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Tom Briant

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Editor: Tom Briant


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Monday, August 29, 2011

Stan has a question for our readers

Our second questions comes from Stan in Santa Monica, who has problems with iCal:

"Hello.....I'm taking you at your word....feel free to write with questions.....I just moved to Santa Monica and I need some help in setting up my iMac......would you know of anyone in my area who might be able to work with me.......I'm on line and working,but when I use iCal I get a small window that says THE SERVER RESPONDED WITH AN ERROR
The server did not recognize your user name or password for the account "". Make sure you enter them correctly.....

I click ok, but it comes back a few minutes you know of anyone in or near Santa Monica who might help...

I thank you so much...."


Hi Stan --

You've sent a really great question, and while I definitely don't know the answer, I can make a suggestion or two. And our Editor-in-Chief, Tom Briant, can post this on the MacValley Blog (minus your last name and your email address). We'll see who else might have comments that could be helpful.

First, for some really good names, go to Apple's website and look under Apple Consultants Network. (,%20cA)

We've found some really great people that way, and some of them have even given presentations at MacValleys General meetings.

Second, look under the Apple Reseller locator ( They almost always have in-store consultants. There are some good ones out there, and they can be very helpful.

Thanks for your email --

Cristael Bengtson
MacValley Users Group

Again, what do you readers advise Stan to do? Put your answers in the comments

Andrea has a question for you readers!

Our President, Cristael Bengston received the following e-mail:

Hi Cristael,
I have an entire house full of old Mac's.

I need to wipe the hard drives and then try to see if I can
donate to a school or something..

Can you suggest something?

Mac User since 89..

In response, Cristael answered:

Hi Andrea --

What a great question to ask! This is one that comes up every so often, and we've never really gotten a good answer for it.

A few suggestions:

1. Do you know any schoolteachers? They might have ideas as to where you can get in touch with someone in charge of classroom computers.

2. Call your local schools and talk to the secretaries -- or P.A.'s -- in chief. Secretaries (Oops, P.A.'s) are major founts of information on just about everything, and if they don't know the answer, the secretaries' network probably will.

3. Check with your local Apple resellers. See what kind of info they have on getting those hard-drives wiped for free.

4. Also try & get hold of the people in the LA recycling department. Or go online and hunt around their site to find recycling centers that specialize in computer recycling. They might know a thing or two.

This is such an interesting email you've sent that I'd like to ask our Editor-in-Chief, Tom Briant, to post this on the MacValley Blog (minus your last name & email address!) I'll bet there are more people out there who would be interested in answers to this question.

Thanks for your email!

Cristael Bengtson
MacValley Users Group

Now I'm asking our readers to suggest answers for Andrea and her surfeit of Macs.

What would you suggest Andrea do?

Tom Briant
Editor, MacValley Voice

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Steve Jobs has resigned

Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple, Inc. today.

He released a letter he could not fulfill his duties.

I’m sorry to see Steve go. I wish him well. We all wish him well.

As for Apple, the departure of its iconic CEO does NOT leave it in a state of disarray. The letter refers to a succession plan. Tim Cook, formerly the Chief Operating Officer, now assumes the formal title of CEO. He had functioned as CEO in Steve’s absence.

Apple has a successful range of products from the iPod nano to the Mac Pro, from OS X Lion to Final Cut Pro X. It has NOT blown $100 million dollars on a half-baked product trying to compete with its chief consumer rival. (I’m looking at you, Leo Apothker of HP, and wondering if your board thinks it’s time for you to go)

It appears that health concerns have answered the rhetorical question I posed some months back. Does Steve Jobs want to stay as CEO of Apple until he’s 65,75, heck, 85? American corporate history is full of corporate chief executives who stayed on well beyond their peaks. Their corporations suffered as a result.

It is also fortunate that Steve has not groomed any of his children or family members to take his place as CEO. Familial succession at IBM in the case of the Watson family worked. Once. Far better that Apple’s succession should depend on merit.

I hope that Steve lives long enough to see OS XI.

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Voice

Full text of Jobs's letter

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Floobydust about iPads and Tablets

Floobydust is a term I got from a National Semiconductor book. It relates to miscellaneous pieces of information. So here goes.

1. Intel takes seriously the rumor(s) that Apple is considering switching from Intel chips to their own A-series of chips. At least for the MacBooks.

2. As I have written before, Apple has probably tested every chip they could find in a prototype MacBook/MacBook Air. It’s a long process, though, from building a prototype with wires sticking out to a sleek model ready for production and the Apple Store.

3. If you hear rumors that Apple wants to license or acquire software to enable OS X software written for the Intel chips to run on the A-series chips; then you should pay more attention to the rumors of a shift in hardware.

4. And if this shift in hardware does take place, remember this time to upgrade your software during the 2 to 3 years after Apple introduces the new chip.

5. Now on to the iPad and those other wanna-bes. Yang Yuanquing, CEO of Lenovo the Chinese PC maker, thinks his company has a chance in the tablet market. After all, Apple only goes after the $499 and up price points. He would like to go after the sub-$499 price point. Lenovo plans to bring to market Windows and Android tablets.

6. Now I assume that Mr. Yang knows how much it costs for Apple to build an iPad 2. He knows how much of a profit margin Apple gets per iPad 2. He knows that Apple’s iPad strength not only depends on the iPad’s software, the iOS that underlies it and the plethora of apps that you can get for it at the online App Store. He also knows that Lenovo would need to get the intellectual property you can get on the iPad, such as copyrighted books, music, movies and video. And games, too!

7. So…we will see how Lenovo does against the iPad. Go ahead, put up a pallet of LePads against a pallet of iPads and see which one sells faster at Wal-Mart.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Artists Needed for Macvalley's Fall

I want your passions!

We have arrived at September, traditionally the season of fire danger, Santa Ana winds, and sending the kids and grandkids back to school. We steel ourselves for the approaching holidays in November and December. Some of us even plan to go skiing.

Right now, though, I want to know about your passions connected with the Mac. What do you use your Mac for? Even if the Mac is not central to the task at hand, I want to know about it. I’m not concerned about Mac technical proficiency.


Dale Carnegie the motivational speaker discovered years ago that if a speaker has a passion for his topic, their passion will grab the audience’s attention. They’ll get swept along as the speaker rhapsodizes about azaleas or collecting MatchBox cars or using the Mac to catalog their collection of 78s. Excel may not be that interesting, but what if your Excel spreadsheet include Enrico Caruso?

You may say, “I’m not a good writer.” That’s OK. I’m a good editor. Send your article to me and between us, we’ll improve it. Only the most arrogant professional writers think their writing is beyond improvement. And those writers generally end up in the round file.

Your article doesn’t have to be black and white text. If you prefer photographs or drawings, send them to me. If you think in terms of PowerPoint or Keynote slides, I’ll work with them, too.

And if you want to write under a pseudonym, that’s fine, too.

Holiday Humor Writing Submissions!

If you have a favorite piece of holiday humor about any holiday from Labor Day to Easter, I’d love to have it. Right now, I just recycle submissions from my cousins. My cousins are great people, but your cousins are great people, too. What have they sent you in terms in holiday humor? What have you sent them?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Take Control of Your Paperless Office-A Review

Most of us still have printers with our Macs. We still receive paper mail. We still get flyers for pizza joints stuck on the apartment door knob.

HELP! How can we cut back on the amount of mail we receive? How can we process the paper we already have, split between legal necessities, treasured mementos, and that manual that came with the appliance we sent to recycling 3 years ago?

Joe Kissell of TidBits and Take Control e-books has written such a book. An e-book, in fact. For $10 for the hoi-polloi, and less for the members of MacValley; you get a 125 page PDF full of hints, tips, and ideas for keeping paper from flooding our desktops and even our floors.

The name of the book is Take Control of Your Paperless Office (1.1).

In the first section, Joe describes how he (and now YOU) can cut down the amount of paper in your household. He also states right off that he describes tactics and strategies best suited for a home or small office. If you want to free a large organization from the onslaught of paper, Joe wishes you well—but this isn’t the book for you.

With that in mind, go through the book. The book has a Quick Start section, describing the kind of tools you want to get, such as quality hard drives with a multi-year warranty.

Joe describes the file format that lies at the heart of the paperless office, the searchable PDF. Adobe Acrobat will create this kind of PDF that you can search through with Apple’s Spotlight. So will OS X with its PDF option on the Print dialog.

On the Windows side, a bevy of freeware or shareware “Print to PDF” pseudo printer drivers. I use CutePDF myself. If you use Linux, you would use the “Print to File” option.

Joe also describes how to keep down the flow of paper documents and converting them to searchable PDF form. This means documents such as bank statements, payroll statements, bills from the DWP/SoCal Edison, catalogs from Lands End, and miscellaneous what-not. Joe now lives in Paris, and he also describes the steps he took to ensure that his American mail would not fall afoul of the “famously flaky French postal system”. Even if you don’t plan to buy more electronics to digitize your paper, this section alone is worth the $10 if you plan to drop off the grid.

Now for the main event.

Getting a document displayed on a monitor into a searchable PDF is easy. Getting a letter you wrote and printed to your Dad 20 years ago is harder. Especially if you lack the digital file or never had one in the first place.

Joe goes into deep detail about your options for an optical scanner and the accompanying software to transform the paper into a searchable PDF.

To begin with, he tells you that the flatbed scanner you bought for scanning in photos is not the best scanner for dealing with all that paper. You want a Document Scanner. He describes the various brands and models of Document Scanner. These scanners will scan both sides of a document. They also don’t scan at super-high resolution, as super-high resolution only amplifies the “noise” such as erasures and coffee stains on the original. Be warned, if you want to buy a suitable document scanner, such as a Fujitsu ScanSnap, it will cost more than $59.95.

Joe then goes into detail about the software you need to transform a scan into a searchable PDF. Fortunately, the Mac has several good options. Joe describes them and gives you the one he uses personally.

Finally, Joe goes into detail about your handheld iOS/Android options for reading without paper. He discusses reading magazines and newspapers on handheld devices, taking notes in meetings on handheld devices and marking up documents sent to you for review.

What about receiving and sending FAXs? Joe discusses that, too. What do you do now that the Mac doesn’t include a built-in modem? OS X 10.7 won’t even work with the Apple USB Modem! Don’t worry, you have options.

So for $10 or less, you have a valuable resource for weaning yourself away from paper. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to use my shredder.

Take Control of Your Paperless Office by Joe Kissell



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