The MacValley blog

 

Welcome to the MacValley blog, your first stop for all the latest MacValley news and views.

 

Tom Briant

The MacValley blog

Editor: Tom Briant

 

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Quicken may solve one of Lion's biggest problems

While checking out the Web, I saw the news that Quicken plans to bring out a "re-engineered" version of Quicken 2007 that works with Lion 10.7.  They also promised to win back the customers they had burned in the past.

I then checked on Macworld.com for additional confirmation. Yes, Quicken had released the letter and provided an e-mail link so that users would learn when this version of Quicken 2007 came out.

The comments at Macworld proved interesting. A lot of customers had given up on Quicken and moved on to other products, such as iBank and Money Dance. Two commenters remarked that Quicken Essentials satisfied their basic needs. Perhaps Quicken needed to expand on this product rather than return to the old code base of Quicken 2007.

Tom Briant
Editor, Macvalley Voice

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More Rumors about the iPad

A slew of rumors swirl around the iPad. If it wasn't the hottest holiday gift on the planet, PCMag.com and Appleinsider.com report rumors of a whole host of new iPads.


First, PC Mag reports, based on reports in Digitimes.com, that Apple plans to bring out a 7 inch iPad to compete with Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet, which is selling “by the millions”. Still, Amazon has not released exac sales figures.


Second, Neil Hughes in Appleinsider reports on rumors of two new full-sized iPads for 2012.


Apple will bring out the iPad 3 in March with a Retina Display, Siri voice recognition, and a faster processor.


Apple will retain the iPad 2 at a lower price point, as well as an iPad 2S with a faster processor.


How much of this is analysts reading each other's forecasts, I don't know. I do know that Apple has surprised us in the past, Remember the video iPod's introduction?


All I know is that a co-worker whipped out his iPad 1 at the office Christmas party to play some Christmas songs from South Park. I envied him. I want an iPad!



Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Floobydust

So what’s going on vs a vs Apple Computers?


Apple rumored to release MacBook Pro with Retina Display (2880 x 1800 pixels) in the Second quarter of 2012.

Steve Jobs not named “Person of the Year” by TIME Magazine. Instead he got a “Fond Farewell” with Tim Cook noted as a “Person Who Mattered”.

Samsung ramping up production of the A5 chip used by the iPad and iPhone 4S at its Texas facility. The facility has created over 1,000 jobs in Texas.

I can’t explain the relationship between Apple and Samsung. They cooperate on the chip for the iPhone and iPad, yet they fight over Samsung’s Galaxy tablet looking too much like the iPad. You married people should leave a comment here.

Apple’s rumored investment in Israeli flash memory maker Anobit makes sense. Anobit’s technology is already used in the iOS devices and the MacBook Air. See this article in Appleinsider for more details.

Apple's investments in acquiring flash memory expertise and technology appear to be centered around packing more storage capacity into Macs and iOS devices at lower prices, with the same level of component reliability and longevity.

On more immediate matters, Christopher Breen shows you how to set up the perfect holiday playlist at Macworld.com.

At Maclife.com, they give you 10 tips for extending the usability of an older Mac. This doesn’t include gutting the insides and making an aquarium out of it.

And in news of other tablets, Amazon announced that it had sold “millions” of Kindle Fire tablets, although no specific sales figures were supplied. Will Amazon erect a golden arch with “millions sold” emblazoned on it?

Analysts have pulled studies out of their…files and concluded that Apple’s market share of the tablet market will slip from 61.5% to 59%. Still more people prefer an iPad as a gift to either Obama or Romney on their doorstep singing Christmas carols. So I wouldn’t worry about the iPad.

A survey of analysts’ spouses and kids showed a 100% iPad favorable response to “Would you like an iPad for the holidays? Or would you prefer an Android tablet running Peanut Brittle or whatever version of Android is available?”

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Voice


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The News for December 13th (well, some of it)

Good Morning, Mac Users!


First up, our arch frenemy Microsoft released an iPad version of its One Note program. Speaking as one who has used the M$ Office version of this, you should jump on it. One Note is a really good program and it's free. At least for the initial acquisition. Thank you, 9 to 5 Mac..


From Appleinsider comes news that Apple is planning to use part of its Scrooge McDuck-sized cash reserves to buy Anobit, an Israeli flash memory company. Anobit has founds ways to enhance NAND flash memory and Apple is reportedly already a customer.


From AppleInsider comes news that the MacBook Air sales continue to grow. A new 15 inch model reportedly is in the works and will join its 11.6" and 13.3" siblings early in 2012. Meanwhile, PC Makers are scrambling to compete with the MacBook Air through the "Ultrabook" initiative.


Now for iPad news. The Taiwanese industry newspaper (and gossip monger) Digitimes reports that the iPad 3 is on its way within the next 3-4 months. Hopefully the high resolution Retina display is coming, too.


A recent report out of Japan claimed the iPad 3 may actually be slightly thicker than the current-generation iPad 2, though the reason for the purported increase remains unknown. The device will, however, reportedly still be compatible with Apple's Smart Cover.


Citigroup says it will launch in February 2012. Cross your fingers!


And it's December 13th, which means it's time for the 12 days of Christmas!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Autodesk Discovers New Consumer Market thanks to the iOS App Store

According to MIT Technology Review and Apple Insider, Autodesk has discovered a whole new market.

Known for the high-end AutoCAD, Autodesk originally planned SketchBook as a Windows PC consumer product. But the product didn't attract much attention in that market.

So two middle managers, Chris Cheung and Thomas Heermann, explored the idea of porting Sketchbook to iOS and the new iPhone App Store.


 



 

They expected 100,000 downloads in its first year. Instead, they got a million downloads in 50 days. Sketchbook has grown from the initial iPhone to an iPad app and a Mac app.

If you want to test it out, you can download the free Sketchbook Express app from the Mac App Store.

Back in the Saddle Again...

Hi everyone.

Yes, I'm back after taking a break from blogging. I plan to blog regularly from now on.

Today I have two products to talk about. One is free software (until January 1st) and the other is a wireless, solar powered full-width keyboard with numeric keypad.

First, I want to talk about Toucan, a new search tool available from the Mac App Store. It's free until January 1st.

Toucan's icon is that big-billed Brazilian bird. If you ate Kellogg's Fruit-Loops in the past, you'll recognize the icon.

This search utility is fast. It gets its speed from 3 things:

1. It indexes the file names in your User/Your Name/ folders for fast, fast access.
2. It doesn't index the contents of the files, just the file names
3. As I said in #1, your search is limited to just your User/Your Name Folders and sub-folders.

That being said, I've never seen a search go so fast.

I'll cover search options in depth in forthcoming articles and blog posts. You have 3 kinds of search utilities.

1. Searchlight-which indexes a wide range of folders for their (1) file names (2) file contents (3) metadata associated with the file, such as the make of camera for a photo. It's built into OS X and works relatively fast. But it doesn't search every corner of your Mac.

2. Easyfind from Devon Technologies. This is freeware that does a brute-force search, checking every file that matches the search criteria. It searches folders that Searchlight doesn't touch in the system folder. Since it's free, I recommend you add it to your bag of tools.

3. Toucan and locate. Toucan does a indexed search of your file names, which gives it incredible speed. Pick it up at the Mac App Store.

If you don't run 10.6.6 or better or use PowerPC Macs, you can use the Mac's built-in command line utility locate. I would recommend you also download the free utility LocaterX to give it a graphic front end. You'll probably have to run an update of the database initially.


Now for the fun stuff. How about a full-sized wireless keyboard powered by the ambient light in your office or home? Apple doesn't make one, but Logitech does.

I suggest you read this review in 9to5Mac about it. It has two drawbacks. One, it uses a proprietary USB dongle instead of Bluetooth. So it takes up a USB port. Two, it's made of plastic, not aluminum, so it feels flimsier than Apple's wireless keyboard. So don't drop it on the floor or drop anything on it.

That being said, the review gives it high marks. Consider it if you want a wireless keyboard with a numeric keypad.

That's all for now.

Friday, December 2, 2011

On-Line Publicity Doing Very Well

I’m doing it! I’m sending out emails and making calls to Apple consultants in the Los Angeles area, telling them about our Apple User Groups LOGO.

The feedback I’ve gotten has been 100% positive! I can hardly believe it, but it’s true. Every single firm I’ve talked to out there, whether large or small, has said yes. And it takes all of two minutes for them to commit. These consulting firms and Apple resellers really value User Groups.

A couple of consultants told me, “We get a dozen calls a day from people who have problems. But we don’t have time to give all those callers free advice and answers. So now when we get those calls, we can tell them to just click on your logo and find themselves a user group. That gives them somewhere to go for good advice and ongoing group support.”

Several other consultants said, “We’re happy to give support to user groups, because you are offering us a quid-pro-quo. You get your Logo up on our website, and our business gets listed on your Links Page. We like supporting groups like yours, and it’s also a good deal for our business.”

And we'd like to thank Joey Rule from MacTalk, who prsented iPhoto '11 at our August 2011 meeting.

Here are the consulting firms that have already signed up:


  1. AppleTalk www.mactalk.com
  2. We Cover LA: www.wecoverla.com
  3. Mobile Computer Repair: www.mobilecomputerdocs.com
  4. Stan’s Tech Garage: www.stansgarage.com
  5. Productivity Consulting: www.proconsult.com Anton Anderson was a MacValley presenter in November 2008. Anton did a great job of presenting Bento.
6. User Friendly Technology: www.userfriendlyla.com