From The Tips Box: Mac File Sharing, Navigation, Packing Boxes

Readers offer their best tips for sharing files between Macs, getting directions with your smartphone, and packing boxes for shipping.

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

Enable the Guest Account to Fix Mac Sharing Problems

CamJM reminds us of an overlooked prerequisite for sharing files between Macs:

If some of you remember, when Snow Leopard first came out there was a bug that could wipe the regular accounts on a Mac when the guest account got closed and wiped. (Due to uid issues). That bug is long gone, but many people in order to protect their data disabled the guest account on their Macs.

I don't need the guest account, as I have a laptop which I don't share, so I never turned the guest account back on, however today I was bothered because no-one could see my shared folders, due to some authentication issue. They simply got "Cannot Connect" messages.

It turns out you at least need the guest account to be allowed to share files for afp to work properly. i.e. for a public folder to indeed BE public. So the guest account must be enabled for sharing only for public sharing to work.

While most of you probably already have sharing enabled (since it's a separate checkbox under the Guest Account preferences), it's always a good thing to check, especially if you went a little overboard in disabling the account and unchecked Sharing too.

Take Screenshots of Directions Instead of Using Battery-Wasting Turn-By-Turn Navigation

LeftClicker shares a battery-saving way to navigate with your smartphone:

If you have an iPhone, you might have noticed that turn-by-turn navigation drains your battery impossibly fast. If you're using Google Maps with Location Services on, one way you can avoid this is to take screenshots of each navigation "step", which you can later view without Location Services on.

This is a pretty simple way to get around navigation issues; just take screenshots, open the photo app, and swipe through them as you navigate (be careful, though.. .only swipe at stop lights!). Android users can do this too, though you'll have to root and install something like previously mentioned ShootMe first.

Use Air-Filled Zip-Top Bags as Packing Material

Photo by Jaap den Dulk.

Unwritten_law9 shares a way to pack boxes without heading to the Post Office:

Use air-filled plastic bags as package fillers. Works just as well as peanuts or those fancy bags of air. They are light and don't add weight to the package, and you always have them around.

Clean a Rolling Pin by Wrapping it in a Wet Paper Towel

Photo by David.

Steve.koehler shares an efficient way to clean a rolling pin:

If you have a rolling pin that you neglected to get clean right after using, and it's got some dough really stuck on it, you can loosen it with a paper towel and some water.

Get the paper towel wet, and wring it out so it is damp. Wrap it around the rolling pin so that it is pressed against the roller the entire way around. Wait about 10 minutes, remove the paper towel, and wash. Everything should come right off.


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