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Tom Briant

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Editor proved his own point-Backup, Backup, Backup

Sometime this month, my iPhoto data went wacky. You should see it as a file called iPhoto.photolibrary


Instead, mine turned into garbage. What could I do? Restore it from Time Machine!

So it does pay to keep a dedicated hard drive backing up your Mac hour after hour, day after day, and so forth.

Now the backup process is painless. Just plug in a hard drive of sufficient capacity into your Mac and follow the prompts. Time Machine even reformats the drive if you bought a Windows formatted drive.

Restoring can be more complicated. has an outline tutorial about restoring from Time Machine here.

So I’ll see you next Wednesday at 7:30 pm for the meeting about Bento.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Preview of Wednesday's Presentation on Bento

On August 14th, I began tracking the number of MacValley followers we have on Twitter. At that time we had 67 followers.

Today, September 21, we have 540 followings and 173 followers. I am going to be working on sending out ‘welcome’ Tweets to each follower.

This coming week I will also begin calling Social Coordinators at retirement residences for independent seniors. I’ll ask the coordinators if they would be willing to post MacValley’s general meetings and monthly classes on their online ‘Upcoming Events’ pages, and if they would be willing to put up MacValley postings on their bulletin boards as well.


Last month’s presentation was by Arnold Woodworth on ‘Twitter Basics’. Stay tuned. We’ll be having more on Twitter very soon.


Our October meeting will be Anton Anderson’s presentation of ‘Bento’. And just in case you thought that you don’t need or want your own personal spreadsheet, take a look at what you can do with Bento.

I can tell you from my own personal experience this kind of page is quick and easy to set up. It’s all drag-and-drop, including photos.

Notice the way the photo draws your attention to the page (especially if you’re a beer drinker) Of course it’s simple for wine connoisseurs to adapt this template for their best wines. And with just a few minor changes, coffee lovers can keep track of what tempts their palate and tickles their fancy.

One of the bestFigure2-pastedGraphic-2012-09-28-19-05.png

things about this app is that it is engaging and colorful. Never again will you think of spreadsheets as being boring.

Here is a template that can be used to help keep track of volunteer meetings and activities. If you want to make changes and modifications, it’s as easy as point and click.Figure3-PastedGraphic-2-2012-09-28-19-05.png

This artwork template can be easily adapted for family photos. And if you would like to try different backgrounds, those are very easy to change and customize.

You can find templates like this one on Bento’s web pages. Just do a Google search for ‘Bento’, and go to the ‘Bento Template Exchange’, where you will see hundreds of templates you can download.

Again, it’s as easy and drag and drop.

The Bento download for the Mac is available at the Filemaker Store. And to download Bento to your iPhone, and Bento 4 to your iPad, just go to Apple’s App Store. Bento can be easily synced between your Mac, your iPhone, and your iPad. Those of you who own the latest iPad will be in heaven.

Our presenter, Anton Anderson, is a consultant for Pro Consult ( Anton, like Elena-Beth, is a member of the Apple Consultants Network. He is also a member of the FileMaker Developers of Southern California.

Overall, this is one of the most exciting programs anyone can have on their desktop. Come to the meeting on October 3rd and learn about this exciting new upgraded Bento from a real expert, who can show everyone, from the most basic Apple users on up to more advanced users just how easy it is to get started on Bento and how much you can do with Bento to make your life better and a lot more organized.

Cristael Bengtson

President and Publicity Chair, MacValley UG

Monday, September 24, 2012

Great Article by Chris Breen of Macworld on e-mail

Chris Breenwrote a great article about e-mailon your Mac.

  1. How to keep from sending an offensive e-mail to your boss
  2. How to see the same message on all your Apple devices
  3. Save yourself from spam
  4. Don’t bounce messages back to the sender-the spammers already know about this trick!
  5. Speed up your e-mail by archiving your old e-mail.
  6. How to keep old e-mail in another e-mail app (Thunderbird)

Tom Briant

Media Manager, MacValley UG

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ten Good Reasons Why You Should Become a MacValley Apple User Group Member

  When I talk with people about MacValley, the one thing they almost always tell me is, “I really need help with my Mac.” 

  And many of them do need help, badly. The kind of help they need is almost always an answer to a simple problem that would take almost no time for some very knowledgeable person to fix. But for the average user, the simple problems can often be royal head-bangers.


  So what do you do when you have a problem? You could ask an Apple Genius. They can be very helpful. Yet the moment you leave the Apple Store, chances are you’ve forgotten half of what you’ve been told. And you’d feel mighty foolish going back and asking, “What was that third step I’m supposed to take?” 

  You could call a consultant, but most consultants don’t do phone consulting, especially not for free. That’s because with all the calls they get every day, giving out free help and free advice would take up at least half their workday.


  You could get help from your son, your grandson, your nephew, your neighbor’s kid, or someone you meet when you’re having coffee at your local Starbucks. Well, maybe not.


  Or you could come to the next MacValley meeting. (

  At every meeting we have lively Q&A sessions where anyone in the room can come to the microphone, and ask questions about their Macs or their iPads and get good sound help from knowledgeable people and other users like themselves. I’m always surprised at the number of answers our group has to offer people, and I’m intensely amazed at the background of Arnold Woodworth, Tom Briant, Tom Burton and our emcee Elena-Beth Kaye, who is an Apple Certified Consultant and exceedingly knowledgeable about all things Mac. 

  If you are self-conscious or feel like you don’t know enough, our Mac experts and MacValley members are supportive and helpful in so many ways. 

  And believe me, I know first hand just how terrific our people can be. Lots of folks find that getting information from MacValleyites is not only free, it’s fun.


  At MacValley you’ll have yourself a great learning experience, no matter what level of Mac user you are.


  So come to our next MacValley meeting. We guarantee you’ll not only get yourself plenty of good sound Mac info and advice, you’ll also have a really great time at MacValley Apple Users Group. 


The Spaceshuttle Endeavor flies over Los Angeles with pictures!

On Friday September 21, a little before noon, the Space Shuttle Endeavor (on top of the its 747) flew over where I (Arnold Woodworth) work.

Here are a few of the pictures I took.

Note the two fighter escorts.  They are F-18 jets.

The first two pictures were taken just after they cleared the hill to the west.

The Griffith Observatory is on that hill, and I'm sure the people there got a great view.

The next two pictures were taken when they flew right over me.

Any aviation buffs might notice that the "slats" on the front of the wings of the 747 are deployed so that the 747 can fly slower and give people on the ground more time to view the Space Shuttle Endeavor as if flies past.





I should mention that NASA loves its Macintoshes!

Tom Briant

Media Manager, MacValley UG

More Articles for you to consider

Here are some more articles for you to consider, courtesy of Arnold Woodworth:

Motorola asks ITC to ban every Mac, iPad, and most iPhones

Wait a minute!!  Motorola is owned by Google!!

Macworld’s guide to installing iOS 6

Apple avoids the temptations of jetpack design

Do like Steve Jobs did and don’t follow your passion

Apple Screws Up Maps on the new iPhone

Thanks, Arnold! I’ll post more stuff soon.

Tom Briant

Media Manager, MacValley UG

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hotcakes-they're selling like iPhones!

Arnold Woodworth has more links for you to peruse:

First, forget the critics, just get me an iPhone 5!

Second, Apple has changed the connector on the new iPhone 5. You’ll need to buy adapters.

Thanks, Arnold.

Tom Briant

Editor and Media Manager, MacValley UG

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Difference Between Apple and Amazon in One Bar Chart

Again, Arnold Woodworth has given us a link to an excellent article.

This Time, it’s thedifference between Apple and Amazon in One Bar Chart.

Tom Briant

Media Manager, MacValley UG

Articles about Twitter connected to the September 2012 Twitter presentation

The differences between Twitter and Facebook

Twitter still basically just does one thing: It invites you to share something interesting–a comment, a link, or whatever, so long as it fits in 140 characters.

One reader's comment:  "Twitter is the most useful filter I have yet found for the web – it’s where I learn what’s worth paying attention to.  One needs the patience to build a good learning network before Twitter works at its best."

What is the difference between Facebook and Twitter?

1)  If you want to be in touch with just your friends, Facebook is your answer (since you can limit who can see what).

2)  On Twitter, People can follow you without your permission and you can follow as many people as you like without their permission.

3)  Twitter is more of an open playground where a post can be seen by anyone and everyone around the world.

Who do I need to know before using either service?

On Facebook, you need to connect first with people before you share a content...while on Twitter, you can get quick info without any obligation to follow anyone.

Twitter, Facebook, and the two faces of Social Media

1)  Facebook emphasizes profiles and people

        You’re more likely to talk about personal issues, happy birthday wishes, gossip….

2)  Twitter emphasizes the actual content (in its case, tweets).

        You’re more likely to find links, follow brands, news sources and other entities outside of your social graph. One out of every four tweets includes a link to some form of content.

3)  Becoming friends with someone means he or she gets to see your content, but you also get to see his or her content in return. On Twitter, that’s not the case: you choose what information you want to receive, and you have no obligation to follow anybody.

4)  Social networks focus on your friends, colleagues and personal connections.

5)  Information networks focus less on what’s happening in your social graph and more on information you want

The Differences between Twitter and Facebook

1)  Facebook is more about social friendships.

        Facebook is more of an ongoing social relationship builder

2)  Twitter is more about following topics, conversations or interesting people.

        Twitter keeps people updated on the here and now, and topics and trending conversations are constantly changing. It's less about social connections and more about staying informed.

Tip of the hat to Arnold Woodworth for all these great links.

Tom Briant

Media Manager, MacValley UG

Saturday, September 8, 2012

System Utility Showdown: Onyx versus Cocktail

OS X is a complicated piece of software. It requires regular maintenance. Sometimes you just need the internal tools provided by Disk Utility. Other times you need 3rd party software, such as Titanium's Onyx and Maintain's Cocktail.

Onyx from France and Cocktail from Sweden reflect two different approaches. Onyx is free (well, donation ware) and can be used by any number of users. Cocktail costs $19 full price with options for families, multiple users, and corporate-wide use.

The Onyx menus offer a plethora of choices. Cocktail offer fewer choices immediately, but it does offer an automated Pilot menu immediately to do all the essential tasks for you.


You can get Onyx here from the developer. Make sure you get the version for your version of OS X!

The downloaded file will just say Onyx.dmg. To tell which version you have, double-click on the DMG. The background of the window (Figure 1) will display the Onyx app and the picture of the big cat associated with that version of OS X.


I like that Onyx checks the boot hard disk before proceeding to the main menu. You should check the S.M.A.R.T. Status (Figure 1) for signs of impending physical failure and then verify the status (Figure 2) of the hard drive to see that your hard drive should boot up.


Now the final step. Onyx requests your password to do some work on the deeper innards.

Finally you get to the main menu, a bar displayed in the middle of the screen. (Figure 4).Figure4-mainOnyxmenubar-2012-09-8-12-23.png

You have a lot of options, but you may not know where to start. Automation or Parameters?

If you need to clean up your system, you should go to the automated cleanup function is under Automation (Figure 5). Parameters lets you change a lot of details about OS X, such as where you save your screenshots and what format you want to save them as. Figure5-AutomationmenufromOnyx-2012-09-8-12-23.png

In any event, I advise you to download and install Onyx, It's free and it covers a lot of tasks. The developer didn't organize them that well.


Cocktail will remind you of Swedish furniture, where “less is more”. You know where to go the moment you start the program.

Cocktail offers versions specifically tailored for each version of OS X. Use the one for your system!

If you need to fix your system right now, you need to go to the Pilot menu. (Figure 6) You can run the selected tasks immediately or you can schedule them to run periodically via the Scheduler. (Figure 7)

Cocktail offers unique features. Under the Network menu, you can tune your connection to the Internet to wring maximum performance from it. (Figure 8)



If you want a program for getting your system up and running again immediately, I'd recommend Cocktail. It offers simpler and better organized menu options than Onyx.

If you want to dig into your system to customize it, look into Onyx. If you wanted to customize your log-in screen, only Onyx offered options to do it. Want to put a picture of a Mountain Lion instead of the gray linen pattern on your log-in screen? Onyx is the way to go.

If you have $20, get both programs. No one program does it all

Sunday, September 2, 2012

In Retrospect, the iPhone is *^% Brilliant! At the Time of its introduction, though.

Dan Frakes has apt Twitter comments on the iPhone’s design. Now it seems obvious and brilliant, the only way to go. But at the time of its introduction…where’s the keyboard, man?

Kudos to Arnold Woodworth again for bringing this to my attention.

If you see something that you think needs wider exposure Mac/iOS-wise, let me know. Especially if you are a MacValleyite!

Tom Briant

Editor and Media Manager

MacValley UG

How Apple Trains those people at the Genius Bar

Kudos to Arnold Woodworth again for bringing this to my attention.

Slate has a post on the secret manual(up until now!) that Apple uses to train its bright young people behind the Genius Bar. You’ll never hear them say, “Yeah, a Mac’s too expensive. Go get something cheap at the Frys two blocks over.” No, they’ll tell you that an Apple has more built-in value than a cheap Chinese PC at Frys.

Now, I don’t work for Apple, don’t own Apple stock (what, at $600 a share!), and value my independence. That said, I’m writing from my Mac Mini, which sets next to a Costco (ZT Systems) which I haven’t turned on in some time. I like the ZT Systems product, but Windows….eh

Tom Briant

Editor and Media Manager, MacValley UG

"Think Different or Else" is Apple's Message to Rivals

For those of us who remember the late ‘90s, you probably remember seeing Apple’s billboards proclaiming “Think Different” I’d see them on Santa Monica Boulevard.

Well, now Dan Farber of CNET posts that Apple has unleashed another “Think Different” campaign. Instead of billboards, they’ve started suing competitors. You can’t copy Apple’s designs without serious consequences.

Thanks to Arnold Woodworth for bringing this to my attention.


Illustration courtesy of CNET



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