How Ben uses his Mac and On-line Help Tips

The February meeting was held on Friday the 12th. Ben gave the main presentation and showed us how he uses his Mac in his daily work as a professional photographer. Following that, Robert had some tips on how to find help with Apple problems on-line.

How I Use My Mac: Ben

In the second of our ‘How I use my Mac” presentations, Ben showed us how he uses his Mac as a professional photographer. He covered the process from receiving an assignment from a client, recording their requirements in Pages, planning photo shoots using Calendar and Maps and then selecting and editing the photos to produce the finished images.

He particularly highlighted how useful iCloud is in making the information he needs available wherever he is, at home on his iMac, on location with his Mac Book Pro and on his iPhone while traveling.

On the Mac, Ben uses a number of photo editing and management applications to select and process the photos he’s taken. His workflow consists of Photo Mechanic for selecting images and setting metadata, Aperture for initial preparation and PhotoShop for more in-depth editing. He also showed how Mission Control, Spaces and application switching using the Command+Tab keyboard shortcut help when working with multiple applications.

When the photos are complete they need to be transferred to the client who ordered them or to a photo agency for possible sale. Ben often uses services like Dropbox and also sometimes has to upload images via FTP, for that he uses CyberDuck.

Finding Help On-line

Robert gave a presentation on finding help with Apple problems online. He covered some useful tips for getting better results with search engines and suggested some Apple focused web sites that often have good information.

Search engine tips (these work on Google, Duck Duck Go and probably other search engines):

  • Put exact phrases you want to search for in double quotes e.g. “Apple Mac”.
  • Exclude words with - (minus) e.g. swift -taylor.
  • Search a specific site using site: e.g. unidentified developer
  • Exclude a site from results using -site: e.g. eject cd mac
  • Check out the advanced search for more options. On Google this is found under the cog menu. DDG has a page explaining its advanced search syntax.

Here are the sites Robert recommended for good information (but you should still check the comments and ratings of answers on those sites that give them):

Hints and Tips

DavidB mentioned that he’s been having problems with Apple dictation interpreting the number 4 as “for”. He found that you can say “numeral four” to make it understand. Apple has a list of dictation commands including this and many others.

David also recommended Units Plus Converter, a handy unit and currency converter for the iPhone and iPad. A free version with ads, Convert Units FREE app, is also available.


News we discussed included:

Music Memos - Apple’s new free sound recording app aimed at musicians.
Sparkle Updater Vulnerability - A problem has been found in this popular updater used by many third party applications. Apps downloaded from the Mac App Store are not affected.
Error 53 - Affecting iPhones which have that their Home button (with TouchID sensor) replaced by a third party repairer.
Night Shift - A new feature coming in iOS 9.3 which changes screen colours at night to help aid sleep. Robert mentioned that a free app f.lux is already available which performs a similar function on Macs.