Author: James

The Disappearing Computer: Past, present & future

Walt Mossberg with Steve Jobs

Original uploader was Joi at English Wikipedia – Transferred to Commons., CC BY 2.0, Link

Tech was once always in your way. Soon, it will be almost invisible.

Walt Mossberg’s final article. It’s the end of an era, for sure. While many of his articles were a bit “beneath” my technical knowledge, I always loved reading his reviews of tech products from the perspective of the typical user. There’s a lot of tech in my life that I don’t know a lot about, and don’t care to know. I just want to know the quick & easy explanation of it to decide if it’s worth more research or use. Walt always made it easy—and that’s the highest compliment I can pay him.

In his last article, Walt takes a look at the past, present and future of tech. It’s a great read.

Apple Park 1 Year Recap (Video)

Construction of the Apple Park in the last year. While so much has been done in the last year, it still appears that there’s a whole lot of work left.

Amazon Prime coming to Apple TV this fall. Maybe.

The tech giants, who are increasingly competing for customers’ time, eyeballs and money, are close to an agreement to bring an Amazon video app to Apple’s Apple TV set-top box, according to people familiar with the two companies.

Ahhhh the famous “people familiar with” source. Those people seem to know everything. Accurate or not, this would be a huge win for Apple. HUGE. Perhaps even enough to move the Apple TV out of the “hobby” category.

Here’s hoping.

Quickly change blend modes in Photoshop

Photoshop blend modes
One of the most frequent things you’ll find yourself doing with layers in your Photoshop document is changing blend modes to something like Multiply (great for shadows) or Overlay. Moving your mouse over to the Layers panel and clicking the blend mode drop-down menu, then scrolling down to your desired blend mode can be tedious… especially when you’re experimenting and don’t know which one you want.

You can quickly change the blend mode of the active layer by changing to a tool that doesn’t already use blend modes. I just hit the V key to switch to the Move tool, or the M key for the Marquee tool. Then simply hold the Shift key down and tap the + or – keys to cycle between the different blend modes.

Get control of your Time Machine backup schedule

TimeMachineEditorI’ve written about this topic a few times in the past, but I recently had the need to stop Time Machine backups from occurring for a period of time, but I didn’t want to completely shut off Time Machine—for fear that I would forget to turn it back on and it would be weeks before I noticed.

There’s an easy way to manage the schedule of Apple’s Time Machine, which by default backs up everything every hour. That’s a bit too often to back things up if you’re not constantly saving loads of data to your drive. Plus Time Machine can soak-up a lot of power and network bandwidth while working if there’s a lot to back up.

TimeMachineEditor (free, donations welcomed) is a fantastic little tool that offers three distinct ways to edit Time Machine’s backup schedule.

TMEditor - Interval setting

TimeMachineEditor – Interval setting


Interval – Allows you to simply set a time interval to have Time Machine back up your files, such as every 3 hours, etc.
TMEditor - calendar interval

TimeMachineEditor – Calendar Interval setting


Calendar Intervals – Allows for a more complex scheduling of backups. As you can see above, you can schedule specific (down to the minute), multiple daily and weekly backup times.
TMEditor - When Inactive setting

TimeMachineEditor – When Inactive setting


When Inactive – Allows Time Machine to back up your files whenever you’re not using it. This is my preferred setting.

No matter which setting you choose, TimeMachineEditor also offers the option to NOT run backups between user-specified times. I have mine set to the middle of the night to morning, since it’s likely nothing new will have been added for quite a while before and after that.

Because this is simply setting some parameters for Apple’s Time Machine app, you can still use Apple’s Time Machine menubar widget to “Back Up Now” and “Enter Time Machine” whenever you wish.

I love this little utility. It’s been around for years and has always worked flawlessly for me.