How-to: Use Preview to put signatures on PDF’s, Pages Documents, and Mail messages

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As we have written about in previous articles, Preview is a valuable tool in OS X that does not get a lot of press. In this article, we will review how you can use Preview to capture your signature using the iSight camera on a Mac, then use it in Pages documents, to sign PDF documents, and as an image in your signature in the Mail app.

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How-to: Setup and Use Chromecast to stream your content from a Mac and iOS device

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The Chromecast, Google’s streaming HDMI dongle came out last summer. It is compatible with any Android device running 2.3 or later, iOS device with iOS 6 or 7, and any Mac or PC. Initially, users were able to stream Netflix or Youtube from an iOS device and Android device, Google Play Movies and Music only on Android, or cast websites using the Chrome browser on a computer. The Chromecast works differently from Airplay in that you can multitask and do other tasks on the device or you can let it go to sleep while streaming.

Very quickly after its release, Chromecast has received support for Hulu +, Pandora, and HBO GO. Last month a major update added ten new apps including Plex, Vevo, Songza, Red Bull TV, Post TV from the Washington Post, Viki, RealPlayer Cloud, Avia, Revision3 Internet Television and BeyondPod. The most recent update the Chromecast received allowed users to stream Google Play Movies and Music directly from the Chrome browser on a computer.

In this How-to, we’ll discuss how to setup the Chromecast, use it with a Mac and iOS device and explore its gaming potential.

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How to change OS X banner notification duration using Terminal

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I’ve recently found myself wishing there was a space between banners and alerts with OS X’s notification system. Alert style notifications that require manually dismissing can be rather annoying, but quick banner notifications often fly by before I’ve had time to glance at the information. It turns out despite not having a toggle in the system preferences, a little Terminal code shared by OS X Daily allows you to toggle the duration down to the second…

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How-to: Use Apple Mail rules to automatically filter out unwanted messages

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Preventing unwanted messages from showing up in your inbox can be integral to enjoying email. In this article we will walk you through the process of creating mail rules that will direct messages to other folders or the trash based on conditions you specify. We will also discuss how to update rules to include additional senders or other criteria, and provide some common-sense guidance about effectively using mail rules in general.

Mail rules allow you to direct messages out of your inbox into another folder or trash automatically, based on their sender or other conditions. Rules can be set up on iCloud.com if the email address is the one you use for iCloud (it can end in either @icloud.com, @me.com, or @mac.com).

For your other email addresses, rules can be set up in the Mail app on a Mac. If you set up rules using iCloud.com they are very effective, immediately directing messages to the specified folders on all your devices. If you set up rules using the Mail app, they are effective only after you start up your Mac and open the Mail app.  At the end of this article, I will make some practical suggestions about how to address that, and other aspects of using mail rules.

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How-to: Create and sync keyboard shortcuts between iOS 7 and Mavericks

Keyboard shortcuts that allow for quick entry of longer strings of text were introduced with iOS 5. The feature allows users to enter a short bit of text and have it automatically converted to a longer message. Now with iOS 7 and Mavericks, keyboard shortcuts will sync between iOS devices and the Mac through the “Documents and Data” setting in iCloud.

In this how-to you’ll learn how to create and sync sync keyboard shortcuts in iOS 7 and Mavericks.

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How to build a 4K Hackintosh on the cheap for fun and profit

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Over the years, building ‘Hackintosh’ computers has become both a lot easier and more popular. For those unfamiliar, a Hackintosh is essentially a machine running OS X on non-Apple approved and manufactured hardware. There are many reasons to build a Hackintosh instead of buying a Mac directly from Apple. They can be more expandable, faster, have more features and configurations, run quieter and can be a great learning experience.  One of the biggest reasons to go down the road of building your own, however, is price. It’s no secret that Apple charges a premium for its products, especially if you don’t need some of the hardware (Thunderbolt for example). And thanks to the ongoing growth of the Hackintosh community, the process has become very easy over the past few years.

Back in 2011, Seth took a stab at building a Hackintosh. He originally intended on it being an affordable, baseline model without many bells and whistles. He ended up building a $750 ‘beast’ that competed with the best iMacs of the day, though. Now, it’s my turn to make an attempt at building a Hackintosh, but with an added twist. I am building one capable of performing on par with the highest-end Macs and capable of powering a 4k monitor. And, I want it took look ultra-sleek on the outside and be absolutely silent. I don’t want to be able to hear the hard drive, fans, or anything else –essentially nonexistent in my office. Most of all, I want to do it on a budget of about $1500, not including a 4k display.

Let me preface this with something, though: I have never built a computer, Windows or OS X. In fact, up until this project, I was pretty clueless as to what went into building a computer. So if I am able to successfully build this machine, pretty much anyone can. My best friend for this project was easily tonymacx86.com, which we have praised in the past for its clear breakdown of compatible parts and software guides.

Let’s start by discussing the parts that I decided to use for this build.

Full parts list at Amazon:

  • Intel Core i7-4770K Quad-Core Desktop Processor 3.5 GHZ – $320
  • Corsair Enthusiast Series 650W Fan – $99.99
  • Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD5H Z87 LGA 1150 Motherboard – $222
  • TP-LINK TL-WDN4800 Dual Band Wireless PCI Express Adapter – $43
  • Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR3 RAM – $160
  • SanDisk Extreme SSD 120 GB SSD – $117 (or any SATA 3 SSD)
  • EVGA GeForce GTX760 Graphics Card – $265
  • Seagate Barracuda 2 TB HDD - $80 (or any 1-4TB SATA3 HDD)
  • Fractal Design Define R4 Case – $132
  • Seiki 39-inch 4K Display – $499 (Varies wildly though)

Total cost without display: $1439. With 4K display, under ~$2,000…

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