Past ClubMac meetings

Get the lowdown on what happened at the meetings of Ireland’s friendliest and longest running Apple Mac user group!

The memos of ClubMac meetings of the 2010–2011 season are presented below:



Go here to read the memos of meetings held during the 2009-2010 season. Memos of meetings prior to September 2009 can be found under the Club News section of the bulletin board.


May meeting and AGM

The 2011 Annual General Meeting of ClubMac was held at the Merrion Cricket Club on Wednesday, 4th May. 21 members were present, the requisite quorum of 10 being reached.

The Chairman, Tom Martin, called the Annual General Meeting to order at 7.50 p.m.

The agenda of the meeting was read and approved. The minutes of the 2010 Annual General Meeting were read and approved. Following presentation of the Treasurer’s report, which showed a small deficit in 2010, the accounts for the years ended 31 December 2009 and 2010 were read and approved. The Secretary's report, showing current membership at 46 was slightly reduced although attendance at meetings had remained good, was read and approved. The Chairman’s report on the state of the Club was read and approved. The Chairman noted that eight meetings in all had been held during the year, the January 2010 meeting having been cancelled owing to bad weather. The October meeting had memorably been held in CompuB's new building in Grafton Street and attracted a record attendance. In time set aside before a number of the monthly meetings, Noel Davidson had provided well attended and greatly appreciated training sessions in various aspects of Mac operation. A full colour monthly newsletter was now being added to the new portal page on the club website; the Club could now also be accessed on Facebook and Twitter. Since the Club's outgoings were increasing as a result of higher rental costs and training charges and would in the current year be facing the cost of an obligatory insurance premium to cover the Club's use of the Cricket Club premises, thought might be given to the best way meet those increased demands. Thanks were offered to all those who had contributed during the past year to the successful running of the Club.

The following were elected officers of the Club.

  • Chairman: Tom Martin
  • Secretary: Sylvia Yates
  • Treasurer: Garrett Wren

The following were elected to the Committee:

  • Richard Bannister
  • Séamus Cannon
  • Stephanie Joy
  • John Kelly
  • Henry Leperlier
  • Tom Mac Mahon
  • Michael Killen
  • John Maguire

The Chairman expressed his appreciation to Mark Parfrey, who is stepping down from the committee, for his significant contribution to the club over the years.

There being no change in the composition of the trustees, no election was called.

Under any other business, a discussion took place on the best way to cope with the increasing costs facing the Club. Cutting training or adding a charge for it was considered counterproductive as would adding a charge for refreshments. Some concern was expressed that in the current economic downturn raising the subscription might reduce membership, but in view of the fact that the current €20 rate had been applicable since 2002 it was considered that a new rate of €25 would not be excessive. A decision to increase the subscription to €25 was therefore adopted by a majority vote. The increase would be applicable from the day following the AGM in view of the general practice that the subscription of any new members joining after that date (with over half the meeting schedule completed) included membership for the following year. Members were urged to spread knowledge of and interest in ClubMac among their Mac-using friends and acquaintances in order to attract new members.

The Annual General Meeting rose at 8.45 p.m.

Following the AGM, the Club continued with its ordinary meeting agenda.

Technical Q&A

This session presented by Peter O’Reilly considered members’ issues relating to:

  • How to lock off parts of a family Mac from young downloading enthusiasts — parental control? Change passwords? Setting up a second account to regulate access to apps? Blocking access to downloading alone was not easy;
  • How to enhance colour quality of printing from a home printer — needs good printer, proper colour calibration, the right inks and paper;
  • Two-year-old MacBook Pro refuses to burn CDs, even when using Toast: try using a cleaning disc, then a slow burn speed and good quality blank discs (Iomega, Verbatim);
  • How to deal with a MacBook Pro now showing the hard-disk-full sign: apps were available for categorising and sorting disk contents, a good idea was to remove bulky files (photos, videos) to external hard drive (high volume compact ones were now available).

Guest presentation: Microsoft Office 2011

Eric Paquin (project manager at Microsoft's Apex Ireland (Apple Product Experiences, formerly the Mac Business Unit) said his unit's object was to ensure that the latest version of Microsoft's software could be put to work in all Apple devices in a fully compatible, familiar and professional way. In response to user demand the product had been given picture parity with Windows, launch speed had been improved and the price had been reduced. The impressive new enhancements to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook (replacing Entourage) were demonstrated by Eric and could be viewed at:

Microsoft Office for the Mac 2011

from which the product could also be downloaded for a 30-day trial period. Mac Office 2011 was available in two formats: a home and student pack (€139) and a home and business pack (€379).

Eric had brought some goodies to raffle: a copy of Mac Office 2011 was won by Norman Judge, a Microsoft jacket went to Tom Mac Mahon, and a Microsoft backpack bag was given to all those attending (yes, folks, the Chairman could truly say “And there’s one for everyone in the audience!”

Date of next meeting

The next meeting of ClubMac will take place on Wednesday, September 7.


Last but not least

The chairman would like to take this opportunity to thank the committee members (and, in particular, Sylvia Yates) for their contribution to the successful running of the club during 2010.


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April 2011

Stephanie Joy was the MC for the April meeting of ClubMac which was held on Wednesday, 6 April, in Merrion Cricket Club.

Entry-level training

Regular trainer, Noel Davidson, ran a training session with specific focus on Spotlight, changing your eircom broadband default password and using mouse over quick links in Mail to create new iCal events and to update contact details.

Technical Q&A

This session presented by Peter O’Reilly considered members’ issues relating to:

  • a problem reported at the previous session had been cured with the help of MacKeeper, a data back-up, clean-up and problem solver utility;
  • tips required on how to avoid horrendous download charges when roaming abroad with an iPhone: use pay-as-you-go preferably but if on an account an add-on app to block transfers over 1G would be helpful, as would using WiFi access where possible;
  • battery recharging problems with a three-year-old MacBookPro: failed charger could be the cause, check it first before assuming battery death — tips on battery care: don’t leave plugged to mains full-time, allow full discharge before recharge from time to time, prop laptop so air can circulate underneath as some surfaces can cause overheating and shorten battery life;
  • loud fan noise from a three-year-old MacBook could be due to overheating caused by a background app — a widget to keep an eye on fan speed and temperature was available;
  • sudden unexpected leaps across a screen by the cursor might be due to the surface under the optical mouse; very slow video processing by a five-year-old MacBookPro — check that other apps are not operating in the background, add more memory if possible — perhaps it’s time for a new Mac.

What’s New

Henry Leperlier, Committee Member, reported on the following:

  • iPad2 — thinner, faster, lighter, became available in Ireland on 25 March. Consumer Reports considers it the best tablet available, possibly a reason for the difficulty in getting hold of one.
  • iPhone 5 — rumours abound, no details available yet, said to offer an 8 Mpixel camera and voice integration;
  • Magnet.ie — broadband service now offering free on-line computer access to the main Irish TV channels as well as to a number of foreign channels at €4,99 per month;
  • OSX 10.7 Lion: on horizon;
  • Apple celebrates 35th birthday: now second leading company in the world, currently has 50,000 employees, $200 billion turnover, 1 million MacBook Airs sold in fourth quarter of 2010, has 15 million iPad users.

Useful Utilities

Tom Mac Mahon, Committee member, demonstrated:

  • ResizeIt: an application that by a simple drag-and-drop procedure enables an image to be reduced to any specified size — very useful for sending multiple photos by email or when cataloguing collections of pictures. For more details, visit the developer’s home page;
  • the Mac OS built-in system for providing character sets for different language requirements — no more excuses for omitting fadas or other accents and diacritical marks!
  • an amusing video hailing from Argentina illustrating the correct ergonomic approach to sitting at a Mac (click here to see the original YouTube video and here to see similar ones from Vodafone).

Guest presenter

Noel Davidson, took his audience on a whirlwind tour of the exciting prospects cloud computing offers in storing and sharing data. Data banked in the cloud will enable its owner to keep track of it securely anywhere in the world on any and all of his or her devices and in addition share specific items with designated correspondents. He reviewed the facilities offered by the followings cloud managers:

A special thanks to Noel who stood in a short notice when our scheduled guests had unfortunately to cancel.

Special thanks

Well done to Tom Mac Mahon and Henry Leperlier, Committee Members, for organising the April meeting.


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March 2011

The March meeting of ClubMac was held on Wednesday, 2 March, in Merrion Cricket Club.

Entry-level training

Regular trainer, Noel Davidson, ran a training session with specific focus on Apple’s MobileMe service.

Technical Q&A

This session presented by Peter O’Reilly considered members’ issues relating to:

  • an Intel-based MacMini running Tiger quit persistently when video (but not text or still photos) was running on Safari, the problem also affected Mail — the problem could perhaps be related to a recent update to Tiger and solved by reinstalling Tiger;
  • lithium battery care: it could be useful from time to time, as recommended in Apple's care notes, to let the battery discharge fully before recharging — on the other hand constant overnight recharging after day use without full discharge appeared to some not to shorten battery life;
  • a recent specific bluetooth update could be the cure for waking up a sluggish magic trackpad, as would a check that “wake up computer” was clicked in the trackpad settings;
  • using a Mac for TV reception when away from home was feasible but depended on the distance from the nearest transmitter, an outside aerial was often needed;
  • difficulties found in answering calls to an iPhone when on the move and access to a touch spot was hampered by wearing gloves could be countered by using headphones.

What’s New

Tom Martin reported on the following new developments:

  • spectacular iPad sales in the US during the third quarter of 2010;
  • the upgrading of the MacBook Pro range;
  • the issuing by Apple of the developer version of OSX Lion;
  • the launch by Apple today of iPad 2;
  • finally, on a nostalgic note, comparisons between Macworld 2003 and 2011.

Useful Utilities

Séamus Cannon, Committee member, gave a fascinating presentation on MacSpeech Dictate, an application allowing persons with minimal typing skills to get their thoughts into print via dictation to a Mac. It comes in a box with headphones, microphone and the necessary software and, with a minimum of initial training, reproduced straightforward texts well. However, any matter involving unusual words or proper names would need greater training input. Versions were available for coping with the vocabulary of specific professional areas such as medicine or the law.

For more information on MacSpeech Dictate, visit its web site

iMovie presentation

Tom O'Briain, Club member, described a venture undertaken at the Blackrock Education Centre, in which he and Paddy Madden had been involved in using iMovie to develop short 90 second videos to assist teachers in organising class activities. The videos were produced in classrooms using hand-held devices, then edited with iMovie to produce 1100 MB shorts capable of reduction to various sizes compatible with the equipment of the schools using them. Two production approaches had been used: the first, flying blind, consisted in taking clips as an individual project was actually being set up in a school, with editing carried out subsequently; the second involved greater prior preparation with use of a storyboard to set out each step in the process of preparing a series of connected videos. Tom showed an example of the first, the installation and stocking of a school aquarium; and another of the second, a series illustrating the work to be done in a school garden month by month. Thirty-five videos had so far been produced and it was expected that 45 to 46 would have been completed by the end of the year. Further information would be found at http://www.blackrockec.ie/projects/paddys-school-garden.

Guest presenter

Our guest presenter was scheduled to be Don McLave, aka the Mac Guy, but regrettably he failed to appear.

Special thanks

The committee would like to acknowledge its appreciation to Séamus Cannon and Stephanie Joy, committee members, for organising the March meeting.


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February 2011

ClubMac held its February 2011 meeting at Merrion Cricket Club on Wednesday, 2 February. There was no training session at this meeting but one is planned for the March meeting (March 2).

Technical Q&A

The session was hosted by Peter O'Reilly, Club member, and considered:

  • a non-Apple infrared-operated mouse, after many years good service, had become temperamental following an upgrade to OSX 10.6.6 — consensus was that the USB cable was to blame rather than the mouse;
  • how to fix permissions so as to allow shared folders on desktop to be saved to or opened: log in as administrator, boot up from the system CD (not the hard drive since repair of this not easy when in operation), once on the Select Language page click on the option “repair disk permissions”;
  • with regard to changing the setting of a laser colour printer to black and white printing only (covered in the January meeting) — this will only work if the printer has a separate black cartridge;
  • possibility in Mail of getting a receipt confirming that an email has been read — can be done through Terminal in Applications/Utilities — but there was no guarantee that the recipient would respond;
  • how to prevent switching on an Apple TV automatically activating a computer in the same room: in the Apple TV menu switch off the option “pair exclusively with TV” or turn off the option “infrared”;
  • content of a FileMaker 11 document printing as blank pages — check that the print dialog box is set to “FileMaker Pro” and the print buttons are correctly checked, if necessary click the “hide field” button.

What’s New

John Kelly, Club member, reported on the following new developments:

  • spectacular fiscal 2011 first quarter results for Apple;
  • upgrade of the Apple website to HTML5;
  • introduction of an e-wallet option to allow payments to be made from iPhone and iPad;
  • Xserve to be discontinued but Apple rumoured likely to endorse another similar storage product;
  • launch of an iPad only newspaper by Rupert Murdoch.

Useful Utilities

John Kelly introduced the following:

  • Onyx 2.2.3: a multifunction utility designed to carry out a wide spectrum of system maintenance on Mac OS X — free download — Onyx
  • Carbon copy cloner (CCC3): clones hard disk contents for transfer to another computer, provides scheduled bootable and incremental backup, works well with TimeMachine, free download but donation appreciated: Carbon copy cloner
  • Dropbox: a simple solution for saving files to the cloud that will make the same files accessible across multiple computers, free download, first 2G online storage free: Dropbox
  • MacTracker: provides detailed information on every Apple Macintosh computer ever made: MacTracker

Guest Presentation

Our guest presenter was Jon Kennedy, Technical Director at Captec, (www.captec.ie) an Irish-owned, high-technology software company founded in 1979 whose headquarters are located in Malahide and who specialises in the production of advanced software for use in aerospace, aeronautics, industrial and medical imaging. Captec was currently exploring the development of apps for the iPod, iPhone and iPad, attracted by their Unix-base iOS operating system, excellent display, high quality touch-screen interface with its many sensor options (GPS, compass, camera, multi-touch functions, etc.) offering functional opportunities in many different fields. These outweigh the minor disadvantages of Apple's close regulation of its app system and high percentage take of sales. Captec is currently looking to involve the iPad video conferencing, high quality visual imaging and multi-touch screen features in the development of mobile medical conferencing facility to allow doctors with a medical case in one location to have an online consultation with specialists located elsewhere together using a system that permits both to access the exact same data and documentation relating to that patient. This new development would extend and complement Captec’s current hospital-based workstation system to allow access to consultants wherever they might be at the time.

Special thanks

Special thanks to John Kelly and Michael Killen, committee members, for organising the February meeting.


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January 2011

ClubMac’s chairman, Tom Martin, welcomed existing and new members to club’s first meeting of 2011 which was held on Wednesday, January 12, in Merrion Cricket Club.

Entry-level training

Regular trainer, Noel Davidson, ran a training session for those new to the Mac or who wanted to update their OSX skills.

Technical Q&A

This session considered members’ issues relating to:

  • difficulty in accessing Skype — best to bin and reinstall;
  • difficulty in file sharing with Skype — ensure file sharing is checked in preferences pane; beware — some files for transfer may contain viruses impervious to Macs that could affect a Windows destination;
  • internet access problems on oldish Mac and router — check length of cable to modem, shorter is better, if no improvement update router;
  • tip: suspect spam in email piggybacked on a friend's address: check by forwarding to self, if OK will appear in the sent mailbox;
  • switcher wants to use MS Messenger on Mac — this is built-in on latest MS Office for Mac, otherwise use a Windows emulator;
  • how to print black and white on a colour printer.

What’s New

Tom Martin, Club Chairman, drew attention to the new App Store application bundled with the latest OS X update, 10.6.6. It appears automatically in the Dock on installation giving direct online access to all applications available for the Mac. As with the similar facility on iPhone, iPod and iPad, all are downloadable with a click and payable from an Apple Store account using Apple ID and password. Over a thousand apps are available — one million downloads were made the first day the Store was in operation.

Useful Utilities

Tom then demonstrated the capabilities of Mindnode an elegant, simple to use and effective mind-mapping application from www.mindnode.com and downloadable from the App Store.

MindNode web site

Main presentation

Noel Davidson turned the spotlight on the upsurge in social media in recent years and catalogued its advantages both to individual users, social groups and the business community. He outlined the essential features of the five major players in the field. Facebook, currently the most used networking service with 60% of the online community involved, kept families, friends and special interest groups in contact and allowed celebrities and businesses to keep those interested in their activities informed. Twitter, a social networking and microblogging service, had 65 million users in 2010. It was splendid news-gathering and information service — selective use of areas of most interest to users gave the best value. Linkedin, used by over 85 million professionals, was principally a business-related network for the exchange of information, ideas and opportunities. Skype provided low-cost telephone access to landlines and mobiles round the world and free communication and video calling with other computers. In addition to person-to-person calls, there were conference call and screen share facilities. For those on the move, online telephone numbers were available for contact to and from all destinations. YouTube, a video-sharing facility, provided innumerable videos uploaded by contributors from all walks of life and locations. Selective searches of particular categories provided the most rewarding browsing.

Noel started his presentation with this very amusing video.

Special thanks to Gary Costello

We are indebted to Gary Costello for supplying our spanking new projector screen!


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December 2010

On the third attempt (!), the December meeting (and Christmas party) of ClubMac was held on December 13 in Merrion Cricket Club. A number of the sessions revolved around the St. Bartholomew’s Christmas carols CD (featuring our own Richard Bannister).

Technical Q&A

The main issue raised during the Technical Q&A session was a problem reported by a new member getting a router to wirelessly connect to a Mac (the physical connection worked i.e. via a cable). The advice was to check whether the router was working properly.

What’s New

Tom Martin reported on a quiet few weeks of activity on the Apple front. The two main developments were:

  • The Beatles’s albums are now available on iTunes (which most members knew was a non-event!)
  • The release of the IOS 4.2 operating system for the iPhone, iPad and iPad Touch.

Useful and Useless Utilities

In a two-hander presentation, Tom Martin and Richard Bannister respectively hosted the Useful and Useless Utilities session.

Tom Martin reported on one of his favourite utilities, 1Password, which is a programme that stores all your usernames and passwords and that can be very useful for completing those forms that you meet on the web. The programme works with all major browsers on the Mac: Safari, Firefox, Chrome.

The developer of 1Password, Agile Web Solutions, very kindly denoted two free copies for ClubMac’s Christmas raffle.

For more information on 1Password, visit the Agile Web Solutions web site.

Richard presented a series of not-so-useful utilities with a seasonal flavour and also one which emulated System 7.

Special honorary life membership presentation

A presentation was made to Richard Bannister to mark the Management Committee’s decision to award him honorary life membership in recognition of his long-standing commitment and contribution to the club.

Main presentation

Our guest presenter was Brian McIvor who was sound engineer for the production of the St. Bartholomew’s CD. Brian spoke about his experiences of using a Mac for sound recording and video editing. Brian gave a demonstration of the software programmes that he has used on numerous recording projects over a 15 year period — these include four Platinum Disc projects and two records that have gone to over 250,000 pressings. Brian says that Macs are operationally superior, much more stable and future proofed than Macs. One of his suppliers pointed out the fact that over the years every one of his customers who edited video on PCs abandoned that platform after two years or so and went exclusively over to Macs. In the professional AV world stability and reliability are paramount. PCs just do not perform in these situations.

Christmas Raffle

Brian McIvor acted as our random number generator during our raffle in which we gave out copies of the St. Bartholomew’ CD to 12 luck winners and two copies of 1Password.

Christmas party

Thanks to Sylvia for organising the hot food for the Christmas party and also to Henry for the wine!

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November 2010

The November meeting of ClubMac was held on November 3 in Merrion Cricket Club.

Training

Between 7.15 and the start of the meeting proper, Noel Davidson hosted a training session on OS X to an enthusiastic group of club members.

Technical Q&A

The meeting itself began with a Technical Q&A session chaired by ClubMac member Peter O’Reilly and considered:

  • how to ensure an attached image is readable when sent by Mail to a PC: check the "Windows friendly attachment" box on the attachment pane;
  • a two-year-old PowerBook, now out of warranty, appearing dead and refusing to power up, had the knock-on effect of disabling the owner's iPhone: the consensus — no option but to have the box opened up and the innards checked;
  • a problem in sending email from an own domain name following an ISP switch could be solved by changing the outgoing mail server (SMPT) in Mail preferences;
  • a refusal by a MacBook to switch back to internal speakers when headphones had been disconnected was probably caused by a broken external speaker jack: in Finder click Applications > Utilities > Audio MIDI Setup, open the last and ensure the source box is set to "internal speakers";
  • how to search for an iPhone or iPad app on a particular topic: in iTunes, open the iTunes Store, in the search box in the upper right hand corner of the page enter the topic (e.g. "to do" apps), narrow the search in the "power search" column and there you have it.

What’s New

Tom Martin (deputising for unavailable Brian Greene) covered the following:

  • The new MacBook Airs
  • The release of iLife '11
  • The public beta of FaceTime for the Mac
  • Sneak preview of the new Mac OSX Lion
  • Faster CPUs for the MacBook Pro
  • Launch of the Microsoft Mac Office 2011

Useful Utilities

Mark Parfrey, Committee member, in a follow-up to a presentation some time ago of Elgato's EyeTV, demonstrated the latest version, EyeTV Hybrid USB TV (www.elgato.com), capable of receiving all RTE digital channels on a Mac through a dongle connecting to a USB port and an added, detachable magnetic aerial.

Guest presentation

Feargal Brady introduced BlueFace (www.blueface.ie), a company he and a partner had started up in 2005 to provide an IP telephony service in Ireland. IP telephony bypassed the traditional landline-based telephony infrastructure providing Internet cloud connectivity throughout the world at minimal cost. Blueface had at first concentrated on the business market but was currently expanding into the residential sphere. Access to the Internet was made through means of a normal phone handset connected to a broadband router base station and calls could be made to other internet phones (free) or to landline numbers (local call fee or less). Various options were demonstrated, including ability to receive calls on a mobile or laptop, a text message service, ability to make conference calls to multiple receivers, various roaming facilities and others.

Feargal very kindly denoted a prize which one lucky member of the audience won.

Next meeting

The next meeting of ClubMac will take place on Wednesday, December 1, 2010, at 7.30 p.m. in Merrion Cricket Club.

To download the memo of the November meeting in PDF format PDF icon, click here. Note: The links in the document are clickable.

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October 2010 meeting

ClubMac held its October 2010 meeting on Wednesday, 6 October, in the new, well-appointed and generously stocked showrooms of Compu B in lower Grafton Street. A visit is a must for all Mac addicts. There was a large attendance of 32 members and 18 guests, who were treated to a number of presentations on various Apple products. Attendees were split into small groups of five or six and rotated through the different presentations, each of which lasted some 10 to 15 minutes. This informal format gave a welcome opportunity to individuals to gain information on points of particular interest to them on each topic. The presentations covered the iPad range; the new iMac range; iPod and iPhone; Time Capsule, Airport Extreme and Airport Express; Apple TV; iLife and iWork; Aperture 3; and Apple accessories. Particular queries about other Mac products were also dealt with.

For more details, visit Compu B

Following the presentations, and after some refreshments, a short question-and-answer session dealt with problems such as:

  • preventing a change in screen resolution when using a projector
  • preventing iPhone delays in coming on line
  • sharing contacts on the iPhone
  • connecting to Airport as a base station
  • changing Airport DNS settings to enhance speed.

In conclusion, the Chairman, Tom Martin thanked Compu B for so generously hosting ClubMac, welcomed the company's offer of discounts to Club members on hardware and repairs (carried out on the premises), which would be posted on the Club website, and reviewed the programme for the next meeting, to be held on 3rd November.

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September 2010 meeting

The first meeting of the 2010-2011 season took place on Wednesday, September 1, in Old Belvedere Rugby Club. ClubMac chairman, Tom Martin, opened the proceedings by welcoming new members and guests, and outlined the club’s exciting line-up of meetings for the Autumn season with special mention of the October meeting which will feature a visit to the new Compu B store in Grafton Street. He also announced that the club would be resuming its entry level training for beginners and switchers in November.

Technical Q&A

Peter O’Reilly hosted the questions and answers session which featured the following queries:

  • Over-enthusiasm of a Magic Mouse for unintended zooms on a Google map could be curbed by switching to another browser;
  • advice sought on a Rediris OCR — one user present had used one for two years without problems and preferred it to Omnipage;
  • problems encountered in using a browser-based email facility could be avoided by using a dedicated email application such as Mail;
  • iCal on the iPhone — could the highlight colour of the current day of the month be changed, could placing of items be rearranged by dragging; probably not but various "to do" apps (e.g. "Things") were available in which items were draggable and could be synched to the Mac.
  • when putting together images and sound to create a DVD slide show the sound and picture gradually went out of sync: to prevent slippage set the sound rate to 29.77 frames/sec (instead of 30) for a 5 second picture change, or export as movie before burning to DVD;
  • when using headphones and microphone with a Skype connection the sound from the microphone was not transmitted; solve by setting Skype audio input preferences to external microphone;
  • a Mac shut down inadvertently in Fusion refused to reboot to allow Windows to close down and appeared stuck in the closing down session: move the status file out and start again;

What’s new in the world of Apple

Tom Martin had the relatively easy job of summing up all of the many new developments that had taken place over the summer; these included:

  • iMacs
  • 27″ LED cinema display
  • MacPro
  • MacMini
  • iPhone 4
  • iTunes University

Due to a mix-up in communications, Steve Jobs forgot that ClubMac was holding its first meeting of the season on September 1st and scheduled a PR event in California to promote the revamp of Apple’s iPod and AppleTV product ranges which meant, of course, that we could not cover it.

Useful utilities

Guest speaker, Noel Davidson, took us through three of his favourite utilities:

  • Disk Inventory X, a disk usage utility which shows you the sizes of folders and files on your hard disk
  • Apple’s Disk Utility, which has a number of uses including repairing disk permissions (you can find it in the Utilities folder, inside the Applications folder. Or, if you are in Finder, Shift+Command+U)
  • Easy Envelopes, a widget which makes it easy to print envelopes.

Noel noted that both Disk Inventory X and Easy Envelopes are free, while Disk Utility comes with the Mac OS.

Guest presentation

John Dwyer, disk recovery and Linux specialist, tackled the thorny question of what to do when a hard disk crashed or a vital file mistakenly deleted. Deleted files did not vanish but remained on the hard disk until overwritten and were therefore rescuable by various means. In the case of crashed hard drives, if rescuable, which was by no means certain, recovery of the stored data generally called for expert help. Prevention was the best approach in both cases, i.e. backup to external storage, whether external hard disk (getting cheaper by the day) or internet storage such as MobileMe or Mozy (for unlimited storage). Use of Time Machine (or other comparable systems) was recommended. A degree of care was required for hard disks — moving computers, and in particular laptops, while the little platters inside were spinning up or down was a no-no; it was also a good idea to leave desktop drives on standby rather than shutting down when the computer was not in use. Over time, the normal heating of the inner platters with usage could lead to misalignment with the reading head. A first sign of damage was often a repetitive clicking while the disk was running; if that occurred the contents should at once be moved to external storage. Solid state drives (SSD), which had no moving parts, were not subject to such damage but were still extremely expensive.

To download the memo of the September meeting in PDF format PDF icon, click here. Note: The links in the document are clickable.

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Entry-level training

Are you new to the Mac? Have you switched from the PC or do you want to brush up your Mac OS skills? Then you may be interested to know that at our monthly meetings, ClubMac has been providing entry-level training in the following areas:

  • Introduction to the MacOS
  • Using MobileMe
  • Apple's Mail programme

ClubMac will be resuming its popular training sessions in the autumn.


Buying a Mac?

Please support our favourite Apple dealers, Galmac Computers, Stream Solutions and CompuB, who provide club members with a discounts on hardware and software purchases and/or repairs.