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How annoying is it when all of your friends use different types of instant messaging networks? Some use AIM, some MSN, Yahoo! – the list goes on. It can be a real nuisance to have multiple applications and windows open just to keep up the communication.

There are of course applications such as Adium to allow multiple accounts, however many Mac users prefer iChat’s simplistic interface (myself included). In this tutorial I will show you how to set up iChat so that you can keep all of your contacts in one simple window – whether they’re on AIM, MSN, Yahoo, or any other network.

Whilst this isn’t the simplest of tasks, once completed you should never have to worry about it again.

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Spaces was a new feature introduced in OS X Leopard, designed to offer a user friendly front-end to a virtual desktop system. This allows you to run more than one computer “desktop”, flipping between them with a key combination.

You can use different spaces for various tasks e.g. one for business, one for personal work, and one purely for video/music. They offer a handy solution for visually separating different applications. This article will provide an overview of how Spaces work, explain how you can add extra functionality to them, and offer a few examples of when they come in handy.

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Note taking is not one of my strong areas, and I’m pretty sure no-one who knows me will argue this point. However, if you’re like me, the need to jot down something down often occurs with a computer in easy reach. Typing in a few things eliminates the need to try to decipher scrawled hieroglyphics or find that crumpled up napkin you scribbled on 3 days ago.

There’s no need to be high tech about it; let’s face it, put Text Edit in the dock, click it, and type out your note. You wouldn’t be alone as this a commonly used method for saving bits of data. However, there are some great tools out there for taking and keeping any kind of note you want to track. A huge variety of apps are available, but I’m going to focus on three – the three that just plain work for me.

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Disk Utility is an excellent OS X utility for managing hard drives and removable storage. If you’ve ever installed OS X, wiped a hard drive clean, or needed to re-format a USB stick, there’s a good chance that you’ll be familiar with the app. Whilst managing disk images is undoubtedly Disk Utility’s forté, it can also be used to good effect for creating images.

This how-to will walk you through how simple this process is. We’ll illustrate how to create a simple disk image for storing files, a few of the uses that images can have, and also investigate how images can be encrypted to keep your files secure.

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One of the lesser known features of networking in OS X is the ability to share an ethernet connection via Wi-Fi. Essentially turning your Mac into a wireless access point, it can provide a great way to share an internet connection with other computers or a mobile device.

This how-to will walk you through the process from start to finish, and outline a few of the more advanced features available for configuring the wireless network.

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I’m a very visual person and, due to the nature of the Mac environment, I’m sure there are many like-minded people in the OS X community who share my optical tendencies. We tend to think the wallpaper has to be just right, the icons in the dock and on the desktop have to be organized by category, and we take time to find just the right icon for our removable media.

DId I just hear an ‘amen?’

No matter how OCD you may be about your computing environment, we can all agree on the importance of creating some organizational structure on our computers so we can be more productive. Thanks to the features of our chosen OS (and some free or inexpensive software), there are some very simple ways to maximize our productivity in the most geeky way.

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One of Mail’s most powerful features is not immediately obvious, and rarely used to it’s full potential. This feature is called “rules” and can be found hidden within the application’s preferences. Rules basically allow you to tell Mail what to do when certain things happen – moving email between folders, adding colours, or automatically sending a response.

Here, I will explain what rules are capable of, and how do use them to make the most of your email client. The article will also outline a few novel examples, including the ability to send your computer to sleep via a simple email.

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Operating a paper-free office is, for many people, an enviable goal. For the last few years, I’ve been attempting to cut down on the paper I receive; asking people to send emails rather than post, receiving statements and forms via the internet, and recycling all the post I receive that isn’t absolutely necessary.

This has gone a long way towards achieving a paper-free setup, though I’ve still had several years worth of paper filed away. After spending a while settling upon a good solution for digitizing all this old information, I finally settled upon a combination of DevonThink Pro and a Fujitsu ScanSnap. I’m thoroughly impressed.

This how-to will take you through the hardware and software required for setting up a completely paper-free office, ensuring that it’s thoroughly easy to use, and carefully backed up.

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Easter is approaching quickly and the spirit of spring is in the air. What better time to re-think the way you work with your Mac, and take on board a few time saving tips and shortcuts? We won’t be covering the basics, and assume you’re already familiar with using the keyboard to copy, paste and save!

There’s something for everyone, whether you’d like to show Expose in slow motion, quickly empty your Trash, automatically save text to a sticky note or zoom in and out of your screen.

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Winner of the Apple Design Award 2008, ScreenFlow is a full featured screencasting application. It’s provides the full start-to-finish process for making professional quality screencasts. Having previously covered a roundup of different screencasting applications, today we’re focusing upon one.

This how to will provide an overview of ScreenFlow, and explain how easy it is to get started using the app. From hitting “Record” to exporting a finished screencast – we’ll take you through the process.

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