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Good day, fellow El Capitan mountaineers!

Apple has just released OS X 10.11 El Capitan, and it’s time to get serious about upgrading, learning what’s new, and taking advantage of the latest features! To aid you, we have the full release of Joe Kissell’s Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan, Scholle McFarland’s El Capitan: A Take Control Crash Course, and the third edition of Joe’s Take Control of Apple Mail.

Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan

Do you want to upgrade to El Capitan with confidence? You can’t go wrong with Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan, now in its 9th major installment. This title has helped tens of thousands of Mac users since 2003, and gives you the benefit of Joe Kissell’s superlative background. You’ll ensure that your hardware and software are ready for El Capitan, protect against problems with a bootable duplicate, eliminate digital clutter, prepare your Mac, and decide on your best installation method, no matter what version of Mac OS X you’re upgrading from, all the way back to 10.4 Tiger. You’ll find full installation directions plus advice on over a dozen things to do immediately after installation, as well as troubleshooting techniques. Joe also explains upgrading from the El Capitan public beta and “upgrades” that involve moving your data to a new Mac from an old Mac or Windows PC. (151 pages, only $10.50 for MUG members)

El Capitan: A Take Control Crash Course

Read El Capitan: A Take Control Crash Course to jump-start your El Capitan experience. Former Macworld editor Scholle McFarland helps you Take Control of changes in the Finder and new features in apps including Safari and Notes. The book’s browsable layout makes it easy to set up notifications sensibly, do more (or less) with your Dock, invoke Mission Control and set up a Split View, take phone calls on your Mac, locate all manner of things with Spotlight searches, work fluidly between Apple devices with Handoff and AirDrop, dictate to your Mac—and even tell it what to do—and quite a bit more. Scholle closes the book with two under-the-hood topics, setting up a user account (for a child, guest, or troubleshooting) and essential troubleshooting techniques.

As with all our Crash Course books, El Capitan: A Take Control Crash Course provides tightly written, focused content coupled with carefully curated screenshots so you can get the help you need quickly. Don’t miss the sharing buttons that make it easy to share a chapter with Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and others who need the info. (108 pages, only $7 for MUG members)

Take Control of Apple Mail, Third Edition

No one knows more about Mail than Joe Kissell, and he has distilled his most important advice into the third edition of Take Control of Apple Mail, which covers Mail in 10.11 El Capitan and iOS 9. You’ll  find essential setup, usage, and troubleshooting instructions, whether you use Gmail, iCloud, Exchange, IMAP, or POP—or more than one. Joe reveals Mail’s hidden interface elements and gestures, and helps with common tasks like addressing and adding attachments. He also offers tips on customizing Mail, including a nifty chapter on how simple plug-ins and special automation can dramatically improve your Mail experience. Joe also covers finding that message in the haystack with El Capitan’s new natural language search, improving the messages you send, and even a strategy for avoiding email overload. (208 pages, only $14 for MUG members)

Thank you for your support of the Take Control series, and we hope you like our new email look! It’s nice to bring it up to the level of our books and our Web site.

-Adam and Tonya Engst, Take Control publishers





Book Review by Grant Coyle

While perusing the aisles of a Barnes & Noble one weekend morning, I came across the book Burn Your Portfolio. What? I nearly spilled my coffee.

As the author, Michael Janda, explains in the introduction, when he was in art school 90% of the time was spent developing technical skills to showcase in his portfolio. But once he got a job, his portfolio became much less significant when compared to the business skills and people skills he needed to survive in a corporate environment. Those skills, like project budgeting, scheduling and team building, weren’t taught in art school. He used what he learned in a corporate position to later become a freelancer and start his own graphic design agency.

Although this book is geared toward graphic designers, any professional who uses a portfolio to secure a job or client will benefit from reading and heeding Janda’s advice. It’s filled with tips that might seem common sense to those of us with years of experience but it reinforces those things we have learned and should apply every day.

There are several passages in the book where you’ll find yourself nodding in agreement, such as:

  • “You’re a designer, a writer, a programmer, a photographer, and sometimes an illustrator.”

In other words, nobody wants to hear, “That’s not my job.” Not bosses, not clients, not vendors. Along this same line, Janda repeatedly emphasizes the need to exceed the client’s expectations to get return business.

Another memorable passage for me was:

  • “Documented processes, created by someone who knows what they are doing, are the safest way to operate a successful production environment.”

Janda then goes on to detail a To-Do list for each project, with 13 steps of bulleted items for the agency and client to consider for inclusion. Note that “design concept” doesn’t occur until the fifth step. His agency uses QuickBooks, Basecamp and spreadsheet software to track a project through its life cycle.

At over 300 pages this book seems imposing but that’s a trick of the design with glossy paper stock and having most chapters of only 2-3 pages, along with many illustrations. Janda has a relaxed writing style. This makes it easy to read a few chapters at a time as a break from staring at your computer’s screen. Just watch you don’t spill your coffee while nodding at Janda’s advice.

Janda, Michael. Burn Your Portfolio. San Francisco: New Riders | Peachpit, 2013.




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Apple has just released iOS 9, and we’re here on the first day with the 121-page “iOS 9: A Take Control Crash Course,” by Josh Centers, to help you start using it effectively! A What’s New chapter gives you an overview of iOS 9’s many changes — including those in Siri, Spotlight, and Safari. The rest of the book describes the details, such as how those with recent iPads can use the new Slide Over, Split Screen, and Picture in Picture multitasking views, plus how to use Mail’s new features, how iOS 9 helps you save battery power, the trick to finding the hidden iCloud Drive app, the iPad’s new Trackpad mode, and much more. Special topics cover Family Sharing, accessibility, privacy, and managing data usage.

Josh helps you use iOS more effectively than ever with advice on:

• What settings to check after installing iOS 9

• Enjoying the new multitasking views: Slide Over, Split Screen, and Picture in Picture

• Which iPads support the new multitasking views

• Selecting text in the iPad’s new Trackpad mode

• What to expect from the iPhone’s new Low Power mode

• What the new Batteries widget does, and how to display it

• Which cities have transit directions in Maps

• Setting up albums in the Photos app — and sharing them

• Making the Mail app show an Archive (or Trash) icon

• Adding another person to a Messages chat

• Storing credit card details in Safari

• Setting up Apple Pay in the new Wallet app

• Entering emergency medical information — and finding it on the Lock screen

• Letting important people through an iPhone’s Do Not Disturb cone of silence

• Telling Siri who you mean when you say “Call Mom”

• Putting an outline around text “buttons” so they look like buttons

As with all our Crash Course books, “iOS 9: A Take Control Crash Course” provides tightly written, focused content coupled with carefully curated screenshots so you can get the help you need quickly. Don’t miss the sharing buttons that make it easy to share a chapter with Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and others who need the information.

Learn more and buy it for $15 >

-Adam & Tonya Engst, Take Control publishers


Adobe UserGroup is gearing up for their first meeting in the new CIA building.

11161 Euclid Blvd, Cleveland

Tuesday, September 29
6:30 — 8:30 pm
The Cleveland Institute of Art
11161 Euclid Blvd.
The Design Studio, 2nd Floor

New Features and app updates:
The 2015 release of Creative Cloud includes major updates to Adobe’s industry-defining desktop tools. They will highlight these updates and new features, primarily in Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.

Register at:

They will give you pizza just like us!


Our 30th(!) high school reunions have us reflecting on how the tech world’s constant striving for improvement encourages us all to stay flexible, keep learning, and periodically make sure we’re working efficiently. Take Control is here to support you in that, so through August 24th, you can add any number of our books to your Take Control library for 50% off the cover price. All our books are DRM-free and available in PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket (Kindle) formats, so you can read wherever, whenever, and on whatever device you like. Use this link to pick the titles you need to stay up to date:

(We expect everything to work properly, but if our newly redesigned site is overloaded by sale traffic, try again later in the day when things have settled down.)

Remember, there’s no need to read a Take Control title from front to back; instead, each book has a Quick Start that helps you jump instantly to the information you need.

We have books that will help with numerous Apple-related technology tasks and projects, including:

* Converting from iPhoto to Photos

* Figuring out what the heck iTunes 12 is up to

* Maintaining an AirPort-based Wi-Fi network

* Installing and running OS X Server

* Syncing and sharing files with Dropbox

* Enjoying your Apple Watch

For those new to Take Control and looking for a quick fix, we have a few instant-purchase bundles, also 50% off:

* iWork explained: Apple’s iWork suite — Pages, Numbers, and Keynote — now comes free with every new Mac, and offers a level of power that compares well with the heavyweight Microsoft Office. The three books in our iWork trilogy provide 750 pages of comprehensive documentation. Normally the three books would cost $55, but for this week, they’re only $27.50 — perfect for college papers and projects.

* Automation for everyone: Macs have fabulous time-saving tools that can turn anyone into a power user. This bundle of “Take Control of Automating Your Mac,” “Take Control of LaunchBar,” “Take Control of TextExpander,” and “Take Control of the Mac Command Line with Terminal” would normally cost $50, but is only $25 in the sale.

* Safe computing: Today’s Internet is unfortunately an insecure place, with hackers, malware, and bots threatening your privacy and security. With calm, friendly advice, Joe Kissell explains how you can stay safe in “Take Control of Security for Mac Users,” “Take Control of Your Online Privacy,” “Take Control of Your Passwords,” and “Take Control of FileVault.” Together they’re normally $50, but if you’ve been meaning to lock down your Mac and improve your passwords, you can now pick them up for only $25.

We also have books about Yosemite, iOS 8, Apple Mail, iCloud, Audio Hijack, PDFpen, Scrivener, DEVONthink, Apple TV, and more. So stock your Take Control library today with the titles that you’ve been wanting to read or that might be useful in the future!

Thanks so much for your continued support, and the many useful questions and kind comments you’ve sent over the years. Please do us a quick favor, and spread the word about this sale to your friends and colleagues — it’s the perfect way to introduce someone to the series or to get your buddy to switch over to using Photos.

cheers… -Adam & Tonya Engst, Take Control publishers

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Recording audio from a Mac app is conceptually simple, but without the right tools and know-how, it can be tremendously frustrating. We’ve long relied on Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack for all recording tasks, and today we’re pleased to bring you Kirk McElhearn’s new “Take Control of Audio Hijack” to explain both the basics and the subtleties of Audio Hijack 3’s flowchart-like interface.

Get more info and buy it for $10 >

You’ll learn how to capture and enhance any audio playing on a Mac, with step-by-step instructions for common scenarios — including recording audio playing in Safari, capturing Skype and FaceTime calls, digitizing your old LPs, extracting audio from concert DVDs, and working with mics and mixers, among much else. Kirk also covers the basics of editing recordings in Rogue Amoeba’s Fission audio editor.

We could go on for a while about all the good stuff that Kirk distilled into the 119-page book, but if you’ve read this far and want more detail, click the link above to read the book’s full description on our redesigned Web site.

-Tonya & Adam Engst, Take Control publishers