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

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

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

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

Lion Disk Maker

ldm Lion Disk Maker

Getting your OS updates from the Mac App Store can be a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because once the file is downloaded, installing from your local drive is much quicker than the old method of CD/DVD installation. It can be a curse because downloading a 4GB disk image is not a quick task for most people. And if you have multiple Macs that need to be updated, it will require you to download that 4GB disk image multiple times. 

There have been ways to take the OS Install disk image and create a bootable USB thumb drive from it since the Mac App Stores inception. It’s not an overly tedious process, but it’s not what I’d call drop dead easy.

Lion Disk Maker changes all of that. Download the app, open it up, and locate your copy of your OS X install, and Lion Disk Maker does the rest. 

With OS X Mavericks coming soon, you may want to check this app out and get your USB thumb drive ready.


Category: Mac App Store,Software

The New iPad

It’s pretty rare in prerelease speculation that the blogs get the specs of a new device right, but get the new devices name wrong. But such is the case of the new iPad. Not the iPad HD. Not the iPad 3. Just iPad. Makes sense though if you think about it. We don’t have MacBook Pro HDs, or iPod Touch 3s. I suspect the next iPhone will probably be called just iPhone as well.

As to the new device itself, it falls in line with predictions. Retina display. 4G LTE. New graphics chip to handle the extra resolution. New iSight camera with 5MP and 1080p recording. Just about every internal component has been upgraded.

Curiously, the one component that hasn’t been upgraded – the FaceTime camera – could have really improved the FaceTime experience if it had been upgraded to take advantage of the new resolution. As someone who FaceTimes regularly with family, it’s an improvement I would have welcomed. But I’m quibbling. This is a huge upgrade. Anyone who tries to paint this as a disappointment is being disingenuous.

Each iPad iteration brings more software to the platform that allows the iPad to be used for real world tasks. With this upgrade, Apple rolled out iPhoto. In true Apple fashion, it is a beautiful reimaging of the software used to organize and edit photos. With the improved screen, the iPad has the potential to become the travelling photographers tool of choice for in the field proofing, editing and sharing.


Category: iPad

How the U.S. lost out on iPhone work

20120121 181520 How the U.S. lost out on iPhone work

Great article from the NY Times:

Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option. One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.

A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.

The article skirts some of the main reasons why types of jobs aren’t coming back” Specifically, no mention is made of the high taxes companies pay in the US (which results in these jobs being filled overseas by ‘contractors’, whom Apple is not liable for).

Jobs is probably right that these jobs are never coming back to the U.S. though. And that scares the hell out of me. One day soon, the Asian companies that produce the hardware will figure out how to produce software that is good enough, and once that happens, the American companies who have used these Asian manufacturing companies will find themselves cut out of the chain, and competing with their manufacturers, who will be able to seriously undercut them.


Category: iPhone,News,Steve Jobs

10 Years of the iPod

20111023 204435 10 Years of the iPod

It’s hard to imagine Apple before the iPod now, but 10 years ago, it didn’t exist yet. Apple was back on track, but it had yet to release a device that could be considered a ‘game changer’. Initially, I don’t think anyone believed that the iPod would have the success that it has had. The early reviews were split on it, with half seeing it for the brilliant device that it was, and the other half only seeing it for what it lacked (Windows compatibility and USB connectivity).

Still, it’s not a stretch to say that the iPod is the device that defined the modern Apple. It definitely gave them the resources and clout to tackle devices like the iPhone and iPad.


Category: Apple,iPod

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Category: Apple,Steve Jobs

Lion: Present and Future Tense

Lion has been available to the masses for over 2 months now, and the reception has been generally pretty favorable. Distribution of a commercial OS via a downloadable only option has never been tried before, and I think by all accounts, it has been very successful. Still, with any new release, there are those that don’t find the grass greener in the new pasture. Lion brings a lot to the table to be pleased with, but it also brings a fair amount of change to the table as well.

Depending upon your level of interaction, that change might be as minor as Apple’s decision to switch the default scrolling direction. Or, if you are a developer, it might be as complex as requiring you to have your application sandboxed by November 1st if you wish to continue selling it through the Mac App Store.

Apple has always been a company that isn’t afraid to cut ties to the past in order to forge a path to where they believe the future is. In sports parlance, this is ‘skating to where the puck is going to be’. In many cases, Apple is the entity driving the puck itself. From time to time, this has caused some consternation in the Mac community. Yet Apple forges ahead.

Most of the Mac OS X releases to date have been evolutionary. With Lion, Apple has taken the biggest leap yet. With the Mac App Store, LaunchPad, and Sandboxing, I think it is pretty clear where Apple is headed. I don’t subscribe to the theory that Apple will ‘merge’ iOS and Mac OS X. That seems silly to me, as if Apple had felt on OS was sufficient for all devices, it wouldn’t have created iOS from the underlying OS X technology in the first place.

I do, however, believe that Apple is moving to remake the Mac in the likeness of iOS. With Sandboxing, Launchpad, and the memory management changes that have appeared in Lion, they have already taken some great steps in that direction. I wouldn’t be surprised to see future releases of Mac OS X (nee, now just OS X, which in of itself is perhaps quite telling) become more locked down like iOS.


Category: Apple

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.