How-Tos

Convert audio to ringtones using OS X Terminal

Have you encountered a sound bite, or perhaps a full song, that you would like to use as an alert or ringtone on your iPhone? If so, then you can do so using a simple utility available in the OS X Terminal to convert into a tone for your iOS device.

The utility is called "afconvert," which stands for "Audio File Convert" and is a tool that Apple has included in OS X since 2003. As its name suggests, this tool allows you to specify one audio file and convert it to another format, managing bitrates … Read more

View your iPhone on your Mac

Apple's iPhone and iPad support several options to display on larger screens, including using a VGA, HDMI, or DVI adapter. In addition, Apple supports its Wi-Fi-based AirPlay mirroring technology that allows streaming of the iPhone or iPad's screen to supported devices. This allows for viewing through projectors and on televisions which have this technology.

While this feature is convenient if you have a device that supports AirPlay mirroring, you might find that Apple's own line of Macs lack this feature. As with iOS, Apple has included AirPlay mirroring in OS X to stream to devices that support … Read more

How to send a text message via command line in OS X

OS X Daily recently outlined a new hint which allows you to send text messages to any SMS-supporting phone for free, from the OS X command line (or any OS with a command line supporting the "curl" command).

To do this, you use TextBelt, which is a Web-based SMS API that you can use to text messages using simple POST requests with the "curl" command. For example, to send a text message, you can run the following command:

curl http://textbelt.com/text -d number=4155551111 -d message="The Message Text"

In this example, … Read more

3 Spritz-like speed-reading apps for Android

When the Samsung Galaxy S5 was announced, details emerged about Spritz -- a speed-reading feature that comes built-in to some apps on the phone. Spritz uses rapid serial visual presentation, or RSVP, to display words one after another using a single focal point. The company calls this point the optimal recognition point, or ORP.

The technology isn't exactly new -- it dates back to the 1970s -- and it was even used in software for last decade's phones. In 2005 CNET covered a demo version of BuddyBuzz, mobile software that could display one word at a time on … Read more

How to disable or limit in-app purchases in iOS

Worried about your kids running up a big bill for in-app purchases on an iPhone or iPad? You can avoid sticker shock by disabling or limiting those purchases.

The parental controls that limit in-app purchases aren't new. They've been around since Apple added them in iOS 4.3 in 2011. But the option is worth revisiting in light of Apple's recent reaction to the legal trouble caused by the in-app purchasing process.

You must enter your iTunes password to confirm an in-app purchase. But by default, that password is good for 15 minutes. Make additional in-app purchases … Read more

Delete and manage old messages in Mail

While deleting messages from within an email client is an elementary task, there are several nuances and approaches in OS X mail that might be helpful, or at least slightly change the behavior of how Mail handles your messages when you use the delete function.

At its very basics, to delete a message in Mail you simply select it and press the Delete key (or choose the Delete option in the Mail toolbar). However, when you do this Mail will automatically select the next message in the direction you previously read.

What this means is, if you select a message … Read more

Add special effects to your smartphone movies

In my youth, I wanted nothing more than to make movies. But the tools just weren't available -- not on my budget, anyway. And even if I'd had a movie camera, special effects were out of the question. UFO invasions, dinosaur attacks, bomb explosions -- these were the purview of Industrial Light & Magic, not little Ricky Broida.

Oh, to be a kid again. Armed with nothing more than a smartphone and the right apps, you can shoot in razor-sharp HD and add all kinds of startlingly good special effects.

You handle the storyboarding and final edits; I'… Read more

Use EasyDownloader to save Instagram photos, videos

When you're checking out Instagram in a Web browser, it's easy to save a photo that you like. Videos might require a bit more work, but are still relatively simple to obtain. However, when you're using an Android device, saving photos and videos is a bit more difficult. Your choices are to crop screenshots or root your device.

Enter EasyDownloader, an app that will let you snag any photo or video you desire from your Instagram feed without the need for cropping or rooting. Instead, saving content is just a couple of taps away. Let's get … Read more

Use Meet Me Halfway for Android to find a meetup spot

When you're trying to meet up with a friend or family member, it's sometimes hard to decide on a halfway spot. You may prefer a restaurant that's near you, and the same may be true for the person you want to meet. Meet Me Halfway is an app to help find the places in the middle of two points, so travel is equal for both people.

Grab a copy of Meet Me Halfway for your Android device. The app is available for Android 2.2 and up.

Put in your address, or a point near, … Read more

Select a startup disk in OS X

If you need to boot to a secondary hard drive on your Mac, you can do so using several different means. For most PC systems, you will need to press F12, or another F-key, or perhaps the Escape or Delete keys when booting your system in order to select an alternative boot drive. To do this on a Apple computers, you use the Option key; however, there may be some constraints.

Generally you can start up or reboot your Mac, and simply hold the Option key once the screen goes black so that when it reboots it will show you … Read more