The MacValley blog
Welcome to the MacValley blog, your first stop for all the latest MacValley news and views.
The MacValley blog
Editor: Tom Briant
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
If you recently acquired an older PowerPC Macintosh, you may ask what are your options for an office suite? You know, a word processor, a spreadsheet, and a presentation program.
You have three options:
First, you probably have the Appleworks program on the computer or on the installation disks that should have come with the system. If you didn’t get them, go back and harass whomever gave you the computer for them.
Apple has discontinued Appleworks in favor of the iWorks suite. iWork is available on the Mac App Store. The Mac App Store needs OS X 10.6 and that’s only available on an Intel Mac.
Appleworks is still a good suite. If you want a book, The Missing Manual series has a book on Appleworks 6. It’s available from Amazon.
Second, you could get Microsoft Office 2004 or 2008. By yourself, you could go to eBay or Craigslist to look around.
Or you could come to a user group meeting, such as Macvalley’s June 6th, and ask if anyone has an old copy of Office 2004 for sale or barter. (Yes, I do. Send me an e-mail)
These two programs trace their roots back to the OpenOffice.org project, which DOES NOT offer a PowerPC version. At least not of recent vintage.
Over the years, MacValley has done one thing really well -- we’ve survived. Especially over the past five years, in spite of the economy, and in spite of all that’s been thrown at our group, we’ve stayed in business. Even though dozens of Apple User Groups all over the country have shut their doors for good, we of Macvalley have worked together and we’ve come up with ways of staying viable as a group. This is real solid achievement. And as a result of all that work, we’ve had people come through Wilkinson’s doors, looking for help. Maybe just one, maybe two, or even three people a month, yet they do keep on coming.
I believe that people, mostly 45 and up, come through our door at Wilkinson because they are looking for peer group support. They are looking for the sense of belonging to an active team that can answer their questions about their Mac, their iPad, their Apple products. They want the sense of being a part of a group that will answer their questions. A group that treats older Apple Users with respect, both for their intelligence and their capabilities.
We don’t have any people left in our group who come to our meetings to just passively sit back and fold their arms and watch the show that’s being put on for them by the people at the front of the room. Instead, we have folks who come up to the microphone and say, “I’m having a problem with my Mac, and I need answers.”
It’s just like watching popcorn pop. One person in the back of the room comes up with a suggestion. Then another person seated front-right expands on that suggestion. And still another person comes up with a couple of other possible ways to attack the problem. And before you know it, the person who originally asked the question has gotten a dozen or more suggestions, clarifications, and some healthy servings of good sound help for their problems.
That’s teamwork. That’s when our MacValley members who attend the meetings become players. That’s when they’re all in the game. That’s what makes MacValley great. Our members, guests, and visitors, are the ones who make MacValley work.
Apple users like you can come to our meetings and ask the hard questions. You can come up with thoughtful suggestions and great ideas. When you come to MacValley, you’re in the game, you’re playing the game, and you’re it playing hard and fast. And that includes both men and women, people who know their Macs pretty darned well, and people who are beginners or basic users. Everyone is welcome, everyone is included, and everyone is treated with total respect.
And because everyone is included in the game of learning about their Mac and their iPad, everyone walks out of Wilkinson’s door with a thoughtful look on their faces. Everyone has at least one bit of information to take home, something they can use That’s because everyone at our meetings pitches in to turn terrific presentations and Q&A’s into a real team experience. Everyone is invited. All are welcome. And any person who attends our meeting can quickly and easily become totally involved.
And that’s MacValley.
President, Macvalley UG
Saturday, May 26, 2012
This story comes from MacLife. Andrea Santilli at the Woodlawn Beach Middle School in Gulf Breeze, FL, realized the potential of iBooks Publisher and got her 7th grade Advanced Life Science Students involved in a project.
The project culminated in an interactive field guide to the flora and fauna of Northwest Florida called Creatures, Plants, and More!. I just downloaded it from the iBooks Store. It’s free, so go see what some very smart kids and their teacher did.
I remember school reports with construction paper and library paste and pictures cut out of old issues of The National Geographic. (Sigh).
I will show this e-book at my presentation on June 6th.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Hello and welcome to MacValley’s round-up of rumors, canards, and all-around falsehoods.
Jonathan Geller reports in Boy Genius Report that Microsoft will indeed launch Office for iOS in November. His source tells him that M$ will port the full Office suite to iOS and Android.
I have questions. Even Office 2011 for the Mac only has Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook. Now Microsoft has ported OneNote to iOS. What about Microsoft Access, the database? It would face head-on competition from Filemaker for iOS and its little brother, Bentos for iOS.
So we’ll have something to look forward to in November. I’ll deal with you after the dirty Thanksgiving dishes.
Now for something real and tangible. Jonathan Ive, Senior VP of Industrial Design for Apple, Inc., is now Sir Jonathan Ive. He was knighted by Princess Anne at Buckingham Palace. Congratulations to Sir Jonathan.
And in hard-core nerdery, Apple filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office patent paperwork showing how OS X would accommodate higher and higher screen resolutions.
And finally, a long-time Apple hardware vendor, LaCie, has been bought by Seagate. For $186 million. So we’re not talking Facebook-sized sums, but $186 large is nothing to sneeze at. As a long-time user of LaCie products, I can attest to their value.
Oh, we musn’t leave the continuing saga of Apple and Samsung, the Bickersons of high-tech. The Court ordered them to sit down and behave like adults, but nothing came of it. Oh well, Another day, another billable 24 hours.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
New MacBook Pros, MBAs, and iMacs at the June WWDC?! Really? Plus the end of a valuable open-source project
Welcome back again. I’m having cynicism attacks after reading about the new fall TV shows. The hyperbole over the forthcoming Macs doesn’t help much.
Gene Munster with the firm of Piper Jeffries predicts that Apple will announce the new Macs of various kinds, all with the Retina displays, at the June 11-15 Worldwide Developers Conference. They will also announce OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. It would be nice if they narrowed the range of dates for the release of Mountain Lion, too. But that’s just my opinion.
As for the rumored Apple TV, Foxconn has denied they are working on it. At least for now. This is going to be like the video iPod, people. Steve Jobs denied it would happen for years. Then, one day, boom, there it was. So it will be with the Apple TV.
Just relax. The programming won’t get any better soon. If your current HDTV can hook up to a Mac, install the Fracture screensaver and let it rip. After a few drinks, you’ll be entranced.
Now to the end of a great open-source project,Perian. Perian was begun 6 years ago to augment Quicktime. With Perian installed, you could view more video formats.
We began the Perian project over 6 years ago,” the website reads. “We wanted to simplify viewing your content. Our team has attained that goal and with that in mind, Perian will be retired soon. Our stewardship has been a blast but it's time for all of us to move on.“From the beginning we kept Perian simple,” the post continues. “Our preferences were minimal, updating was easy, and we gradually grew the product to add in extras like subtitles and different formats. We've contributed a lot. Today, Perian stands as complete as it ever will be under our stewardship.”
Thank you guys and girls. We look forward to your next project.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Will Apple go for the MacBook Air Pro or just slim down the existing model?
The 15 inch MacBook Pro is in short supply. J&R reports that the 2.2 Ghz model is “out of stock” and the 2.4 Ghz model is currently advertised as “on order.” BestBuy also reports running low (or out!) of the 15” MacBook Pro. This shortage of desirable models portends…wait for it…An Upgrade! Yea!
So what can you expect in the new MacBooks?
Well, they’ll feature the new “Ivy Bridge” microprocessor chips from Intel. These chips feature out-of-the-box USB 3.0 support. This could mean that Apple will finally incorporate support of the popular interface in its models. Up to now, Apple has stressed the very-high-performance (and high priced!) Thunderbolt interface.
Personally, my guide for emerging standards is the computer aisle at the Costco on Roscoe Boulevard in Canoga Park. If they have a peripheral with this standard , then it’s hit the big time. I’ve seen plenty of USB 3.0 stuff at Costco, but nary a hint of Thunderbolt.
9 to 5 Mac published mock-ups of the envisioned MacBook Pro (Figure 1). As you can see, the new MacBook Pro on the left lacks a Firewire 800 port and an Ethernet port. I can see some adverse reaction to Apple removing these two ports. (And lest I attract a take-down letter, thanks to 9 to 5 mac for the illustration)
I would note that the mockup keeps the same rectangular form factor. The front and the back are the same height. The MacBook Air famously features a tapered back to front profile.
To achieve this thinness, Apple would have to make the SuperDrive an external option. Would they also swap out the roomy hard drive for an ultra-speedy (and expensive) SSD? We’ll just have to wait and see.
The Retina Display!
9 to 5 Mac made a big deal over the introduction of the Retina Display for Macs. Sources familiar with software strings left behind in OS X Lion 10.7.4 and Mountain Lion betas say that this Retina Display MacBook Pro features multiple Retina resolution modes, so users are able to adjust the sharpness and image sizes to their liking. Unlike Mac display settings of today, these Retina Display settings will not be marked with numbers/resolution sizes, but with descriptions such as big, small, or optimal, according to these software-based findings. The long-awaited “resolution independence” is upon us.
9 to 5 Mac’s inside sources could not provide a specific time as to when these new MacBook Pros would hit the stores other than the general and vague “summer 2012.” But Apple did promise us new and exciting stuff for 2012, so check back here regularly.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
I went looking for free painting apps for my new iPad. I found this set of brief reviews and links here
I would like to thank the author, Mustapha, for this set of reviews.
Anyway, I downloaded several of these apps to play with. I really enjoyed Kid’s Paint from Virtual GS.
The features I liked most are the ability to take a picture with your iPad and then play with it. (Figure 1). You can also import pictures from your Photo picture gallery.
With one finger, you can free draw. The color of the paint changes every time you touch the screen.
With two fingers, you get a line. Extend it out and you get a spectrum of colors.
With three fingers, you can clear the drawing and start over again.
This is a fun application for kids of all ages. Just one caveat. The app contains advertising for other games and apps. You may want to set your iPad in AirPlane mode (no Wi-Fi or cellular) before handing the iPad over to a kid. Tell the kid if they want to get an advertised app, they must ask their parents first.
Editor and Media Manager, MacValley User Group
Saturday, May 12, 2012
The Star Walk astronomy app is on sale for $1.99 for Mother’s Day. Go Get It NOW.
I’m serious. If you want an app to show off your new iPad, get this app. At the regular price of $4.99, it’s a deal. At this Mother’s Day price, it’s a steal.
Editor and Media Manager, Macvalley User Group
Friday, May 11, 2012
I find one of OS X handiest features is the ability to save a PDF of an article, such as a chicken salad recipe, instead of printing it out.
You do this by going to the print menu of an application and selecting PDF instead of a printer. (Figure 1)
Just click on that PDF button I put the red rectangle around and you get more options. (Figure 2)
Now you see several options. You can open the PDF in Preview to look at it before saving it. You can just save it as a PDF with a name of your choice. You can save it in the PostScript format. You can FAX it, although recent Macs don’t come with a modem.
Below the divider line are more options. You can add a PDF to iTunes. You can e-mail it. You can save it to the Web Receipts folder, which OS X puts into your Documents folder. They thought of you going on-line, doing shopping and paying the phone bill.
You see the option “Recipes Alias.” This is the one I added. “Save PDF to MacJournal” and “Save PDF to Paperless” were added by two programs.
“Recipes Alias” is one of my own. This is how I added it.
First of all, some background. The heart of this lies in the folder “PDF Services” which you will find within your Library folder within your User’s folder. Look at Figure 3 to see the route
Start at the Library folder within your User folder and NOT at the Library folder at the root level. That’s not the folder you want.
Within that folder you will find “PDF Services”. If you don’t find it, you can add it by adding a folder and naming it PDF Services
Put a space between “PDF” and “Services,” and capitalize the S in Services.
In most cases, you will find it already made by OS X.
Now for the secret sauce.
Decide where you want your folder for Recipes or Jokes or George Will/Paul Krugman columns in your Mac’s Document folder. Yes, you can put this folder within another folder if you like. That’s where I put my Recipes folder.
Now click once on the desired folder to highlight it. Now press Command + L. Command + L is the command for making an alias. You will see an alias appear below the original folder (Figure 4)
Notice that the icon shows a folder, but below it at the left-hand corner is an arrow. That arrow indicates this is an alias, a small file that points to the original folder elsewhere.
Now for the last part. Set up two finder windows side by side. You display the PDF Services folder in one window. You display the alias you just made to the folder for your PDF articles. Now drag the alias over to the PDF Services folder. That’s it.
Time to test it. Open up your Internet browser of choice. I will use Safari for this illustration.
I put “chicken salad” into the Google search bar, pick a recipe, and display it.
Now I go under the File menu and pick Print. The Print dialog comes up. In the corner is the PDF button.
Click on that and voila!. There’s the Recipe Alias. Click on that and the recipe goes to the folder as a PDF. See Figure 6
Notes to those who have OS X 10.7. Where’s the Library folder?!
By default, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion hides the Library folder from view. This is to avoid problems caused by the inexperienced and clumsy.
If you want to view the Library folder, hold down the Option key while clicking on the Finder’s Go menu. Now you can view the Library folder.
For more tips, go to Macworld’s article 18 Ways to View the Library Folder.
As you can see, I keep a copy in my Recipes folder :o
Editor and Media Manager, MacValley User Group
Good Morning! I’m running late on my promise to blog every day, but today, you’ll get a double dose.
Anyway, Proview continues to badger Apple in the American and Chinese courts over its claim that it holds the Chinese rights to the name “iPad”. Not that it invented the iPad, thank you; their device just let you get on the Internet. I don’t think I’m alone in believing that the case comes down to “Pay me a lot of American money and I’ll go away. Otherwise, I’ll pester you as long as I can.”
Judge Mark Pierce in Santa Clara County up north threw out Proview’s case in the California case. Here’s the details.
Oh, here’s even more details. Proview wants $400 million dollars. Apple offered it $16 million. What do you think, readers? Go for the big payout or settle for what you can get now?
On to a more serious issue, Apple sent a developer a note that it will look into multi-user support for the iPad. You know, for a family. Apple's response is not the first indication that the company may be working on multi-user support for the iPad. In 2010, before the iPad was officially announced, The Wall Street Journal reported that an early prototype of the device was designed to be shared by and customized for multiple family members.
The highlight of the day, though, is news about the latest Lion updates, Safari 5.1.7 and Mac OS X 10.7.4.
Safari 5.1.7 takes action to disable your old Flash plug-ins and get the latest Flash plug-in. Adobe praised Apple for doing so.
With regard to 10.7.4, you have to look down in the grass, as they say, to find the significant changes. One was a 1024 x 1024 icon for TextEdit. What’s the big deal, you say? Higher resolution displays.
When Apple introduces new models using Intel’s new “Ivy Bridge” family of microprocessors, those microprocessors can support a screen resolution of 4096 x4096. It appears Apple wants to move toward “Retina Displays” across the board.
That’s all for now. See you this afternoon.
Editor and Media Manager
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Michael Simon at MacLife speculates on why Apple would introduce a low-priced (for them) $799 MBA:
“The Web lit up yesterday with reports that Apple will be putting even more pressure on the so-called ultrabook market with a $799 MacBook Air, the first ready-to-use Mac priced that low since the days of the Indigo G3 iMac. It may sound unreasonable--given the source (DigiTimes) and Apple's penchant for profits--but this rumor's not as far-fetched as it seems (you know, assuming Apple ever updates its Macs again).Back in 2010, when the $999 11-inch MacBook Air hit the market, Apple's estimated margin was about $280--a healthy 28 percent, according to Computerworld's Gregg Keizer, who interviewed analyst Brian Marshall of Gleacher & Co. at the time--meaning Apple could have sold the Air for $799 and still made a profit (albeit a minuscule 10 percent). At the time, however, the 64GB solid-state drive alone cost the company $80 (about $1.25 per gigabyte), "putting that component in a tie with the Intel Core 2 Duo processor as the laptop's second-most expensive part (behind the $18- display)," according to Keizer.A report last week by X-bit Labs has that price dropping considerably: Component manufacturer OCZ Technology Group has cut price points of its SSD drives to approximately $0.65 per gigabyte, and expects "recent declines in NAND flash pricing to make SSDs more attractive to mainstream applications such as SANs, network appliances, ultrabooks and mainstream servers." Even if Apple pays a few cents more for drives from Samsung, a 64GB SSD drive would cost less than $50, boosting Apple's profits on a hypothetical $799 Air by about 5 percent. (Apple CEO Tim Cook, it should be noted, is an expert in supply chain and manufacturing minutiae, and has no doubt spent many a night and weekend working on getting the rest of the costs down, too.)But what's worth more to Apple than those precious profit margins is the expansion of the Apple base, which a $799 Air is certain to do. Much like the free iPhone 3GS, a low-priced high-class notebook would bring a new class of users into the Apple fold. Even if Apple has to sacrifice its 20-plus-percent margins, a few million new users will certainly pay off in the long run.”
Well, would Apple sacrifice its healthy profit margin just to bring in some more customers? The Apple Stores are “bulging at the seams” by some reports.
I’d wait until the school supply buying season begins in August. That’s when I think Apple would bring out this MacBook Air. It would also have the advantage of beating Microsoft to the punch. All speculation is that Microsoft will bring out Windows 8 in October of this year.
Editor and Media Manager, MacValley User Group
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
On May 2nd, we enjoyed a great presentation by Elena-Beth Kaye on the topic of buying stuff on the Internet. Even us guys were caught up in the pursuit of a better deal on Little Black Bag.com
Our next presentation on June 6th will cover the new iPad. The presenter will be me, your Editor and Media Manager.
I will show off AirPlay, which allows you to display your iPad on your Apple TV or your Mac or even your PC (if you don’t mind beta ware). Several applications are available to do this on a Mac. I will show off Air Server. I will show off doing a presentation from my iPad using Keynote for iOS. I will show off games, such as Angry Birds Space. And I will show off Paper, the great drawing program.
Now on to rumors and aspersions. Appleinsider reports that Apple will bring out a $799 MacBook Air to compete against the slew of Ultrabooks (will Ultraman use an Ultrabook?) coming this year.
Intel, the main instigator behind the Ultrabooks, hopes to see 30 million Ultrabooks this year. The company designed the Ultrabook specification after Apple found great success with its new MacBook Air, which features only solid-state storage, instant-on capabilities, and super-thin design thanks to the lack of an optical drive.
Not to get too geeky, but I’m waiting to see tony max os x 86’s blog on Hackintoshs. Could you save a few bucks by buying a cheap Ultrabook and installing OS X 10.7.4 on it? Or 10.8? We’ll have to wait and see, but could be fun.
This may be a more reliable rumor. An 7 inch iPad mini may be on the way. Cnet reports on the rumor, but disputes its validity. Still, an iPad in the $250-300 range could bring in more customers.
Finally, if you’ve wanted to transfer old cassette tapes (I’ve got boxes and boxes myself) to your Mac, here’s a videoand slideshow display on how to do it. It uses the Audacity audio editing program and walks you through the options to pick.
Editor and Media Manager, MacValley Users Group.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
There has never, ever been another presentation like this anywhere. A great big boxful of really nice tops and pants for $35. And the jewelry was amazing. I want to know where Elena-Beth got herself that Navajo turquoise jewelry for $40 or thereabouts. Who in the world ever heard of such a thing? Not in today's world. But all this stuff is right there. It's online. And it's -- like -- Wow!
Congratulations to Elena-Beth on a really fantastic presentation.