Category: Productivity

fireman's hose split into three outletsTwitter can be difficult to consume if you follow more than a handful of people. Instead of trying to sip from Twitter’s mighty firehose, you can enjoy the different flavours from several different taps, using Twitter lists.

Curate content with Twitter lists

It’s impossible to read every tweet from everyone that you follow on Twitter. We can use Twitter lists to filter content by topic. For example, I’ve created lists for Australia News, World News. free music, South Australian wineries, Adelaide Pubs, and many more.

Create a Twitter list for an event

If you know of an event coming up build a Twitter list before the event. The list can be made private for you own use or it can be made public and you can promote it and encourage others to use it during the event.

Be aware that when building a public list each person added will be notified, but accounts added to a private list will not be notified.

Use this to your advantage.
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Six Second Tech is a weekly series of short how-to video tutorials to help you be more productive with your time and your technology.

How-to videos on YouTube are too long

Let’s say you need to find out how to zoom in on Snapchat, how to take a screenshot on a Mac, or how to turn off Twitter notifications.  You might go straight to YouTube to search for these kinds of instructional videos. But tutorials and how-to videos on YouTube can often be anywhere from a couple of minutes to half an hour, or more!

What if you could consume this information much more quickly, in just a few seconds?

six second tech advert showing a stopwatch in an open hand on black background
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Are you wondering if your old iPad 2 will run the latest operating system from Apple, iOS 8.2?
I stopped upgrading my iPad 2 at iOS 7.1 fearing that the iPad 2’s hardware was not up to running the more modern versions of iOS as they became more demanding. After reading that iOS 8.2 was running smoothly for many others who had an iPad 2, and not finding many negative reviews, I went and did it, I updated.

I’m very surprised by how well iOS 8.2 does run so I wanted to tell all of you who have an old iPad to try it out. Here’s a video demonstrating how there is no lag or delay when using iOS 8.2 on the iPad 2:

Don’t hesitate go and update now!

Do you like my Australian accent in the video and would like to give your iPad an Aussie accent? Check this video with Sarah Lane featuring a tip from Vintuitive on iPad Today!

I want it all, and I want it easily and effortlessly. And you can have it all, with this simple keyboard shortcut.

Select All with this swift Keyboard Kung Fu move

As we saw with cutting, copying and pasting, using a keyboard shortcut is often much easier and more productive when completing common tasks.

How do you currently go about selecting all the files in a folder, or all the text on a page? Do you click and drag diagonally across the files or text? Or do you right-click and then choose ‘Select All’?

Use the Command-A keyboard shortcut to achieve the same result with very little effort:

A = select all

fingers on the command a keys to select all

Using the Select All keyboard shortcut with files

As mentioned above, this nifty little move works with both files and with text. If you find yourself needing to move all the files in a folder, Command-A will enable you to select all the files in any given folder very quickly and effortlessly.

Here’s an example of how Command-A could be used with a previous lesson, Send To Trash to select all the files in a folder and to trash them:

A then delete = select all those files and send them straight to the trash

Using the Select All keyboard shortcut with text

It can also be useful when editing large slabs of text. Command-A to highlight all the text and then copy or cut or adjust the font size, colour, etc.

Here’s an example of how Command-A could be used with a previous lesson Make Your Make Speak to select all the text on a page and trigger the text-to-speach feature to have the Mac read it out loud to you:

A then S = select all the text and have the Mac speak all the text on a page.

It really is such a simple tip but it’s power is great.

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A very simple tip this time, after all, simplicity is the way of the Tao. Have you ever wanted to make a key do the opposite of it’s usual function?

More than just uppercase

Most people think of the shift key as a way of reaching the uppercase of a key. For example, the letter ‘v’ can be turned into a capital ‘V’ by using the Shift key, or the ‘@’ sign can be obtained by using the Shift key with the 2 key:

v = V
2 = @

A little known fact is that the Shift key can also be used to reverse the function of a key. In fact, we’ve already seen it in use in an earlier Keyboard Kung Fu lesson, Switching Between Open Applications.

Tabbing and shift-tabbing through fields

Online forms are a good example of how the addition of the key can be useful.

shift and tab key held down on a vintage mac keyboard

You are probably already aware that the tab key can be used to move your cursor to the next field in a form or web page. But what happens if you accidentally move past a field and now need to move back to it? It is at this point that many will take one hand off the keyboard and reach for the mouse to reposition the cursor into the previous field.

Instead, the key can be held down while tapping the tab key to move back up through the previous fields:

tab in a form = jump to next field
tab in a form = jump to previous field

This is a very simple tip that can be utilised to reduce stress and increase productivity. Try it with other keys to see what other key functions you can reverse.

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This tip will help to increase your productivity while working with text, something many of us do every day. Whether it be writing an important business proposal, or just an email to a friend, while you are typing your mind is focused on writing. You don’t want to interrupt your train of thought by having to take your hands of the keys to operate a mouse just to move the cursor to a different point in the text. Instead, the same result can be achieved with a few taps of the arrow key.

One letter at a time too slow? An alternative option

Tapping that cursor arrow can get tedious very quickly if you find yourself needing to move around the text a lot. You may find that this tip is limited to certain apps, but this is where the Option key can be your arrow keys’ trusty companion. Holding the left Option key down with your thumb while tapping the left or right arrow keys will soon become second nature.

= move forward through the text word by word.

Option and forward arrow keys on a mac keyboard

Too many words in a line? You are in command

An additional tip that works well with this one is the Command key. Holding down the Command key instead of the Option key while tapping the left of right arrow will jump you straight to the end of the line.

= jump to the end of the line

Horizontal and Vertical

Both of these tips work moving back and forward through text horizontally but you can also move through lines and paragraphs by applying the same techniques.

= move up through the text paragraph by paragraph
= jump to the top of the page

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Sometimes you need to get the volume just a bit lower than the first notch. Is that even possible? It certainly is! All you need is a little Keyboard Kung Fu know-how.

Adjusting the volume

Apple Remote ControlThere are a few different methods of altering the volume of the speaker output on the Mac. Back in the old days every Mac used to come with it’s own infra red remote control that could be used not only with iTunes but also with other video and audio apps as well as the fundamental aspects of the Mac’s operating system. I must confess, my little white remote still lives in my pocket and I use it many times every day, mainly for altering the volume when not sitting in front of my computer.

While I am sitting at my Mac though, I find that the keyboard’s own volume keys are without question the fastest and easiest means of adjusting the volume.

Shows the normal way of decreasing the volume

Decreasing the volume using the volume keys

Can you turn it down just a bit more please?

In those quieter moments it can be beneficial to have greater control over the volume levels. Perhaps you have earbuds in, or are in a quiet place and find that even at the lowest volume setting that last notch is just not low enough.

This is when it is beneficial to know how to adjust the volume in finer increments.

Keyboard shortcut showing Incremental Volume Animation

Decreasing the volume in finer gradations.

While adjusting the volume, all you need to do is hold down two additional keys, Option and Shift:
F11 = Decrease volume in incremental steps.
F12 = Increase volume in incremental steps.

With the addition of the Option and Shift keys the volume can be made to go as low as 0.25.

Smaller increments of brightness too

Way back in Audio/Visual Adjustments we saw how the Option key could be used with a range of buttons across the top of the keyboard, otherwise known as the F keys.

Here’s a little extra tidbit: this shortcut also works with the brightness controls.

F1 = Decrease brightness in incremental steps.
F2 = Increase brightness in incremental steps.

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