tech, simplified.

Spreadsheets are the original killer app for computers, and they’re still a rather powerful tool for everything from crunching numbers to making outlines today. But they can still be rather confusing. Even if you know the basics, there’s likely tons more about spreadsheets that you could benefit from knowing.

As one of my last projects at Tuts+, I had the privilege of working with instructor Bob Flisser on publishing an introductory course about spreadsheets, and it’s finally been published. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about spreadsheets, be sure to check this course out—it’s $15 to buy, or free with a Tuts+ subscription.

Also, of course, don’t forget about the Spreadsheet for Finance series of free tutorials that we’d ran on Tuts+ earlier this year as well.

Ever wished you could have a phone number in any country, and then have it ring on your local phone? Now you can.

Here’s how to put together a phone number in any Twilio-supported country that’ll forward calls and txts to your local number, and then how you can do even more awesome stuff with that phone number thanks to Zapier automations.

It’s how I’ve now got a US number that rings on my Thailand phone, and how you can build the phone you’ve always wanted.

The Best Storage Services, Reviewed at Zapier

Yes, it’s the most obvious thing in the world to review: what’s the best place to store and sync my files. And honestly, everyone’s going to have their own opinion on that. But with Dropbox’ recent plan updates (giving you 1TB and extra sharing features for $9/month), reviewing the big 3 storage apps—Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive—seemed like a great way to test out our new reviews pages at Zapier.

And so, here’s a review of what’s great about each of them, with a short summary:

As it turns out, I use all 3 for different purposes. But that’s a post for another day.

The Chromecast is great for streaming Netflix and YouTube to your TV, but it’s also the best alternative to taking an HDMI cable with you on your next business trip. Here’s some tips on how to use the Chromecast to present anything, anywhere.

Your Mac Has Something Better Than Siri: It Can Write For You

Your Mac has dictation and screen-reading built-in, with the same voices (and many more) that you’re used to from Siri. Google, Wikipedia, and the calculator are only a keystroke away in Spotlight. Yet there’s still no Siri for Mac.

There is, however, a bit of artificial intelligence in your Mac. Open a new text document, in TextEdit or your favorite plain text writing app. Or possibly make a new email. Now, press the esc key on your keyboard. Tap enter, then press space. Now tap esc again. Rinse, repeat. Add punctuation as needed.

And, voila, your Mac has just written for you. Automagically.


My Mac has a penchant for saying it wants to “have a good day” or “be a good day”. Which is nice.

And so we should let my MacBook Air have the closing words. It said:

I love you so much fun and I was just a little bit of a new one is the best thing ever is when you have to be a good day.


Yes, this is just the default OS X spellcheck’s word suggest, which you can use to help you complete a word you’re unsure how to spell. And it apparently learns from what you type—and since I close most emails with “Have a good day!”, I guess it learned that phrase from me. Anyhow. Still a fun trick.