Create your own return address labels

Sending mail is always more fun with custom labels, and it’s not that difficult to create your own! Here’s how I do it:

  • Purchase Avery Return Address Labels at your local office supply store. I use #8167.
  • Download the Microsoft Word template for your product.
  • Open the template in Word, design your label, and print!

Parental controls

Parental controls

Want to allow your kids to use your computer, but don’t want them surfing unsafe websites or using the computer for too long? Parental Controls is a feature that allows you to create a separate user account and limit that that user can do. For example, you can create a simplified desktop that’s easier to use, limit application use, limit which websites can be accessed, limit who can be emailed or chatted with, limit time usage, hide certain words using a profanity filter, and more.

  • Go to Apple menu > System Preferences and then click Users & Groups
  • Click the lock icon to make changes, and then type in your computer name and password.
  • Click the plus (+) sign under “Login Options” and choose “Managed with Parental Controls”
  • Fill out the remaining fields and Create User.
  • Select the account and then click the “Open Parental Controls” button
  • From here you can customize your settings.

More information on Macworld.com

Remove annoying Facebook features

Facebook PurityOver the years, Facebook has added a lot of obnoxious features to their website (i.e. Top Stories, App Requests, Gifts, Ads, etc). Thankfully there is a free browser plugin for Safari/Firefox/Chrome that will allow you to customize and remove many of the things you don’t like.

  • Go to F.B. Purity and install the plugin for your browser of choice.
  • After you install the plugin, you will see a “F.B. Purity” link at the top of your Facebook feed. If you click on the link, it will open a window where you can make all sorts of customizations.
  • See the user guide for additional help.

Turn off animation in iPhone/iPad’s iOS7

Reduce motion in iOS7Is all the movement in the new iOS7 making you ill? Thankfully Apple has just released an update (7.0.3) that allows you to turn off the animation (when apps open/close) and the parallax effect (background shifts when you move your phone). Just follow these steps:

  • Upgrade to 7.0.3: Go to Settings > General > Software Update.
  • Go to Settings > General > Accessibility. Turn “Reduce Motion” on.
  • Enjoy the good feelings in your stomach and eat some pizza.

Customize your Android phone

The great thing about Android phones is that you can customize so much of how they work: the keyboard, home screen widgets, and even the text messaging interface. Here are some of my favorite apps for customizing Android:

Disable auto-correct in Apple Lion

By default, Mac OS 10.7 (Lion) and 10.8 (Mountain Lion) come with a new auto-correct feature that attempts to correct typos and misspelled words on the fly. If you find this annoying, it’s an easy feature to disable.

  • Open System Preferences (go to the Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen)
  • Choose Language & Text
  • Click on the “Text” tab and uncheck the box next to “Correct spelling automatically”

Label your Finder folders by color

The Mac Finder is the window that pops up with a listing of all the files and folders on your computer. Did you know you can label these folders and files by color? Just right-click (or control-click) on the folder/file, and under Label choose your color. I like to do this with frequently accessed folders so I can find them more easily.

Making your iPad kid-friendly

If you have a young child (2-4yrs) using your iPad, make sure to disable the multi-touch gestures first. When enabled, if the kid uses more than three fingers inside of an app they may close the app or switch to a different screen by accident and not understand what they did. When disabled, the only way to leave an app is to use the home button, which is less frustrating and easier for a young child to understand.

To disable gestures, go to Settings > General and turn off “Multitasking Gestures”.

Filtering your Gmail

Filters, like Labels allow you to organize your Gmail. You can set up rules that will automatically categorize or file messages depending on custom criteria you specify. For example, maybe you want emails from your Mom to be labeled “Family”, or you want emails sent from your boss to go directly in the Trash.

In Gmail’s search box, click on the drop-down arrow on the right. First find the messages you want to label or file: Type in a name or email address in the From box, and/or a word in the Subject box (i.e. Receipt, Itinerary). Then click on the “Create filter with this search” link. Now choose what you want to do with the messages you’ve specified. You have choices such as: Archive the message, Star it, Apply a label, Delete it, etc. Chose some actions and click “Create Filter”. If you want to apply this action to the matching conversations Gmail just found (see your Inbox), check that box first.

You can also set up email filters with:
Apple Mail
Thunderbird
Outlook
Yahoo