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Update Your Copy of Take Control of iTunes 12: The FAQ to the Latest Version

Tc itunes cover 200 2xIf you own a copy of my Take Control of iTunes 12: The FAQ, then it’s time to check for an update. I’ve added a lot of new material covering the changes in iTunes 12.3. Just click the Ebook Extras badge on the cover of the book to download the latest version.

And if you don’t own my book, well… Perhaps now’s the time to check it out.

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Where Does All That Amazon Packaging Go?

As Christmas approaches and you do a lot of your shopping online, you probably buy a lot from Amazon. I know I do. It is convenient, and the prices often beat other options. Also, with Amazon Prime, I get next-day shipping, and a variety of additional discounts.

However, all the packaging from my Amazon purchases piles up. There is an awful lot of cardboard to recycle. I do save some of it; I sell some used books and CDs on Amazon, and I’ve been selling some stuff on eBay recently. So I keep a pile of mailers, and some of the smaller boxes, to be able to ship items I’ve sold.

But I bet most people don’t do this.

When I lived in France, you took your trash to large bins at different locations on street corners. Some of these spots had additional, large recycling containers for glass, paper, or cardboard. So when I had too much stuff, I could walk two blocks with a handful of cardboard, or stick it on the back of my car and get there in one minute.

Now I live in the UK, and trash collection is done at each home – every two weeks, only – and the nearest recycling center is about a 20 minute drive. This makes it much more troublesome to recycle anything. And you’re not allowed to put “brown cardboard” in the recycling bins they give you; they’re only for glass, paper, cans, and thin cardboard, such as cereal boxes.

Part of the problem is, of course, Amazon. (I don’t mean to single out Amazon only, the issue of packaging applies to all online retailers. It’s just that Amazon seems to be the one that more people use.) Most of my Amazon purchases come in packages that are way too large. Not books or DVDs; those come in folding mailers that aren’t too bulky. But even for most of those purchases, the packaging weighs more than the items shipped. For larger purchases, most likely for reasons of expediency, items are shipped in boxes often 2 to 4 times the size they need. It’s probably quicker in the warehouse to grab a bigger package than to try and fit something in the appropriate sized box.

For example, I bought an Apple Watch stand, and here’s how it looked in the box I received:

Amazon packaging

So what do you do with your Amazon packaging? Do you recycle it? What if you just throw it away? Perhaps Amazon should be socially responsible and organize recycling of the tons of cardboard they use.

Note that you can repackaging feedback for any Amazon order. I do this regularly when boxes are too large, but I don’t think Amazon does anything with this feedback.

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Check Your iTunes AppleScripts for Updates With this New Applet

If you use any of the many AppleScripts that Doug Adams has written for iTunes, you know that you need to check his site to find out if there are any updates. Doug has (finally) released a tool that can help ensure that you have the latest versions of all his scripts.

Doug’s Check for Update is an applet that can check for the latest version of any script from Doug’s site. Just drag a script onto the applet, and it will tell you if an update is available. If so, click Visit Website to go directly to that script’s page, where you can download a new version.

Doug updater

You’ll need to do this for each script, one at a time, but it beats searching on the website.

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Protect Your Amazon Account with Two-Step Verification

Amazon has recently added two-step verification to its website. This means that you can protect your account with an additional layer of security.

If you use two-step verification when you sign into your Amazon account, you’ll enter your email address and your password, and then you’ll be required to enter a six-digit code that will be sent to you by SMS. (For a brief overview how two-step verification works, read this article about setting up two-step verification for iCloud.)

You don’t have to use this method of securing your account, but it’s a good idea if you do. Two-step verification prevents others from accessing your account on other devices.

The following describes how to activate Amazon’s two-step verification.

Read the rest of the article on the Mac Security Blog.

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Bob Dylan as You’ve Probably Never Seen Him Before

This isn’t new, but I’d never seen this video before. In 2003 Dylan wrote a song for the soundtrack of the Civil War movie, Gods and Generals. ‘Cross the Green Mountain is one of the great songs Bob has written since the turn of the century, and it’s only available on the Bootleg Series Vol. 8 – Tell Tale Signs set. (, Amazon UK)

Dylan green mountain

In this video, Dylan is nearly unrecognizable.

Unfortunately, the video has an edited version of the song, which is over 8 minutes long. But watch it anyway; it’s a stark depiction of the Civil War.

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Writings about Macs, music and more by Kirk McElhearn