First Light!

from space video distribution to Mac computers

Welcome to my first post to the MacStuff mailing list/blog! My goal is to provide occasional content that will improve the life of Mac users who don’t live and breathe computer stuff. 

This first post includes a Mac feature you may not know about and a good deal on a MacBook/iPad/iPhone power supply.

Use an iPhone to Scan to Your Mac

Most Mac users also have an iPhone, and some may have an iPad, as well. Did you know you can use either device to scan a document or receipt, take a photo, or in some cases make a sketch directly into an email or document on your Mac? The feature is called Continuity Camera.

To scan a document, just right click (or Control-click) in a supported app and choose Insert from iPhone or iPad > Scan Documents.

An email with a pop-up menu selecting "Insert from iPhone or iPad > Scan Documents" selectedYour iPhone will switch into camera mode. Point the iPhone at a rectangular document, photo, receipt, or whatever, and the iPhone will automagically take a picture of just the document, adjusting for any angle or camera tilt. If the shot looks good, hit the Save button in the lower right corner.

 

The scan will appear on your Mac screen! And will likely look much better than this sample, which is a document that had been folded up in a pocket for 9 years…

You can actually scan multiple pages, with the result being a PDF document instead of an image.

If you choose Take Photo instead of Scan Documents in the first step you can insert a snapshot, while Add Sketch puts you into a mode that lets you draw with your fingers. I don’t have the talent for sketching, but I could see how talent + an iPad + an Apple pencil could be pretty useful.

For the above to work, the devices need to be on the same network and have Bluetooth enabled. And you need to be using the same Apple ID on both devices, using two-factor authentication.

 

GaN Chargers

I just ordered the Monoprice 100W 4-Port USB-C GaN Fast Wall Charger on sale for $36 with travel in mind. It’s a Fairly large plug-in charger with two USB-C and two USB-A sockets, so will let me charge a laptop (if it has USB-C, which has been standard on MacBooks since mid-2018), an iPad, an iPhone, and an Apple Watch all at the same time. 

GaN chargers are smaller and more efficient (they get less hot/use less power) than traditional chargers. I’ve had pretty good luck with Monoprice, an electronics company that has been around for a long time and stands behind their gear well. 

Apple is now shipping GaN chargers, and they are very high quality but pretty expensive. If you want to buy a non-Apple charger for your Apple gear, I recommend going with a name brand (Anker, Belkin, Monoprice, etc.) and buy where you can be pretty sure you are getting the real thing. An ultra-cheap or knockoff power supply can easily start a fire or damage your devices!

Old MacBooks (including MacBook Air and MacBook Pro) have MagSafe power, and couldn’t be charged by USB. MagSafe 1 and MagSafe 2 cables were permanently connected to the charger. All early USB-C MacBooks could only be charged via USB-C. Recently, Apple went back to MagSafe (MagSafe 3) as an available port on the newest MacBooks, but USB-C is still an option for charging. MagSafe 3 cables connect to the power supply by USB-C. When I get a new laptop, I’m thinking the MagSafe 3 cable will travel with me for use with this charger, and I’ll use a USB-C charging cable into a small dock for use at my desk with a monitor and keyboard.

 

This edition of the MacStuff Newsletter is available online at https://bwalls.com/firstlight. All editions will be available on the MacStuff Blog

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