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Mail PDF via [some app other than Mail]

Published on October 29, 2016 by in useful stuff

You’ve probably come across the very handy ‘Mail PDF’ option in the Mac Print menu … in case you haven’t: select “Print” or ⌘+P – in the lower left corner of the print window that appears, there’s a drop-down box headed ‘PDF’; click on the arrow next to ‘PDF’ and that gives you an array of things you can do, including Mail PDF. Basically, this menu turns whatever you’re looking at into a PDF and allows you do Do Stuff with it – mail it, save it, etc etc.

Ok, so the PDF function is very very useful: I use it to save articles etc to Evernote, for example, and to mail PDFs of documents/articles/other stuff as necessary.

The Mail PDF function works fine … as long as you use Apple’s built-in Mail app. If you prefer/need to use another application (Outlook, Postbox, Airmail, etc etc) then at first glance, you’re out of luck. At second glance … you aren’t.

If you want to be able to mail PDFs from another email application, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the print window (⌘+P or select “Print” from the File menu)
  2. Click on the drop-down arrow next to “PDF” in the lower left corner
  3. Select the last option in the list, “Edit Menu…” (by the way – if you see … at the end of an option in a menu, it means there are further options that will appear when you click that option. Just FYI)
  4. The “Edit Menu…” option brings up a window titled “Printing Workflows:”. Basically, it’s a way of passing PDFs to other apps
  5. Click the + in the lower left corner
  6. That will bring up a Finder Window: navigate to your Application folder and, from there, select whichever email app you prefer/need to use. Click “Open” (don’t worry, it doesn’t actually open the app)
  7. You’ll be taken back to the “Printing Workflows:” window, and the name of the app you’ve just selected will now appear on the list in that window
  8. If you want to change the entry from the app name on the list to something a bit clearer (e.g.: change “Outlook” to “Send PDF with Outlook”) then click on the app name; it’ll be highlighted and you will be able to change the wording on the list to something else (doesn’t change the functionality – just the entry that appears in the menu list after).
  9. Once you’re done, click “Ok”
  10. That’ll take you back to the Print window. Click on the arrow next to “PDF” again, and you’ll find your new entry in the list … click it, and you should find you have a new mail message created with the relevant article/document etc that you sent to print as a PDF attachment to the mail message.
  11. Write the text of the email and send as usual!

This works for things other than emailing – many programs (Scrivener, Evernote) put their own “Save as PDF to …” functions into this menu but (in theory) any program that can handle a PDF can be added. For example, I use Things as a project/task app these days, and have added “Send PDF to Things” to the PDF print menu; that creates a new task in Things with the PDF as a note, which can be useful for saving background material for a task.

 
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ECJ decides Safe Harbor isn’t safe – rethink cloud storage

Published on October 7, 2015 by in security

Rethink your use of cloud storage which relies on the US Safe Harbor program for data protection compliance – the ECJ has decided it’s not EU data protection compliant. In particular, consider your use of Evernote, Amazon, Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive etc – all of these may (probably do) store data in the US. If you don’t run your own (preferably zero knowledge) encryption, your use of these services may no longer meet data protection requirements.

 
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… all evidence to the contrary …

Published on October 2, 2015 by in Uncategorized

I have not actually forgotten the existence of this site. I just have been a tad over-busy with work and various other professional commitments. Updates for this site are on my to-do list and will appear … eventually.

Let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see information on.

 
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Dropbox and securing data

Published on June 6, 2012 by in Uncategorized

Just a quick post – I’ll update with more details at some point soon.

I’ve usually used encrypted folders with Dropbox for client material and other stuff where I want to make sure that I control the security on those files – Dropbox does store material in encrypted format, but that’s controlled by Dropbox and they’d have to hand over keys etc to the US Government if asked, and wouldn’t necessarily be able to notify the user. I’d rather know what’s going on with my data, thank you (and no, it’s not very secret squirrel stuff, but I’d prefer to avoid awkward conversations with the Bar Council and the ICO in the remote possibility that something did happen).

Anyway – after that ramble – encrypted folders are all well and good but not always that easy to use/set up etc. And they seem to chew up quite a lot of disk space.  I’m currently testing out SecretSync which seems to resolve all of that. I’ll report back soon to let you know whether it works as well as it seems to …

 
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Windows, nothing but Windows?

Published on April 5, 2012 by in Uncategorized

One of the minor irritations of using a Mac is the minority (but very irritating minority) of software that insists you have a Windows computer – this post prompted by a verbal shrug of the shoulders from a company that should know better when I asked why they effectively wanted me to go and buy a new computer to be able to run a piece of software that I had to use for a particular issue. The software in question is run through a website: through a browser. It should be platform agnostic but, since it seems to have been written with a proprietary Microsoft platform, it doesn’t play well on Macs.

So, what to do?

Read more…

 
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Viruses – follow-up to previous post

Published on April 5, 2012 by in Uncategorized

Just in case you needed the reminder to install anti-virus software (or anti-malware software, as it should be known), there’s a report out now that there’s over 600,000 Macs infected by the Flashback trojan – a ‘trojan’ requires some user action to install itself, unlike a virus which usually automatically deploys. Trojan writers are getting better at social engineering to try and persuade you install the thing; this one mostly uses a fake Adobe Flash Player installer.

This particular Trojan seems to have various flavours and does things such as scan for usernames and passwords for Paypal etc.

 
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Fending off viruses

Published on March 8, 2012 by in Uncategorized

Huh, what? The Mac has no viruses. What’s the point of this post?

Well yes, unlike some other operating systems, Mac OS X is fairly virus-free – there are some proof-of-concept viruses out there, and some not particularly nice hacks etc, but not the constant bombardment that goes on elsewhere. But – and there had to be a but – the pretty, shiny, iPhone and iPad candy released by Apple over the last few years has increased the number of Macs sold as well.  That makes Macs a bit more tempting as a target; the operating system is still reasonably secure, and you’ve all made sure that the firewall is running, right?

Nevertheless, on the basis that prevention is better than cure, and even with the security of backups (post on this coming soon!) you should think about putting some anti-virus software in place.  It doesn’t hurt, and it can stop you passing on some of the Office-type macro nasties that might come in (these don’t generally affect Macs, but can be passed on if you forward the document, which could be a little anti-social).

Software to look at:

  • Sophos: updated regularly, and doesn’t get in my way, from a reputable company. Irritatingly difficult to buy a single-user licence for (there’s a free home version, but the licence agreement doesn’t permit use in business.  Well, it tries to exclude that use. I have some nitpicks over the wording, but that’s clearly what it’s trying to do. If you use a Mac at home, get this though).
  • Norton: I haven’t used Norton in years, so can’t comment from personal experience.  Anyone out there use it?
  • McAfee: again, not something I’ve used in years, so can’t comment – let me know what you think if you use it.

If I get any comments on these programs (or any others that people use), I’ll update this.

 

 
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Scrivener: how do I get my stuff out of there and into Word (or Pages, or whatever?)

Published on March 7, 2012 by in useful stuff

Note: this post assumes you’re using Scrivener – originally designed by an author for use by authors, Scrivener is a god-send to barristers and anyone else who’s trying to wrangle rather a lot of information into some form of sense.  It allows you to put together a document in a non-linear way, so that you can break the document down into small chunks and work on those independently, and move them around without having to cut & paste.  You can also add your research to the project and see it in a window next to your writing, so that you cross reference etc.  I’ll do an intro to Scrivener at some point but, by request, this post is about how to get your stuff out of Scrivener and into a form that you can send to the court, solicitors, clients, etc.

PS: I’m procrastinating this evening, I can’t promise this quick a response to requests every time.

Read more…

 
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Where did my Library go?

Published on March 7, 2012 by in useful stuff

Those who’ve been using Macs for a while may remember that there was a Library folder in your home folder, once upon a time.  It saves some useful information (application settings etc).  Upgrading to Lion, it looks like it’s disappeared – in fact, it’s just hidden.  Very well hidden.

If you do need to track it down for some reason, the quick way to get at it is to click on ‘Go’ in the Finder menu and hold down the alt key.  Your Library will reappear in the list there (about halfway down).

[with thanks to 318 Tech Journal]

 
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Restore from Time Machine backups

Published on February 29, 2012 by in backup, security

You all use Time Machine on an external drive to backup your Mac, right? If you don’t, you use some other backup system that you’re happy with (ie: you back up at least once a day with it, you’ve tested it by restoring files from it to make sure you can get your data back, you know you can get your stuff back within a short time if it all goes horribly wrong).

If you don’t have Time Machine and don’t have another backup that you trust then stop reading NOW, go to an electronics store (Maplin’s on High Holborn will do and no, I don’t get commission from them.  They’re just near the various Inns) and buy an external drive at least the same size as your Mac hard drive*. Bring it back to chambers, plug it in to your Mac and start Time Machine running.  Buy a coffee on the way back too, it’ll take a while to back up your stuff and you might as well be comfortable as you continue to read (and I’ll do a more detailed post on backups at some point soon).

When it all does go horribly wrong (and it will.  There are two certainties in life: the death of any given hard drive, usually at the worst possible moment, and the taxes you’ll save as the new drive will be a deductible expense) then you’re probably going to have to get a new hard drive.  To be honest, hard drives are best considered disposable these days anyway. They should last at least a year – some will trundle on forever (I have the Little Laptop That Could still going at home, with the original hard drive. It’s about six or seven years old). Some will crash and burn in flames in a little over a year (less than a year and you should be able to claim on the warranty. If you kept all the relevant information, usually including your inside leg measurement and proof of the temperature in Hell on the you bought the drive).

Either way, you are pretty likely to end up with a shiny new hard drive in your slightly less shiny and rather less new laptop or desktop at some point.  Step 1 is to reinstall the operating system (probably OS X Lion at this stage, maybe Mountain Lion if you’re reading this in a year’s time). Step 2 is then offered by the system’s Migration Assistant: do you want to transfer your information from Time Machine or another disk.  Transferring your information from Time Machine is basically doing a restore from Time Machine.

That’s all fine, dandy and works.  But just one small solitary word of warning: if, for some reason, you:

  • have two computers with you in chambers (the one with a new drive that you’re putting everything back onto and, say, a laptop that you’re using to get some urgent stuff done whilst the new drive is restuffed with the operating system and your apps and data); and
  • they are both on the same wireless network

then be very very careful. Migration Assistant asks whether  you want to transfer your information from Time Machine or another disk.  When you select this option, the drives of any other Mac on the network will show up as well as your Time Machine backup.  If you happen to use the same name for all your hard drives (or am I the only idiot who does that?) it’s not necessarily going to be obvious that you picked the other computer instead of the backup.

No harm done if your laptop and desktop happen to be mirrors of each other anyway, but it took me an embarrassingly long time yesterday to figure out why my computer had apparently only done a partial restore of applications (my laptop has a fairly minimal set of applications, as it’s intended for lecturing etc and doesn’t have most of the additional utility/productivity apps I use on the main chambers machine).

I have now renamed the hard drive on my laptop.

 

*You have no idea what the size of your hard drive is? Right click on the icon for the hard drive on your desktop and select “Get Info”. The “Capacity” line in the window that pops up is the size of the drive. Pick a hard drive that’s at least that size or larger (eg: my drive reports that its capacity is 499.25 GB – so I need a backup drive that’s at least 500GB.  You might want to go larger because it gives Time Machine more room for old backups (I promise I’ll explain Time Machine in another post)).

 
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