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Tom Briant

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Sunday, March 31, 2013

More Posts from Arnold Woodworth

Apple Cash In, Apple Cash Out - The Full Breakdown

This beautiful chart from Asymco shows just where Apple's revenues come from and where they are spent for the last quarter

Apple's broken promise: why doesn't iCloud 'just work'?

Bitcoin: How An Unregulated, Decentralized Virtual Currency Just Became A Billion Dollar Market

Here's a person who strongly advises AGAINST using Bitcoin

Thanks, Arnold. Happy Passover and Easter, everyone.

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy 68th birthday, Eric Clapton!

As I sit here listening to Cream from 1968, I want to wish Eric Clapton a happy 68th birthday! Keep on rocking!

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Leapmotion Controller-You Read it here first!

If you wanted to become a Jedi Master and control your computer with just a wave of your hand, your opportunity will arrive this May.

The Leap Motion controller is available for pre-order right now from If you want to buy it in a retail store, look for it in a Best Buy in May 2013.

  • The mainstream media is just becoming aware of this device, which won awards at this year’s SXSW Digitial Interactive Festival in Austin, TX.
  • PastedGraphic-2013-03-28-19-28.png        

I imagine gamers will take to this device. Many of the video clips show the Leapmotion playing games, such as Fruit Ninja.

I put up an initial story about this in August 2012.

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thank you Gordon Low for revamping the Macvalley Web sites! Now to other topics! Such as whether to buy a MacBook Air on eBay

First off, I want to thank Gordon Low for revamping the MacValley Web sites. Both the MacValley Web site and this blog Web site look wonderful!

Second, this is a potpourri of topics tonight.

My first Mac topic is whether or not to buy a MacBook Air on eBay. A client of mine wanted to buy the slim & beautiful MacBook Air to take with him to music studios. He wants to use Sibelius 7 with it.

I had to tell him, and now you, that most of these MacBook Airs on eBay won’t run Sibelius. Sibelius 7 demands a lot of a Mac, particularly of its storage hardware. The specs for Sibelius 7 ask for a 7200 rpm hard drive or a Solid State Drive. And Apple solders the storage device to the motherboard.

If you price a MacBook Air on eBay, check the hard drive. Is it a spinning platter? If so, it runs at 5400 rpm. How much memory? Remember, Apple solders the memory on the MBAs. You Cannot Upgrade the Memory.

So I wouldn’t consider them for running a demanding application such as Sibelius 7. If you want to buy one as a light-duty machine for word-processing and Web surfing, they fit the bill.

Third,here are some shots taken the night Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1996. An Apple QuickTake camera took these photos and the color registration wasn’t that good. Steve did NOT wear a purple jacket, he wore a black jacket. (h/t to Daring Fireball)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Quicksilver 1.0.0 is out and look what Android phones are used for!

If you have grown tired of using a mouse to launch your apps, consider a keyboard-based launcher. They can speed you up.

The keyboard launcher program to which all other program launchers-Mac, Windows, and Linux-are compared has finally come out of beta. Yes, Quicksilver is now at version 1.0.0. This version is for OS X 10.6-10.8, but the Web site has earlier versions for OS X as far back as 10.3!

Is it the best program launcher? That’s a matter of opinion. I use Objective Development’s Launchbar myself on my production machine. I’m sure devotees of Alfred and Butler could tell you why their launcher is the best. But Quicksilver is the basis of comparison for all of these keyboard launcher programs.

In other news, an Android phone goes into orbit:

"At a time when the who’s who of the mobile world are busy strutting their stuff at the Mobile World Congress, Surrey Space Centre (University of Surrey) and Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) Ltd are celebrating a mobile launch of their own. Except that theirs was unlike any other cellphone launch in history — a launch in the most literal sense.

The two Surrey, England-based organizations now have the distinction of designing the world’s first smartphone-powered satellite, the STRaND-1 (Surrey Training Research and Nanosatellite Demonstration-1), which was successfully launched into orbit aboard the Indian Space Research Organization’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle on Monday, along with several other payloads. In doing so, they have beaten the mighty NASA, which announced similar plans last year, to the punch."

I’ll stand by my prediction, though,that the first woman on Mars will report back to us via her iPhone 20S.

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

MacValley dues refund! Don't delay!

MacValley Membership Refund

To All Paid-up MacValley Members: 

If your membership is still up to date, you have a $25 refund coming. To get your check in the mail, please email MacValley Treasurer Shirley Ulling at:  





Sunday, March 24, 2013

More articles from Arnold Woodworth

Apple yesterday rolled out two-step verification, a security measure that promises to further shield Apple ID and iCloud accounts from being hijacked. Unfortunately, today a new exploit has been discovered that affects all customers who haven't yet enabled the new feature. It allows anyone with your email address and date of birth to reset your password — using Apple's own tools.

Update 4: Apple's password reset tool is back online, and it appears the vulnerability has been fixed.,0,2800832.story

Apple is finally making money on content

Siri, which is the greenest tech company in the world?   Apple

Friday, March 22, 2013

More articles from Arnold Woodworth

Apple to Android: The Cult Leaders are Leaving

Guy Kawasaki

Robert Scoble

Andy Ihnatko

Killing hackers is justified in cyber warfare, says NATO-commissioned report

No, Apple has NOT Ceded its Smart Phone Crown to Samsung

my site was the target of a fairly massive denial of service attack. That attack was punctuated by a visit from a heavily armed local police unit that was tricked into responding to a 911 call spoofed to look like it came from my home.

Apple introduces two-step verification for Apple ID, iCloud accounts

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Monoprice over the head DJ headphones-it's a bargain you should consider

I have owned many pairs of stereo headphones since the ‘70s. They have come from the bargain headphone bin at Big Lots!, a pair of high-end Sennheisers bought one night after getting fired, and finally this pair of DJ headphones from Monoprice.

I am listening to the Monoprice headphones right now. They represent the best deal for the money I have enjoyed.

They cost $23.20 from They fit comfortably over the ears and seal out the world. Don’t wear these headphones while walking on the street. You’ll get lost in the music and get run over by a bus. Wear these while sitting in a comfortable chair.

These headphones don’t have a cord permanently attached to them. The headphones come with a 1/8” jack on the bottom of the left earpiece. Monoprice includes two cords with an 1/8” male plug at each end. One is a very thin short cord for use with an iPod, iPad, or other MP3 player. The other cord is thicker, much longer, and you would use it if you served as the DJ at a party. In any event, you don’t have to worry about breaking the connection. You only need a 1/8” male plug on each of the cable. You can find those in many locations.

How about the sound response? First of all, these phones are quite efficient. I turned down the volume on iTunes from my Mac Mini to achieve a comfortable listening level. Listening to classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma, I felt as though we sat in the same room. The sound is that good.


If you want great headphones, but don’t want to pay extra for a celebrity endorsement; look into these.

Monoprice Premium Hi-Fi DJ Style Over-the-Ear Pro Headphone

$23.20 in single quantity, discounts for volume purchases available has them

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Friday, March 15, 2013

Tips for the college bound student and their computers

Our President emeritus, Cristael Bengtson, has found a great article from a tech support guy at UC Berkeley. This applies if you go to one of the UCs, a CSU institution, or a private school like Stanford

Read it, remember it, live it.

Tom Briant

Editor, Macvalley Blog

How to Subscribe to a Podcast that iTunes doesn't offer

Some friends of mine wanted to subscribe to several podcasts from radio station KPFK. I first tried looking at the podcast directory in the iTunes. All kinds of podcasts, but nothing from KPFK. Perhaps they have a beef with a large American corporation that makes its products in China. Whatever.

Anyway, if you have a podcast you want to subscribe to that you can’t find in the iTunes store, here’s what to do:

First, go to the radio station’s Website. Look for their podcast section. In KPFK’s case, they clearly mark it as “Audio Archives”. Go to that page.

On that page you’ll see a button: PastedGraphic1-2013-03-15-08-34.png

Click on the the podcast to play the podcast. If you want to subscribe to the podcasts, though, right-click on the XML section. That brings up this menu:


KPFK own instructions tell you to right-click on “XML”


Thank you, KPFK, for your clear and concise instructions.

But what if you are bourgeoisie like me and want to use iTunes? Simple, iTunes has provision for adding podcasts not in the iTunes podcast directory.

If you are like my friends, you still use OS X 10.4.11 and iTunes 8, which has its “Subscribe to Podcast” item under the Advanced menu:


If you are like me, the bourgeoisie, you use iTunes 11, which has the “Subscribe to Podcast…” menu item under the File menu:


In either case, a window appears:


Paste the copied link to the podcast into this window and press OK.

You’re all set! Go back to your podcast directory and see if it’s there:


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Three more tips for you

Macworld April 2013 has another 100 things every Mac owner should know. This article expands on their April 2011 article on the same theme. If you don’t own the April 2011 issue, you can get the article as a Kindle single for $0.99 at

Anyway, lots of handy stuff. I noticed it didn’t contain a couple of tips, plus an extra, that I will give you now.

First, how to get to the desktop when you’ve covered it in windows. Press the F11 key on your keyboard. I tried this on a client’s iBook running 10.4.11 and I tried it on my Mac Mini running 10.8.2. Worked like a charm. So, when you need to get to the desktop in a hurry, press F11.

To restore the mess on your desktop, press F11 again.

Second, how to take a picture from Safari and put it on your desktop. You don’t need to do a screenshot. You can go directly from Safari to Desktop in two clicks.

The first click is a right-click on the picture. I have chosen these adorable puppies from Google Images. I have right-clicked on the image. This brings up a menu at your cursor:


Now notice Use Image as Desktop Picture, which is third from the bottom. Click on that and the picture in Safari appear on your desktop.

If you want to copy and paste the puppies into an image editing program, you use Copy Image at the bottom of the menu.

You can right-click on images in other Web browsers, too, to see these choices. Firefox has a similar menu and so does Internet Explorer.

Finally, wouldn’t be great if you could store all these tips in a convenient database program? Done.

Apple includes the Stickies program with every version of OS X. Before that, it came with Classic OS. Stickies places virtual sticky notes on your screen. You can arrange them as you please. You can choose different background colors to represent different categories of information.


If you see something in Safari that you want to save, highlight it with your mouse cursor and press Shift+Command+Y. That places the selected text in a new sticky note.

Those are the tips for today.

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Friday, March 8, 2013

Something to spend your tax refund on

I got a reminder of how useful my UPS (uninterruptible power supply) is. The power went off here at MacValley Labs, but my Mac Mini kept right on. When I logged in, no problems.

If you leave your Mac powered on and unattended for any length of time, get yourself a UPS. You can get them at Frys and Costco. They consist of a battery, the heaviest part, and electronic circuitry to keep the battery charged and also to generate electricity for your Mac.

Here is a link to Frys Electronics UPS selection. Here is a link to Costco’s selection of UPS devices.

Christopher Breen Macworld wrote about UPS power backups here. More tips on dealing withpower outages due to weather and whatnot here.

You cannot, though, just plug every computer peripheral into your UPS! Remember, it only provides a limited amount of power compared to the wall outlet.

For instance, don’t plug laser printers into UPS. They use a lot of power and you don’t need them if the power goes off. Plug them into the surge suppressor sockets on the UPS, the ones that don’t provide uninterruptible power.

Your new UPS may come with a CD…for Windows. Don’t worry, OS X has built-in UPS software. It’s activated when you plug in the USB cable from your UPS to your Mac. Look on the Energy Saver preference pane, the one that looks like a light bulb, to see if you see UPS as one of the two tabs.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog



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