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#778: AirPrint Activator, Searching in Safari, Meet Ditto


Happy Tuesday,

Matt invited me to write the introductory note to Tech Tails this week as a means of introducing myself to you, our readers. I have recently joined the marketing team at Small Dog as social media and web publications specialist, although I have been working at the Waitsfield headquarters in other capacities since the beginning of the year. I’m looking forward to keeping our blog, newsletter and social communities readers apprised of all things Apple and Small Dog!

It feels like summer has finally arrived here in Vermont. Here at Small Dog, I generally eat lunch at one of the picnic tables on the lawn. My guess is that this trend will continue well into October. Although I’m a fan of seasons in general, I must say that late summer and early fall are my favorite times of year.

As we enter August, it’s time for many readers to start thinking about the upcoming school year. Whether or not you’re a student or educator, Mac OS 10.7 Lion includes several features that will likely change the way you work. Two that I’m particularly excited about are Resume and Versions. Resume launches apps exactly as they appeared when you closed them—even if you restart your computer. Versions saves previous drafts of your work, allowing you to review earlier drafts and restore content you’ve since revised or deleted. I can only imagine how handy these features will come in for students and think that all users will benefit from them as well!

Thanks for reading,

  AirPrint Activator  

So, you have an iOS device and would love to print wirelessly from it. The only problem is you don’t have one of the 25 HP printers that have the compatible “ePrint” feature built in and you don’t want to replace the printer you already own. Out of luck? Not necessarily.

AirPrint Activator is a free application that can be downloaded to your Mac (or PC, see system requirements). It is even compatible with the awesome new OS X 10.7 Lion you just updated to. This application takes the printer you already have hooked up to your computer and shares it over your wireless network, letting iOS devices see it as well.

Once you have installed the application from the link below, launch AirPrint Activator. You’ll only have to turn it on once. It will remain on even after rebooting your computer. Enter your Administrator password and AirPrint Activator with tell you that activation is complete. You’ll have to remove your printer from System Preferences and re-add it before you can begin printing wirelessly from your iOS devices.

To do so, go to System Preferences, Print & Fax, and select the printer. Click the minus symbol to remove it and click the plus symbol to re-add it. Check off “Share this printer on the network”. Your iOS devices will now see the printer over your network and be able to print wirelessly to it!

Click here to install AirPrint Activator and enjoy!

  Searchin' Safari  

If you haven’t assumed it already, I’m a bit of a nutcase when it comes to searching for stuff on my Mac. I use Spotlight every few minutes, Google like a pro and also have little patience for locating relevant sections of websites I visit while doing research.

Some websites are designed in a way that makes skimming text difficult, and some pages are just so long that I don’t want to skim the whole thing. To find a word or chunk of text in a webpage, simply press command-F and type what you’re looking for. All instances of that text will be highlighted, making for easy at-a-glance skimming. To move to the next instance of searched-for text, press command-G (Find Again), and to move to the previous instance, press command-shift-G.

This tip works in Firefox, too. I haven’t tested it in Google Chrome, Opera or other Web browsers, but it’s a good bet these browsers offer similar or identical features.

The shift key functions in this same fashion when combined with other keyboard shortcuts. For example, you can simulate the function of a Page Down key by pressing the space bar in Safari, Preview, Adobe Reader and many other applications. Pressing shift-space is like pressing Page Up. Command-` will rotate through open windows in an application, and shift-command-` will rotate through them backwards. Same with the Application Switcher.

I love keyboard shortcuts!

  Don't Fear Terminal; Meet Ditto  

It’s very common for technicians to run into hard drives or files that are on the brink of failure or that contain corrupted files, which can hang up traditional back-up and transfer methods. Disk Utility can be used to create an image of a folder or drive but tends to throw an input/output error at the slightest hesitation, like those caused by failing drives or corrupted files.

SuperDuper is much better at making disk images from failing drives or corrupted source material; while not the best tool for the job, it does seem to be the most versatile. I urge you to buy your own copy and support the developer of this fantastic tool:

Ditto is a command-line tool that will copy, block by block, the information from one directory (the source) to another (the destination). It’s very simple and does not care about hesitation from mechanical or logical failures. This said, it will not extract data from a hard drive that’s too far gone. I like to use Ditto in verbose mode, just so I can see that it’s working and how far along it is.

Many people avoid Terminal for fear of typing all those long commands and file paths. Not an unjustified fear, but you can simply drag the source and destination right into the terminal window and the paths will be automatically entered for you. Here’s how to use Ditto my favorite way.

Assuming you have a Terminal window open, simply type the following (but leave off the brackets):

ditto -v [source] [destination]

If you’re copying a folder on your Desktop to your Documents folder, it would look like this:

ditto -v /Users/matt/Desktop/stuff/ Users/matt/Documents

The guide to using Ditto, and every other command-line application, can be found by typing man x in terminal, where ‘x’ is the name of the application. So, for Ditto’s user guide, simply type man ditto and then press return.

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