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Tom Briant

The MacValley blog

Editor: Tom Briant


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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Your Input is Highly Desired by the Editor

If you would like to write for the Voice, but don't have a topic, here's an idea or two:

The Voice needs writers on digital photography. The editor has a digital camera, a point and shoot Canon that he keeps in a drawer. If you take photographs regularly, you can share them with us.

Heck, if you just want to write about the neat sites where you can find wallpaper for your monitor, write about that.

What About HDR photography? Share your knowledge of HDR with us!

The Editor

Monday, September 27, 2010

We'll All have grey hair eventually

By Cristael Bengtson

Whenever I go online and do a Google search for ‘Mac User Groups’, there’s almost always someone on a forum who’s dissing User Groups.

User Groups are a bunch of graybeards trying to figure out how to use their iPhones. They have raffles. They don’t want to talk to anyone under 40.

And the punchline: User Groups, as a breed, are dying out, if not already dead. Good riddance. Who needs ‘em.

Here are some facts:

There are as many User Groups out there as ever. Memberships may be smaller. Some groups have closed their doors. Yet, for every group that dies, another group springs up.

The graying of User Groups has been a long established fact. What hasn’t been noticed is that some of those gray-hairs are middle aged people who have recently decided to join up.

There are members in almost every group who are beginners or basic users. There are also a few members in most groups who have Mac expertise ranging from good to professional. For example, MacValley’s emcee, Elena-Beth Kaye, is an Apple Listed Mac Consultant. And almost half of our presenters over the past two years have been members of the Apple Consultant’s Network.

We have a prizedrawing at each meeting, and we’re proud of it. At our August meeting our main prize was a donated copy of ‘Freeway 5’. We’ve also given away fantastic t-shirts from MacWorld, along with DVD’s of ‘Matrix’ and ‘Star Trek’.

We do talk with younger people at our meetings. At MacValley, all age groups are welcome.

Who needs us? How about your Mom? Your Grandpa? Your Aunt Nellie? Or your kid sister who’s always making frantic calls, yelling for help with her latest Mac snafu.

At MacValley, we provide a space where people of all skills levels can feel welcome, where they’ll be treated like intelligent human beings. And in the Mac world, that can be hard to find.

This means we’re providing valuable services to the entire Mac community. By being inclusive, rather than exclusive, User Groups are helping to make sure that anyone who has paid the premium price for an iMac, or a Mac laptop, or an iPad, will be getting more of their money’s worth out of an expensive piece of Mac equipment. In addition, they’ll have that sense of security that comes from being a part of a Mac Support Group, with folks who are more than willing to share their Mac know-how with others.

Every little bit of help and support does count.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

His Master's Voice Gets an Update-the iPad comes to Target

Target will start carrying the iPad on Sunday, October 3rd. Lots of people who wouldn't go near an Apple store will now have reason to take a peek at the magical and revolutionary iPad.

Apple should do a cross-promotion with Justin Long (Mac), John Hodgman (PC), and the Target bull terrier. I'm imagining an update on the classic RCA Victor His Master's Voice graphic, where the dog listened to the Victola? How about a dog listening to an iPad?!

No news yet on the rumor of a mini-iPad in time for Christmas. Nothing would surprise me, though.

This latest move by Apple, though, shows it intends to get out ahead of the game. Can 7/11 be far behind? :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Blog for Tuesday 9-21-2010

Tuesday Blog 9-21-2010

You all remember the Dilbert cartoon where Wally fools his Pointy-Haired Boss into believing that an Etch-A-Sketch is his new laptop? To reset it, Wally tells P-H B, you need to hold it and shake it!

Well, you can make your iPad into a 21st Etch-A-Sketch with an Etch-A-Sketch app and (!) the official Etch-A-Sketch case from Headcase. It even has knobs (non-functional, unfortunately).

The Etch-A-Sketch case costs $39.99, while a real Etch-A-Sketch costs $17.99.

On the topic of new vendors for the Mac, not the i-Devices, but the real Mac; Adobe announced Photoshop Elements 9 for the Mac and Premiere Elements for the Mac. Heretofore, Premiere Elements was only available for the Wintel machines.

Each application costs $99, but you can get both together for $149.

Let’s get back to the iPad for a moment. The built-in Movie application only plays a few video formats. To play other formats, Windows formats, even odd-ball formats, you need something like VLC Player. And guess what? VLC Player for the iPad is now available in the App Store. No need to jailbreak your iPad.

Earlier this year, we had a demonstration of MacSpeech from Nuance. Well, MacSpeech is now Dragon Dictate. If you already bought MacSpeech, you should get an e-mail shortly.

Well, that’s it for right now. What news have you got? Comments are open.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bits and Pieces

Oops! Amazon let loose the date for Office 2011 for the Mac. It's October 26.

Let's see what dumb things Microsoft is up to. Microsoft held a funeral parade for the iPhone and Blackberry to celebrate its release of Windows 7 Phone to manufacturers. They held this exercise in silliness just for hardware partners, not for the local Eyewitness news cameras. But I'm sure some video will leak out.

But the prize for silliness and a sense that marketing types are just naturally high comes from this ad for Norton Antivirus. Just watch it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hot Deals for MacValley Members Only for September 2010

Special Offers For Apple User Group Members
with User Group Discount Codes
August 17, 2010

The offers on this page are brought to you by the Apple User Group Advisory Board and are exclusively for current members of Apple User Groups. So that we may continue to make offers such as these available, please do not distribute the page URL or password to non-members.

User Group Leaders: please distribute this page URL and password to your members via newsletter, email, listserv or other private method. Do not make links or password publicly available.

That’s why you’ve got to log onto the Voice at THAT’S WHERE THE SECRET PASSWORDS ARE! This is a teaser page only.

Computer Memory, Flash Drives, Hard Drives: 15% off

EDGE Tech Corp, an ISO 9001:2008-certified company founded in 1986, is a leading supplier of computer memory upgrades, portable computing products, storage devices, and other experience-enhancing technology solutions. Learn more about their products at

Apple user group members receive 15% off all Apple memory upgrades, portable hard drives, flash drives and more at EDGE Tech Corp.

Apple Memory Upgrades:

Portable Hard Drives:

Flash Drives:

This worldwide offer is valid through December 31, 2010.

Home Inventory: 25% off

Home Inventory, a Macworld GemFest 2010 pick, is designed to help easily create and maintain an up-to-date inventory of the items and collections in any home. Knowing what you own, how much it's worth and being able to offer proof of possession is crucial when filing an insurance or police report. Home Inventory keeps track of this information and also serves as a record keeper for important information such as warranties, repair histories, and digital copies of owner's manuals for your items.

Regularly priced at $34.95(US), this user group special price is $26.22(US). Free trial version also available.

Buy now at:

This worldwide offer is valid through December 31, 2010.


All Eltima Mac Products: 20% discount

These made-for-Mac products allow you to decompile Flash, extract SWF elements from Flash movies, compress SWF files without quality loss, playback your favorite media files, sync your Mac with numerous devices, manage your downloads, and recover PDF passwords – all of that you can do with the help of Eltima software solutions for Mac.

Flash Decompiler Trillix

Flash Optimizer

Elmedia Player

Syncmate (powerful sync tool)

Folx Downloader

Recover PDF Password


These Mac products usually range from $19.95 - $399.95(US), and with special user group pricing will be reduced to a range of $15.96 - $319.96(US). Try before you buy versions are also available for downloading.

This worldwide offer is valid through December 31, 2010.


iMedia Converter for Mac: 38% discount

iMedia Converter for Mac is an all-in-one converter that supports DVD ripping and video conversion. It lets you rip DVDs and convert videos directly for use with iPad, iPod, iPhone 4, Apple TV, or other devices. Easily convert DVDs and videos to almost any format of your choice, including WMV, AVI, MP4, MOV, FLV, and more. Fully support camcorder video files like AVCHD (MTS/M2TS) and JVC (MOD/TOD).

The usual retail price is $49 (US), and the Apple User Group price is $30 (US), a 38% discount.

This worldwide offer is valid through November 15, 2010.

10% Discount on IPEVO Point 2 View USB Doc Cam

The Point 2 View’s versatility starts with its multi-jointed stand and weighted base. Three points of articulation mean that you can position the camera at most any height and angle. And the camera’s ergonomic grip, as well as a universal monitor clip, give you even more view options.
- Great tool to demo your iPhone or iPad
- Plug-and-play for your Mac, no driver required.
- 2.0 Megapixel CMOS sensor
- Full auto-focus with up to 1.5 macro
- Compact, versatile and portable

The Point 2 View retail price is $69.00 (US); this special Apple user group member price is only $62.10 (US).

Show and tell at:

This U.S.–only offer is valid through September 30, 2010.


50% Discount on The Hollywood Edge sound effects
The Hollywood Edge has been the library division of audio post pioneers Soundelux and Todd A/O for the past 20 years. T.H.E. offers over 60 collections of the highest quality, cutting edge and realistic sound effects available.
These award-winning sound effects are perfect for radio, TV, film, gaming, educational and web applications, and are embedded with Soundminer metadata and available on CD/DVD, hard drive and on-line delivery. General categories include Hollywood Edge Premiere Editions, Edge Editions, Animal, Background, Cartoon, Historical, Sound Design Tool Kits & Production Elements, Ambience, Science Fiction, Game Effects, Foley Effects, Evil and Eerie Editions.
Ranging in price from $49.95 to $9,495.00 (US), this special Apple user group provides 50% off specific sound effect collections, including items already discounted. To view these effects, click on “MUG Sounds” under the Categories list.
Hear the difference at:
This worldwide offer is valid through September 30, 2010.


20% Discount on hField Wi-Fire Long Range Wi-Fi Adapter

Wi-Fire is a range-extending USB device that enables you to connect to Wi-Fi networks as far away as 1000 feet, three times the typical Wi-Fi distance. Wi-Fire’s new v2.0 Mac software provides the look and feel of Airport. Reviewers love it . . . MacObserver: “A must-have accessory.” Macenstein: “We were pretty much blown away by its performance.” Engadget: “Worth every penny!”

Retailing at $49.00 (US), this special Apple user group member price is $39.20 (US).

Get connected now:

This worldwide offer is valid through August 31, 2010.


33% discount on Quick Start Your Mac training

Let help you learn how to use your Mac with their expert video tutorials that show you the how-to's of using Mac OS X Snow Leopard. Included are over 4.5 hours of training videos that cover everything from PC to Mac migration, a complete Mac OS X Basics section, and a guide to all of the common applications found on a Mac. A must-have for every new Mac user!

For more information:

This Apple user group member offer for Quick Start Your Mac is $50.00 (US), a great savings from the usual retail price of $74.95 (US).

This worldwide offer is valid through April 30, 2011.


Updated Offer – New Mach 3 Composites Macbook Protection Case: 27% Discount

Mach 3 Composites is introducing their new Carbon Fiber case for your MacBook. It features a new hard shell, light-weight, low profile, checkpoint friendly case. These cases are hand-made and designed to help protect your Apple laptop. All case exteriors have a high gloss finish with 100% carbon fiber, interiors are padded, and covered with a high-quality soft liner. They come in four sizes to best fit your needs.

Retail prices range from $151.99 to $199.99 (US), depending on your laptop size, but Apple user group discounted prices range from $110.00 to $146.00 (US). Shipping will begin in early April.

Give your MacBook piece of mind:

This worldwide offer is valid through December 30, 2010.


O'Reilly: New Discounts for User Group Members

O'Reilly Publishing is offering new and better discounts for groups. User group members can get a discount of 35% off all books and 45% off all ebooks (PDF, ePub, Mobi, Android) from O'Reilly, No Starch, Paraglyph, PC Publishing, Pragmatic Bookshelf, SitePoint or Syngress books that are purchased directly from O'Reilly by phone or online. Add in free shipping for orders over $29.95 (US) and the offer gets even better.

Order from the O'Reilly Store online or by phone at 1-800-998-9938 ( extra shipping costs outside U.S.).

This worldwide offer is ongoing.



Softpress Freeway: 25% Discount

Freeway gives you all the legendary ease-of-use and features that launched the desktop publishing revolution. You can quickly and effortlessly lay out your website, embed images and content, then publish your work as standards-compliant HTML. Upload to your server, .Mac or to a folder. You supply the creativity, Freeway handles the code.

User Group members can buy Freeway Pro, regularly $249 (US) for $186.75 (US), and Freeway Express for $59.25 (US), a 25% discount.

Build your website now.

This worldwide offer is ongoing.


Eltima Software multimedia products: Pay 20% less

Eltima Software is a global software development company, specializing in Flash software development for Mac users. All flashers will see the true value of Flash Decompiler Trillix for Mac, Flash Optimizer for Mac and SWF & FLV Player for Mac. With these products, managing Flash files is easy: decompile, compress or just play them back.

Regular prices for Eltima's Flash software range from $19.95- $99.95 (US). Using the coupon code gives user group members 20% off.

Get your Flash products here:

This worldwide offer is ongoing.


40% Off Mac|Life

Mac|Life is THE mac magazine that changes all the rules. Mac|Life recognizes Apple’s dynamic role in work, play and life and will appeal to core Apple users. With fresh insight, in-depth how-tos, stunning design and exclusive information, Mac|Life helps users realize their full potential. Mac|Life is the ultimate magazine about all things Apple.

Mac|Life is offering a Apple User Group member charter subscription rate of $14.95 (US) for 12 issues, a savings of 40% off the basic subscription price.

This worldwide offer is ongoing.


Join the Peachpit Club

You can save 35% on all Peachpit books by becoming a Peachpit Club Member. Membership is free and easy. All you have to do is answer a few questions in Peachpit's online survey, which you can access from any book page. After you fill out the survey, you'll save 35% by entering the coupon code at checkout. (You cannot use this discount in conjunction with any other coupon codes.)

Apple user group members get 35% off the normal price . . . PLUS, if you spend more than $55 (US) in one order, your discount will expand to 40%!

Join the Club:

This offer is ongoing.


Macworld Magazine

Macworld offers Apple user group members a special subscription offer. Macworld magazine is the ultimate Mac resource! We pack each issue with industry news, future trends, practical how-tos, in-depth features, tips and tricks, and more; we provide the tools Mac professionals and enthusiasts need. Best of all, you can depend on our unbiased, thorough product reviews and buying advice. Stay informed about what’s new, exciting, important. Become a Macworld reader.

Normal Price: $27.97 UG Price: $15.00(US) for 12 issues

This offer is ongoing.

For more information on user group special offers, contact your Apple User Group Regional Liaison.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Read All About It! The Voice is Up for Members.

MacValley News 9-1-2010

The September Voice has been posted on the Web site.

Read All About It-Our September presentation on Web Security. Dull? Wait until some hacker swipes your credit card and goes to Vegas! Also, the return of Ken Gruberman in October to MC the presentation of Panorama by Provue Software. Panorama is a wickedly fast database.

For November, it's elections and Elena-Beth Kaye's iPad presentation.

Cristael's Corner-Cristael talks about our Fall lineup of presenters.

The Life of Briant-The editor gives a list of ten things in Response to Microsoft's PC versus Mac campaign.

The iPad Column, written by a guy who doesn't even own one. This month, Special Guest Columnist John Moltz of Crazy Apple Rumors breaks the story of a serious design flaw in the iPad.

Ant and Frankie P. of gives their list of 16 things to do when you get a new Mac.

Robert Mohns of Macintouch compares Apple's Magic Trackpad to Wacom's Bamboo Touch Tablet.

Stickies on Your Mac! Not the paper notes, but the Stickies program built into your Mac and how to use it to full effect.

Members Only Discounts! Our Apple Ambassadress Fran Cohan has rounded up good stuff for us members.

Who won the good stuff at last month's prize drawing? Read and find out, then show up to win yourself!



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