Digitally sign documents using OS X Mavericks

One of the cooler, often overlooked features of OS X Mavericks is it’s ability to scan a signature using your iSight camera, and the ability to use that signature to digitally sign a PDF document. This tutorial will walk you through setting this up. To get started, you’ll need a couple of things.

  • A Mac running OS X Mavericks.
  • An iSight camera (either built in to your Mac or your monitor).

Let’s get started. First, you’ll need a signature that can be scanned. When creating your signature, I suggest using a black marker/pen and white paper. The thicker the marker, the better the signature will come out when scanned. Preview will not let you create new documents, so we are going to create and empty PDF file in TextEdit first that will serve as our canvas. You can use any application that can create empty PDF files, but since OS X comes with TextEdit, we’ll use this app. To this open TextEdit, and create a new empty document. Now click EXPORT AS PDF from the FILE MENU. Let’s call this file ‘Canvas.pdf’. tut 4 20 14 1 Digitally sign documents using OS X Mavericks Now let’s open the ‘Canvas.pdf’ file you just created with Preview. Now, go to the Preferences area of Preview, click on Signatures, and create signature. Your isight camera will become active. tut 04 20 2 Digitally sign documents using OS X MavericksNow hold up your signature in front of your camera and position it inside the window, using the alignment guide to get your signature as straight as you can. A couple of notes here: The better lit your surroundings are, the better quality your signature will be. Trying to scan in a dark room will make it harder to get a good scan of your signature. Once you have your signature positioned the way you want it, click accept signature. This signature is now stored inside PDF, and can be used within Preview to electronically sign documents. To do this, open your document in Preview and click on ‘SHOW EDIT TOOLBAR’ Once the toolbar is revealed, you will see an icon that says ‘Sig’. tut 04 20 3 Digitally sign documents using OS X Mavericks Click the icon and select your signature. Then click on the screen where you would like your signature placed. You can grab on one of the handles of the signature and resize it to fit. tut 04 20 4 Digitally sign documents using OS X Mavericks


Category: Apple,Mavericks,OS X,Tutorial

And speaking of Sketch…

sketch3 theme 300x187 And speaking of Sketch...Sketch 3 has just been released with lots of new features. And for the first week of launch (ending tomorrow, I believe), it’s available for only $50.

Grab it while you can.


Category: App Store

Adobe Creative Cloud thoughts, one year in…

images Adobe Creative Cloud thoughts, one year in...When Adobe announced their move from packaged releases to a pure subscription model last year, I wasn’t a fan. I’ve been an Adobe customer for nearly 20 years, and this move didn’t look like a good deal for anyone who wasn’t an Adobe employee or stockholder. But, at $29.99/month for the first year, I figured I’d give it a shot and re-evaluate after 12 months. Well, my 12 months are just about up, and here’s where I’m at.

The apps I use the most in the suite are Photoshop and Lightroom. Lately, Lightroom really handles the lion’s share of what I need to do with my images. I’m not a compositor, so I rarely use Photoshop. And of all the new features that have been added to Photoshop CC, I can’t think of one that I’ve used in the last 12 months.

As for the rest of the apps in the bundle, I found myself using Illustrator a good bit while I was working on Swimsuit 2014. We used a lot of vector art in this project, and for the first time, we exported much of it as SVG, which Illustrator is perfect for. I also used Sketch 2 for a lot of this work. Sketch handled open Illustrator files and exporting them as SVGs brilliantly. So while I used Illustrator a good bit, I think I can get the same job done using Sketch, for a lot less money.

I also used Acrobat Pro a couple of times. Mainly to edit a few PDF files. There are several apps on the Mac that can do this for a lot less than the recurring cost of Creative Cloud, so again, this isn’t something that would compel me to re-up my subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.

As for the rest of the apps in the bundle… I gave Premiere Pro a try, but it was so crashy during my usage that I gave up. After Effects is a great program, and if I was in a position where I needed such a tool, I could definitely justify the price. But After Effects isn’t an application that is needed in my day to day work, so committing to a $600/year subscription to have it to play with isn’t in the cards.

That brings us to Dreamweaver… Years ago, Dreamweaver was my IDE of choice. But the years have not been kind to the old lady. She’s big, bloated and slow. These days I prefer the lightweight nimbleness of editors like Sublime Text and Textmate.

The other app I could have found use for in my day to day work is Fireworks. But Fireworks has been abandoned by Adobe, and although it’s in the Creative Cloud, it’s a buggy, sad mess. The aforementioned Sketch serves as a much better tool for many of the same tasks.

So that leaves me with two applications – Photoshop and Lightroom – that I ‘need’ in this bundle. At $50/month ($600/year), I couldn’t justify the price for just these 2 applications. I suspect I wasn’t alone in my situation, as Adobe got a lot of feedback from many users, and offered up a plan to address these concerns. The Adobe Photography Bundle was offered late last year for a limited time. At $9.99/month, you get access to Photoshop CC, Lightroom, a Behance membership and 20GB of storage. I signed up for this plan when it was available, and at this price, can justify a yearly subscription.

But I have little faith that Adobe will leave this pricing in place for long. I fully expect Adobe to jack this price up to $15 or $20 month within the next 12 months. At that point, I’ll have to re-evaluate the value of the bundle. As applications like Acorn, Pixelmator and Sketch become more capable and take up more and more of the slack in my day to day graphics needs, Adobe’s subscription plans become less and less compelling.

So at the end of my first year of Creative Cloud, I am canceling my subscription and moving forward with the Adobe Photography Program instead.

I can’t help but think that while the Creative Cloud can be a bargain for professionals who use 4 or more of the apps in the bundle on a regular basis, for the rest of us, it’s just a money grab.

I’d like to see Adobe offer some flexibility in their subscriptions, perhaps offering the ability to do month to month subscriptions to individual apps for $10/month (they currently offer single apps at $20/month with a one year committment). I think this could offer them a lot of upside, and not jeopardize their cash cow Creative Cloud subscriptions. As of right now though, Adobe seems to be pretty pleased with it’s subscription numbers, and as long as they feel the don’t need to, I wouldn’t expect them to make any changes.


Category: Opinion,Reviews,Web Development

iPhone 6 Mock Up & Case

So much for doubling down on secrecy.

Time will tell whether this mock up and case are the real deal, but if they are, you have to wonder… With using 3rd party labor and manufacturing, is it even possible for Apple to keep something under wraps anymore? Is the secrecy that preceded projects like the iPhone and iPad a thing of the past?


Category: iPhone,Rumor

Microsoft Office for the iPad

Looks like Microsoft is finally releasing the Kraken, er, I mean Office for iPad. According to the Verge, it will be announced by new CEO Satya Nadella next week at a special event focused on ‘mobile first, cloud first’ event in San Francisco.

Microsoft has been working on the software for a number of months now, having first introduced an iOS version of Office for the iPhone in June last year. We understand the iPad variant of Office will be similar to the iPhone version, and will require an Office 365 subscription for editing. We’re told that document creation and editing is fully supported for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps. Overall, the interface and features are expected to be similar to the existing iPhone version.

No word on what pricing will be, but it’s safe to assume it will be inline with the Office for iPhone version.


Category: News

MacNN: Apple dodged taxes on $8.9B in Australian profits

When it comes to Apple and headlines, details matter. For the longest time, certain parties in the tech press (and traditional press) have used sensationalistic headlines with Apple in the title to grab page views. Page views = ad revenue, so nobody should be surprised at this tactic.

However, seeing MacNN engage in this behavior is disappointing. (more…)


Category: Blog Watch,Jackassery,Opinion

End of the upgradeable portable Mac?

In what will certainly come as no surprise to anyone who follows Apple, the company is reportedly preparing to cease production of it’s last upgradeable portable computer – the Macbook Pro (non Retina) 13″.

According to DigiTimes, Apple will stop production of the last user upgradeable Mac sometime in the second half of 2014. (more…)


Category: Apple,Hardware

Web Development on the Mac: Part 2 – MySQL

Installing MySQL on OS X can be as easy or as complex as you want it to be. On the complex side, since OS X is UNIX, you could install from source and build your own package. Or your could use the Homebrew package manager to install completely from the command line.

The easiest way to get MySQL installed on OS X is to use the packages built by MySQL. The packages are offered up in tarball or in DMG. Getting the DMG is going to give you the most ‘Mac’ like install. For the purpose of simplicity, this is the method we will use in this example. (more…)


Category: PHP,Tutorial,UNIX,Web Development

Web Development on the Mac: Part 1

Mac OS X has been my platform of choice for web developmet since the release of OS X 10.2. The UNIX underpinnings of the OS and the inclusion of Apache, PHP and other web technologies, coupled with other tools like Photoshop and an wide array of high quality text editors and IDEs make OS X a stellar platform for building websites and web applications.

This article will guide you through the many options you have in setting up a killer, comprehensive platform for building web apps. (more…)


Category: PHP,UNIX,Web Development

Apple releases fixes for 13″ Macbook Pro, Mail

Apple has pushed two significant updates today that address a serious hardware issue plaguing new 13″ Retina Macbook Pro models, and the Mail app in Mavericks and how it works with Gmail.

The late 2013 13″ Macbook Pro update is an EFI Update (v 1.3)  that addresses the situation where the keyboard and trackpad may become unresponsive.

The Mail.app update addresses the strange Gmail behavior Mail.app exhibited in Mavericks when using a Gmail account.

Both updates are available using the links above, or by using the Mac App Store.


Category: App Store,Mac App Store,Software

About the author

A user of Macs since they had silly names like Performa and Centris, Theodore Lee is a techie who prides himself on his vast knowledge of all things Apple. OS X Factor was started in 2001 (originally as macosxcentric), and continues to churn out tips, tutorials, reviews and commentary on the tech sector.