Sharing Images with Mail and iChat

I have three tips to share today so maybe one will be right up your alley. I hope so, because I am particularly happy with all three of them. Anything that makes my very complicated life easier ranks way up there right now. But Warning: This column is rated HC for High Cuteness level. It contains a picture of my great grandson.

Speaking of highly complicated life, I took some time a week ago and visited my old work environment to attend a former colleague's retirement party. I actually had to scramble to arrange my schedule to make the event. It was nice to see old work friends and catch up, but on the way home I suddenly realized that although I seem to work just as many hours now as I did when I had a full time job (and for lots and lots less money), I really enjoy what i do. And then there is the sleeping late as I want to, and staying up as late as I want to, and wearing jeans and loafers all day, and getting thanked when I do something well, and... This retirement stuff is really cool, even if I have to get older to participate. I hope the same is true for many of you as well.

So, to the tips.

A Mail Tip
We all spend lots of time sending and receiving email so anything that makes that easier or more fun is high on my list of good things.

I bet most everyone reading this has done the following: You send out a group message and after you send it, you realize you left someone off the list. So you go to your email Sent Message file, find the message, copy the content, create a new message, paste in the content, create a new Subject line, and then enter the names of whoever got left off the first list. Then send off the new message.

And this one is even worse: Someone forwards a message to you for a reply. You reply, hit send, and then realize you are either sending the response back to yourself or back to the person who sent it to you rather than to the person it needs to go to because you forgot to copy and paste in the appropriate email address. So you have to go through all the steps above to create a new message to get the response to the correct person. Meanwhile you have missed the first 15 minutes of your favorite TV show or whatever else you would rather be doing.

Well, I can't tell you how to keep from making the mistakes in the first place. I'm too busy trying to cover up my own. But I can shorten the process for fixing the problem if you use Mail as your email application.

With Mail open, Select the Sent Folder and select the email message you want to resend. Open the email message and then choose Message from the Tool Bar and click on "Send Again". The email message will open and all you have to do is replace the names in the "To" field with the new names.

And since we are talking about sending to groups -- a reminder please that it is bad form to enter a list of unrelated email addresses in the "Send To" field because you are giving out email addresses without permission. The appropriate way to do this is to place your own email address in the "Send To" field and place everyone else's email address in the BCC (blind copy) field. That way each person only sees their own address. If the BCC option is not showing up when you prepare your messages, just click on the little box located to the left of the "From" field. There you can place a check mark next to the BCC option and it will become an active field for you to use.

Send Images Using iChat
iChat, like most of the Apple applications, has multiple uses. You just have to know what they are, and how to use them.

My daughters and I use it a lot to send photos back and forth. The really cool thing is that you can send a high resolution image through iChat and it arrives instantly. You don't have to worry about making it fit someone's email restrictions, or lower the resolution.

For those who are "digitally challenged" as I was when I first started dealing with computers and images and digital cameras, here is a brief definition. The higher the DPI (dots per inch) of your digital photo the better quality the photo will be, especially when you print it out.

But the higher the DPI, the longer it takes it to download and the more bandwidth it takes to send it. Therefore, if you attach pictures to your emails with high DPI resolution, they may never reach their destination because the email program your recipient uses may reject them. At the very least you should send them one picture per email.

The easiest, fastest way to determine the DPI (and the size) of an image is to open it in another wonderful Apple app called Preview. Open your image in Preview. Then click on Tools > Show Inspector and you get this window that shows you both the DPI and the size of the image. If you want to adjust either the size or the DPI just go back to that Tools menu and choose "Adjust Size".

Checking Resolution in Preview

This is where the HC comes in. I have a great grandson who turned three last week. He loves guitars and got one for his birthday. The only live person he has ever seen play is his own great, great, grandfather who, at age 91, still sometimes plays. So when my great grandson sat down on his own and starting imitating my father playing the guitar, the cameras starting clicking. I wasn't there so the computer came out, iChat came on, and the picture came flying to me instantly.


Using iChat To Send An Image

All my daughter had to do was download the picture to her laptop, start an iChat, and drag the picture into the field where she would automatically enter text, and hit return. It didn't matter what size the picture was or the fact that it was 300 DPI.

About iPhoto:If you need to know the resolution of one of your pictures in iPhoto, you can click on the image to select it and then go to Photos > Show Extended Photo Info. iPhoto will open an information window that shows the photo's resolution, format, when it was made, and when it was imported into iPhoto, along with GPS coordinates if your camera includes them, what camera the photo was taken with and what camera settings were used.

As far as I have been able to determine, iPhoto doesn't give you DPI information. It's not an important function of iPhoto. If I'm wrong I'm sure someone will let me know. But my point is that if you have a photo stored in iPhoto and you need to know the DPI just hold your mouse button over it and drag it to the desktop, release it so it stays on the desktop and then drag it to Preview as noted above. You are not harming your iPhoto image in any way, nor are your removing it from iPhoto.

So, try this easy way to send picture, scanned articles, URL's, scanned cartoons, or whatever else is of interest or important. Remember iChat is not necessarily secure so don't be sending your credit card numbers.

Annotate Graphic Items
The old adage says that a picture is worth a thousand words, but there are times when a few words can help that picture along. You know, real words, added to the picture, that maybe explain what you are supposed to be looking at because everything today is so technical? You don't really want to take a picture on your desktop, print it out, write on it, scan it, and then send it to someone. Nor do you want to go through all that to add text to an image in a slide show. Well maybe some one wants to waste time like that, but I don't. I have pictures of a three year old to look at.

Preview now lets you add text to your images and, of course, it is very easy to do. Open your image in Preview. Click on the Annotate button in the Tool Bar. A small tool bar opens at the bottom of your window. From the Preview Menu bar select Tools > Annotate. You can add an arrow, circle, square, or text. On the right size of the small, bottom tool bar are options that let you control color, line width, and fonts. These options can be used on photos also, but drag them out of iPhoto and then into Preview.


Preview's Annotation Tool Bar

In this example, which I'm using to teach a session on using Freeway 5 by Softpress, I have added words that help explain one step in a three step training process. I love this new feature.


An Example Using Preview's Annotation Feature

If you are a new Mac user or know someone who is, I suggest that you consider my user manual which is full of tips for beginners. I will be revising it very soon and anyone who purchases it now will automatically receive a free copy of the new version when it is released.


The entire Table of Contents and a sample page are available for free review for anyone who wishes to see them.

I am making this book available in three formats:.

The first is the more traditional printed book format, spiral bound. Cost is U.S. $17.15 each, plus shipping. All the illustrations have been printed in black and white to reduce the purchase price.


The second option is a PDF download version. This is the full version of the book available in the same format as that available in the free review The contents are hyperlinked from the Table of Contents for ease of location. This version is U.S. $9.85 After payment has been verified the purchaser will be sent a URL where they can download of the document.
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Payment for any version must be made using PayPal. Clicking on the Buy Now button next to the version you want to purchase will take you directly to PayPal where you can place your order and make your payment. Payment can be made through PayPal even if you are not a PayPal member.

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