Report: Apple to hold iPad mini media event on October 23
A reader sent a note today letting me know that you can now set the default email address in your iCloud account to @mac.com, @me.com or @icloud.com. I don’t know how long it’s been like that, but I hadn’t noticed it before.
Just sign-in to iCloud, open the Mail app and go to Settings > Composing.
Online passwords: keep it complicated
I’m loving these articles that Dave Caolo is putting together. This one is on how to use the Do Not Disturb feature on the iPhone.
In today’s world, all companies need to be able to function in chaotic, unpredictable business environments. Emerging multinationals already know how to do that — it’s what they’re used to. Take Bimbo, the world’s largest bread baker. The company, founded in 1945 by a Spanish immigrant to Mexico, uses execution excellence to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances and customer preferences.
Initially seeking low-cost and relatively unsophisticated ways to grow, the firm expanded its operations throughout Latin America in subsequent decades. It made its first U.S. acquisition in 1996, thanks in large part to a focus on optimal efficiency in oven utilization and delivery routes. By 2012 it had swallowed up more than a dozen U.S. firms, including the bakery divisions of Weston Foods and Sara Lee.
Bimbo’s executives understand that in a low-margin business like theirs, execution is crucial. Profits depend heavily on getting the right amount of highly perishable products to stores at the right moment and at a reasonable cost. In many markets, “stores” are mainly mom-and-pop outlets scattered many miles from one another over poor roads. To make such customers profitable, Bimbo searches relentlessly for ways to eliminate waste and increase the efficiency of its operations.
The same approach served Bimbo well when it acquired the bakery division of Sara Lee, the huge U.S. food, beverage, and personal-care company. For years, sales for Sara Lee’s bread business had been declining because of what we see as a lack of focus on maintaining high standards in execution. Success would have entailed continual improvements in production and distribution efficiency, but the company did not choose to pursue that approach. In 2010 Sara Lee sold the bread business to Bimbo, which applied its execution focus to the business.
Bimbo’s leaders are continually on the road, looking for ways to improve the productivity of its 100 plants on three continents, its huge truck fleet, and other operational elements. For instance, it uses tricycle delivery bikes in urban areas of China where streets are too narrow for trucks, a practice it first implemented in Latin America. At the same time, all of its trucks are equipped with sophisticated computer systems to optimize delivery routes.
As Bimbo has expanded, it has adapted to consumer trends and local preferences, creating niches all over the world. Even in China, a country in which bread is little more than a culinary footnote, Bimbo has found a responsive customer base among young, urban consumers, successfully offering individually wrapped snacks such as beef rolled in bread.
If there is a vision at Bimbo, it’s chief executive Daniel Servitje’s insistence on keeping “a firm grip on the day-to-day realities” of operations. Many emerging multinationals maintain a similar focus on execution. Often, the only way for those companies to compete with their better-capitalized rivals in the developed world is to keep costs very low through a combination of operational excellence and cheap labor. Bimbo’s choice to focus more intently on execution than on detailed planning suggests that the company’s leaders understand the danger of becoming encumbered by rigid internal rules about which markets to target and how — rules that have prevented developed-world multinationals from moving more quickly into the booming markets of the developing world. Instead of getting bogged down in planning, Bimbo takes chances, experiments, gets market feedback quickly, and does what’s needed to improve its value proposition to customers.
Bimbo is just one example of an emerging-market multinational that is demonstrating a surprising ability to surmount business challenges that developed-world companies have avoided or given up on. Unencumbered by complicated or calcified rules about which markets to focus on and how to grow, these firms are achieving success by executing first and analyzing later, pursuing headlong expansion, and embracing turbulent markets.
Keyboard Maestro always sounded like a useful app, but I wasn’t sure how I would ever use it. Now that I have it, I keep finding new ways to use it.
I think Keyboard Maestro is perhaps one of the more difficult apps to explain, because how I use it might vary greatly from how you use it, but once you get to know how it works and some of the things it can do, maybe you’ll see how you might use it.
At its simplest, Keyboard Maestro can do things like TextExpander where you type a few letters and have it expand to a much larger message, but that’s really a narrow view of what it does. In fact, I prefer to use TextExpander for those sorts of uses. I use Keyboard Maestro for more complicate situations.
For example, have you ever tried to add a bunch of iOS apps to an iTunes library, only to have iTunes warn you that some of the apps already exist? If you have, you know what follows. Each time iTunes finds a duplicate application, it will stop everything and ask if you want to replace the app until you press “OK” and then it will continue. Keyboard Maestro can wait until iTunes asks and then answer for you. I once left iTunes running like that and went to lunch, letting Keyboard Maestro do the menial work for me.
Keyboard Maestro can trigger events to happen when an app quits or when it launches. For example, when SuperDuper launches, Keyboard Maestro automatically unmounts my Time Machine backup (because I don’t want Time Machine to interfere with SuperDuper). When SuperDuper quits, Keyboard Maestro unmounts the SuperDuper clone (otherwise Spotlight tends to find apps and files on both drives) and remounts my Time Machine drive.
When I am using Microsoft Word and have an open document, Keyboard Maestro automatically saves the file for me every 3 minutes, so I never have to worry about losing work.
Mac OS X supports customizable keyboard shortcuts for menu items, but they have to include the Command key (⌘). With Keyboard Maestro, I can assign any keyboard combination I want, and if I accidentally use the same keyboard combination twice, Keyboard Maestro will pop up a menu and let me choose between the two of them.
As I mentioned, the key (no pun intended) to using Keyboard Maestro is to start getting into the mindset of thinking “Could I automate this?” whenever you find yourself doing something repeatedly.
All told there were twelve steps involved for each article, and some of those steps had multiple keystrokes involved, such as ‘type my email address.’ (Actually I was typing my Send To Dropbox email address, so the PDF and the email body with the citation would also get saved.)
With Keyboard Maestro, once I decide that I want to save an article, I simply press one keyboard combination, and it does all of the necessary steps. It even brings me back to the previous page so I can continue searching. Not only does Keyboard Maestro do these s steps approximately 100 times faster than I could, it never accidentally misspells my email address, or hits the ‘tab’ key three times instead of two times, or forgets to check the box that says ‘Yes, include the PDF in the email.’
The end result is that I have more time to spend doing what I want to do (looking for interesting articles) and don’t have to spend any time or mental energy on the boring, repetitive, easy-to-make-a-mistake parts.
As someone who tests a lot of software, I find myself running Installer.app a lot. Anyone who does this a lot knows that there are usually about 5-6 different screens that you have to go through from start to finish.
If you’ve done that often enough, you know that you can press ‘Enter’ and ‘Tab’ (or Shift + Tab) to get through those, but it’s a lot faster to have Keyboard Maestro do it for you. (You’ll still have to enter your password manually, so don’t worry about accidentally opening an installer and having something bad happen.)
I make backups of my calendar and contacts information every week. Well, at least I always intend to. But, well, if it relies on me remembering to do it, I probably won’t do it.
With Keyboard Maestro I can schedule this backup to happen automatically. So now, every Monday at 9:00 a.m. I get a Growl alert which says “Backing up Contacts” (which alerts me that it’s about to happen so I don’t accidentally interfere with it), then the Contacts app opens, and Keyboard Maestro selects File » Export » Contacts Archive… presses ‘Save’ when prompted, and then quits Contacts app.
Then the entire process repeats with BusyCal.
The whole process takes a few seconds, and all I have to do is wait.
(Speaking of automation, I won’t even mention that those backups are automatically saved to a particular folder using Default Folder X, and that once they are saved, Hazel automatically zips them and moves them to Dropbox. Oops. Well, maybe I’ll mention it just a little.)
Computers are great, but sometimes we have to do things that are repetitive and boring. Computers should be doing those repetitive and boring things for us. Keyboard Maestro makes it easy to get your computer to do some of those annoying things for you. All you have to do is figure out the parts that can be automated, and then sit back and watch as your computer works for you. OK, so Keyboard Maestro isn’t exactly a robot butler, but it’s still a step in the right direction.
A demo is available from the Keyboard Maestro website, a full license is US$36. While that may seem like a lot to the “Apps should be $1! Or free!” crowd, those of us who value our time and satisfaction will see it as money well spent. Download the trial and spend some time with it. Don’t dismiss it because there’s a learning curve. Start small and figure out some little ways to use it, and then watch as you develop the automation mindset. Once you get used to thinking this way, you’ll wonder why it took you so long.
via TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog http://www.tuaw.com/2012/10/01/keyboard-maestro-and-the-automation-mindset/