The MacValley blog


Welcome to the MacValley blog, your first stop for all the latest MacValley news and views.


Tom Briant

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

More Web stuff from Arnold Woodworth

Hackers empty $900K bank account

It's standard operating procedure for scammers to recruit unsuspecting individuals and businesses ("make big money working from home!") to accept a substantial deposit from thieves and wire the bulk of it overseas, keeping a portion for themselves as payments. Typically, the money clears and the mule completes the transfer, only to have the authorities catch up with them and claw back the money, leaving them on the hook for most of the losses.

Obviously, you never want to agree to accept and transfer cash as these mules did. Aside from the legal implications of engaging in what amounts to money laundering, what good are promised payoffs if they're going to be clawed back later?

Google’s new Chromebook Pixel is the Windows-killing notebook the world needs

It doesn’t even matter if it doesn’t sell. Google doesn’t make its money on software (like Microsoft) or hardware (like Apple). It just wants  access to all your information. And it can afford to wait, through successive generations of Pixels, for users to come into its arms.

So why the sudden fall from grace? There were a few missteps: a tepid launch for the iPhone 5, followed by the Maps fiasco. And Steve Jobs's absence is obviously preying on people's minds. But there's a more concrete reason: Apple's competitors are finally doing a better job of making the kinds of phones that customers want.

Over time, Apple has succeeded despite (or because of) its disregard for the conventional wisdom  ....... It's always been the proverbial bumblebee: it shouldn't be able to fly but it does.  A wobble in flight is all it takes for people to proclaim its inevitable crash.

Look how much Google spends on lobbying Washington

(and Apple and several other companies too)

When it comes to keeping your banking information safe, bigger may mean better.

cyber thieves are concentrating on financial service organizations with 10 to 100 employees.

They are looking for the path of least resistance, which often leads to credit unions.

Don't click on any incoming e-mail purporting to be from your bank, especially a message asking you to update your passwords or accounts. Instead, bookmark your bank's homepage and access your accounts that way. Also, don't accept offers from your bank to e-mail you passwords or statements, which can be intercepted by cybercrooks.

Never conduct online banking from a public computer in an Internet cafe or local library, or even with your own computer in an airport or hotel.

Why I'm quitting Facebook

Today, I am surrendering my Facebook account, because my participation on the site is simply too inconsistent with the values I espouse in my work.  I have always argued for engaging with technology as conscious human beings and dispensing with technologies that take that agency away.

Facebook is just such a technology. It does things on our behalf when we're not even there. It actively misrepresents us to our friends, and worse misrepresents those who have befriended us to still others

Sunday, February 24, 2013

News from around the Web (h/t to Arnold Woodworth)

FoxConn Freezes Hiring On iPhone Production Slowdown

FoxConn has imposed a recruitment freeze across almost all of its factories in China as it slows production of Apple's iPhone.

Arnold is beginning to wonder if Apple's stock price decline is a harbinger for the U.S. economy.

An update on Google's war against account hijackers

How Google plans to prevent hackers from using your E-mail account to spam billions of people,

and a few things you can do to help in that prevention.

Twitter unveils weapon vs. email impostors

Always make sure you're on before you enter your login information.

Be cautious when clicking on links in E-mails.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The end of MacValley as a corporation and rebirth as a blog...

Ever since the MacValley board decided to end MacValley as a formal user group with monthly meetings and a newsletter, I’ve needed to write something for my world-wide readers.

Macvalley broke down for three reasons in my opinion.

The first was the Great Recession of 2008-? A lot of our members had to decide what optional expenses to cut. MacValley was one of them.

The second was an aversion to night driving. A lot of our membership doesn’t like to drive at night. I know as I advance in age, I prefer to drive in the daytime. As our meetings were scheduled at 7:30 PM on the first Wednesday of each month, a lot of members decided to forgo them.

The third was-surprise!-the Internet. A lot of our members and ex-members turned to the Internet for information. A lot of young Macintosh users never knew anything else but the Internet.

Which brings me to this blog and other on-line ventures. For right now, the blog will offer tips to new users and links to news articles. As for other on-line offerings, I will roll them out in the future. Right now, I work two jobs, one during the week and one on weekends.

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Micro$oft jacks up the price of Office 2011 and how to install a free alternative.

Updates from Around the Web

Microsoft just bumped the price for Office 2011 for Mac up $20.00. No improvements, but you shell out another $20.

Editorial statement: Dude, find out if your employer has the Microsoft Home User Program as an employee benefit. For $9.95, I downloaded and installed Office 2011. Not some sleazy pirate download, but direct from the Redmond mothership.

If you want to contribute $20 toward independent software development, go to After donating to the development of NeoOffice, you can download version 3.3. At heart, it is; but optimized for OS X. They’ve taken out the Java code used in the past and replaced it with native Cocoa code.

I notice that the Web site suggests as a free alternative to Office 2011 for Mac and Office 2013 for Windows. A word of caution: LibreOffice uses Java, so check to make sure you use the latest version of Java. The one patched against unwanted intruders.


I went on to find this latest Java update, pushed out to deal with Chinese hacker attacks.

If you use the Oracle version of Java, check your Java control panel. You will find it at the bottom of the Preference Panes in the Other category. Here’s mine, as an example.



Once You’ve Got Java up to date, on to LibreOffice

You downloaded LibreOffice 4 and went to install it. Then you saw this:


To temporarily get around this. control-click or right-click on the LibreOffice app in your /Applications folder.


You see the Open selection at the top of the pop-up menu. Click on that and you should get this:


Click on “Open” lets you run LibreOffice on your Mac. You only need to do this once.

In other news….

Could Apple be readying a Retina MacBook Air?

tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Retina Mac Pro has a lower price-lowest of all at MacMall

If you want the lowest price on a Retina MacBook Pro, go tothis link. and MacMall have teamed up to shave the price down on the Retina MacBook Pro.

The high-end models of MBPs and Windows 8 notebooks have diverged. Apple offers you the high resolution of Retina displays, but no touch screens. Windows 8 high-end notebooks offer you touch screens, but no upgrade in screen resolution.

Again, this blog believes that Apple has the right idea for a touch interface. A touch interface on a desktop computer means stretching your arm into an uncomfortable position. Right now, I use the Magic Touchpad on the tabletop. It’s very comfortable to use.

As I’ve also written before, IT departments in corporate America would go nuts if they had to deal with screens covered in fingerprints. “For God’s Sake, Don’t touch the screen!” has been a commandment of theirs ever since when .

Tom Briant

Media Manager, MacValley Blog

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Woz praises Samsung and other Apple-related news

Friday Apple Rumors: Woz Knocks Apple as 'Somewhat Behind'

He praises Samsung for making 'great products'

Samsung has emerged as Apple's primary competition

Apple says iTunes song downloads hit 25 billion

Apple Becomes Largest Mobile Phone Vendor in United States in Q4 2012

Thanks to Arnold Woodworth for forwarding these links to us

Saturday, February 2, 2013

iPad Maxi and MS Office

Apple will start selling a 4th generation iPad with 128Gb storage. Nothing updated on this model except for the doubled storage.

Apple will market this product toward professional users, such as architects with 3-D CAD drawings of skyscrapers and jumbo jets and doctors with MRI/CAT whole body scans. Of course, you home consumers who itched to put all their music on an iPad are welcome to do so.

The cost? $799 for the Wi-Fi only version and $929 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model. Get it at the Apple Store in your local mall, online at the Apple Online Store, and at selected Apple 3rd party resellers.

The Reselling of New Wine in Old Bottles

Microsoft announced Office 2013 on Tuesday, January 30th. This product is only for Windows 7 or 8.

Microsoft has also announced Office 365, a subscription service allowing users to install Office on up to 5 computers at home or office for $99.99/year. This applies to both Macs and Windows.

Windows users get the new Office 2013, but Mac users get Office 2011-which many of them already bought.

Looking at the comments for this articles, many users expressed dissatisfaction with this arrangement. Several mentionedLibreOffice, a free office suite derived from

Another problem for Microsoft is that their user’s requirements and needs don’t march in lockstep with each upgrade. If Office 2003 worked for them, they don’t see any need to upgrade immediately to a later version. I used Office 97, which I got free at a Microsoft seminar in 1996, until Microsoft’s Home User Program (HUP) offered me a better deal for Office 2007 through my employer. It cost me just $9.95!

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Friday, February 1, 2013

Hewlett-Packard strives to mend ties with Apple users and 10.9 is in the works.

From the floor of Macworld/iWorld comes a report that Hewlett-Packard would like to make amends and sell you a compatible printer.

Traffic from Macs running 10.9, as yet unannouncedby Apple, continues to grow. Will Apple announce it in Februrary, as it did 10.8?

Speaker of OS X,the 9th beta of 10.8.3 has been releasedto developers by Apple.

Get Media Master Server, but Avoid the iPad app

Ned Scott of Team XBMC Wiki deserves the credit for discovering this gem in the Mac App Store.

The gem in question is Media Master Server, which is a simple WebDAV server. You have to get it from the Mac App Store, so you must have at least one system running 10.6.6 or better.

It is an Intel-only application and I got it to work with 10.6.8 and 10.7.4 and 10.8.2. I tried copying the app to a partition running 10.5.8, but no luck.

I noticed that the iWork apps on my iPad could log into external file servers. They had to be iDisk (dead as of June 30, 2012) or WebDAV (what ?)

I did extensive Google searching on setting a WebDAV server for OS X. 9 out of 10 times, the answer came back, “Prepare to modify configuration files for the Apache Web Server built into OS X. This will not be easy.” So coming across Media Master Server was a Godsend. Bless you, who took the time to write this app.

Why would you want to use WebDAV? It allows you to access your Mac’s own Documents folder(s).

Compared to every other set of instructions I found for setting a WebDAV server, MediaMaster Server is dead simple. Just go to the Mac App Store from Snow Leopard or Lion or Mountain Lion, search for MediaMaster Server, and install it. It is a FREE app on the Mac, although there is a companion paid iOS app. For our purposes, though, we just need the Mac app portion. I will say something about the iPad app in a moment.

First of all, you have to set it up. To begin with, select the directory you want to share. (Figure 1)


As you can see, I set my root directory to my Users/thomasbriant directory (or folder), allowing me full access to all my user files on my iPad.

Next, I went to settings to set up my user name and password and the specific port I wanted to use. (Figure 2)


I left the password at the default “ipaduser” and the port at the default of “8000”. I also selected Secure HTTP.

On the iPad side, you’ll have to enter your full IP address, which will look like “” You will, of course, enter your own iP address instead of “”

You’ll have a line to enter the username, which you can change. You’ll have a line to enter the password, which you have to make up yourself. (Figure 3)


The first time you do this, you may get a message about an invalid WebDAV certificate. Just please OK and proceed.

Next, you get a box showing all the directories you can access. (Figure 4)


Now for the Media Master iPad app-Two Thumbs Down

The free server app works great. I experienced no problems logging into my Mac Mini’s /Documents directory.

Since I had some gift credit on the iTunes Store, I decided I would try the iPad app for $3.99. Bad move. The app comes with no help to set it up. All the reviews of this app on its iTunes page were negative.

So having lost $3.99 to experience, I advise you to use the Media Master Mac app. It’s free. Avoid the paid iPad app. The developer needs to include help with it. At least a link to a Web page!

Thomas Briant

Editor and Media Manager, MacValley UG

Business Practices of Amazon and Apple

Amazon is satisfied with low margins, and Apple Turns over its inventory at an extraordinary rate.

(h/t to Arnold Woodworth)

An interesting article on Amazon's business strategy

This article is several months old, but still interesting.

Wow! Apple Turns Over Its Inventory Once Every 5 *Days*



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