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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Sunday, January 27, 2013

The End of the Mac is coming and Apple is Thrilled

Business Insider reports that the end of the Mac is coming and Apple is thrilled. Note I said “the end of Mac” and not “the end of Apple”

(h/t to Arnold Woodworth)

Tom Briant

Editor and Media Manager, MacValley User Group

Sunday, January 20, 2013

How Apple sets its prices

How Apple sets its prices

Apple products seem to be impervious to the discount game. In fact it’s so rare to find a significant price variance between retailers that, when it does happen, the event usually draws considerable press coverage.

With so many laws regulating competition among retailers, how does Apple pull off this amazing feat? It turns out that the company uses a fairly straightforward strategy, known as price maintenance, that takes advantage of the popularity of its products and exploits a quirk in the way retailers are allowed to advertise their merchandise.

(h/t Arnold Woodworth)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

News from the Web 1-15-2013.rtf broke a story about Dell Computer seeking to become a private company through a leveraged buyout.

Dell’s problems are not unique. Many players in the Wintel computer market have struggled with sliding demand for desktop computers vs tablets and plummeting profit margins.

Michael Dell, the founder and CEO of Dell, famously remarked in 1997 that Apple should liquidate the corporation and give the money back to the shareholders. This remark came at a time when Apple struggled. So Steve Jobs took pleasure some years later when Apple’s stock valuation exceeded that of Dell’s.

Michael Dell has also said that he would like to license OS X from Apple. He knew it wouldn’t happen, but he does admire OS X.

While some schadenfreude may be appropriate, Tim Cook and the rest of Apple’s executives will take this as a lesson that being on top of the market doesn’t guarantee you’ll be there in a few year’s time.

(h/t to

CBS shoots itself in the foot over the DISH Hopper DVR

CBS has put itself in line for Chump of the Year by forcing its CNET division to take back the CES award for Best in Show given to DiSH Network’s commercial-skipping Hopper DVR. Ongoing litigation between CBS and Dish over the Hopper supposedly led to this decision. Read the whole story here. (h/t to The

What is the Deal with Thunderbolt?

A recent story details the problems with the Thunderbolt super-duper high-speed interface. Apparently, Intel has become the stumbling block to increasing the number of Thunderbolt accessories. They are picky about whom they license Thunderbolt to.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The iPod turns 12-an image gallery (h/t to Arnold Woodworth)

iTunes turns 12: An image gallery

iTunes is now 12 years old.  For some nostalgia, click on the link below.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook had an inspirational message for his Chinese hosts earlier this week:

It's only a matter of time before mainland China overtakes the U.S. as Apple's most important market. turns 12: An image gallery

iTunes is now 12 years old.  For some nostalgia, click on the link below.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook had an inspirational message for his Chinese hosts earlier this week:

It's only a matter of time before mainland China overtakes the U.S. as Apple's most important market.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Saving money on cables with Monoprice

In that article I wrote on December 1, 2012; I told you I would provide information on saving money on video adapter cables. Apple charges Beverly Hills prices for these, and you shouldn’t pay them if you live in Northridge.

The secret?


For instance, let’s look at those PS/2 to USB adapters that I mentioned in the previous post. I paid $12.99 at Fry’s, which is a heckuva lot cheaper than Staples.


But look at what Monoprice charges for them!


Let’s look at video adapters, where Apple makes a killing.

First, Apple’s prices:


$29 to $34.95! Now you see how they can charge just 19.00 for Mountain Lion. They make it up in hardware accessories.

Now let’s look at Monoprice:


Easily a quarter of the price.

So save some money.

Tom Briant

Editor and Media Manager, MacValley UG

Mapping a Windows keyboard to your Mac with free 3rd party software

In a piece I wrote on December 1, 2012; I said I would tell you about software you could use to remap a stock Windows keyboard from your old Windows computer to use with your new Mac.

First, let’s look at the hardware:


You see a stock Logitech keyboard and mouse from a ZT Systems Windows 7 computer. (ZT Systems makes great Windows computers. Got this one through Costco). It is so stock that the keyboard and mouse come with the Windows PS/2 connectors instead of the USB connectors used by Apple.

To get around this, I used a PS/2 to USB adapter. You can get these adapters at several places. You can get them at Staples or Office Depot in the laptop accessories aisle where they will overcharge you To save money, you can plunge into the cyber-jungle of Frys Electronics and pick one up for less than $10. The one shown in the picture comes from SIIG Systems of Taiwan. It works just fine with the Mac Mini running 10.8.2.

No, you don’t need to install software just for the keyboard. Just plug and play. If it doesn’t work initially, reboot the system.

Next, how do you remap this keyboard to mimic a Mac? Or even more cooler, how do you get a Mac to mimic the Windows keyboard shortcuts you know and love?

      • To do that, download and install KeyReMap4MacBook This software, which installs as a preference pane in System Preferences, enables you to remap the Windows key as the Command key. Beyond that, you can remap Mac keyboard shortcuts, such as Command + S to save a document, to the Windows version, Control + S.
      • To accomplish this, open up KeyReMap4MacBook from your System Preferences:
      • ScreenShot2013-01-08at7.21.08PM-2013-01-8-18-42.png
      • You will see this window, full of options:


You actually need to scroll down from the top to get to For PC Users. Click on the right-facing arrow to open all the options.

You will want to change the Windows key, which this program refers to as the “PC Applications key”. As you see from the following picture, you have several options for remapping it:


The selection I checked means “Remap the Application (Windows) key to serve as the Left Command key. “

But that’s not all! as the TV pitchmen say. In addition to remapping the Windows key to serve as the Command key, you can remap Mac keyboard combinations to work as Windows keyboard combinations. Here I chose to use the PC style Copy & Paste of Control +C for copy and Control +V to paste and Control + X to cut

I also set up Control + S as my combination for a Save

If you often shift between a Mac and a PC, this can save you from mentally grinding gears:



Sound great? Well, you have to watch a few things:

First, you can only use 1 piece of 3rd party keyboard remapping software at a time. Do NOT install DoubleCommand as well.

If you already installed DoubleCommand, UNINSTALL it before installing KeyRemap4MacBook.

Second, KeyRemap comes in two versions. One version works with 10.8, 10.7 and 10.6. One version works with 10.5 and 10.4. Choose the appropriate version for your version of OS X.

Tom Briant

Editor and Media Manager, MacValley UG

OS X 10.8.3 in development and other news

Welcome, MacValleyites and friends! News from around the Web.

  1. OS X 10.8.3 is on its way. Apple has seeded the latest update today. People familiar with the release told AppleInsider that Tuesday's build notes are identical to the previous two seeds that came out in December, with developer focus areas including AirPlay, AirPort, Game Center, Graphics Drivers and Safari.
  2. An item from Appleinsider’s Backpage says that Apple will start selling refurbished 15” MacBook Pros with the Retina Display for $300 to $550 off retail price. Look in the Special Deals sections of the on-line Mac Store.
  3. The Wall Street Journal says that Apple will bring out an entry-level iPhone in the second half of this year. The new device could be unveiled later this year and be marketed as an entry-level model to Apple's flagship iPhone. Sources say the cheaper unit may take on the form factor and design of the current iPhone with a chassis made from less exotic materials like polycarbonate. Other parts could "remain the same or be recycled from older iPhone models.
  4. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Corning brought out optical cables for Thunderbolt and USB 3.0. You could get a Thunderbolt cable at a maximum length of 100 feet (30 meters) while the USB 3.0 cable could run up to 330 feet (100 meters) in length. No pricing as of yet; and Corning said to expect these cables sometime in the first quarter of 2013.


My thanks to for text and picture.

Tom Briant

Editor and Media Manager, MacValley UG

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Identity theft protection hints and other stuff (hat tip to Arnold Woodworth)

9 ways to protect seniors from identity theft

35% of identity theft complaints come from those aged 50 or older

retirees and seniors are targets because they have higher cash reserves and are often less technologically savvy than others. But this is not just an online issue. The stories about "long lost" relatives calling seniors for money over the phone is a regular activity of con artists today.

The E-book Reader Revolution: Over Just as It Has Begun?

users who bought e-book readers [e.g., Kindle] see no particular urgency to buy another.

tablet computers can be used not just as sophisticated readers but also as Web browsers, game consoles and cameras.

dedicated e-readers have some selling points -- longer battery life and lower prices than tablet computers.

Snapchat:  Sexting tool, or the next Instagram?

The sender can choose how long the message will be visible -- up to 10 seconds -- before it self-destructs.

it appears possible that "teenagers are more likely using the app to safely explore the sort of silly, unguarded, and sometimes unwise ideas that have always occupied the teenage brain ... in a manner that won't haunt them forever. In other words, they're chatting with Snapchat precisely because it's not like chatting with Facebook.

Friday, January 4, 2013

More Articles for you (hat tip to Arnold Woodworth)

Hacker-proof your password

We've been told time and again how important it is to have tricky, unique passwords that are known to no one but ourselves. We should make them long and add numbers and symbols to fool the fraudsters combing the Internet for access to our records.

And we should always, always have different passwords for each site.

But apparently, we're not listening very well.

It's just too hard to remember so many different passwords. Our memory function doesn't grow as our list of password-protected sites does.

It's a matter of mental overload. Nobody can remember 150 passwords.

In big breaches where passwords are stolen from major companies, hackers typically write a short computer program to sort all the passwords out. They find a number of common passwords and start applying them to random bank accounts with your name. For example, if the password on your LinkedIn account is "letmein1," the hacker will run that password and your user name against accounts at Bank of America, Chase Bank, Citigroup and Wells Fargo, for starters - just to see if maybe you have an account there.

If that doesn't work, they may change the password to "letmein2" and then "letmein3" and so forth.

Apple pinch-to-zoom patent invalidated

Remember how you make things bigger or smaller on your iPhone or iPad?

By Pinching?  Like in the Youtube movie below?

Apple patented that pinch several years ago, but the court has declared that patent invalid.

Australian Police warn of safety concerns from Google Maps

Google maps may be better than Apple, but even Google's maps are not perfect.

Why You Should Want to Pay for Software, Instagram Edition

the only way to get around the privacy problems inherent in advertising-supported social networks is to pay for services that we value. It's amazing what power we gain in becoming paying customers instead of the product being sold.

Apple improves its corporate social responsibility (hat tip to Arnold Woodworth

Apple, the electronics industry’s behemoth, in the last year has tripled its corporate social responsibility staff, has re-evaluated how it works with manufacturers, has asked competitors to help curb excessive overtime in China and has reached out to advocacy groups it once rebuffed.



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