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Zoom and Voiceover in iOS

Working at the Service Check-in Counter, I often have customers asking me how to get out of Zoom and/or Voiceover on their iOS devices. While most people have Zoom and Voiceover disabled, it still shows up now and again.

If you have used Zoom, the image to the right may seem familiar. If this happens, you can try to enter your passcode and navigate to Settings to turn off Zoom but this can be difficult. An easier way out is a simple 3 finger tap twice which will Zoom you back out.

If you have seen the image above, then you also must have experienced Voiceover. Instead of using your finger to select individual apps, the screen is sectioned into rectangles, and you select that shape as whole. It is very hard to navigate, and the whole time a voice is instructing your movement. Voiceover is helpful for the visually impaired, but can be a hinderance if turned on. You must navigate back to Settings > Accessibility and turn Voiceover off if you do not wish to use it. If you have the shortcut enabled, you can try triple clicking the home button. This will turn off Voiceover. I would recommend turning off both Zoom and Voiceover, unless of course you need them and are familiar with their commands.

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Cut Across Shorty, Cut Across

Keyboard shortcuts are handy ways of using simple keyboard commands to handle tasks that might require multiple clicks of your mouse or trackpad. Sometimes using these shortcuts can save time and make your work flow easier. As an example, from time to time I grab screen shots to include in Kibbles or to send to customers. I can launch the Grab app to capture these screen shots but I can also hit ⇧⌘3 (shift/command/3) to capture the screen. Easier yet, if I frequently use that key combination I can customize the keys I use or make one of my function keys do the screen grab. Here’s how you would do that:

  1. Choose System Preferences -> Keyboard->Shortcuts
  2. You will see a bunch of shortcuts that are already there
  3. Select Screen Shots
  4. Pick the one you want – i.e. Save Picture of screen as a file and select it
  5. Click on the existing key combination until it is highlighted
  6. Enter your new key combination

You will get a warning triangle if you choose a key combination (or function key) that is already in use.

You can also add key combination shortcuts that are specific to an App. Selecting the App Shortcuts will take you there. Unless you have already set up some shortcuts, you will see only the key combination for “Show Help Menu” for all applications. To add a new shortcut to your favorite application you hit the + sign and a dialog box will pop up to allow you to select an app. From there you can set up the new shortcut:

  1. Choose your App – or select all Apps if you want to set the key combination for the same menu command that appears in many Apps.
  2. Type in the menu command for which you want to create a shortcut. VERY IMPORTANT – You must type the command exactly as it appears in the Application menu, including ellipses and any other punctuation. To type an ellipse, use three periods without spaces.
  3. Click in the Keyboard Shortcut box and type the key combination or function key you wish to use and click “Add”.
  4. Quit and restart any Apps that are open for the new keyboard command to take effect.

If you assign a shortcut that already exists for another command or another App, your new shortcut will not work and you will have to find the menu command that is using that shortcut and change it.

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Electronic Signing Made Easy

I was at a customer’s office the other day helping to set up their new Mac system. It was a busy construction company and they needed help getting wireless scanning operational. I noticed that they were using Adobe Reader for their PDF files, so I introduced them to Preview. Once I set the Finder to open PDF files with Preview instead of Reader, I showed them how to access the scanner to scan documents right from Preview.

As I had them practice this, I noticed that much of their scanning needs were for documents that they would print out, sign, scan and then email to clients. When I showed them how to use the “signature” function in Preview they immediately saw the value and time saved. So, I know many of you already know how to use this tool, but I thought I would go over it so you too can use your electronic signature.

Preview is used to view and edit PDFs and images, import images from a camera, import documents and images from a scanner, add pages to a PDF and also to take screen shots. When you have a PDF that needs your signature, the old way of doing this would be to print out the PDF, sign it, scan it and send it back. With Preview you can skip some of that work. You can capture your signature using your trackpad or better yet, using your camera on your Mac.


To create your signature you can simply click on the Sign button on the Markup Toolbar, select Manage Signatures to create a new signature. Or you can go to Tools > Annotate > Signature > Manage Signatures. When you select Create Signature you have a choice of trackpad or camera. While signing on your trackpad is okay, I prefer the camera method. Here you take a white piece of paper and sign it. Then click on Camera as the means of capturing your signature and hold up that piece of paper to the camera on your Mac. Once you align the signature on the blue line you can hit Done and your signature is stored. If you don’t like the first try, click Clear and do over.

To add your signature to a PDF document click on the Sign button or use the path Tools > Annotate > Signature to select the signature. Once it has been placed on the document you can drag it to where you want it, then use the handles to adjust its size. Save the document and you can include it in an email with your signature. Remember that the Save As command is sort of hidden now but to get to it simply hold down the Option key when you select File.

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The Safety and Security of your Personal Information

With all the headlines these days about data breaches, hackers, and spyware it is understandable that the safety of your information in cyberspace is on everyone’s mind these days. When we hear about companies such as TJ Maxx, Target and, most recently, TurboTax (hmm…companies that begin with the letter “t”…) getting hacked and potentially losing critical customer information, it can make consumers hesitant to use a lot of this brilliant new technology.

Here are a few ways Apple ensures the safety of your information and a few tips on how to protect your information:

Passwords, passwords, passwords…they can be the bane of our existence and are so hard to remember: “What password did I use for this site?? Is it case sensitive?? Did I use letters or numbers?? Holy cow that’s a lot to remember. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5!?!? That’s the same combination I have on my luggage!!!”

The strength of your password goes a long way towards protecting your information. As you might imagine, a password like “password1234” is not a very strong password. As time goes by, the requirements for passwords have become stricter and stricter as criminals devise more and more ingenious ways to steal your information. I personally recommend using a name and a year to begin with. This ensures its an easy password to remember, but not easy for someone to guess. Make certain it’s at least 8 characters. Add a capital letter and a special character to your password to make it even stronger! For example “Jenny5309!” is an example of a strong password. It has more than 8 characters, a combination of letters and numbers, a capital letter and a special character. It would be difficult for anyone to guess (unless they happen to have a family member named Jenny who was born in September of 1953.) It’s easy for you to remember because you do!

Oh and FYI, nobody at Apple, or Small Dog Electronics has access to your passwords. If anyone ever calls or emails and asks you to give them your passwords, please feel free to refuse that information to ANYONE. That goes for any other password you use, whether it be for your email or your bank account.


Ahh, the iCloud, is it up in the sky? Where exactly IS this cloud and will it follow me around dropping rain on me wherever I go??

Here’s a great source of information on iCloud.

Our main concern here is the security of your information. The iCloud uses a minimum of 128-bit encryption and as much as 256-bit to safeguard your information. What is encryption you ask? In the simplest of terms, your computer uses your password like a key to unlock your information. In the case of 128-bit encryption, your computer has THE single key to unlock ONE lock out of a possibility of 6 trillion locks. That’s trillion with a T! As you can imagine, that is a great number of locks to try to pick. Major financial institutions, the government and the military also use between 128 and 256-bit encryption.

One of the major benefits of owning an Apple computer rather than a PC has always been they are less susceptible to viruses, trojans, malware, and other nasty bugs out there. This is still true, however some still slip through. These programs can wreak havoc on your system and cause general headaches all around.

“Lets be careful out there.” This applies to the internet as well as the mean streets. Use strong privacy settings on social media sites. Use caution when entering financial information online. Look for a tiny picture of a padlock in the bottom right hand corner of the page you are on. Another way to tell if a site is secure is the web address. Sites with a web address that begins with https let you know the site is secure. Make sure your operating system stays up to date and your firewall is active.

If you start to get pop ups, advertisements, and other annoyances don’t fret; there is an easy fix. Follow these steps to rid your computer of theses hooligans by following these steps to the letter.

Woof, arf, woof! (Don’t forget to have fun!)

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Keeping Tabs on Friends & Family

Sometimes it’s important for loved ones and friends to know your location. Whether it is for safety reasons or just because you just like knowing where they might be while running errands, iOS 8 and your iPhone make it super-simple. There are two ways to let your friends know where you are at any given time with iOS 8 and an app you use every day: Messages.

Simply launch the Messages app on your iPhone and tap into a conversation or create a new one. Once there, tap on the Details button in the upper right. Once you’re on the Details screen, you can send or share your location with the two blue buttons.

  • Send your location immediately:

Tapping “send my current location” will immediately send a map image with your location pinpointed by a red pin. The location will show up on your friend’s iPhone right away, just like any other photo message.

  • Share your location details with people over a prescribed amount of time:

If you’d like to give your friend rights to see your location over a select period of time, choose “Share My Location”. You’ll be prompted to select from the following options: Share…

1.) for One Hour
2.) Until End of Day
3.) Indefinitely

Once chosen, your friend will have permission to see where you are for that period of time. Now you’ll be able to “bump” into your best friend while out and about. I use this feature when traveling long distances so my hosts know when to expect me without having to send a text saying “be there in 5 min”. Super-easy and no more effort than using your Messages app. Hooray for not needing to install another app!

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