!!

Once downloaded all you have to do is create an account and link a credit card to it along with the details of your car. Then, go park somewhere!

Most, certainly not all, parking meters in Canberra now support this technology and each of these smart stations will have a 6 digit zone code proudly emblazoned across its front panel.

Instead of fishing for change and standing behind the guy who is paying for a days worth of parking with 5 cent pieces, just pull out your iPhone and fire up parkmobile. Enter the 6 digit code, tell it how long you want to park for and walk away. No change, no ticket, nothing.

If you haven’t under estimated the time you need all you need to do, when finished, is jump in your car and drive away. But the beauty, the genius, the joy of this app is if you are stuck in that shop or enjoying your fourth cup of coffee you don’t need to jump up and feed the meter. The app will warn you when you are getting close to running out of time and all you do is click on the Extend button and buy another hour or so.

For more information have a look at the parkmobile website.


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Jan 10

Your backups are safe

800px-Don't_worryBehind Time Machine’s very simple interface lies a very clever little bit of software. However one of its features causes a great deal of confusion.

Every now and then a dialog box pops up telling you that it is deleting your old backups.

Understandably this produces waves of panic and streams of cold sweat among users and they reach for the phone.
But it’s ok- don’t worry. This is actually a feature and the software is just being polite – and a little cryptic – letting you know that its making room on your disk.

One of the clever things about Time Machine is- all things being equal- it never needs to be touched or the hard disk replaced as it is self regulating.
I don’t want to nerd you out but here is a quick run down how it works and why, sometimes, it flashes up that worrying dialog box.

Once Time Machine is activated it backs up everything on your mac- and I do mean everything.
An hour later the software looks at what might have changed and backs up only those files. It repeats this every hour and will do until the cockroaches take over the earth.
After a while the hard disk has 24 back ups for every day and so in a week you will have a total of 168 backups- one big and others small.
At some point the hard disk will be as full as a Centipede’s sock draw and it needs to make room.
To make this room the software goes all the way back to the beginning and removes some of the hourly backups from day 1.
And this is when the panic and the phone calls start.

But please, safely ignore it in the knowledge that it’s perfectly normal and your files are safe. Better still you can turn the warning off in system preferences (I always do) because really not knowing is best and checking your backups every now and then is good enough.


This is how to turn off that message.

1. Click on the Apple menu and choose System Preferences

2. Click on the Time Machine icon

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3. Click on Options

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4. Uncheck Notify after old backups are deleted

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5. Click Save.


Here is how to make sure your backups are working.

1. Click on the Apple menu and choose System Preferences

2. Click on the Time Machine icon

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3. Latest backup will be listed there.

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1. Click on the Time Machine icon in your menubar and the last backup will be listed there.

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Nov 13

Making the most of your keyboard


I have this friend in England and he just purchased a house for £345,000 which in Spain would have cost him a whopping €441,161. This is quite an accomplishment because he has a very mundane job, you see he is the guy who goes around putting the © symbol on everything before it leaves the factory.

Now that, as the opening to an article, isn’t very interesting. But what is more interesting is how I produced all the little symbols like © or  £  and that one that is now the universal symbol for bankruptcy: €

The answer is the Character Viewer menu that, back in the 90’s, was a very prominent utility but these days has been reduced to a check box in System Preferences and, as a consequence, is often missed.

Using this menu can make your missives a lot more interesting and its uses go far beyond currency. You can, for example, produce a bullet point list for the perfect weekend activity:

• Hammer

• Glue

• Rope

• Android Phone


So how is it done?

1. Click on the Apple menu and choose System Preferences.

2. Click on Keyboard

3. Click on the Keyboard ab and check Show Input menu in menu bar

NOTE: You might also notice that you can add all kinds of other keyboards from other countries allowing you to type in that languages particular style. These have special symbols as well.

4. Close System Preferences


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At this point a small symbol appears in your menu bar.

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Click on this and you can choose to click on Character View and this allows you to cherry pick any symbol from any category to illustrate your point. Just find what you want and double click on it.

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For example: my star sign is: ♌︎

You can also choose Keyboard viewer.

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While this is visible any key you press is highlighted and by using this you can learn the key combination necessary to produce the Ω symbol ( Option+z) rather than picking it from a list. Handy, if you are in a hurry.

Either way, this neat little menu can transform even the worst opening to an article into something a little more interesting.


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