I'm always so pleased when I find a way round some exasperating computer problem that I thought I'd share my moments of triumph ...

Friday 18 October 2013

Mac desktop - icon to show current application

Just installed OS 10.8 (okay, Mountain Lion if you want to be cutsie) on my iMac. Horrified to find no little icon top R. on the screen to show the application I'm currently in. Remembered with a struggle it's the app. called Focus - help is there an update? Yes! I blogged about it! so to thank you again Eerdo Vissering, I'm repeating the blog. It's so great to see that little icon on the screen again.

Apple used to provide this handy visual clue in their OS but gave it up a long time ago. Thanks to Eerko Vissering for developing the little application called Focus, which does the same thing. I've used it with Leopard / Snow Leopard for ages. Eerko has updated it to run on Lion / Mountain Lion. Thanks Eerko!


Wednesday 16 October 2013

CityMaps2Go - brilliant app for finding your way


I must publicise this brilliant app, from Ulmon (website). t should really be called simply Maps2Go. For Mac iPhone or iPad. Free! You download maps for the city or area you are interested in, and then GPS will show you exactly where you are.

 No internet connection needed after the initial map download. Unlike Google maps or Apple maps you never have to wait for the map to be redrawn or find that the map won't redraw because you have no internet connection. The maps are saved on your phone.

I have used this app on my iPhone in Spain, in Verona, Italy, in walking round footpaths in deepest rural Wiltshire, UK, and now in Taiwan.

If you are still SatNav free it is invaluable for negotiating motorway interchanges and city streets. It even shows one way street directions. In walking damp, confusing footpaths, equally useful. You do need a map as well to give you the overview, but that little blue blob shows you exactly where you are and which direction you're heading in. Such a comfort!

It's based on maps created by the crowd source OpenStreetMap. Along with whatever maps you want, you get Wiki Plus guides to cities or well known buildings or features.

You can change the scale of the map in the usual way.

Many city maps are already available, and lots of reviewers report that if you ever want a map of a particular city or town you just email them and a couple of days later, there it is.

PowerPoint into Word

Don't you feel frustrated that you can print out a Handouts file from your PPT presentation with neat lines beside the little slide images, but not type your speaking notes into that useful slot?

Simply by chance, I found a solution.

  • Open up your PPT presentation in Normal view
  • Open up a Word file and make a table 2 columns wide by however many rows long.
  • In the PPT presentation, click on the little slide image  and Copy it (cmd-C, or using a menu, as you wish)
  • In the Word file, click in a table cell, and Paste the copied image - cmd-V or using a menu

Oh my goodness! There is your slide in your Word file! It'll be too large but grab a resize handle and just make it smaller. Then you can type your notes into the table cell beside it.

The Word file will be massive, because all the images are saved at full size. You can reduce the Word file size by File > Reduce file size. This allows you to convert images to lower resolution, which won't matter for such small images. You can also do this for your PPT file but be careful you don't reduce the display quality.

Another route, takes a bit longer, is: in the PPT file, do File > Save as Pictures. That will make a folder with a jpeg image of each file. You can easily copy or drag each image into a Word file, and you could convert all the images to smaller dimensions first if you wanted to, in Preview or using image software such as Photoshop Elements to batch process.