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Tom Briant

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Editor: Tom Briant


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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

WikiDrinks at MacValley

(This is e-mails between me and Ken Gruberman. I am calling it WikiDrinks.

No, I am not bringing any liquor to tomorrow night's meeting. Thursday is a work day for me and we can't get people sloshed this early in the season.

But anyway, come to tomorrow night's meeting! Looks like lots of fun. Ken will take your questions about the Mac, the iPad, why he's not hosting the Oscars, etc.

If you want to bring your own cookies, you are welcome to do so.)

On Nov 29, 2010, at 8:05 PM, Thomas Briant wrote:

To All:

I've got the cookies (one box of chocolate chip, one box of oatmeal raisin), Juice (2 jugs of Apple juice), and glasses (10 oz) from Costco. Receipt will go to Shirley with annotations.

The tequila on the receipt is strictly for me.

Hey! Share some of that with the rest of us! We could finally have a *real* Holiday party! :)

Looking forward to Ken's presentation.

Me too. Now, in all honesty I can present Hallmark Card Studio in about 10 minutes. Is there anything else anyone would like me to demo?

I want to get his opinion on the iPad vs every other tablet.

That's simple: there's the iPad, and then there is … every other tablet. No comparison.

So far the best the other tablets can say is that they're cheaper. In every respect.

Indeed. It's just like all the iPod knockoffs that came out a year or so after the original iPod was introduced. They got the form-factor thing down, but the one-thumb operation and super-transparent user interface thing? No one else figured that out. They still haven't. Ever tried to use a SanDisk MP3 player? Or a Zune? I have.

The OS is the key, and that's where iOS shines. Android is … OK … using an Android phone is like what the iPhone would've been like had it been designed in Soviet Russia of the 60s. It works, it's utilitarian, but that's about it.

As for Apple and Mac news, the Mac rides high. If you're gonna get an iPad, might as well have a Mac to go with it.

Ya sure, you betcha!


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Come to the December 1st meeting, have a cookie, ask some questions

A Holiday Message from MacValley’s Editor

Greetings to you reading this blog. If you haven’t visited us before, well, welcome.

This site is dedicated to everyone who has a Mac in their life and needs to know how to use it.

If you come to us from the Windows side of computing, welcome even more. Your editor works at a Windows machine 5 days a week and owns a personal Windows 7 box sitting to the right of him. So we won’t make your life more complicated by casting aspersions on Windows. I will make fun of Steve Ballmer and Steve Jobs from time to time, but NOT YOU, gentle reader.

I invite you to our holiday meeting this Wednesday, December 1st. We will have a great presentation by Ken Gruberman of Hallmark Card Studio for Macintosh.

We will have a question and answer session, as always. Come and ask questions.

We will have cookies and juice. These cookies and juice come from Costco, that cornucopia of holiday refreshments.

So come visit us Wednesday night. E-mail me if you have any questions. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask. We’re all idiots at something or other. Cooking and auto repair are my knowledge holes. Thank God for Jiffy Lube and Trader Joe’s!


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Voice

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cristael Bengston on our Twitter page

So MacValley's Twitter page is up. And frankly, the darned thing scares me to death. But I might as well gird myself and tackle the Twitter learning curve, beginning right now.

I'm going to document my struggles and progress (!) on our MacValley Blog. It should be interesting.

And here's the opening struggle: I sent a cry-for-help email to Justin Bradshaw, our presenter for last February because I knew he had Twitter (@justinsail) ( And I had my answer by the next day, which was super-nice of him.

Hi Justin --

When you presented at MacValley last February (and a fine presentation it was) you talked about your Twitter page.Now both MacValley and I have Twitter pages (@macvalley and @cristaelb) and I am going through my usual learning curve.

I was wondering if I could ask you a very simple question. I am following 10 people, and I have 4 followers. And I can't remember how I got my followers to follow me.

I've read four books on Twitter, and I've tried Twitter 'Help', and I can't find a word on this, anywhere.

Can you help me?

Good question. You can't really "get" followers in any specific way... people either want to follow you or they don't. The best way to get someone to follow you (I think) is to follow them. The next best way is to @mention them in a post. That way they'll usually see your tweet and if they like it they'll probably click on your profile and if they like what they see they might follow you there. So just decide what you're interested in, tweet about that, and then follow others who seem to be interested in that stuff too :)

I tend to get followers when I post about specific things. Many companies and people have constant twitter searches that when you post something about "iPad cases" for example, they will see it and maybe follow you. But who knows... it's mostly a crapshoot.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Blog Entry for 11-15-2010// of Ipads and Ubuntu Linux

November 15, 2010

Working on articles for next month’s Voice

Hello, this is your editor reporting on his progress for next months Voice.

iPad and its competition

I just checked out the Bestbuy site. Under Computers, they have the iPad and “tablets”. The tablets are cheaper than the iPad and that’s about all I can say for them.

If you go shopping for a tablet computer, you have to consider just how happy would someone be with something other than an iPad? If you think Apple may come out with something better in the spring, then give them an Apple gift certificate.

I’ll give you a list of Elena-Beth’s presentation in the Voice. For now, let me say that it was spectacular. Everyone in the audience who saw it will want an iPad eventually. The editor included.

The Mac and Ubuntu Linux

MacLife magazine published a great article on turning an old Windows PC into a Linux media server. Ostensibly, you can plug your Mac into it and stream music from a central iTunes server to all your computers.

So I have a spare Windows computer that’s too old for Windows 7. I installed Ubuntu 10.10, “Maverick Meercat” and it worked right up. It’s a Mac’s poor cousin.

Next came the steps outlined in the MacLife article. The first piece of software you install is Netatalk. If you use Ubuntu 10.10, you’ll use a current version (2.1.2), instead of the flawed earlier one used by Crunchbang Linux in the article.

You’ve installed the Netatalk software, now you need to configure it. The MacLife article walks you through configuration. I avoided typing long strings and just copied from the article displayed in Firefox and pasted to the Ubuntu terminal application.

You test it using the Finder and connecting to a server. I enjoyed success on the first go.

Now comes the second piece of software, the Avahi-daemon. Ubuntu 10.10 already comes with this software, but lacks a configuration file. No worry, just copy and paste the pre-built configuration file in the article. You then run a couple of scripts, also copied and pasted.
In the sidebar of your Finder, you should end up with an icon looking like an Apple Cinema Display with the name of your Linux box. Mine is named “thomas-desktop”. Just double-click on this icon. The first time you’ll get a dialog box asking for a name and password. You want to enter your Linux user name and your Linux administrator password. Don’t use your Mac name and password!

The next time you do this, remember to click on the checkbox asking if you want to save the password in your keychain. Do this, and you can just plug the Linux box into your Mac.

So far, so good.

Now the bad news. The article glowingly speaks of the Firefly music server software that would let you stream your iTunes library to every iTunes-equipped computer in your house. Well, Firefly is broken. It doesn’t work with iTunes 10.


Volunteers are working on fixing this problem, but the fix won’t arrive in the Ubuntu software repositories for some time.

So that’s what’s happening with me.

If anyone would like to review Angry Birds, write me at I want your article!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

OS X News-10.6.5 just released

OS X 10.6.5 came out today. Your editor took the plunge and installed it.

He installed the default installer that Software Upgrade makes available to you. It's 517 Mb in size.

The installation went smoothly. I did not observe any glitches.

I would expect the Apple Servers to get a lot of traffic tonight. So you may want to wait until the weekend to install 10.6.5. I'll keep posting any features or problems that I notice.

Tom Briant

Our iPad Meeting was a big success

I’ve been President of MacValley for five years now, and like everybody on the Board, I’ve sweated my way through finding presenters, locating raffle prize donations -- Oops! -- I mean prizes for the prizedrawings. Getting our meetings up online -- thank heaven for Sprint phonecards. Getting our website up. And of course, getting our Blog page and our Twitter page up -- we’re still perspiring a little on this one.

But our November 3rd meeting showed me just why it’s so great being President of MacValley. First of all, we had a total of 45 people show up for the General Meeting. That hasn’t happened in a couple of years.

Not only that, six people were brand new visitors. And five people were returning former members of MacValley. Out of the eleven, we had two new people join MacValley, plus two of our returning members renewed their memberships.

How did these new people find out about us? One found out about us online. The others learned about us from active MacValley Members. It looks we’ve got some buzz going.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Grandpa Mac Portable and Baby MacBook Air

Go to here to see a very interesting picture. It shows a pristine Mac Portable, which ran on lead-acid batteries, next to a new MacBook Air 2010.

The picture is copyrighted, so I'm linking to it.

Read the comments, too, of this article. Michael Allen, one of the team that developed the Mac Portable, has some great stuff to tell.

Tom Briant

The Next Macintosh OS

I found an interesting column by Jean-Louis Gassee, of Apple and BeOS fame here.

He comments on the problems an operating system faces. Primarily it's having to bear the baggage of the previous OS that you can't dump-yet-on your back.

iOS is the forerunner of the next Macintosh OS. It doesn't have any backward compatibility issues.

Again, your comments are welcome.

Tom Briant

Run WordPerfect 5.1 on your Mac-and for free*

*This assumes you already have WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS

A blog lets me put up articles on interest to a few people. A few switchers from the PC may pine for WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS. I admit that I consider one of the best word processors I ever used.

Edward Mendelson has posted a link at WP Universe for a .DMG file containing what you need to run WP 5.1 on an Intel Mac. It uses the DOSbox application to provide the emulated operating system. Mr. Mendelson's installation sets up a system to print to your default OS X printer.

I've tried it out and it works pretty well. Do read the ReadMe.pdf that comes with it for essential instructions.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Tom Briant

The November Voice is up

The November Voice is up! I'd appreciate your comments on my Editor's column.

You can contribute to the Voice! Bring on your brief articles, your artwork created with a Mac, your photography.

But don't complain the Voice doesn't reflect your interests! If you don't tell me what those interests are, how am I to know?



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