I’ve been trying out the world of Android Phones recently with a Google Pixel phone. Overall I have been surprised at how simple and effortless it has been to use my Google pixel phone alongside my Macintosh OS X. I was expecting it to be a lot harder to synchronise the Google phone to my Macintosh computer but if anything I have found it easier than my old iPhone.
Each individual application syncs its own data across the internet between the Google phone and OS X. Everything else gets synchronised by Google. I have found this approach surprising simple. It’s just a matter of finding the best application for each job.
Here’s a list of applications that I have found that will nicely share data between OSX, iOS and Android.
You can mount a ‘Google Drive’ onto you Mac, it’s a neat cloud based storage solution from Google. The Google Drive sits on your desktop. It looks like a regular hard drive and the contents of the folder are automatically available to anyone else who has access to the same Google Drive.
Google Drive is similar but different to dropbox. When you move a file into dropbox the file is moved into dropbox, like you would expect if you were moving a file into a different folder. (The file is not copied, it is moved.) But when you drag a file into your Google Drive it doesn’t move the file, it creates a copy of the file. It’s more like copying the file to a thumb drive.
Because of this difference in the way they behave, Dropbox feels like it’s a folder on your computer like any other folder, it just happens to be shared with others. But Google Drive has a different feel. It feels like a foreign hard drive that is out there in the cloud and you happen to have access to it from your computer. Each have their advantage, and I use both.
Another big point of difference is that Google Drive requires an active internet connection. Last week our internet was down, and I went to access a file in my Google Drive, and I could see it, but not access it without a web connection. Dropbox syncs the 2 folders completely, so they are available offline as well.
We use Google Drive to share documents across our organisation. I use dropbox to share files that I am working on across my own personal computers. I find it really useful to have this distinction in my head. Files that I want to share with other people – Google Drive. Files that I want to share with myself – Dropbox. Of course, you could use these tools any way you want but that’s the way I have found myself using them.
Here’s how to get Google Drive going.
Many businesses have a G-Suite account, Google give them to non for profit organisations for free. A G-suite account includes 30GB of Google Drive space free to each user. It also has a clever permission system where certain folders can be shared with members of teams. So you can set up various teams, put people in those teams, and any files placed in a folder for that team will be automatically shared with the users of that team.
NOTE: This doesn’t work anymore, it’s broken in Mojave, I’ve written an updated article here about the fix.
If you plug an Android phone into your computer the Photos app will open like it does with an iPhone, but it may not see the photos on your Android Phone. This happened to me on my Nexus 5X phone and I needed to give the phone permission to share the photos with my computer. It’s the same for any Android phone. Continue reading 〉
If you watch TV on your Macbook or iMac here’s a great tip. I’m not sure what happens in the rest of the world, but in Australia when you stream TV on demand from stations like channel 10 or SBS you get between 30 seconds and 2 minutes of ads every 10 minutes or so. The same happens if you watch TV on demand via Apple TV.
But you can avoid those ads! If you watch TV on demand using the Chrome browser in OS X with the ‘Ad Block’ plug-in enabled, all the ads disappear! It completely skips all the ads and just plays the content. Continue reading 〉
In this Google Pixel review I commented that one of the frustrating things about the Google Pixel phone was that sometimes it missed incoming text messages. In fact this was so critical to me that it caused me to switch back to my iPhone. I have since discovered that this was not a problem with my Google pixel phone at all, but rather a problem with Apple messages. If you are changing phones from an iPhone to a different brand, make sure you turn off iMessage first.
I have now been running macintoshhowto.com for 10 years. Here is a graph of visitors over the last 10 years:
You will notice that there are some turning points on the curve. Most of these changes correspond to Google changing their Page Rank algorithms. For example macintoshhowto.com was slowly and steadily growing in popularity until April 2012, when there was a slight drop. This corresponds to when Google released ‘Penguin’ which was a change in the way they show their search results.Most of the other changes in the graph also correlate to some kind of a Google update.
Google is trying to tweak its search results to encourage good sites and get rid of spam sites. But I have discovered two ways in which these Google rankings algorithms negatively impact the way people create websites. Continue reading 〉