Update the App Store

Apple’s Mac app store needs some attention. It wouldn’t take a whole lot of effort to remove the rough edges that are ugly examples of neglect.

Show only Compatible Updates

Some Apple customers still like to use their older computers. I have an old MacBook Pro that I still use even though it has a core duo processor and can’t run OS software past Snow Leopard. The app store shows incompatible software updates because it doesn’t have the built in smarts to detect incompatible software.

For example, Textsoap won’t run on my MacBook Pro because it needs a newer processor.

It shouldn’t be listed as a pending software update because I haven’t clicked the link for showing incompatible updates.

Allow Updates to be Skipped

When Evernote acquired Skitch they released version 2 that actually removed a lot of features. I plan to stick with version 1 until the next version is better. The app store doesn’t allow me to dismiss software update notices that I don’t want.

Fix Notification Center

Notification center pops up a notice on my iMac that there are software updates. Since I don’t have a trackpad on my iMac there is no way to swipe the notification away. If I click the notification to get rid of it I am forced to open the app store and then quit it. Apple should recognize that not every configuration includes a trackpad so there should be a clickable way to dismiss the notification too.

Attention to design details especially making things work intuitively are what Apple should be known for. I hope Jony Ive does more than remove skeuomorphism with a flat interface style in upcoming Apple software updates. Apple’s success depends on it providing a good example of how software should be well designed by sweating the details.

Remote Support Made Easier

TeamView has an application that makes remote support a whole lot easier. If you want remote support just go to the TeamViewer download page as shown below and click the (Windows) QuickStart button shown circled in red in the photo below (As you can see there is also Mac software available too).

teamviewer_quicksupport

When you are ready for your support session double-click the TeamViewerQS.exe file you downloaded and provide the id and password to the support person on your call. This will allow a connection to your computer so the support person can see your screen and remotely control your keyboard and mouse while you watch. The support person can also share their screen to show things from their computer. This sure beats trying to blindly explain how to use or fix a computer over the phone.

PS. Just like batteries for most electronic purchases, the support person who uses the TeamViewer full software is not included. Contact me on Skype (glen.sharp) or email me glen@sharpinnovationsolutions.ca if you would like to be one of my supporter clients.

Seeing is Believing Tech Support for Mac

Some incredible things happen on computer screens and sometimes they are hard to describe or they include a lot of information that is too much work to copy down.

If you need help with something that happened on your screen take a picture of your screen and send a copy to your tech support.

Macintosh Screen Capture

Besides the standard screen capture Command (Apple)-Shift-3, there are other ways to capture the screen.

If you have Mac OSX, it’s easy to use the built-in key commands for grabbing a screen.

* Press Command (Apple)-Shift-4. The pointer turns into a bull’s eye.
Select the area of the screen you wish to capture. The screen area is captured and saved as a PDF file called Picture 1 on your desktop.

* If you hold down Control-Command (Apple)-Shift-4 while clicking the bull’s eye, the image is stored on the clipboard.

Grab Utility

If you have Mac OSX, you can also use the Grab Utility. This allows you to capture windows that are open.

* Open Grab (located in Applications/Utility).

* Choose Capture > Timed Screen.

* When the Timed Screen Grab dialog opens, click Start Timer.

* Click the menu you want to capture and keep the mouse button pressed until the Timer Screen Grab dialog closes and the picture appears.

example timed menu image

Example of a timed screen capture of a menu.

* Use the Grab preferences for options such as showing the pointer.

pointer type selection

pointer type example

To keep things organized and for safe keeping you can select the Picture 1 pdf file on your desktop, rename the file with a memorable name of your choosing, and save it in your Pictures folder. If you are taking lots of screenshots you might even want to create a screenshots folder within your Pictures folder or even folders by date. Then you can easily find your screenshots that you can send to tech support and prove that you are not crazy.

Skitch

Many of the screen shots I use are Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

There are lots of free programs (like Skitch) for doing fancier screen shots and annotating or editing them afterwards but have fun with the basics first.

Seeing is Believing Tech Support for Windows

Some incredible things happen on computer screens and sometimes they are hard to describe or they include a lot of information that is too much work to copy down.

If you need help with something that happened on your screen take a picture of your screen and send a copy to your tech support.

Windows Screen Capture

The PRINT SCREEN key allows you to capture the Desktop or individual windows. You’ll have to look for this key on your keyboard, it’s placement varies with the type of keyboard.

To capture the entire screen:

* Press the PRINT SCREEN key. The entire screen image will be placed on the clipboard.

* Open an application such as Microsoft Word, pull down the Edit menu and choose Paste. Or, press Ctrl-V to paste.

To capture the current window on your screen:

* Press the ALT + PRINT SCREEN key. A screen shot of the currently selected window will be placed on the clipboard.

To keep things organized and for safe keeping you can open the Paint program that is included in Windows accessories and paste your screen shot in that application. Then save the file with a memorable name of your choosing as a .JPEG file in your My Pictures folder. If you are taking lots of screenshots you might even want to create a screenshots folder within your My Pictures folder or even folders by date. Then you can easily find your screenshots that you can send to tech support and prove that you are not crazy.

PS There are lots of free programs for doing fancier screen shots and annotating or editing them afterwards but have fun with the basics first.