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Tom Briant

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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Senior Corespondent Arnold Woodworth with more Saturday offerings

Apple Has 500,000 iPhone 5Ss Being Made Every Day, Its Highest Ever Output

Apple’s ground-breaking bet on its clean energy infrastructure

Apple Confirms Acquisition of 3-D Sensor Startup PrimeSense

Voice and motion command of these wearable devices that are coming is going to be one of the standards that Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook are going to be competing on.

TV Is Dying, And Here Are The Stats That Prove It

Bitcoin, not gold, has the Midas touch

It's an alternative to paper currencies. It can be traded anywhere in the world. It has a limited supply. And it should be a secure haven if financial markets start to crash. That is a fairly accurate description of gold. It is also an accurate description of bitcoin.

While bitcoin has been soaring in price, gold has been falling.

At the start of this year, you could pick up one of those bitcoins for $13.  Looking back, that was the steal of the year.  The virtual currency jumped to a record of $947.

bitcoin may be a nerdish fad ...... a short-lived mania that will collapse soon and leave everyone who climbed on board feeling stupid.  But the most likely explanation is that bitcoin is emerging as a serious currency.

The goldbugs will tell you that the price of gold is being suppressed - it would be a lot higher if it was not being manipulated downwards. Others will argue that bitcoin is a faddish bubble, a nerd-ish equivalent of 17th century Dutch tulips. Its soaring price tells us nothing - except that people are as easily fooled as they always have been.

The actual answer is more interesting.

For the few people who have not yet heard of it, bitcoin is a purely digital currency, minted in limited quantities by a pre-determined algorithm.  No one knows who invented it, and no one controls it.  Right now, there are 11 million bitcoins in circulation, and the algorithm will eventually create around 21 million of them.  And that will be all - production will stop, and there will be no more.

The point about bitcoin is that it is designed to be all the things that gold was back when the precious metal was a currency. It has a limited supply. It is not controlled by governments or central banks. It is not anonymous, as some people occasionally claim, but it is a lot more private than money held in a bank account. It is a store of value.

Bitcoins, bubbles and babble, oh my

The one bubble nobody can doubt is the bubble in bubble calling.

Bubbles are always the result of policy and I'm still quite confident that we are in the midst of an unprecedented global coordination of policy that are purposely set on fueling bubbles.

Bitcoin Is Moving Just Like South Sea Stock Before The Bubble Popped [CHARTS]

This is just for fun, I have no idea if or when the bitcoin train will ever get derailed.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Saturday Posts from Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth

The 11 Best Apps For Getting The Most Out Of Your Mac

Apple Wins Another Patent Fight Against Samsung in Germany, but Samsung Still Profits

Samsung has made billions more in profits from copying Apple.  That makes the loss of SEP royalties and the $930 million damage awards just a cost of doing business.

Facebook's 10 Most Misunderstood Privacy Facts

Five virtual currencies other than bitcoin


Google settled another privacy lawsuit today, promising to pay $17 million for circumventing users' privacy wishes.

The case centered around Apple's Safari browser, which had certain default privacy settings concerning tracking and cookies. Google, according to this lawsuit, went around those settings and used cookies to track user activity, even where users had specified that they did not want to be followed.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

It's Saturday the 16th and time for another batch of articles gathered by Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth

Still Got a First-Gen iPad?  Don't Ditch it Yet.  "Old" is not the same as "obsolete."

Numerous retailers now offer bounties for older iPads.

The iPad can serve as a hand-me-down device that can grow with your child

Over three-plus years of ownership, my iPad has been the least problematic computing device I have ever used.

Come On, Apple Fans, It's Time To Admit That The Company Is Blowing It

The bottom line is that, by trying to maintain its price points and super-high profit margin, Apple has radically underperformed the market for the past couple of years, especially in tablets. Because of the importance of the platform and ecosystem for long-term value, this is a shortsighted decision.

Apple & Samsung take massive 109% of mobile industry profits while competitors lose money

In fact, when tablets, notebooks and other mobile devices are included, Apple earned more than Samsung, LG, Nokia, Huawei, Lenovo and Motorola's mobile divisions combined.

How Windows Has Evolved Over The Last 30 Years
Includes a few comparisons with Mac OS.
Windows OS was incredibly primitive compared to Mac OS until 1995.

Top 5 free apps for investors

Analysis: Only one-third of Samsung smartphone sales are of iPhone class

Samsung: no disputing we sold Apple's property and owe a 'huge sum of money'

I'm beginning to think that Samsung will end up with a net profit for violating Apple's patents -- even after the future court award for damages

Judge Koh ruled Apple cannot pursue damages due to lost profits for four out of the five patents originally leveraged at the start of the retrial, a decision that could be worth $114 million to Apple's final payout.

The one property remaining - the '915 patent for "pinch-to-zoom" - is still important

MacRumors Hacker Promises Stolen Passwords Are Safe

The hacker behind Monday's breach of an Apple-related rumor and news website has promised to not leak any of the 860,000 passwords he stole. 

But he said that any users who'd reused the same password on other sites had only themselves to blame. "We're not terrorists," he said.

How long do hard drives last?  See the graph.

On average, 80 percent of all hard drives are still in use after four years. Through extrapolation, I figure that the median life span of a hard drive -- the point at which 50 percent of drives will have failed -- is about six years.

if your hard drive hasn't failed yet, it probably will soon. Be sure to back up early and often.

Judge Tips Google's Way in 8-Year-Old Books Saga
Google won a critical victory for its Google Books project

"In my view, Google Books provides significant public benefits.  It advances the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other creative individuals, and without adversely impacting the rights of copyright holders ... generates new audiences and creates new sources of income for authors and publishers. Indeed, all society benefits,"
--  Denny Chin, United States District Court Judge

JPMorgan Shows Exactly How To Not Use Twitter

Their starting tweet:
J.P. Morgan@jpmorganFollow
It’s a #TwitterTakeover: We'll host our 1st live Q&A on leadership & career advice w/a leading $JPM exec on 11/14. Use #AskJPM to submit a Q

Their ending tweet:  Tomorrow's Q&A is cancelled. Bad Idea. Back to the drawing board.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thoughts on the Clash of the Tablets this holiday season

Driving over to the Vons store for writing supplies (iced coffee, orange juice, and chili), I saw the Microsoft Surface 2 splashed across the side of a bus. Okay, Microsoft, we know you made a tablet. Now do we want it?

A recent incident on the late-night Jimmy Kimmel show displays the problem that all non-Apple  tablets have in the market. Jimmy had a bright young 5 year old. This youngster can recite the Gettysburg Address from memory. As a reward for his acumen, Jimmy offered him a Sony Experian Android tablet.

As detailed in, the young man pushed it back to Jimmy. His family will get an iPad for Christmas. 

MacLife had a link to a YouTube clip of this moment, but it’s been taken down. A great moment in product placement-not!

Note: A Google Search found the clip here in the International Business Times. The kid is adorable.

I would rank this up there with the time the little marmoset ran up to the top of Johnny Carson’s head and marked its territory with its scent glands. 

Now in defense of other tablets besides the iPad, a market does exist for them. It’s the market for parents who can’t afford to get their kid an iPad or fear their kid will break the iPad. 

Reading the comments on, it’s clear that parents regard these Android tablets as perfect for entertaining a child with cartoons on a long trip. You don’t need all the features of an iPad to do that. 

I listen to Classical KUSC and The Sound 100.3 Love Uncle Joe in the morning. Anyway, during their most recent pledge drive. KUSC gave away Apple-related swag. They gave away Apple gift cards and iPods stocked with classical music. 

The Sound has offered an iPad Air as its “thank you” prize. You text message “iPad” at the right time and you get entered in a drawing for an iPad Air. Is that not cool? 


Tom Briant

Editor, Macvalley Blog



Saturday, November 9, 2013

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth has articles for you today

Apple tries to calm stormy iWork waters with pledge to restore 18 features

We at Apple believe that our customers have a right to understand how their personal information is handled, and we consider it our responsibility to provide them with the best privacy protections available. Apple has prepared this report on the requests we receive from governments seeking information about individual users or devices in the interest of transparency for our customers around the world.

We have reported all the information we are legally allowed to share, and Apple will continue to advocate for greater transparency about the requests we receive.

Here's a direct link to Apple's report:

If that link doesn't work, try this link:

An Awesome Presentation On What Bitcoin Really Is

1.2 Million Dollar Hack Shows Why You Should Never Store Bitcoins on the Internet

5 of the costliest tweets ever

5 of the most profitable tweets ever

Are Computers Making Society More Unequal?

There are three main reasons inequality is here to stay, and will likely grow.

The first is just measurement of worker value. We're doing a lot to measure what workers are contributing to businesses, and, when you do that, very often you end up paying some people less and other people more.

The second is automation-especially in terms of smart software. Today's workplaces are often more complicated than, say, a factory for General Motors was in 1962. They require higher skills. People who have those skills are very often doing extremely well, but a lot of people don't have them, and that increases inequality.

Third is globalization. There's a lot more unskilled labor in the world, and that creates downward pressure on unskilled labor in the United States.

Today, the human-plus-machine teams are better than machines by themselves. It shows how there may always be room for a human element.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tips gathered over the years

Here are some tips for Macs that I have picked over the years. I may have mentioned them before, but I’m putting them here again. 




Q: “Help! I’m 3/4 of the way through writing a long important document and my laptop’s keyboard just died on me! What can I do? It’s Saturday night and the repair shop doesn’t open until Monday! That’s when the paper is due!”


A: First, calm down. Have a root beer or some herbal tea to calm down.  This is easy to fix temporarily.  If your laptop’s keyboard dies on you, just plug in a stand-alone keyboard. 


You need to determine if your laptop has two PS/2 jacks for the keyboard and mouse. That means it’s a really old Windows laptop. You’ll need a keyboard and mouse with PS/2 plugs. 




They’ll look like the plugs above, one in green for the mouse and one in purple for the keyboard. 


Now if you have a Mac or current model Windows laptop whose keyboard stopped cold on you, you can use a keyboard and mouse with USB plugs like this:





Just plug the USB plug for your keyboard and mouse into the USB jacks on your laptop. 


What do you do if you only can find a PS/2 keyboard and mouse for your Mac? Again, Don’t Panic. You simply need one of these devices:


ps2 usb c.jpg


The appearance may differ depending on the brand, but these PS/2 to USB adaptors all have two PS/2 jacks on one side, some circuitry in the middle, and a single USB plug on the other side. You don’t need any drivers


Here’s an earlier article I wrote on this blog about mapping a stock Windows PS/2 keyboard to a Mac using one of these PS/2 to USB adaptors and some free software. 


So just relax, take a deep breath, and head out to Fry’s Electronics in Woodlands Hill or Burbank, Staples Office Supply, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Best Buy, or Radio Shack. Even the 24-hour drugstores, such as Rite-Aid and CVS, may have keyboards and mice in their office supply aisle. 


Help, my laptop screen/external monitor reached the end of life right in the middle of my dissertation!


Plug in an external monitor. The old tube (CRT) type of monitor that weighs a ton uses the VGA arrangement. The VGA plugs and jacks look like this:


VGA jack on your computer or monitor:





VGA plug on cable:





You’ll have to go to Fry’s or BestBuy or Office Depot or Staples or Office Max. 


Users have discarded their old CRT monitors. I found the one I use in the laundry room of my condo complex! 


If you want to purchase a monitor,  you’ll get the LCD monitor variety. Tip: If you have a flat-screen TV, you could use that in a pinch. 


You’ll need to hook up your flatscreen TV with either a HDMI cable or a DVI cable. 


This is an HDMI port on a laptop computer:





These are the DVI connectors and cables. You want the DVI-D cable for a Mac





Not the DVI-A or DVI-I cable! 


If your laptop lacks a HDMI port and your flatscreen TV lacks a DVI port; then you need an adaptor cable. 




You’ll see a HDMI plug on one end and a DVI cable on the other. 


Your best place to shop for those adaptors in an emergency is Fry’s. Your best place to shop for them before you get into trouble (think ahead, people!) is 


How to select text letter by letter from the keyboard, if trackpad is too difficult.


Simple. You’ll use your arrow keys on your keyboard and the Shift key.


Use the arrow keys to place your cursor, the fine vertical line on your screen that moves as you type, to the immediate left of the first character you want to select.


Now hold down the Shift key with one hand, using the other hand to move the cursor across your line of text. You’ll see highlighted text on either a Windows computer or a Mac. 


If you want to keep your hands on your keyboard to copy, cut, and paste text; memorize these three commands.


Command (Mac)/Control (Windows) plus the letter C to copy selected text into the clipboard.


Command (Mac)/Control (Windows) plus the letter X to cut selected text and place it into the clipboard.


Command (Mac)/Control (Windows) plus the letter V to paste selected text from the clipboard.


Why C,X, and V for copy, cut, and paste? Why not P for paste? 


Look down at your keyboard at the bottom row. On a standard QWERTY keyboard, X, C, and V are next to each other. P is usually assigned as part of the keyboard shortcut for printing with Command/Control + P


Tom Briant

Editor, Macvalley Blog

Statement of Editorial Policy for this blog

Good morning on this fine day, switching from Daylight Savings Time to Regular Winter Time. I hope you enjoyed the realization that you aren’t an hour late and that you still have an hour left to go before breakfast or lunch.


My first editorial policy is that while I prefer OS X to Windows, I will not abuse people who use Windows. Plenty of good reasons exist to use Windows. You’ve used Windows for years. You’ve built up years of data using Windows software and you don’t know if you could use it with Apple products. I’ll try to answer questions about the use of Windows-generated data with Macintosh software. 


You can buy a new Windows 8 laptop for less than $300. The cheapest Apple laptop is $999 for a MacBook Air. You have to make mortgage payments, car payments, car insurance, and other expenses before you can consider a new computer. Still. look into the MacBook Air and drool.


My second editorial policy is that if you want to buy a used Mac, buy a Mac with an Intel processor and not a PowerPC processor. Apple switched in 2005 from the Apple/IBM PowerPC processor to the same type of Intel processors used by Windows PCs. Legend has it that Steve Jobs saw that an Apple laptop using the G5 processor would run so hot it would singe your genital area. So Apple went with the Intel processor in 2005. 


Unless you have specific needs requiring a PowerPC processor in your computer, such as antique software running on the previous Macintosh operating system (OS 9.2.2); I really urge you to get a Mac with an Intel processor. For example, Microsoft’s Office for Mac has a PowerPC-only version (Office 2004), a universal version in Office 2008, and an Intel-only version in Office 2011. If you have a PowerPC Mac that runs OS X 10.5, it will run either Office 2004 or Office 2008. If you have the latest Macs, they will run Office 2011. 


My third editorial policy is to welcome Mac-related questions. You may not know as  much about Macs as someone else; but you know a lot of other things that I don’t know. Contribute tips on  other topics. This is a blog for and about Mac users, not exclusively Mac hardware and software. 


I would appreciate it if you kept the questions on Macs and their uses. If you want to complain about Obamacare or the NSA, go to your Facebook page. If you wrote an article for other on-line media such as The Huffington Post or National Review Online, I’ll put up a link to it. Once. 


Tom Briant

Editor, Macvalley Voice

Ted Landau from Macworld has a list of Mavericks Bugs and Fixes

Ted Landau of has a valuable list of Maverick bugs and their fixes

Among the listed programs are Shirt-Pocket Software’s Super-Duper, which I have often recommended for cloning partitions. It’s still good.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

It's Sunday Morning, Turn Back Your Analog Clocks 1 hour and read up on Senior Correspendent Arnold Woodworth's Articles

Mossberg Reviews the iPad Air

9 Things That Wouldn’t Exist If Apple Hadn’t Launched The iPhone Six Years Ago

Big, Beautiful Photos Of Apple's New iPad Air And iPad Mini

Apple computer birthplace wins 'historic' designation

The single-story home, at 2066 Crist Dr. in Los Altos, was designated a "historic resource" by the city's historical commission

Sorry, Carl Icahn, you're not getting a big lump of cash from Apple Inc., just for being a late-to-the-bandwagon shareholder.
Icahn has asked the company to part with $150 billion of its cash hoard - essentially all of it.

Apple and other companies, which initially park their cash offshore to get favorable tax treatment on intellectual property, are keeping it there because repatriating it incurs very large tax penalties.

I dislike iOS 7 so strongly that I feel inclined to begin this post with a disclaimer about how much I admire Apple. Apple is my hero. They’ve always inspired me to be better at what I do, even when I was an ICU nurse. But they are not perfect. I can and should criticize their worst work when I find it — out of my admiration for their best work.

iOS 7’s designers have abandoned bordered buttons in favor of borderless colored text. I think this choice is unjustifiable. It is the root cause of my deep dislike for how it feels to use iOS 7. It introduces unnecessary tension and makes everything less usable than it ought to be.

The cost of Internet access in America is too damn high.
When it comes to comes to broadband Internet connections, the United States falls far behind other developed nations in both speed and affordability.

For most of us, immortality is this: We are scattered digital footprints, spinning around in a server overseas, waiting for the right keyword to bring our image onto the screen for someone else to see and say, “Oh yes, I remember.”

So: what happens to us on the Internet when we die?
Do our Facebook and Twitter accounts keep going?  Blogs?

We'll all live on as digital ghosts.

Programs do exist that let you pass on control of your Internet presence to entrusted loved ones

77 Open Source Replacements for Expensive Applications

Bitcoin companies to Western Union face increasingly strict regulatory environment

It’s not just bitcoin companies; money transmitters in general are being hit with stricter regulations.

Kristoffer Koch was writing a thesis on encryption in 2009 when he spent about $27 to buy 5,000 bitcoins.
They are now worth $886,000.

Koch has used one-fifth of his bitcoin stash to  buy an apartment in Oslo, Norway, the Guardian reports.

House Intelligence Chair: "You Can't Have Your Privacy Violated if You Don't Know Your Privacy Is Violated"

I challenged hackers to investigate me and what they found out is chilling

virtually all of us are vulnerable to electronic eavesdropping and are easy hack targets.

All it takes is a person or persons with enough patience and know-how to pierce anyone’s privacy — and, if they choose, to wreak havoc on your finances and destroy your reputation.

NSA chief says NATO allies shared phone records with the U.S. spy agency

The French and Spanish intelligence agencies have had extensive, long-running programs to share millions of phone records with the United States for counterterrorism and defense purposes

NSA bills set up a choice in Congress: End bulk collection of phone records or endorse it

These two bills - one that codifies bulk collection and the other that outlaws it - are on a collision course

The phone call database contains billions of records of numbers dialed, as well as the lengths and times of calls, but not their content.

NSA spying shows how to lose friends and alienate allies
It is painfully clear that the damage from the revelation of the [Angela Merkel phone] tap is considerable.

NSA has hacked Google, Yahoo says Washington Post

European leaders are fuming over the scope of NSA surveillance. But France, Germany, and other countries are far from innocent bystanders when it comes to conducting dragnet spying, new leaks have revealed.

German, French, Spanish, and Swedish intelligence services have “all developed methods of mass surveillance of internet and phone traffic over the past five years”.

But though these countries may not be engaging in surveillance that is as broad and aggressive as the programs operated by the United States and the United Kingdom, it is clear that they are playing at least some sort of contributory role.

NSA Files Decoded: What the revelations mean for you.
Several interesting videos.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Friday, November 1, 2013

My Experience with Mavericks So Far

I’ve had Mavericks 10.9 on my production system for a week now. I’m pleasantly surprised by what hasn’t broken in the process of the upgrade.

Only Flip4Mac broke and Mavericks knew it would break. It moved it to a non-compatible software folder and alerted me  during the upgrade.

Applications that I consider essential work just fine. Quicken 2007 works just fine. Word, PowerPoint, and Excel 2011 work just fine. 

The only app that has given me any trouble has been Macjournal 6 in trying to use it as a blogging tool. This may be due to my dumbness, so I’m trying MarsEdit 3.6.2 as a substitute blog editor for this post. 

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


MarsEdit 3.6.2 worked just fine.






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