From The Tips Box: Cheap Programming Books, Remote ITunes Management, And IMac Monitors

Readers offer their best tips for getting programming books for cheap, adding files to iTunes remotely, and using an iMac as an external monitor.

About the Tips Box: Every day we receive boatloads of great reader tips in our inbox, but for various reasons—maybe they're a bit too niche, maybe we couldn't find a good way to present it, or maybe we just couldn't fit it in—the tip didn't make the front page. From the Tips Box is where we round up some of our favourites for your buffet-style consumption. Got a tip of your own to share? Email it to tips at

Buy O'Reilly iPhone Apps for Cheap eBooks

George Stephanis shares a hidden feature of the O'Reilly iPhone app series:

Want a cheap O'Reilly programming book? Buy the iOS App from iTunes (it doesn't matter whether you have an iPhone or not, and most of their books are $US3-$5 as apps) and simply unzip the .ipa file on your computer.

Poke around in the folders, and you'll find the whole text of the book stored as plain html files — ready for reading on any device or computer.

You might even find an easter egg like I did in my PHP5 book. Upon unzipping it, I found an epub version of The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland ... presumably to just eat up space and make the app appear bigger.

The best way to do this is right click on the app in your iTunes library, show it in the Finder or Windows Explorer, copy it somewhere, change the extension to .zip, and then unarchive it.

Add Music to iTunes Remotely with Dropbox

Corypina shows us another great use of Dropbox:

I used the same idea behind printing files remotely with Dropbox to add files to iTunes remotely with Dropbox.

Sometimes I'm not at home when I find some music I'd like to download. I've got a folder setup in Dropbox from which my Mac at home automatically pulls music and adds it to iTunes using the "add to iTunes" action. It allows you to add to the library, or into a specific playlist as well.

Actually, an even easier way to do this would to just symlink iTunes' "Automatically Add to iTunes" folder with Dropbox.

Use a 27" iMac as an External Monitor

Photo by Brandt Kurowski.

Guy tells us about a lesser-known feature of the new 27" iMacs:

If you want to hook up your MacBook to your iMac, you're usually out of luck without special software—but it turns out that the 27" aluminium iMacs only require a Belkin MiniDisplay port to MiniDisplay port cable. Just plug one end into your laptop, the other into your iMac, and you can use it as an external monitor!

Use the Beta and Dev Channels of Chrome in Chrome OS

SaintsMMX lets us know how to switch development channels in Chrome OS:

In Chrome OS, you can change between the Beta and Developer versions by:

Going to Wrench Icon > About Chrome > More info and changing Beta into Developer in the drop down menu.

I'm switching from Beta to Developer in hopes of getting the latest updates in the OS despite the instability.


    I remember reading somewhere that the input resolution is only 720p not full HD. I think someone wantedto hook a PS3 and do it. Although I remember them saying it was only a software thing that apple implememnted.

    I hope I was wrong as I would look again at this proposed setup. Can anyone comment?

    For cheap programming books keep an eye on publishers deals, e.g.: on the far right of the page Offer of the week.

    Most also have twitter feeds that are updated with deals as well.

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