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#841: No More Waiting, You Don't Say..., Private Browsing in Safari

 
     
 

Hello all,

It seems this year doesn’t quite know how to proceed, at least here in the Champlain Valley. Last week, we saw flakes through the South Burlington window. Yesterday was downright balmy, and upon looking at the upcoming forecast, I’m thinking about reseeding my lawn in addition to my other fall projects I didn’t get done (like insulating my basement and raking my leaves).

I have recently been inspired to get up and get moving again, however, by two things: one is this week’s jump from the edge of space by Felix Baumgartner, and the other is James May’s Manlab, a series dedicated to getting up and doing things rather than…not doing things. Good fun and good stuff. Hope your fall projects are going well for you.

Thanks for reading!

Liam
liam@smalldog.com

 
   
     
  No More Waiting  
   
 

Have you ever gone to install an app or an update for an app and found that it says “Waiting” and then never changes? It’s probably one of the more irritating things I find in iOS; thankfully, it doesn’t occur very often for me. I’m going to give you all a few tips on getting around this bug if this happens to you.

One possible fix is to download the app on your computer using iTunes and try syncing it to your iDevice. Typically, this will fix the issue but we mobile users don’t always have the luxury of having access to our home computer to sync the device.

The second possible solution is to tap the icon so that it will pause the update. Then, go to the Updates section of the App Store and click on the button that says “Update.” This will resume the download and may unstick the app.

Thirdly, you can tap and hold on the app until it starts jiggling and delete the app. Then, re-download it from the App Store. This nuclear option will delete any custom settings you may have had, provided that you’re just doing an update to a preexisting app.

Lastly, go to Settings and then to iTunes & App Stores and log out of your account. Then restart your iPad and log back in.

Hopefully, one of these tips will help you out of the bind and get you back up and running.

 
   
     
  You Don't Say....  
   
 

People have been talking (occasionally with expletives) to their computers since way before they could listen. And while speech-to-text has been technically feasible for decades, it has not reached widespread adoption. Apple’s recent investments in data centers has allowed them to deploy services such as iCloud and Siri.

Siri’s lesser-known counterpart is simple speech-to-text dictation. This service is available to any Mac with Mac OS X 10.8, Mountain Lion, as well as the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, 4th generation iPod touch, and 3rd generation iPad.

On your iOS device, tap the microphone to the left of the space bar and start talking. On a Mac, make sure that dictation is turned on by navigating to the “Dictation & Speech” preference pane in System Preferences. Then, whenever you need to enter text, select a text field and press the fn (Function key) twice. You can speak continuously for up to 30 seconds at a time. When you are finished speaking, click Done or press the fn key twice again.

Dictating to your technological artifact is almost exactly like speaking to humanoid interlocutors, except for a few key differences. Computers have yet to master the intricacies of the more implicit parts of human speech, which means that punctuation, special characters, and symbols must be made explicit.

In order to become a better understood by your device, I would recommend devouring this knowledge base article.

Did you know you can say “smiley” and dictate a smiley emoticon? :)

 
   
     
  Private Browsing in Safari  
   
 

Everyone has their own personal internet browser preference. For one reason or another, you’ve chosen the browser that you currently use. Since I bought my first Mac, I had always used (and was satisfied with) Safari, because I didn’t see the point in trying out a different browser when it worked fine without issue.

At some point, though, I tried out Chrome, which ended up replacing Safari due to the multi-function address bar (Google search, or type in a URL). For the past few years, I have only been using Chrome — until the recent release on Mountain Lion, which incorporated an updated version of Safari, and guess what one of those updates was? A Google-searchable address bar. I could finally go back to my first love.

There was, however, one more hitch. Since I had started using Chrome, I had been using what’s called “Incognito” mode quite often. (Enough to warrant my memorization of the keyboard command that puts the browser into it.) Incognito mode basically involves using your browser as you normally would, but no information from the webpages visited is stored on your computer.

As an example, I use Incognito mode frequently when using a communal computer in my house. It allows me to confidently log into a website (Facebook, Gmail, etc.), and know that none of that information will be retained. Another use would be if you have two different email accounts with the same provider, and would like to log into both simultaneously.

Safari has an option like Chrome’s Incognito mode, called “Private Browsing”. To enable Private Browsing, simply click on “Safari” in the menu bar, and select “Private Browsing…”. A dialog box will pop up briefly explaining Private browsing, and asking you to confirm you would like to switch to it. You can bypass this dialog box the next time you enable it by holding the option key on your keyboard while clicking “Private Browsing.”

To make enabling Private browsing even easier/faster, I set up a keyboard command for it in my Keyboard preferences, located within System Preferences. Select the “Keyboard Shortcuts” tab, then click “Application Shortcuts.” Click on the + symbol, type in “Private Browsing” where it says “Menu Title”, and then type your keyboard shortcut in the second box. Hit “Add” and you’re all set. (Tip: if you weren’t aware of custom Keyboard Shortcuts, they can be used in most applications!)

 
   
     
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