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Take control sale

Every summer has a story. Are you ready to write yours? 


In collaboration with friends who craft many of the tools we rely on to write, edit, and produce Take Control books and TidBITS articles, we’re having a sale!


You can also save 25% on some of our favorite writing apps (more about them below). This isn’t a bundle deal, nor are there any gimmicks or requirements—just a straightforward sale for Mac writers and anyone who wants to be more organized or tackle document-related projects.


How can Take Control help? Here are just a few of the ways:


  • Get more out of your apps: We want to make you better at what you do, perhaps via our books about group messaging phenomenon Slack or recently updated titles covering favorites like 1Password, Audio Hijack, Dropbox, and PDFpen. We also focus on Apple’s Photos and Mail apps, and provide the documentation you need about Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.


  • Make your Mac work better: Our friend and star author Joe Kissell has just released some new and updated Joe On Tech titles that explain how you can speed up, maintain, and troubleshoot your Mac.


  • Control your Apple devices with confidence: Apple’s hardware lineup has expanded far beyond the Mac, and our authors are ready to help you set up, use, or solve problems with your iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, or Apple TV.


  • Stay current with Apple’s OSes and services: Whether it’s El Capitan or iCloud, iOS 9 or OS X Server, we have books that both explain the basics and delve into Apple’s latest changes.


Our catalog features many more gems, so feel free to browse!


The SummerFest sale also includes a curated collection of 14 apps, some of which we rely on daily. If you take your writing seriously, do yourself a favor and invest in the tools that help you convey your ideas to the world:


  •  You can plot out the chronology of any story with Aeon Timeline.
  •  Every TidBITS article is written in the powerful text editor BBEdit.
  •  If references are essential in your writing, check out Bookends for help with collecting, annotating, curating, and citing published information.
  • DEVONthink Pro Office is a superb tool for storing notes and research materials and a key part of Joe Kissell’s paperless office strategy.
  •  Build precise searches and find your files faster with HoudahSpot.
  •  For long, complex documents and macro-driven text, the word processor Nisus Writer Pro is unparalleled — we rely on it for all Take Control books.
  •  When it comes to editing PDFs, Smile’s PDFpen hits the sweet spot between Apple’s free Preview and Adobe’s pricey Acrobat Pro.
  •  Literature & Latte’s Scapple helps you record and connect ideas, and Scrivener enables you to turn your research and ideas into a manuscript.
  • • Create plain text to-do lists with the outlining capabilities of TaskPaper.
  • TextExpander saves you from typing out frequently used words and phrases, and Tonya and I both use it heavily.
  •  Eastgate Systems’ Tinderbox helps you organize, plan, and map your thoughts, and Storyspace is the app in which I wrote my senior honors thesis about Hypertextual Fiction at Cornell University way back in 1989.
  •  When you need to eliminate distractions while setting your thoughts down, try the minimalist writing environment WriteRoom.


To take advantage of this discount, start at the main SummerFest page!


Make sure you use the SUMMERFEST2016 coupon code when ordering.


Best wishes for a summer filled with prodigious productivity!

Take Control publishers


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If you want a PDF editing and manipulation tool that sits between Apple’s free Preview and Adobe’s $450 Acrobat Pro DC, look no further than Smile’s $74.95 PDFpen and $124.95 PDFpenPro. There’s even an $19.99 iOS companion in PDFpen for iPad & iPhone.

To help PDFpen users make the most of their apps, we’ve just released Michael Cohen’s Take Control of PDFpen 8, with 188 pages of comprehensive documentation. Thanks for telling your MUG about it—I’ll send you another message shortly for forwarding to your group mailing list. Remember to cut out your username at the bottom of that message (look for the scissors line) before passing it on!


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Slack, a group messaging service that has become wildly popular in business and academia, and is making inroads into clubs and hobbyist. Slack marries some of the best features of email and instant messaging, and does so in a way that can improve communication and cut back on email overload. Plus, you can set up a public Slack team for free.

Using the advice in Glenn Fleishman’s Take Control of Slack Admin, you could set up a group. His Take Control of Slack Basics documents how to use Slack from the ground up, so there’s lots of help for making your members comfortable in the new environment (and yes, we have super special bulk pricing for non-profits like MUGs).

Slack is new and therefore a little scary, but given the challenges user groups face, trying something new isn’t a bad thing. It’s likely that some of your members are already using Slack at work, and even if it’s just helpful to your officers at first, it’s worth investigating what it would be like to use Slack with your group. We’ve become fans here at TidBITS and Take Control, and you could even invite our authors into your Slack group for scheduled live chats.

And you can join us in our free public SlackBITS group!

-Adam Engst


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Here’s a useful addition to your design arsenal: 64 textured papers, each one a 2100 x 1500 pixel image suitable for printing. Company Folders provides these images so you can see what your designs might look like on their folder stock — but you can use them as backgrounds or texture maps for any project!

Some of my favorites are Eco Kraft, Jute Vellum, 10 colors of Linen, and 8 colors of Felt. Their website shows previews of each paper, so you can decide whether you think they’re worth downloading.

Here you can download professional, full-size photographs of the 64 high quality paper stocks we offer.

  • Get a basic sense of the look and texture of each stock in Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.
  • Add them to die-cut templates to see how your printed design will look on a particular stock
  • Use them in mockup templates to demonstrate your final product to others

Download all images here:

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This time we have something a little different, a book from Joe Kissell called Are Your Bits Flipped? It’s not a classic Take Control book of steps and screenshots, instead taking a conversational approach to the general topic of overcoming tech misconceptions.

Just as a single “flipped bit” in a piece of computer code can bring an otherwise reliable app crashing to a halt, a single misconception in your understanding of personal computing technology can cause all manner of problems — including lost data, wasted time, and constant frustration as you live and work in today’s increasingly digital world. In this unique title from Take Control, which is packed with little-known facts and debunked beliefs, tech expert Joe Kissell untangles common confusions surrounding the high-tech products and services we all rely on every day.

By eliminating your tech misconceptions, you’ll:

  • Avoid common errors that waste precious time or result in data loss.
  • Make decisions based on an accurate understanding of how things work.
  • Find yourself asking for — or paying for! — computer help less often.
  • Have clear explanations on hand when others ask you for help.
  • Better understand tech topics in the headlines — encryption, passwords, privacy, and more.
  • Make a stronger impression at a job interview, user group, or wherever your tech skills may be judged.

Some of the 16 chapters in this 190-page book are updated and expanded versions of essays originally published in TidBITS.

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And now for something that’s largely not work-related—the Apple TV! Our latest book, Take Control of Apple TV, Second Edition, by Josh Centers, provides comprehensive coverage of the fourth-generation Apple TV, including all the tricks with the Siri Remote and details on the just-released tvOS 9.2.