What is ClubMac?

ClubMac is for people who are interested in the Apple Mac platform. We provide an opportunity for people new to Apple computers (as well as experienced hands) to meet and to learn how to get the best out of their Mac in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

At our monthly meetings — which take place on the first Wednesday of every month between September and May (with the exception of January) — we aim to answer questions that people may have with their Mac, provide them with up-to-date news on all things Apple and inform them about those little-known but often very useful software applications.

ClubMac’s bulletin board is also a very important resource; if you’ve got a problem, post it on the bulletin board (you must register first — it’s free) and our helpful band of Apple gurus will do their best to sort you out.


The next meeting of ClubMac is on May 3rd

ClubMac meeting; May 3, 2017
The final monthly meeting of ClubMac’s 2016-2017 season will take place on May 3rd in Merrion Cricket Club. The Annual General Meeting will also be held.

The doors normally open from 7.30 p.m. and the meeting will start shortly afterwards.

The provisional agenda for the evening is as follows:

  • Training session with Noel Davidson;
  • Technical Q&A chaired by Peter O’Reilly;
  • What’s New in the world of Apple;
  • Annual General Meeting

ClubMac’s Spring 2017 training programme will be delivered by our favourite Mac trainer, Noel Davidson. The training programme is intended primarily for those new to the Apple platform to make the most of their iPhones, iPad or Mac computers — but is also applicable to existing users. The training is open to non-members at a cost of €50; there is no charge to members. Hint to non-members: taking out an annual subscription to ClubMac costs €30 for the year — saving you €20 and allowing you to avail of other offers and goodies!

Regular monthly features

The training session will be followed by our regular monthly sessions: Technical Q&A in which our technical gurus will try to answers question from the floor on a range of Mac software and hardware issues and What’s New in the World of Apple where we give a round up of all the major Apple developments that have taken place since our last meeting.


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April 2017 meeting

ClubMac Chairman, John Maguire, opened the meeting and outlined the agenda.

Training: iPhone Photography

Michael Keogh deputised for Noel Davidson. Michael gave a presentation on getting the best results from your iPhone. Michael has a 5SE, not the very latest model. You do not always need the best model, but you sometimes need to know how to take a better photo. He commenced with very simple tips like the best way to hold your phone steady. Also several quick ways to open the phone app. He showed 5 different ways to operate the shutter, including using the volume control on your Apple earphones. Michael also showed several ways to take a timer photo. He went through the various controls including adjusting the focus to get the perfect picture. Also use the HDR option to get a more evenly exposed photo. Finally Michael also showed a couple of Apps which clean up photos. The first called ‘Snapseed’ is free and it can ‘straighten’ up photos where the curve of the phone lens distorts completely straight images. Another App called ‘Reflect’ allows you to adjust reflections for example to alter reflections in a river scene. That app costs about 4.00 Euro.

Useful Utilities

Tom MacMahon, Committee Member gave us an introduction to sound effects used in Films and the Theatre. He demonstrated Amadeus Pro and imported various sound effects and altered them to combine all into a short clip. Tom gave an insight about Foley Artists who are the technicians who add sound and dialogue in films and on live theatre. Many Studios and Theatres use this software.

Henry Leperlier, Committee Member has been using an App called ‘Telegram’. It is an alternative to Twitter and Facebook. Henry finds it useful for organising groups, sending text and documents. Also it is heavily encrypted and you can send a message that self destructs at a given time. Henry says the best thing is to try it yourself and see if it is useful for you (link).

What’s New

Chairperson, John Maguire, gave a very short presentation on the latest news in the Apple world. Apple have launched a newer iPad, basically they have streamlined the range and the ‘Air’ model has been replaced by a very similar version with a 9.7” screen. Not a lot has changed. Apple have brought out another Red product, this time a Red iPhone.

On a lighter if possibly awkward move the White House has given President Trump the latest iPhone so Donald can send out his Tweets to the world, and apparently he does his own tweeting. How long will it be before you can buy a Trump iPhone in Gold?

Finally, Apple have confirmed to journalists that there will be an updated Mac Pro, but not until 2018. The current Mac Pro hasn’t been updated since its launch and professionals are waiting for an update.

Technical Q&A

Peter O’Reilly fielded some of the following queries from the audience: there was a question on Remote Access which was answered and a couple of questions and a short discussion on Speed Issues using the modems supplied by Internet Service Providers.


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March 2017 meeting

Tom Martin deputising for ClubMac Chairman, John Maguire, opened the meeting and outlined the agenda. He apologised for the lack of heating which was due to a misunderstanding on the part of Merrion Cricket Club.

Training: Back to Basics

During the course of his presentation, Noel Davidson covered the basics of using your Mac starting with creating a new account (via System Preferences). He demonstrated how easy it was to set up a new account and equally how easy it was to switch between accounts. He pointed out how to customise each accounts i.e. what applications opened when you logged in.

Next, he showed how to set preferences for the new account, especially with regard to the trackpad i.e. how to right-click.

Noel then covered the basics of how to create a folder and how to move it (and create sub-folders. Noel also showed how users could vary their view of folders in Finder.

As he has done in previous training sessions, Noel demonstrated the power of Spotlight for finding files on your Mac.

He then presented an overview of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and Powerpoint) and their Mac equivalents (Pages, Numbers, Keynote which is available on the App Store). Then he demonstrated the Open Source application, OpenOffice. This app has a number of advantages one of which is that it is free and another is that it can open most files (see here for more information).

Technical Q&A

Peter O’Reilly fielded some of the following queries from the audience:

  • Searching for files stored on Time Machine;
  • Sharing files with people on the same network;
  • Difficulties with wireless keyboards.

What’s New

Committee member, Tom Martin, gave a round-up of some of the main developments since the February meeting:

  • Rumours of a Spring event — possibly in late March or early April — in which Apple may or may not announce new versions of the iMac, iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch. Peter O’Reilly pointed out that there were also rumours of an update to the Mac Pro which was now getting long in the tooth;
  • Apple Park, Apple’s new $5 billion headquarters, which is due to open next month. Designed by Foster & Associates, Apple Park will run on 100% renewable energy.

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February 2017 meeting

John Maguire, Club Chairperson, welcomed everybody to the first ClubMac meeting of 2017 and said he was particularly pleased to see some new faces in the audience. He apologised for the lack of heating — it appears that Merrion Cricket Club forgot to do the necessary and switch on the central heating!.

Training

Noel Davidson demonstrated the benefits of saving photos and videos to iCloud such as reduced space on iPhones and instant synchronisation of files between Apple devices. He also showed how we could access these files via iCloud if we did not have access to an Apple device.

He also showed us how photographs were categorised in Photos e.g. location, type of photograph, date, facial recognition, etc., and how the same categories could be found on a Mac as well as an iPhone.

Noel suggested that we should acquaint ourselves with Spotlight and System Preferences, as they can be very useful sources of information on how to better manage/utilise your Mac e.g. how to right-click. As a final flourish, he showed us how powerful Siri could be on a Mac (you need the latest System Software for this feature to work).

Technical Q&A

Peter O’Reilly with inputs from Noel sought to deal with some of the following queries from the audience

  • Does Calendar alert you if you have two clashing appointments?
  • Are there any specific problems upgrading to Sierra?
  • A truly smartphone (iPhone 6) deciding to ring people on its own initiative and play its own selection of songs on iTunes;
  • Synchronisation problems with email messages on iPad and Mac;
  • Possible to synch files between a Samsung and an iPhone?
  • Peter’s tip: How to use your iPad as an extra display/monitor for your laptop (check out Duet Display).

What’s New

Committee member, Tom Martin, gave a round-up of some of the main developments since our last meeting:

  • January 2017 marked the 10th anniversary of the launch of the iPhone;
  • New Years Day 2017 was a record day for the App Store with sales of $240 million;
  • Super Mario Run app is now available for iPhone and iPad;
  • Apple releases its 1st Quarter 2017 financial results. The main highlight? Apple sold nearly 80 million iPhones during the quarter!

Tom also gave a preview of a new approach to using Mac apps, Setapp. This is a new subscription-based approach which has been dubbed the Netflix of Mac apps. For $9.99 you get access to over 60 apps that have been selected by the promoter, Macpaw. The first month is free.

For more details, follow this link.


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December 2016 meeting

Club Chairperson, John Maguire, opened the meeting and introduced the agenda. He said that the next monthly meeting would be announced soon. In the past, it was sometimes on the second Wednesday of January but could also be the first Wednesday in February, given the difficulties of organising an event so soon after Christmas.

Training

As part of his training presentation, Noel Davidson took us through his thoughts and strategy in terms of finding a replacement for his trusty 2008 MacBook Pro laptop whose screen died recently. He looked at the options of buying one of the new MacBook Pros but found that they did not have the ports/slots that he required. He found a second-hand 3 year old MacBook Pro (Retina) model which fitted his needs. During the course of his talk he showed how he was able to migrate his files to the new machine using Migration Assistant.

Noel demonstrated Sierra in action and pointed out the new location for the Documents folder (in iCloud).

Technical Q&A

Peter O’Reilly dealt with the following queries from the audience:

  • Router issues;
  • Setting your default browser;
  • Replacement programme for faulty batteries on the iPhone 5

Gifts for under €50

Tom Martin, Committee Member, was tasked with identifying gifts for under €50. This is his festive selection:

  • Google Cardboard (€18) — don’t be tempted to buy the €2 VR goggles from Tiger, it is not worth the money: trust me, i’ve tried it!;
  • Chipola Plus (€24.99): a nifty Bluetooth device for keeping your valuable items for getting lost (more details: here);
  • iCloud storage (50GB for €0.99/month; 200GB for €2.99/month)
  • Power Bank (comes in various sizes/price points): very useful for re-charging your iPhone or iPad on the road;
  • Last but not least (and Tom’s favourite): the New Mac Candle which has a burn time between 55-60 hours giving out the wonderful fragrance of a new Mac. Regrettably, it is out of stock but hopefully it will be back in-stock soon (link).

Christmas party

As it was ClubMac’s last meeting of 2016, we had our traditional knees-up Christmas party so ably put together by Sylvia and her team of helpers (Garrett, Stephanie and Henry).


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November 2016 meeting

John Maguire, Club Chairperson, opened the meeting and introduced the agenda for the meeting. He also awarded a prize generously donated by Gary Costello of Office.ie to James Peters, the winner of our iMovie competition.

Training

In his usual highly entertaining and informative style, Noel Davidson covered the following topics in his training session:

  • Keynote: Apple’s feature-packed presentation software;
  • Kodi (see www.tvaddons.ag for more details);
  • Using Apple AirPort to extend your wifi coverage;
  • A live demonstration of Google Cardboard.

Technical Q&A

Peter O’Reilly with the help of our experts in the audience dealt with the following::

  • Fusion drives;
  • Monitors;
  • Accessing the RTE web site on an iPhone;
  • Where to buy Google Cardboard? Answer: TK Maxx!

What’s New in the World of Apple

Tom Martin, Committee Member, covered recent announcements from Apple’s “Hello Again” event on October 27:

  • TV App for the fourth generation series of AppleTV;
  • The new 13 and 15 inch MacBook Pro with the new Touch Bar.

Tom also mentioned that US health insurance giant, Aetna, will be giving an Apple Watch to some of its 22 million members at discounted prices (all of its 50,000 employees will be getting theirs free). The company will be developing apps to remind members to take their medication, to order prescription refills or visit their GP.


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October 2016 meeting

Introduction

ClubMac chairman, John Maguire, opened the meeting and outlined the agenda for the evening. He also spoke about events planned for latter in the year.

Training

ClubMac’s expert trainer, Noel Davidson, delivered his customary excellent, enlightening and entertaining training session which focused on the following:

  • iPhone / iPad iOS 10;
  • Which iPhone is the best for you?
  • Setting up a new device (iPhone);
  • Setting up a OneDrive folder on your Mac.

The planned session on Virtual Reality apps and Google Cardboard will be held over for another evening.

Technical Q&A

Peter O’Reilly dealt with a number of queries from the floor including:

  • iPhone with iOS 10.0.2 and declining battery performance;
  • How to extend wifi coverage to another part of the house: suggested solutions included Apple’s Airport Express and Extreme products;
  • A query relating to iCloud Drive;
  • An iPhone where Contacts could not be searched; the solution: shut it down and start again!

What’s New in the World of Apple

Tom Martin, Committee Member, reviewed recent developments concerning Apple:

  • The launch of MacOs Sierra 10.12
  • Rumours regarding updates to the iMac, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air ranges that may be announced in October.

Interesting Apps

This is a brand new slot as Tom Martin did not have time to research any apps for the Useful Utilities slot. Instead (and highlighting that it was very much a personal choice — there are thousands of apps in the App Store), he presented three iPhone apps which he thought might be of interest to members:

  • Vivino Wine Scanner, an app which allows you to rate your wines; apparently Vivino has 19 million users; cost: none, it is free;
  • Dark Sky, a weather forecasting app which has a fantastic interface; cost: €3.99 (you may prefer to first try the web version here);
  • Viki, an app which provides a high quality interface to Wikipedia; cost: €4.99 from the App Store.

If there is enough interest, we may run the Interesting Apps slot again in the future.


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September 2016 meeting

The first meeting of ClubMac’s 2016 autumn season was held on September 14 in Merrion Cricket Club and the meeting was opened by Tom Martin, Committee member. He welcomed a number of new faces and apologised for the fact that the club was unable to have its meeting on the first Wednesday of the month due to a double booking by Merrion Cricket Club.

Training

ClubMac is fortunate to have a high class trainer in Noel Davidson and his session was of a high standard. Prior to the start of his training session, Noel noted the usefulness of ClubMac’s bulletin board for members to keep up-to-date on developments in the World of Apple and highlighted a note from Richard Bannister pointing to an article in Ars Technica which said that MacOS Sierra would be dropping support for many Macs from 2007, 2008 and 2009.

In his presentation, Noel underpinned the importance of the cloud in modern computing and demonstrated how even very old laptops can be used through access to cloud-based services offered by Google, Microsoft and Apple

He highlighted the problems of hard disks on iPhones filling up very quickly and often times photos were the main culprits.

Noel showed one solution for overcoming this problem was IMyphone Umate for the Mac (for more information, try this link). This service stores the original high quality image in the cloud but keeps a low resolution copy on your phone, thus saving valuable space.

Noel also previewed a number of virtual reality apps including Pokémon Go. He also gave us a demonstration of an iPhone virtual reality app, Within (link). Noel promises to make a Google Cardboard as an inexpensive virtual reality viewer.

Technical Q&A

This session ably handled by our resident guru, Peter O’Reilly, addressed a number of issues from the floor including:

  • Typing on an iPad running slow
  • Recommendations for a good colour laser printer with PostScript capability
  • Problems accessing some web sites using Safari

What’s New in the World of Apple

Tom Martin, Committee Member, reviewed recent developments concerning Apple:

  • New iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
  • New AirPods
  • Watch Series 2
  • The €13 billion Apple wind-fall!
  • Rumours regarding updates to the iMac range

Useful utilities

This slot inaugurated a few years ago profiles apps that are little known but can be very useful. Tom Martin presented Disk Analyzer Pro to the audience. This app which costs €0.99 from the App Store is very effective in assessing the composition of your hard disk and for showing how much free space you have.


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2017 Spring training programme

Noel Davidson of the Entrepreneurs Academy will be delivering ClubMac’s 2017 Spring training programme which while aimed at beginners to the Mac platform will be relevant to all users.

Memo of recent meetings

September 2016 meeting

October 2016 meeting

November 2016 meeting

December 2016 meeting

February 2017 meeting

March 2017 meeting

April 2017 meeting