Q&A: How to Share an Apple TV

Q.

My son has an Apple TV with his iTunes account for TV shows, YouTube videos and music. We don’t share tastes. Can I also log onto the device to access the stuff from my own iTunes account?

A.

Logging into the Settings screen on the Apple TV to pair the device with another iTunes library and Apple ID account is one way to share, but an update for the small black second- and third-generation Apple TV makes it easier. The Apple TV now allows the use of multiple iTunes accounts without having to sign in and out, but you need to have at least version 5.1 of the Apple TV software. The latest update does not work on the first-generation silver Apple TV model, which was discontinued in 2010.

To check for a software update (if you have not updated recently), turn on the Apple TV and use the remote to select Settings from the main screen. In the Settings menu, select General and then Update Software. If an update is av ailable, select the option to download and install it.

Once you have updated the Apple TV, go back to the Settings menu and select iTunes Store. Click the Accounts link with the remote. If your son has been the only one using the Apple TV to play his iTunes Store content, his Apple ID account should be listed on the screen. To add your Apple ID account (and with it, access to your own iTunes library and purchases that live online up in Apple’s cloud), select Add New Account on the screen. Enter your Apple ID user name and password.

Once you have added your Apple ID information, both accounts should be listed on the screen. It’s a little kludgy, especially for apple, but to switch back and forth between your son’s account and yours, just revisit the Settings screen, choose iTunes Store, Accounts and select the account you want to use from the list. If you are purchasing iTunes content directly on the Apple TV, make sure you have your own account selected before yo u buy.

Sunday Breakfast Menu, Dec. 30

Sunday's Breakfast MenuStephen Crowley/The New York Times

As the deadline to avert the automatic tax increases and spending cuts of the so-called fiscal cliff draws near, the Sunday shows feature members of Congress and, most notably, President Obama, who will join NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Two members of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee – Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, and Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the chamber’s No. 2 Republican – will join ABC’s “This Week” to weigh in on the last-minute attempts to come to an agreement. Also on the program will be Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, and Representative Raúl R. Labrador, Republican of Idaho and a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

On CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, and Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, will discuss the negotiations.

Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee; Senator Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of Michigan; Representative Donna Edwards, Democrat of Maryland; and Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California and chairman of the House oversight committee, will appear on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Plus, Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary, will talk about a potential increase in the price of dairy products if Congress fails to pass a new farm bill soon.

“Fox News Sunday” features a discussion about several of the issues grabbing headlines, including the fiscal talks, gun control and the investigation into the September attack in Benghazi, Libya. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, and Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, will join the program.

Luke Messer of Indiana, president of the 113th Congress’s incoming freshman class, will be on C-Span’s “Newsmakers.”

And Representative Luis V. Gutierrez, Democrat of Illinois, and Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, Republican of Florida, will talk about the challenges facing Congress in the year ahead on Univision’s “Al Punto.”

Democratic Establishment Voices Support for Markey’s Bid to Succeed Kerry

The Democratic ranks are closing behind Representative Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts in the race to succeed Senator John Kerry, who hopes to become Secretary of State.

The race is shaping up with unusual speed, considering that Mr. Kerry has not yet vacated the seat, and Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts has yet to set a date for a special election.

But several big guns in the Democratic Party began on Friday to line up behind Mr. Markey, who declared his c andidacy Thursday in a race that was expected to be crowded with wanna-bes.

The first to issue a statement was Mr. Kerry.

“While I began last week to formally step out of politics and it’s very important that I respect the apolitical nature of the post I hope to soon occupy, as Massachusetts’ senior senator today and as a colleague of Ed Markey’s for 28 years, I’m excited to learn of and support his decision to run for the United States Senate,” the statement said.

It avoided the word “endorse” but was clearly intended to send a signal that Mr. Kerry was supporting Mr. Markey.

Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the widow of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, then endorsed Mr. Markey, saying in a statement, “He knows how to get things done.”

Mrs. Kennedy is said to be interested in being appointed interim Senator until the winner of the special election is declared, but she did not mention this in her statement.

Her s tatement was followed by one from Senator Michael Bennet, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, in favor of Mr. Markey.

“At a time when the country needs real leadership that looks out for the middle class, Ed Markey always remembers where he came from and will continue the hard work needed to turn our economy around,” Mr. Bennet wrote.

Mr. Markey, 66, is the dean of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation and was first elected to the House in 1976. The other most likely candidates are also members of Congress: Stephen Lynch and Michael Capuano.

The Democrats appear to be trying to head off a potentially bruising primary and save their money for the special election. Their most likely Republican opponent is Massachusetts’ other outgoing senator, Scott Brown.

Mr. Brown, who lost his seat last month to Elizabeth Warren, has not said yet whether he intends to run again this time. But he is presumed to be a formidable candidate; he is certainly the best known in the field, now that a couple of high-profile Democrats have said they are not interested. They include Edward M. Kennedy Jr., the late Senator’s son, and Ben Affleck, the actor.

Representative Niki Tsongas, the widow of another senator, has also said that she will not run. So has Martha Coakley, the state attorney general, who lost a special election to Mr. Brown in 2010.

Mr. Markey, the son of a milkman, has $3 million in his campaign account. He ranks ninth in seniority in the House.

Follow Katharine Q. Seelye on Twitter at @kseelye.

Lawmakers Suggest New Rules to Speed Up Senate Business

A bipartisan group of eight senators on Friday proposed a detailed set of Senate rule changes that could speed the legislative process considerably but would stop short of the most dramatic changes to the filibuster that some Democrats are demanding.

Under the proposed changes, the minority party in the Senate could no longer filibuster motions to take up bills for debate or to convene formal negotiations with the House on Senate-passed legislation.

The new rules would also make clear that if no senator is on the floor to mount a filibuster, the senator presiding over the Senate could immediately move to a vote on the pending matter. That, the advocates say, would put an end to the current practice of mounting filibusters without even showing up on the Senate floor.

For the minority party, the new rules would also guarantee at least four amendments on every bill, two for the Republicans and two for the Democrats.

“What we’re proposing on a biparti san basis is a way to end the major sources of gridlock around here,” said Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, who, along with Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, unveiled the plan.

It is not clear whether the proposal will win over the young Democratic senators pressing for more sweeping changes. One of those senators, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, said Senate Democrats had a “very healthy debate” on Friday in a closed-door lunch dedicated to the rules-change debate. He continued to insist that any new rules include a measure that forces senators wishing to filibuster a bill to stand and talk until the body is worn down, a scenario captured in the classic movie, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

“It’s extremely important any package have the talking filibuster in it,” he said.

But to make that change, Democrats on Jan. 3 would have to pull what supporters call the “constitutional option” and what others in both parties call the “nuclear option” — forcing the change with a simple 51-vote majority by overruling the parliamentarian when he rules the changes out of order. By tradition, Senate rules changes take 67 votes to enact.

Mr. Merkley and Senator Tom Udall, Democrat of New Mexico, said the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, will have 51 Democrats if he wants to force the issue. But Mr. Levin raised serious doubts about that.

“A number of us are deeply troubled that we would do something that would break the rules,” he said.

Under the bipartisan proposal, some of the most dilatory procedures of the last two years — like filibustering even efforts to take up bills — would end. Many more presidential nominees would be put on an expedited calendar, and even the 448 remaining on the traditional route to confirmation would face a shorter path.

And the eight advocates of the proposal said their rules would effectively bring back the stand ing filibuster by ending the custom in which objections to consent agreements can be lodged with a phone call to a senator nearby. Now filibusters would have to be on the floor to stop the presiding officer from calling a snap vote.

Q&A: Going Deeper Into FileVault

Q.

Does Apple’s FileVault security program for Mac OS X encrypt just the Home folder or the whole drive?

A.

FileVault’s abilities depend on the version you are using. The FileVault encryption feature has been around since Mac OS X 10.3,M, also known as Panther, which was released in 2003, but FileVault has evolved over the years. More recent versions of the system – OS X 10.7, nicknamed Lion, and OS X 10.8, Mountain Lion – use an updated version of the software, FileVault 2.

While the original version of FileVault just encrypted the contents of the user’s Home folder, the newer FileVault 2 encrypts the entire disk, and can take advantage of the faster Intel processors in newer Macs to make the encryption/decryption time quicker. FileVault 2 also supports incremental backup and recovery with Apple’s built-in Time Machine backup software and offers a user recovery key in case the FileVault 2 password is forgotten. You have the option of storing the recovery key with Apple, which encrypts the key and will unlock it only if three security questions you previously provided are answered successfully.

While faster and more versatile than the original version, FileVault 2 has had some issues, including a password bug earlier this year that has since been fixed. Apple has instructions for setting up FileVault 2 that further explain how it works. The Macworld site has an extensive guide to using FileVault 2 as well if you want more information before you decide if you want to use this optional feature of OS X.

App Smart Extra: The Melodies Linger On

Streaming music, and streaming “radio” apps like Pandora and Spotify, were the topics of this week’s App Smart column. They let you listen to music you do not necessarily have in your own collection. They can also be an excellent way to break out of a musical rut and discover new sounds.

Here is another app that you may like: ooTunes ($5 on iOS). It behaves like a very clever access point to a huge list of online radio stations, among which you may well find music you would like to hear. I love the Radio RooLette function, which takes you to a random selection of tracks. The Lyrics option is nice too, because I bet that you, like me, often wonder what the heck a singer just said.

The app’s “Similar” function also does a surprisingly good job of suggesting similar music; clicking on this while listening to some holiday tunes by Andy Williams led me to Bobby Vee’s “Christmas Vacation,” for example. But from the point it delivers the list, it’s a bit o f potluck to see if those tracks are being played somewhere on the radio now, or can be found on YouTube. Unfortunately this app had flaky audio quality for me several times, even though I’m on a superfast Wi-Fi broadband connection. Also, its interface is far from being highly polished. But at least it’s not expensive, and it comes with bonus powers to record the tracks and act as a radio alarm clock.

Don’t forget that these kinds of apps can also help you identify music you haven’t heard before when listening from a more conventional source, like over a store’s speaker system, or on a friend’s radio. Shazam (free on iTunes and Android) is my favorite app for doing this; you simply run it and let it “listen” to the music. It then does a clever pattern-matching to identify the song, and presents you with a page crammed with data like the name of the artist, information about tours, a link to YouTube and, in the iOS edition, the “artist’s popular songs” on iTune s. Clicking on this last option is, of course, a great way to listen to more of the music that has just attracted your ear. Finally, the app’s “Discover” tab helps you find new music by showing the popular tracks people are listening to and identifying with Shazam.

Quick Call

The popular social music app maker Smule has a new, free iOS app out, Strum. It is a little like Instagram, but is all about sharing video clips on a social network. Unlike other, similar apps, Strum applies both video and audio filters – to the extent of composing new music for you, or editing the audio and video of your clips to make them look and sound as if you’re rapping.

Different Tax Proposals and Their Reach

WASHINGTON – As part of a deal being negotiated by President Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner to avert the worst of the year-end tax increases and spending cuts, Social Security payments might be lower in the future for millions of Americans.

On Tuesday, Democrats and Republicans were examining a multitrillion-dollar deficit reduction package put forward by the president, though the two sides were trading barbed remarks and aides were emphasizing that nothing was final until the whole deal was done.

But the White House seemed willing to make a concession to Republicans with a switch in the formula that ensures that Social Security payments keep up with the pace of inflation – an idea that immediately proved unpopular with its liberal base.

“Any talk of shrinking the program to save money is flawed from the start because Social Security is not part of the national budget in the same way as military spending,” Representative Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona said in a statement. “It’s paid for through a dedicated payroll tax separate from general budgeting.”

Representative Charles B. Rangel of New York was among many on the left who echoed that sentiment. “Everyone has a grandparent, a friend or a neighbor who relies on the Social Security benefits they earned to pay for medical care, food and housing,” he said in a statement. “A move towards chained Consumer Price Index would be a long-term benefit cut for every single person who receives a Social Security check.”

Democrats and Republicans are considering switching Social Security payment adjustments to a “chained” Consumer Price Index. The Consumer Price Index tracks the price of a basket of commonly purchased household goods. A chained index accounts for consumers’ tendency to substitute similar items for one another as prices fluctuate. A consumer might buy more apples when the price of oranges increases, for instance.

Though it sounds like nothing more than a technical fix, adopting a chained index would squeeze benefits over time. The chained index ends up, in a given year, about 0.3 percentage points lower than the unchained index. That difference accumulates, so after five years, it might be 1.5 percentage points lower. Using a chained index would cut Social Security spending by about $112 billion over a decade, according to an estimate by the Congressional Budget Office.

AARP, the lobbying and research group for older Americans, immediately criticized the proposal. “We would rather see a broader discussion addressing retirement security,” said Debra Whitman, an executive vice president at AARP. “We object to the context in which it’s being discussed, which is a few weeks before Christmas, without people understanding what the change really means.”

Because the payment reductions would accumulate over time, AARP and other groups argue that they would hit the oldest Americans disproportionately hard. They might also unduly burden women, who tend to live longer than men, and the lowest-income older people, who are most dependent on Social Security checks, the groups warned.

Some economists and policy experts have also argued that both the current and the chained indexes underestimate the inflation that older Americans experience. The government produces an experimental “elderly index,” for instance, that tries to capture the consumption habits of people over 62 more accurately than other measures. For instance, older people buy more health care and less education than the average family, so the elderly index puts more weight on the former and less on the latter.

In no small part because of spiraling health care costs, inflation as measured by the elderly index has grown faster than inflation as calculated by the standard index that Social Security uses. That implies that the purchasing power of Social Security payments linked to a chained index would erode more over time, given what older Americans buy.

Still, other economists and policy experts from across the political spectrum have argued that a chained index is a more accurate measure of the inflation that households actually experience, and therefore is a better policy tool. They note that the elderly index is still experimental, and that not just older people receive or spend Social Security payments.

“We know that the current measure of inflation is not adequately measuring experienced inflation, and we should hence go with the better measure,” said Christian E. Weller, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a liberal research group based in Washington, and the author of a plan to modernize Social Security.

Both liberals and conservatives have at times argued against making changes to Social Security outside the context of a broader overhaul. Many analysts – particularly Democrats – argue that Social Security does not contribute to long-term deficits because it has its own financing stream in payroll taxes. But it does have a long-term fiscal challenge, as payouts would eventually overwhelm its trust fund and revenues.

“Back when the system started, the demographics were really favorable,” said Andrew G. Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute, a right-leaning research group in Washington. “You could provide decent benefits for the rich and poor alike at low cost. You can’t do that anymore, mathematically. We could provide decent benefits for the rich and the poor by raising taxes a lot, but we need to raise taxes for other things.”

Mr. Biggs said Social Security changes that provided more ample benefits to vulnerable low-income older people and less to the well-off might prove to be a better path forward.

“We oppose chained C.P.I.,” Representative Peter Welch, Democrat of Vermont, said in an interview. “But I think all of us are waiting to see the details in the final package, and we’ll make our determination then.”

Correction: December 19, 2012
An earlier version of a caption in this post misstated Representative Raúl M. Grijalva’s affiliation. He is not affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute.

Obama Returns to Washington, With Bo

President Obama returned to the White House on Thursday to resume efforts to end a partisan impasse on a fiscal deal without his wife and daughters, who remain on vacation in Hawaii. His only companion: the family dog, Bo.

Which inevitably brings to mind the aphorism (wrongly) attributed to his one of his predecessors, Harry S. Truman: “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”

So Mr. Obama will have his spirited pet for company in the White House as he confronts the uphill struggle to win House Republicans’ acq uiescence to legislation extending the Bush-era tax cuts, which expire after Monday, for income below $250,000 a year. Anti-tax Republicans in the House demand an extension of the cuts for all income levels.

According to a report from the press pool that accompanied the president on the overnight flight, the Obamas’ Portuguese water dog three times wandered into the press cabin, which is at the far end of Air Force One from the president’s lair.

Late on Wednesday, before leaving Oahu, Mr. Obama called the four congressional leaders — the Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and the Republicans, House Speaker John A. Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.


Gay Republicans Take Out Ad Criticizing Hagel

The White House may not be making any more announcements about President Obama’s new national security team this week, but that hasn’t stopped the anti-Chuck Hagel drumbeat.

An organization of gay Republicans took out a full page ad in The New York Times on Thursday proclaiming the former Nebraska senator – who has been on Mr. Obama’s short list for defense secretary – as “wrong on gay rights.” The ad also labeled Mr. Hagel as “wrong on Iran” and “wrong on Israel,” but the focus of the ad was on Mr. Hagel’s words, made more than a decade ago, on gays.

In an interview in 1998 about James C. Hormel, a San Francisco philanthropist nominated by President Bill Clinton to be ambassador to Luxembourg, Mr. Hagel spoke out against the appointment, saying that an “openly, aggressively gay” man should not represent the United States.

Mr. Hagel did not oppose the nomination when Mr. Hormel came before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but he did tell the Omaha World-Herald: “They are representing America.” He added: “They are representing our lifestyle, our values, our standards. And I think that it is an inhibiting factor to be gay – openly, aggressively gay like Mr. Hormel – to do an effective job.”

Mr. Hagel has since apologized for the remark, saying in a statement last week that his comments “were insensitive,” and not reflective “of my views or of the totality of my public record.” The White House has sought to defend Mr. Hagel, while at the same time leaving options open about whom Mr. Obama may appoint as defense secretary.

Administration officials said that they did no t expect an announcement this week. Others believed to be under consideration for the post include Michèle A. Flournoy, a former top Pentagon official who worked on Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign; former Navy secretary, Richard Danzig; and a former Pentagon official, Ashton B. Carter, a Harvard physicist.

Mr. Obama must also appoint a new director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Since Mr. Hagel’s name emerged as a contender for the top Pentagon job, he has been sharply criticized for his record on Iran, Israel and militant groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as comments he made about pro-Israel lobbying groups in Washington. Representatives of some pro-Israel lobbying groups have now been ferociously attacking Mr. Hagel.

Three Tips for Taking Frosty Photos

Mark Theriot

As a beginning photographer, Mark Theriot’s best source of subjects were to be found at the nearby Mississippi River. “Having nothing else to shoot, it drove me outside,” he said. In time he developed into a noted outdoor photographer, specializing in pictures of birds, and especially eagles.

Spending four to five hours at a clip outdoors year round has taught him a few things about cold weather photography. Mr. Theriot here offers some tips for keeping your camera (and fingers) in working order even in subzero temperatures.

Don’t Condense One of the big dangers to your camera is condensation. Take a warm camera into the cold and condensation can wet the inside of your lenses and dampen the works of the camer a. To avoid that problem slowly raise or lower your camera’s temperature. Mr. Theriot uses his camera bag as a insulator against quick temperature changes. “If I am going on a really, really cold shoot, I leave the camera out in the bag overnight.”

Do the same when you bring the bag inside, giving it at least six hours to warm, he said. “Take out batteries and memory cards before bringing the camera in,” he said. That way you don’t have to take the camera from the bag prematurely to upload shots or charge the batteries.

No Bad Breath The other source of condensation is your breath. “Be aware of breathing through your nose,” Mr. Theriot said. Mouth breathing can frost your lens. He also uses a Hoodman Eyecup on his camera, which moves his face back enough to provide a margin of safety. Be careful if you goof. “If you have wet moisture, you can wipe it off,” he said. But, he added, “frost is a different animal.” For frost, you have to warm the l ens surface and wipe the moisture, otherwise “you just end up smearing stuff around.” He also uses an anti-fogging agent, Cat Crap, on his lenses.

Preserve Power Cold kills battery power. So you might consider keeping your batteries inside your coat, right? Wrong. “Put your battery in the outside pocket,” Mr. Theriot said. “It doesn’t do a lot of good to have your batteries and memory card under four layers of clothes.” His trick is to put chemical hand warmers in the pocket with the batteries, usually whatever is on sale. “I look for ones that are at least six hours in duration.” Also, getting an accessory battery grip can double your shooting time.

Love Your Gloves Touching cold metal with bare hands is a good way to lose digits. “I’ve darn near had frostbite,” Mr. Theriot said. “I do my best not to take my gloves off.” To manage that, he uses presets on his camera, which can be programmed to his most common shutter and aperture setups, making it easy to switch between them. Mr. Theriot wears liners in case he needs to manipulate the settings. Over the liners are Thinsulate gloves, and over those, arctic gloves. “You either adapt or you don’t get to shoot very long,” he said.