Posts Tagged Apple

Taking Notes

Most people reading this blog carry around a computer every day, whether its a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Yet many of us still reach for paper and pen when it’s time to take notes.

For many of us, it’s because pen and paper are what we’re familiar with, and we know how they work. There’s a bunch of note-taking apps out there, and they don’t all work the same, or even similarly in many cases.

I recently decided that I was going to try to take notes in a digital format whenever possible and went on an adventure to see which of the most popular apps fit my needs. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted when I started, and I’ve spent a few days trying to find an app that was just the right fit for me.

I put together a few apps I found and a list of the features that I directly compared between them below, and hopefully it helps someone in the same position that I’m in decide which works best for them:

OneNote 2016 Evernote Bear Turtl Apple Notes
Publisher Microsoft Evernote Shiny Frog Lyon Bros Apple
Price Free Free-$7.99/mo Free-$1.49/mo Free Free
Platforms Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, Web Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Web Mac, iPad, iPhone Windows, Mac, Linux, Android Mac, iPad, iPhone
Cloud Sync Yes, via OneDrive Yes, via Evernote Yes, via CloudKit (Subscription only) Yes Yes, via iCloud/CloudKit
Self-hosted sync option No No No Yes No
Offline access Yes Paid plans only Yes Yes Yes
Local storage option No Yes No No Yes
Organization Notebooks, Sections, Pages Notebooks, Notes Notes, Hashtags Boards, Notes Folders, Notes
File attachments within notes Yes Yes Images and photos only Yes No
OCR within attachments Partial Yes N/A No No
Encryption Yes, per section Yes, selected portions of notes No Yes Yes, per note
Encryption Strength AES-256 AES-128 N/A AES-256 AES-128
Encrypts media within notes Yes No N/A Yes Yes
Web Clipping Yes Yes No No No
Sharing Yes Paid plans only No Yes No
Drawing/Write anywhere Yes Mobile apps only No No No
Markdown support No Partial, as typing shortcuts Yes Yes No
Language syntax highlighting No No Yes No No
Note history No With paid plan only No No No
Import options Print to OneNote, Import from Evernote zip file Apple Notes, Evernote, DayOne, Vesper, Ulysses None ENEX
Export options OneNote, Word, PDF, XPS, mht ENEX, HTML HTML, PDF, DOCX, MD, JPG None PDF

There are a lot more options out there than just these. In fact, there’s a whole Wikipedia page here.

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Can’t add reminders on iPhone with iOS 6

I ran into an issue where I went into the iOS Reminders app and there was no plus button to add a reminder. Fortunately, I found a fix.

First, go to Settings > iCloud and turn Reminders on.

Now, go back into the Reminders app, and the plus sign should appear.

After this, you can go back and turn the iCloud Reminders setting back off if you’re concerned about battery usage. The plus sign will remain.

Another potential solution is to tap the list icon in the top left corner, then search for a list. The results will come up empty, but then you can tap the edit button and create a new list. This will also fix the Reminders app.

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MacBook optical drive dust cover causing stuck CDs

If you have an older MacBook and are having problems with CDs getting stuck in the drive, the drive itself might not be to blame. In the case of one particular MacBook that I’ve worked on, it was the dust cover of the drive itself. It had hardened enough over time from dust and dirt to put resistance on the CDs enough to keep them from ejecting.

The first step is to disassemble the MacBook and get access to the dust cover. Follow this YouTube video for the disassembly, right down to removing the optical drive

Once the optical drive is removed, remove the four screws, and then remove the dust cover assembly.

Carefully pry the dust cover assembly off. It will be stuck to the plastic base with adhesive, so the use of a tool is recommended.

The dust cover itself is little more than fabric glued to the magnesium bracket. You can easily peel it off. This one only left a little reside and I was able to easily clean it with some alcohol.

Now, just reinstall the bracket, and reverse the above.

You’ll notice a small gap where the dust cover used to be, but CDs no longer get stuck! I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to fabricate a replacement for the dust cover.

Feel free to comment below. 

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How to install wget in Mac OS X

wget is a really handy command line utility, but unfortunately not included in OS X. Curl could be a suitable replacement, but frequently scripts are written with wget, and it can be difficult and time-consuming to convert them to using curl.

Users interested in installing wget should first install Homebrew and then run:

brew install wget

This will install wget from Homebrew.

The below steps are deprecated and likely no longer work at all:

Below are the steps required to install a working wget on Mac OS X. This has been tested on OS X 10.6 Lion.

Install XCode from http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/xcode/id497799835?ls=1&mt=12 (at this time, it’s a 1.5GB download.)

Launch XCode, updating if necessary.

Go to Preferences > Downloads, and install Command Line Tools

Now open a terminal and perform the following steps at the command line one at a time to download, extract, configure, compile, and install wget:

curl -O http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/wget/wget-1.14.tar.gz
tar xvzf wget-1.14.tar.gz
cd wget-1.14
./configure --with-ssl=openssl
make
sudo make install

You should now have a working wget installed in /usr/local/bin. Confirm by trying

$ wget
wget: missing URL
Usage: wget [OPTION]... [URL]...
Try `wget --help' for more options.

Feel free to comment below. Thanks!

2/7/2016: I got an email from someone who says this no longer works and gives the following message:

configure: error: –with-ssl=openssl was given, but SSL is not available.

If anyone has advice, please contact me. Thanks!

 

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Using Synology DS211j as an AirPrint Print Server for Brother HL-2170W

I have a Brother HL-2170W printer that I’m using as a wireless printer. One thing I wanted to do was use AirPrint from my iPhone to print if the need should arise, as it does from time to time. My Synology DS211j includes a USB print server with Bonjour and AirPrint support, so I knew I could plug my printer into it via USB and use it as a print server, but there was the issue of the already-configured wireless clients.

I wondered: Since I’m already using my printer wirelessly, can I just plug the printer into the NAS using the USB port and use both USB and wireless? The answer to that is actually yes, according to this post at UbuntuForums. You can use USB and either wired or wireless at the same time, but you cannot use both wired at wireless at the same time.

Now that I had that important issue aside, it was time for setting it up.

First, physically plug the USB cable from the printer to the NAS. You should be able to verify that the printer shows up in Control Panel > External Devices as shown here:

Once that’s done, click the printer to select it, then click USB Printer Manager > Set Up Printer:

Since the DS211j didn’t have a specific print driver listed for this model, I took the known-working driver configuration from my “Ubuntu and Brother HL-2170W” post, and set it up as shown below:

  • Mode: Network Printer
  • Advanced Settings: Enable AirPrint
  • Printer Brand: Generic
  • Printer Model: Generic PCL 5e Printer

After that, I hit Save and then Close, and I was able to print a test page successfully by clicking on the printer and then clicking USB Printer Manager > Print Test Page. One thing to be aware of is that the DS211j is a bit lacking in RAM, so print jobs can take a bit (up to 5 minutes) from the time they’re sent to the server until they come out of the printer.

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Google Music vs iTunes Match

Google and Apple each brought their own services which allow users to upload their music library and stream it to their devices in the form of Google Music and iTunes Match, respectively. But how do those services compare?

Let’s take a side-by-side comparative look at some of the features:

Feature Google Music iTunes Match
Number of songs 20,000 songs not purchased from Android Market 25,000 songs not purchased from iTunes
Price Free $25/yr
Supported devices Works on common browsers on Win / Mac / Linux / Android / iOS (1) Works on Win / Mac running iTunes; iOS devices supporting iCloud
Sync Automatically sync music to Google Music using Win / Mac / Linux client Automatically sync music to iTunes Match using iTunes
Sync Selection Select which songs to upload using sync client All songs from iTunes library are synchronized.
Local Storage Save music to your Win / Mac / Linux / Android device for offline playback Save music to your Win / Mac / iOS device for offline playback
Uploading Every song must be uploaded Matching is performed prior to upload; Only unmatched songs are uploaded
Supported file formats Mp3, AAC (m4a), wma, flac, ogg (source) Same as iTunes
Excluded formats None 24-bit audio; Bitrates under 96 kbps; File over 200MB (source)

(1) Although Google Music is reported to work on iOS devices, I can confirm it does work on iOS (iPhone), but only as the desktop site (which is clunky and requires zooming on an iPhone screen). The mobile site still shows I have no music in my library.

As you can see, Google Music is aimed at the Android crowd, while iTunes Match is aimed at the iOS crowd. However, a few of the major points in Google Music’s favor that I see are that it supports playback from a web browser, has a Linux client, and is free.

I’m interested in everyone else’s opinion as well. Which streaming music service do you prefer, and why? Please feel free to share your opinion in the comments below. Thank you!

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