This Email Add-on Utility Lets You Schedule And Send Email Messages Later

Email is a pain and there are few add-on utilities that are likely to change that. Mail on my Mac has two utilities which help to reduce the pain. The first one is SpamSieve, a highly recommended utility for Mac users who get plenty of spam.

The second add-on is useful but in a far different way. It’s called SendLater and what it does is let you send email later. Instead of clicking the Send Message button, which sends the email immediately, you can click the Send This Email Later button, which lets you schedule exactly when to send the message.

When the scheduled time to send the message arrives, the message is sent.

SendLater

Why would you need to send a message later, or on a schedule, rather than just click the Send button and send the message immediately?

Obviously, using SendLater is a good way to send more timely email messages for specific occasions (weddings, holidays, anniversaries, graduations, etc.), but I have an even better use.

When you respond to email at work your boss or coworkers know you’re always available. By setting a schedule, messages are sent when you want them to be sent. That means you can answer work messages later at night by not have them sent until you arrive at work. And it all happens automatically; no mucking around with draft messages.

I’ve been using SendLater for a year and it just works. Nothing fancy. Set the schedule and it sends the email messages accordingly. The only caveat, of course, is that your Mac and Mail need to be running at the appropriate time for the message to be sent.

An Apple Surprise

The long awaited and much talked about iPhone 6 is coming. Or, is it? Apple has announced a September 9 event but won’t say what it is. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes:

The invite cryptically reads: “Wish we could say more.”

Typical Apple. What is not typical with this product unveiling is the location; Cupertino’s Flint Center for the Performing Arts. Co-founder Steve Jobs introduced the Mac at the Flint Center in 1984, and the iMac in 1998. Since then, nothing.

This is big and it’s probably not just an iPhone.

Hello Kitty Is Not A Cat

From Sanrio, the makers of Hello Kitty, to Anthropologist Christine R. Yano from the University of Hawaii:

Hello Kitty is not a cat. She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty

What’s next? Rocky and Bullwinkle are not real? What is Snoopy?

Why Death Valley Rocks Move

David Strege:

The phenomenon of the “sailing stones” on Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park has baffled scientists for decades.

By some mysterious force of nature, rocks move along the flat-as-a-pancake playa and leave long trails behind. What causes the stones to move?

Martians? The crop circle folks?

Scientists can say conclusively that these synchronized trails left by rocks, some up to 700 pounds, are caused by thin sheets of ice pushing the rocks across the desert floor under certain conditions.

That’s good to know. Now we can stop worrying about extraterrestrials.

The Puppetry GIF Maker Turns Videos Animated GIFs But Why Bother?

For a reason which escapes me, animated GIFs have made a comeback and that’s bad for users and the internet. Why? First a little GIF history, then a look at Puppetry GIF Maker, a Mac app that takes high quality video clips and turns them into low quality animated GIFs.

GIF means graphics interchange format, a bitmap image format that birthed on CompuServe back in the mid-to-late 1980s. Along with .JPG images, GIFs were one of the earliest image file formats when the internet went public in 1994-ish.

Unlike .JPG images, GIF images are limited to a palette of up to 256 colors, but it also supports animations and were one of the earliest forms of animated advertising on the web. The GIF file format is still around though used less. Interestingly, animated GIFs have made a comeback, with many iOS photo apps bringing new life to an old standard.

Mac users with video clips can have them converted to animated GIFs using Puppetry GIF Maker, an inexpensive and simple to use app that does the conversions.

Puppetry GIF Maker

Puppetry GIF Maker’s controls let you import a video clip (pretty much anything that can play on QuickTime Player), change the video size (dimensions), adjust the video frame rate, and even change the video speed.

Other options include loops, number of loops, as well as reverse loop (backwards). Click the Save button and the app converts the video to an animated GIF with the appropriate settings. Puppetry GIF Maker crashed a few times, but I found it simple enough to use for anyone who needs an animated GIF from a video clip.

The question I have is, “Why?” For the most part, animated GIFs at 256 colors will have lower quality than the original video clip source, so what’s the point? Why not just edit the video clip and share that instead?

New Corvette Outsells Old Corvette

This cannot come as a surprise given General Motors’ rebirth, Chevrolet’s resurgence, and the Corvette’s new muscle design. Antony Ingram:

According to Corvette Blogger, a graphic shown by GM reveals that 37,288 Corvettes were built in the 2014 model year alone. That’s the third-best number in the modern era (since 1985’s 39,729 sales) after 2005 (37,372) and 2007 (40,561). Both of those totals were C6 Corvettes, obviously, but shows initial demand for the C7 is right on the money, given its similarity to the 2005 Corvette’s sales. Additionally, 35 percent of buyers went for the car’s seven-speed manual, and white has shot up as the second most popular color choice—behind red.

I’d go for red.

The Most Hated Car Company In The U.S.

Catey Hill on survey details from the American Customer Satisfaction Index:

Customers’ satisfaction with both domestic and foreign automakers hit a five-year low this year, falling 1.2% from last year to a score of 82 out of 100. What’s more, satisfaction with 80% of the 21 car brands measured fell as compared to last year

The big decliners were premium brands Acura and Cadillac, while big gainers were Chevrolet and Buick. The seven brands where customers are the least satisfied:

  • Acura
  • Dodge
  • Jeep
  • Audi
  • Mazda
  • BWM
  • Cadillac

Is car quality getting worse as cars become more complicated, or have our standards changed?

10 Banned Toys

Just when you thought nothing would ever be banned again, here’s a list of 10 toys deemed too dangerous to use. Josh Goller:

Throughout history, toy makers have designed some truly brutal products (lawn darts, anyone?). But with modern-day lawsuits, you’d think we would’ve curbed that problem. Yet, in their fervor to create the next Slinky, Etch A Sketch, or Tickle Me Elmo, toy manufacturers continue to put dangerous product designs on the market

Spoiler Alert!

  • Slap bracelets
  • Monster Science Colossal Water Balls
  • Aqua Dots
  • Kite Tube
  • Cabbage Patch Snacktime Dolls
  • Buckyballs
  • CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit
  • Splash Off Water Rockets
  • Aqua Leisure Baby Boats
  • Easy-Bake Ovens

I wonder how many kids are injured each year from those products vs. football, baseball, basketball, et al?

How To Be A More Productive Mac User #73: Hide All The Screen Clutter On Your Mac

This is almost too easy. One of the best ways to become more productive is focus. I’m not a believer in The Church of Multi-tasking and prefer the tried and true way to get more done. Focus on what needs to be done and avoid distractions wherever possible.

For those of us who slave over our hot keyboards throughout the day, how is improved focus even possible? After all, there’s email, notifications, messages, websites to be browsed, Calendar to view, and apps to be used on this and that.

One way that works for me is to eliminate the screen clutter on my Mac so I can focus on the task at hand. How? Hides.

The value of Hides goes far beyond the few bucks it costs. Hides hides everything on your Mac’s screen that’s not related to the app you’re using at the time.

Hides

Hides resides in the Mac’s Menubar and gives you simple controls that hide all open apps so your Mac’s screen is pristinely clean. Gone is the clutter on the Desktop, the Dock and all those app icons beckoning you to click. The screen is clean and ready to be used.

The Single App Mode lets you select a single app and use that without the distraction of other apps to grab your eyes. Keyboard shortcuts invoke Hides from the keyboard (and you set the key combo). It even allows for Notifications to be visible if you prefer.

Hides does well what it does but I would like to see is a dual app mode, or a mode where I can select which apps are always visible on the de-cluttered screen. Some of us actually use more than one app at a time during the workflow, often copying from one app and switching to another to paste it in. The Command-Tab switcher works for that, of course, but a simple click to another app’s window is faster.

Otherwise, Hides is nicely done, simple to setup, and the added focus on a single app or task can improve your productivity. Multi-tasking is highly overrated.

Unlocked Is The New Black

Smartphones can be unlocked in the U.S. Legally. What about elsewhere? Cyrus Lee says China Telecom will unlock the iPhone 6:

China Telecom… said it will unlock the unreleased smartphone, meaning the upcoming iPhone 6 sold by China Telecom is going to support dual 4G network, both TDD-LTE and FDD-LTE, and a variety of other networks including WCDMA, CDMA2000, GSM, and CDMA1X.

One phone model, many networks. The game is changing.

How To Hack Gmail

Apparently, this is easy to do. Charlie Osborne:

US researchers have discovered a flaw which may exist across Android, Windows, and iOS operating systems, and could allow popular services such as Gmail to become compromised… The attack works through a user downloading a seemingly harmless application, such as background wallpaper. Once installed, the researchers were able to exploit a newly discovered public side channel, the shared memory of a process, which can be accessed without permissions or app privileges.

Is nothing secure?

The Price Of Old Muscle

Jeff Perez found a listing for a true blue blue classic muscle car, circa 1971.

Anyone in the market for a classic muscle car? If you don’t know what this is, it’s a 1971 Ford Gran Torino Cobra, wearing a Grabber Blue paint scheme and wielding a potent V8. And it’s downright stunning.

Introduced in 1971, this is only one of 117 Code 429 CJ 4-speed Torinos produced in 1971. And with matching numbers on both the engine and transmission, it’s one of few originals still on the road today.

The price? $59,900. Not bad for a car that probably didn’t break $4,000 new.

The 10 Ugliest Cars Of 2014

Lists like this one are subjective, of course. I think the Nissan Juke is so ugly it’s cute, but it’s the only one on Jason Notte’s list.

There have been vehicles released within the past year that are every bit the detriment to design that the 2001 Pontiac Aztek, 1977 Lincoln Versailles and 1985 Cadillac DeVille were.

Spoiler Alert:

  • Mitsubishi Mirage
  • Toyota Prius
  • Nissan Juke
  • Lamborghini Veneno
  • Mini Paceman
  • BMW X6
  • Nissan Versa Sedan
  • Lincoln MKT
  • Honda Pilot
  • Infiniti QX80

Tastes must be changing. Not one on the list is Pontiac Aztek quality.

Blog Much On Your Mac? Try A Real Blogging App

Blogging hasn’t gone away, despite the massive use of social media sites and applications from Facebook to Instagram to Twitter. Many, if not most, Mac users who blog do so with an internet connection and an open browser window connected to their blog. Offline blogging requires a different tool, and one of the more popular options for the Mac is Blogo.

Think of Blogo as an offline mini word processor which lets you write an article or blog post, then upload to your WordPress blog when you connect to the internet. As an offline tool that also works online, Blogo comes with a handful of very useful options.

For example, you can manage multiple blogs in Blogo, all from a single dashboard. For blogs which display photos or graphics, Blogo features a built-in image editor that gives you tools to crop, add filters, change brightness and contrast, and even adjust the size.

Blogo Screen

Blogo can display a preview of your blog post before you post it.

If all is good, one click will publish your post. WordPress blogs are home to comments which need to be viewed, managed, approved, deleted, and that’s built in to Blogo, too.

More Blogo

Blogo also has an option to sync up drafts of blog posts in Evernote. That’s a handy feature if you use Evernote to store notes, links, blog post ideas, and rough drafts. Evernote runs on all major devices– PCs, smartphones, tablets.

By far the most useful option is the Blogo offline mode where you can can write an article and get it ready to publish even when there’s no internet connection. Blogo works in fullscreen mode in OS X, works with Macs that have multiple displays, and brings in new posts and comments to Notification Center on your Mac.

Blogo isn’t for every blogger, and the offline mode is worth a look, but for now the app is for WordPress blogs only, and there is no try-before-you-buy option. To try it, you have to buy it first.

What Google Employees Get

Brad Reed:

Why do people love working at Google so much? There seem to be many reasons and one of them is without a doubt the fact that Google showers its employees with perks when they come into the office every day

How do Google employee’s perks differ from the rest of the world?

Of course we’ve learned from other reports that free meals are just one of the killer perks that Google employees get. Other reported Google employee amenities include subsidized massages and a massive seven-acre sports complex that includes a roller hockey rink, basketball courts and horseshoe pits, among other things.

Google often seems to be the ‘angel of light’ described in the Bible. That’s not a good thing.

New Island, Volcano, Collapse, Tsunami

Where I live we get more than our fair share of tsunami warnings from Japan. Here’s a story worth watching:

The small, but growing, island appeared last year and quickly engulfed the already-existing island of Nishinoshima, around 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) south of Tokyo… The island’s craters are currently spewing out 200,000 cubic metres (7 million cubic feet) of lava every day — enough to fill 80 Olympic swimming pools…

It gets worse. Professor Fukashi Maeno:

If lava continues to mount on the eastern area, part of the island’s slopes could collapse and cause a tsunami.

At least we’ll get a warning.

The Clock Is Ticking

How long before Radio Shack bites the dust, kicks the can, buys the farm? Elizabeth Harris on Radio Shack.

Its stock price is so low — it closed at 63 cents on Tuesday — that it may face delisting within the next few months by the New York Stock Exchange. When it tried this spring to stop the hemorrhaging with plans to close 1,100 of its stores, its lenders balked. Some analysts predict the company could run out of cash as early as next year.

There was a time when I loved shopping at those stores. Amazon should buy Radio Shack.

Not Exactly Life Changing

10 Keyboard tricks for your Mac from Answers. They’re useful, but not life changing, and not really worth the 20 plus clicks it takes to get the list of items like this:

If you’re looking to take control of the volume coming from your speakers, rocking out to your favorite iTunes radio station, the Option + Shift + F11 will take you to the sound system’s preferences panel.

Wanted: A Replacement For The Two Best Mac Word Processor Apps Ever

Confession time. I remember MacWrite. And, no, it was not one of the best Mac word processors ever. It was the first and came with the Mac when it was launched in early 1984. I cut my word processing teeth on CP/M systems using WordStart so my switch to the venerable WriteNow was like a fresh, cool breeze and a cold drink on a hot summer day.

Elderly Mac users have fond memories of WriteNow, despite the prominence of Microsoft’s Word, Word Perfect, and others back in the day which sold more and were used by many. WriteNow was fast, stable, easy to master, but with enough features to be useful for many Mac users. Alas, WriteNow died in the mid-1990s and nothing quite like it existed on the Mac until Bean was released over a decade later; another welterweight word processor; lean, elegant, fast, and updated with a list of 21st century features but without the weight of Word.

Bean remains available but is no longer under active development. Is there a replacement word processor available that brings back the flavors or WriteNow and Bean?

No.

At least, no, not yet, despite the growing number of minimalist writing and note taking tools for the Mac. Minimalist? That’s a euphemism for ‘few features.’ Here’s a good example. It’s called Write; billed as a note taking and markdown writing app which mixes a bit of everything into a single app– lightweight word processor, note taking app, markdown editor, text editor.

Write performs with all the modern 21st century buzzwords, too. Syntax highlighting, typewriter scrolling, custom themes, distraction free interface, iCloud sync (plus Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, OneDrive and others). It also features word, sentence, paragraph count, and a nice feature which estimates reading time.

Write

Write also supports MultiMarkdown 4, customized CSS export, file exports as PDF, HTML, or Rich Text Format (RTF). And, of course, you can share content via Email, Twitter, Facebook, Messages, or OS X’s AirDrop.

Write comes with multiple handpicked fonts (though you can use any installed Mac font), tags to organize notes, and a unified library, which I consider to be one of the best available (until OS X Yosemite arrives).

Write

Write makes it easy to copy and edit plain text as well as HTML. Full document statistics are available with a click, and tags are viewable in the Mac’s Finder. The typewriter mode seems outdated (when was the last time you used a typewriter), but is handy to focus on what you’re writing. Images and links can be dropped into Write, too.

Important in the age of mobile devices, there’s a version of Write for iPhone and iPad for just a couple of dollars.

So, what’s not to like?

The price? The iPhone and iPad version is a bargain, but the Mac version of Write costs more. Much more. Even worse, there’s no try-before-you-buy trial option for Write. You pay the price to try Write. If you like it, great. If not, too bad.

5 Easy Ways To Boost A Wi-Fi Signal

Everyone experiences a slow Wi-Fi connection from time to time. Here’s how to get good signals. Kim Lachance Shandrow:

Beer: an unlikely antidote to sluggish Wi-Fi. (We bet you didn’t see that coming.) If you’re tempted to tip one back when you’re on the bum end of an infuriatingly slow signal, you may be onto something. When you’re finished, you might be able to turn that empty beer can into a Wi-Fi extending DIY parabolic (alcoholic?) antenna.

Spoiler Alert:

  • Wi-Fi Route Location
  • Switch Channels
  • High Gain Antenna
  • Repeater
  • Stop Sharing