The MacValley blog


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Tom Briant

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Editor: Tom Briant


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Monday, May 27, 2013

Why iPhone repair costs have soared, HP stays profitable despite all, the banality of Apple's tax evasion, an Apple 1 sells for a lot of money!

From Senior MacValley Correspondent Arnold Woodworth comes the following stories:

Why iPhone repair costs have soared

A broken screen can now cost more than $200 to fix

Hewlett-Packard Co. ...... managed to stay profitable, even as consumer PC sales plunged 29%.

The remarkable thing about the Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee’s report on Apple Inc.’s corporate tax avoidance is how unremarkable it is.

Apple cut its taxes  with the same tools multinationals have been using for years to minimize their worldwide tax liability.  And if there is a scandal, I suppose it is the very ordinariness of these transactions. Apple’s tax avoidance shop, it seems, is a lot less innovative than its phone designers.

Vintage Apple 1 sells for more than $650,000

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Happy Memorial Day Weekend. Hug a Vet and back up their Macs or PCs.

It’s Memorial Day Weekend. While you listen to Jack-FM’s no-repeat weekend and grille up sausages and burgers, take a moment to remember just why we remember this day. This is to remember all the vets, past and present, who have served our country. Some made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. Others have sacrificed their limbs or cannot bear to hear fireworks without thinking of enemy mortar attacks.

I have a fraternity brother who went into the Army in the 1980s. He served in Germany and Korea. Every day he hoped to get up to a boring routine, rather than the thud of artillery marking the beginning of World War III or the Second Korean War. He came home in one whole piece. Thank God we can disagree in health.

We must not forget their service. And they must not forget to record it for us. So-and this is getting off on a tangent-make sure the vets you know back up their computers. Whether it’s to a network server or just a USB flash drive; don’t let someone’s memoirs or novel disappear with a crashed hard drive.

If you go to Costco today or tomorrow for a 50-pack of frozen burgers and plenty of buns, make sure to include blister-packed backup drives if needed.

Tom Briant

Editor, Macvalley Blog

Monday, May 20, 2013

CNET tells you how to create custom Quartz filters to squash fat PDFs down to size

Topher Kessler at shows you how to create custom Quartz filters for OS X’s Preview. Now you can squash PDFs down to the size you want.

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Is Apple's Customer Service as good as it used to be? Another article from Arnold Woodworth

The author of this article wrote:

"...somewhere along the line Apple had changed its customer service philosophy (and policy). He said he used to work for Apple and that it used to be about 'getting to yes' and having the customer walk away satisfied with the outcome."

Now he feels Apple doesn't care.

FWIW:  He managed to get his iPod Touch working again by himself -- after the Apple "geniuses" failed.

Here's another article from a person who is skeptical of Bitcoin:

HP introduces the Slate 7, but it's half the machine the iPad Mini is, even at half the price

I’ve been on one of HP’s e-mailing lists since I bought an all-in-one HP printer. Sunday, they sent me a message heralding the arrival of the Slate 7.


I have had good experiences with the HP equipment I’ve bought in the past; a Windows 95/98 PC and three printers. So I wondered what the reviews would be of this device. Would it provide needed competition to the iPad Mini?

Well to quote’s reviewAt $169.99, the HP Slate 7 seems like it could be a good deal near the bottom of the Android tablet scene. But as decent as the implementation of vanilla Android coupled with Beats Audio should be, the experience is compromised from the start an experience that's difficult to rate as high as even lackluster. There are other options in the inexpensive 7-inch Android tablet market, and you'd be well advised to consider floating your money towards them. There's a difference between inexpensive and cheap, and the HP Slate 7 falls on the wrong side of that divide.”

Others were less cruel, but no one said, “Why are you still sitting there reading this? Go and buy this tablet now!”

Looks like the iPad Mini remains the ruler of the mini tablet world for right now.

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Tim Cook to go before a Senate Committee on Tuesday to discuss Apple's corporate taxes

Apple CEO Tim Cook will go before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on Tuesday. He will offer prepared testimony (here, read it for yourself) on Apple’s tax situation.

I sat and pondered what I should write in response to this situation. Yes, Apple has create tens of thousands of jobs, but they are largely part-time retail jobs in Apple Stores. As for manufacturing jobs, which every Senator cries out for, Apple plans to start manufacturing components in Arizona and do final assembly in Texas. They will do the design here in California, same as they have for past models built overseas. We might ask our California politicians why those jobs are not coming to California.

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Shout-Out to Learning OSX

Check out the site

I discovered this site4 when I found them following me on Twitter. So I checked them out. Loads of good information, especially for beginners. Even us old-timers, though, can find useful nuggets in it.

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

More Articles from our correspondent Arnold Woodworth

Arnold Woodworth, VP emeritus of MacValley, has been scouring the Web in search of interesting stuff for you to look at:

Going Into Debt Will Help Apple Avoid Taxes

A quotation from the book "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson:

"Like many great men whose gifts are extraordinary, he's not extraordinary in every realm."

-- Laurene Powell, wife of Steve Jobs

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

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I've been a poor correspondent

I apologize for not keeping this blog current. I’ve had other projects this past two weeks. But now I’m BACK. (Insert favorite AC/DC song here)

Weekend discounts on Apple's personal computer family continue this month, as Apple works with partners like big-box retailer Best Buy to push sales of Macs in the face of weak global demand, and a bearish outlook for the consumer PC business in general. “

  • So if you want to buy a new Mac, Apple and Best Buy and Amazon would love your business. Details here at Appleinsider. I don’t know if Mom would love a new Mac as opposed to diamond earrings or a new car; but to each his own.
  • Now to Apple OS news. The two Apple OS’s, iOS for the portable devices and OS X for the laptop & desktops & Mac Pros (have faith, they will be upgraded) are due for another refresh this year. Already, the Apple news sites report that iOS 7 & OS X 10.9 are up and about. Infant versions are accessing your favorite Web sites, testing them out.
  • Now the question is: which one comes out first The reports are that the boffins (to use a Britishism) who actually write the code are working on iOS 7 first, with OS X 10.9 to come out later. Folks, relax. Remember that Apple makes a lot more profit from iOS than from OS X. I love OS X myself and look forward to OS X 10.9; but the accountant in me says you gotta push the more profitable OS out the door first.
  • //change of topic//
  • Now that I’ve dealt with the gossip, what can you do with your Mac?
  • I’m always astonished at individual’s level of computer ignorance. As a long-time Mac and Windows user, you get in the mode of “well, of course, everyone knows this stuff” and they don’t. So let me reintroduce you to some Mac basics.
  • Now first of all, do you need a 3rd party app to print out PDFs from a Mac? In most instances, NO.
  • If you want to create a PDF from a Mac OS X application, you go to the Print menu.
  • Click on the Print menu and you get a Print dialog box:
  • ⁃        
  • PastedGraphic1-2013-05-11-15-24.png

Note the PDF button in the lower left-hand corner. You create PDFs instead of printing reams of paper for, say, a bank statement you need to look at for one entry.

Let’s look at the PDF menu from Microsoft Word:


You see several workflows. You see “Open PDF in Preview” and “Save as PDF”. You see “Save as PostScript” and “Fax PDF…” Below that you see several workflows that program I’ve installed have added to this menu.

Below that you see “Edit Menu…”

Let me explain these workflows as best as possible.

First, “Open PDF in Preview” Say you’ve opened a bank statement in your Web browser and you’re not sure if you want to print it out or even save it as a PDF. This workflow, “Open PDF in Preview,” print a temporary PDF out and opens it up in Preview.

From here, you can save the PDF, print it out, or do some tricks to it using Quartz filters. You didn’t know about Quartz filters? Let me introduce you…


You see the File Save Dialog Box for the Preview program. You see the name Preview has chosen to save the PDF as (But you can change the name). You see the list of file folders to save it. You see the format to save it in, which is PDF.

And you see Quartz Filter. What is Quartz Filter? Well, Quartz Filters are effects that you can apply to files as you save them.


You see above the set of Quartz Filters that Apple supplies with OS X. Most are self-explanatory. I believe “Create Generic PDFX-3 Document” is for publishing purposes.

“Reduce file size” is the one I’m interested in right now. This Quartz Filter can dramatically shrink a PDF.

Recently, I had a client who wanted to send a PDF to a friend. This PDF contained several large screen captures. Well, the PDF at this stage weighed in at over 20 megabytes! His e-mail service choked on a file this large.

When I opened the file in Preview and saved it using the “Reduce File Size” Quartz Filter, the file shrank to 1.3 megabytes in size. The file easily transmitted over e-mail to the client’s friend.

Finally, let’s test the Reduce File Size Quartz Filter right now. Here’s the file the client sent me to compress. It’s 22.1 megabytes in size.

Now it’s been shrunk down to 1.1 megabytes in size!


Test it yourself with a fat PDF.

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog



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