Past ClubMac meetings

The memos of ClubMac meetings held in the September 2011–May 2012 season are presented below:

Click on the links below to read the memos of meetings held during the:

Memos of meetings prior to September 2009 can be found under the Club News section of the bulletin board.


May 2012 meeting and AGM

ClubMac held its May meeting and AGM in Old Belvedere Rugby Club on Wednesday, May 2, 2012.

Annual General Meeting

The 2012 Annual General Meeting of ClubMac was held at the Old Belvedere Rugby Club on Wednesday, 2nd May. 19 members were present, the requisite quorum of 10 had therefore been reached.

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

Apologies were received from Henry Leperlier, John Kelly, Séamus Cannon and Michael Killen.

The agenda of the meeting was read and approved. The minutes of the 2011 Annual General Meeting were read and approved. Following presentation of the Treasurer’s report, which showed a healthy level of cash resources in the Club account despite a small deficit in 2010 and a lesser one in 2011, the accounts for the years ended 31 December 2009 and 2010 were read and approved. Note was taken of two additional items of expenditure in 2011: purchase of equipment (a new screen) and an annual insurance premium to cover any liabilities the Club might incur at its meetings. The Secretary’s report, showing that membership of 48 at end 2010 had been down slightly in comparison with previous years although attendance at meetings had remained good, was read and approved. The Chairman’s report on the state of the Club, which noted that the current format of meetings including the training session continued to be successful, was read and approved. After thanking all those who had contributed during the past year to the successful running of the Club, Tom Martin announced his intention of stepping down as Chairman although he would remain on the Committee. The meeting expressed its appreciation of his outstanding contribution to the Club during the previous three years.

The following were elected officers of the Club:

Chairman: John Maguire

Secretary: Sylvia Yates

Treasurer: Garrett Wren

The following were elected to the Committee:

Richard Bannister

Séamus Cannon

Stephanie Joy

Michael Killen

Henry Leperlier

Tom Mac Mahon

Tom Martin

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

Under any other business, there were some suggestions that consideration might be given to using some of the Club funds to expanding training, perhaps in the form of a short workshop, and to upgrading equipment, such as by purchase of a projector with an HMDI port.

The Annual General Meeting rose at 8.20 p.m. following which the Club continued with its ordinary meeting.

May meeting

The agenda for the evening was introduced by Tom Martin.

Technical Q&A

Under the guidance of Peter O’Reilly, this considered:

  • unlocking an iPhone: a change of SIM card would be needed to move from one network to another but unlocking could be an issue with iPhone 4S and iOS 5.1;
  • problems encountered in filling in a form on an online site where use of Firefox not Safari had been recommended: the trouble was probably due to the website format but try resetting the Firefox preferences;
  • how to ensure good Wi-Fi reception throughout an old house with thick stone walls that weaken signals: placing a Time Capsule next to the router should help to strengthen the signal;
  • Malware Flashback: see note on ClubMac web site here.

What’s new in the world of Apple

Tom Martin, Committee member reported on the following:

  • Apple’s 2nd Quarter results which showed that the company sold 35 million iPhones and almost 12 million iPads during the quarter ending 31 March;
  • Good news for Ireland: Apple announces 500 new jobs in April;
  • Adobe launches its new Creative Suite 6 package; users can also buy the programmes on a monthly or yearly subscription via its Creative Cloud facility;
  • New web site for Irish-based iOS/OSX/mobile web developers and designers: Ull;
  • Cupertino Town Council gives Apple planning permission for a new employee-only cafeteria; a mock-up of the interior of the proposed eating area prompts readers of one web site to pass remarks about food being served on “iTrays” etc, but the killer comment came from one reader who remarked: “At least, the new cafeteria will have Windows!”

Keynote presentation: the iPad as a replacement for the laptop

Noel Davidson demonstrated how current add-ons were making the iPad a more versatile and lightweight travel companion than the laptop in many situations. Coupled with the small Apple TV box and projector with an HMDI port, a 3G iPad became a flexible and cable-free presentation tool. Use of cloud computing together with Dropbox made it easy to store and access one's documents. As far as work needs were concerned apps were available to provide word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and printing facilities and a wireless keyboard could aid data entry. Work done, entertainment beckoned with access to a wide range of books, photo libraries, games, music, films and television programmes.


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April 2012 meeting

The April 2012 meeting of ClubMac was held in Old Belvedere Rugby Club on Wednesday, April 4.

Training session

In Noel Davidson’s absence, Emma Inglis provided an overview of the Mac’s graphic capabilities.

Main meeting

Tom Martin gave an overview of the meeting’s agenda and announced that the AGM would be held on May 2.

Technical Q&A

Hosted by Peter O'Reilly, Club member, considered the following problems:

  • How to determine free space on the computer hard disk: select its icon and use the keyboard shortcut [Command + I] to find the used and available space on the disk, the same shortcut will show the space taken up by individual folders and files; apps are available to show how the used space is distributed between the types of data stored — photos and videos gobble space and could well be stored externally; remember to keep drive to no more than three-quarters full — the empty space is needed for background operation, using it for storage will slow computer speed; remember too to empty the Trash periodically to free space to allow rewriting with new data;
  • If hard drive refuses to open how to boot up in absence of a start-up disk where the latest OSX versions are now downloadable only and will not boot through a USB port: use an older OSX version as a start-up disk or be prepared by creating a bootable clone ahead of need;
  • If iPhoto library is too large to handle easily can it be split into multiple libraries: the library can be organised into separate albums which can be synced separately;
  • How to allow a Mac to read video clips with an .mpg extension: iSkysoft has an app for this or Google “video converter for Mac” for freebies;
  • How to get rid of an unwanted profile photo on outgoing Mail message: delete or change via account settings;
  • Warning: care needed with some online backup services as attempts to back up an entire hard disk may entail more upload time than that covered by fair usage policy and entail usage penalties;
  • Removal of RSS messages sent by Safari through Mail is managed by means of the RSS tab in Mail preferences;
  • Removal to DVD of recorded material on a set-top box inadvisable because of loss of definition — better to upgrade the box hard disk; Copy+ allows backup and transfer of Sky+ and Sky HD hard drives;
  • Lost password to ClubMac website: clicking on the "lost password" link and filling in the user name will get a new password to the email address registered for that name on the site — if current email address is different, contact the Web master.

The Chairman drew attention to the bulletin board on the ClubMac web site as a means of finding answers to Mac problems. Registration on the board was open to all and allowed queries to be posted in the various forums, where they would receive wide coverage among the large number of regular visitors to the board and have a high likelihood of attracting a useful answer.

What’s new in the world of Apple

Tom Martin reported on the following developments since the last meeting:

  • Sales of 3 million in four days of new iPad;
  • Launch of iPhoto for iOS devices;
  • Apple’s recent announcement that it would pay its first dividend in 17 years;
  • Release of Photoshop C6 beta
  • Apple closes in on Intel as the leading chip maker for mobile devices;
  • After 244 years, Encyclopaedia Britannica bids adieu to its print version.

Useful Utilities

Tom Martin presented an overview of Bookle which allows those of us without an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch to read EPUB-based publications on their Macs. He noted that EPUB was an industry standard which had the advantage of being reflowable — a boon for small screen devices.

He pointed out that there were a large number of web sites offering EPUB publications including the following:

Bookle is available for Euro 7.99 from the App Store. It comes with its own how-to-use manual written by Adam Engst. It should be noted that Bookle cannot open DRM-protected EPUBs purchased from Apple’s iBookstore or from ebook resellers that use Adobe Digital Editions DRM.

Bookle is produced by Stairways Software

Keynote presentation

Emma Inglis, owner of Eli Designs, outlined the areas of work covered by the graphic designer such as preparation of brochures, posters and magazine, packaging and website design and the route to accessing such a career. In her case, after completing her training she had worked for a number of years at Carphone Warehouse first as a junior and later as a senior graphic designer, eventually setting up her own company Eli Designs to embark on more creative poster design. She displayed examples of the work currently undertaken by her company, 100% Apple-based with Adobe Illustrator and InDesign as core applications.

For more information on Emma’s business, visit Eli Dezigns

In her talk, Emma mentioned this product from Wacom: Inkling


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March 2012 meeting

ClubMac held its March 2012 meeting in Old Belvedere Rugby Club on Wednesday, March 7.

Training session

Noel Davidson revisited iTunes and discussed managing content on Apple devices, especially since the iOS5 upgrade.

Main meeting

Tom Martin, welcoming members and guests to the meeting, presented an A5 flyer being proposed as a means of attracting new members to the club.

Technical Q&A

Hosted by Peter O’Reilly, Club member, this session considered the following problems:

  • Printer cartridges: which to buy? — probably better to stick to the printer’s own brand rather than cheaper alternatives, which could cause trouble — good ones were difficult to find;
  • In a 5-year-old Time Capsule linked to a Mac running OSX 10.6.8 the Time Machine backup function was currently not performing and failed to appear on the desktop or preferences pane — reformatting (erase and reboot) could be tried but given its age maybe it was time for a new Time Capsule;
  • Incoming emails on a me.com account were not being received in Mail although outgoing messages appeared to be accepted — check correctness of incoming and out going mail servers;
  • Which external hard drive to use to create a back-up clone of the Mac hard disk — little difference in reliability of reputable makes, choice is in size and speed, — Carbon Copy Cloner was the recommended cloning software, particularly where a bootable clone was wanted;
  • Server mailbox reporting full when should be empty — need to remember when receiving messages on more than one device (Mac, iPhone, iPad) that only one of the drives, preferably the Mac’s as master, should have its mail preferences set for deletion of messages on the server after a set time.

What’s new in the world of Apple

Tom Martin, reported on the following (very recent) developments:

  • Launch of new iPad (better display and connectivity);
  • Updated Apple TV (support for 1080p displays, new user interface);
  • Preview of Mountain Lion;
  • 25 billionth download from App Store.

Demos of iTunes match/iCloud and Mountain Lion

Noel Davidson reviewed the benefits and features of iTunes match and iCloud and demonstrated the new features to be expected when Mountain Lion, the upgrade of OSX to 10.8, launches later in the year.

Keynote Presentation: Blogging with WordPress

Brian Redmond, Club member, described how he had moved from his previous website built on iWeb and mobile.me to a website (Longmeadow Studio) incorporating blogging software constructed through WordPress. He attended WordPress Training Ireland starter and advanced training seminars in Dublin on the use of WordPress software in business applications. Brian demonstrated the various features offered by his own website and noted that a blog on its entry page had been a valuable addition as it alerted visitors to areas of most interest to them. The blog was also linked to Facebook and Twitter, the former providing useful information on traffic on the website.

Julie Sebode, WordPress Training Ireland, said her company provided starter level (WordPress.com) and advanced (WordPress.org) training in the use of WordPress, a very flexible website blogging tool and content management system. Prospective users needed only internet access to open an account with the hosting company and register a domain name. WordPress.com provided a total of four hours training in setting up a website, with a wide choice of layout themes, optional plug-ins for additional features such as a blog and various widgets. Once set up, the website was simple to edit. Use of software was free apart from a €19 annual charge for the domain name. WordPress.org provided a follow-on to the entry level course in an additional four hours training in more advanced techniques with a wider choice of website themes, add-ons and widgets — however this option would include a hosting fee.

For more information see: WordPress Training Ireland.


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February 2012 meeting

ClubMac returned to its old venue, Old Belvedere Rugby Club, for its February meeting which was held on Wednesday, February 7.

Main meeting

Tom Martin, Club chairman, opened proceedings by welcoming new members and guests to the meeting.

Technical Q&A

This session hosted by Peter O’Reilly, Club member, considered the following problems:

  • Refusal of two small external hard drives with USB cable to mount when plugged in to an almost two-year-old laptop: several possible causes were reviewed (formatting, several items on bus, etc.) — the recommendation was to bring the drive in to the next meeting for a test;
  • No sound out to external speakers: if connected to an audio-out port check System Preferences > Sound to ensure the device is selected, if connected to a USB port open Applications > Utilities > System Profiler to check the speakers are listed there;
  • Refusal of computer to connect to the internet when rebooting after overnight shutdown of Mac and modem: this is a possible result of one or more other devices accessing the net via the same modem; generally a wait would give the modem time to mount the devices in sequence, otherwise change the IP address of the computer;
  • Refusal of a Winmail.dat file attachment to an email to open in Word for Mac 2011: freeware application, TNEF’s Enough, will open the file and extract the attachment inside (TNEF’s Enough web site);
  • Could a photo collection on an iMac be safely archived to an external hard disk running Time Machine: as the latter needs continuous connection to the Mac to function properly, best to archive to a separate external disk, remembering that the space needed has to be twice the size of the photo collection;
  • Failure of a photograph to appear on a PC running Windows when sent as an email attachment directly from the Aperture email function: the attachment needs to be in jpeg format to be seen.

What’s new in the world of Apple

Tom Martin, reported on the following developments:

  • Apple posted spectacular results in its first financial quarter of 2012 (the highlight of which was sales of 37 million iPhone sales);
  • The launch of the iBooks 2 for iPad application which allows users to read textbooks with interactive animations, diagrams, photos and video content on their iPad;
  • The introduction of iBook Author application which allows users to create textbooks that can be read by the iBook 2 app;
  • Apple also released the iTunes U application;
  • The Macworld | iWorld2012 exhibition took place in San Francisco on 26–28 January with a large focus on iOS devices-related products and accessories. Two notable software launches included Nivio, which allows Mac users to access Windows software in the cloud, and cobookapp.com, a new address book application (in development).

Keynote presentation: Maintaining your Mac

Tony Stott, Service Manager, CompuB, said that comprehensive backup was the single, most effective action that could be taken to ensure carefree computing. A three-pronged approach was wisest: an ongoing initially total and then incremental backup such as that provided by Time Machine, Time Capsule or an equivalent third party product on to an external hard drive continuously connected to the computer. Next, the creation for storage of a bootable clone of the computer’s contents on a separate, portable external drive by means of an application such as SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner. A RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) device was not a substitute for a separate bootable clone. Thirdly, it might be useful to subscribe to an online backup service such as CrashPlan. Other means to a happy Mac included defragmentation (but that was largely redundant with Macs running OSX, which defragmented on the fly) and the use of maintenance and troubleshooting tools such as OnyX or AppleJack. The Mac’s own Disk Utility was also useful for verifying and repairing disks. As for the Mac’s internal hard disk, the way to keep its speed up was not to stuff it too full of data, as an absolute minimum 10% of disk space ought to be kept free.


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January 2012 meeting

ClubMac’s first meeting of 2012 took place on Wednesday, January 11, in the offices of CompuB, Grafton Street.

Training session

The training session before the main meeting was provided by Noel Hayes of CompuB, who demonstrated the use, interactive operation and advantages of the iWork suite of applications, namely Pages, Numbers and Keynote.

Main meeting

John Maguire, Committee Member, standing in for the Chairman, who was unavoidably absent from Dublin, welcomed those attending the meeting, thanked CompuB for hosting the present meeting and announced that the next meeting would be held on Wednesday, 1st February, at Old Belvedere.

Technical Q&A

This session hosted by Peter O’Reilly, Club member, provided the following enlightenments:

  • To protect sensitive parts of a hard disk from access by the occasional user (e.g. grandchildren) add to the primary administrative (owner’s) account a second (guest) account to allow sharing only, and possibly enable parental controls, via System Preferences -> “Accounts” (OS X 10.6) or “Users and groups” (OS X 10.5);
  • A prospective buyer of an iMac, currently a PC user, seeking options for using a new, still boxed, version of MS Office, was assured it would run successfully on a Mac using a Windows emulator — alternatively Microsoft might be contacted for a possible exchange to MS Office for Mac;
  • A purchaser of a new Vodafone modem was assured that the password provided was unique to the individual modem;
  • If a Mac and Apple TV were operating on the same Wi-Fi location, films stored on the Mac could be displayed on Apple TV.

What’s new in the world of Apple

John Maguire, Committee member, reported:

  • the top five Apple events of 2011 were, according to Ted Landers of Mac Observer, the advents of: iPhone 4S and Siri; iCloud and iOS5; the OS-ification of OSX Lion; and the iPad 2. The year was also notable for the passing of Steve Jobs;
  • Rumours: iTunes on bookstore/EPUB; possible update to MacPro; advent of Apple-branded television;
  • New happenings: MacWorld three-day media event on January 26;
  • Netflix now available in Ireland (currently less content than in the US but only 6.99 euro per month);
  • Jony Ive, senior Vice-President, Industrial Design, at Apple, received at KBE in the UK New Year’s honours list.

Photography

Tom Mac Mahon, Committee member, took a light-hearted look at the art, starting with a mini quiz on the identities of the authors of a number of iconic and universally familiar photographs published in past years. He went on to illustrate the often sadly unrecognised truth that the art of photography resides in the photographer and not the camera by an impressive display of photographs achieved by relatively simple devices such as a cheap disposable camera, simple fixed lens cameras and the lower end of the more sophisticated cameras. That truth still held despite the advent over the years of digital photography and such aids to the photographically inept as automatic focus, antivibration systems and face recognition. In conclusion, he reviewed an amusing collection of Photoshop disasters perpetrated in glossy magazines where tweakery had resulted in subjects losing, elongating or acquiring extra body parts or facial characteristics. Those interested were directed to the following links:

Keynote presentation

Noel Hayes, of CompuB, drew attention to the important fact that every Mac with OSX came with built-in features (see System Preferences -> Universal Access) to assist those with disabilities affecting vision, hearing, or motor or learning skills to access the computer and make the most of what it had to offer. He demonstrated the operation of VoiceOver, which in the case of the visually impaired enabled them, with complete keyboard control of the computer (i.e. no mouse), to browse the web, chat, send and receive emails, edit text documents and much more by providing spoken descriptions of screen displays, and reading out text of documents text and of text as it was being typed in. Sound output for Braille input was provided as well as to a separately available Braille reader accessory for those with hearing as well as visual difficulties. The features provided also assisted collaboration between blind and sighted colleagues. Apple was therefore in the forefront of ensuring universal access to the benefits of computer usage.

montage of the January 2012 meeting of ClubMac

Clockwise, from top left hand corner: Peter O’Reilly and John Kelly; slide presentation; Tom Mac Mahon; and Noel Hayes, CompuB.


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December 2011 meeting (and Christmas party)

The December meeting of ClubMac was held in Old Belvedere Rugby Club — due to the continuing non-availability of Merrion Cricket Club — on Wednesday, December 7, 2011.

Training session

Noel Davidson took an enthusiastic class through their paces in iPhoto.

Technical Q&A

In Peter O’Reilly’s absence, Henry Leperlier, committee member, took charge of this session and dealt with the following issues:

  • Transferring iTunes songs
  • Setting the default paper print size to A4
  • Problems with hard drives

What’s new in the world of Apple

Tom Martin, Club Chairman, outlined the following:

  • Apple’s latest financial results
  • Rumours of a 15 inch MacBook Air
  • A possible alternative to MobileMe Gallery: Zangzing.com
  • Apple’s new store designs in New York

Noel Davidson’s top Christmas presents for Mac fans

Noel Davidson gave us his top 10 favourite things he would like to see under his Christmas tree. So, in reverse order, here they are:

No. 10: Apple TV

No. 9: iPad 2

No. 8: Disney Spotlight Karaoke

No. 7: Parrot AR Drone

No. 6: iTunes: the 12 days of Christmas

No. 5: ION Piano Apprentice

No. 4: Silverlit Toys — Enzo Ferrari

No. 3: Atari game machine

No. 2: iPhone 4S

No. 1: Siri!

Guest presentation: Patrick Mc Namee

Keynote speaker, Emeritus professor Patrick Mc Namee, gave an insightful presentation on how he had converted to the Mac platform three years ago and how it had transformed his life. Patrick demonstrated the ePub, Mobilizing Macs: A Guide to Using Apple for the Liberation of Individuals, which he written (soon to be available on iTunes) and a new course for people new to the Mac.

For more information on Patrick’s book, visit his web site: Mobilizing Macs

To download the ePub best practices document that Patrick recommended for Pages, follow this link: ePub Best Practices sample for Pages

Christmas party

To celebrate the end of our Autumn season we had a draw in which we raffled a biography of Steve Jobs, the digital edition of Patrick Mc Namee’s book, free ClubMac subscription for 2010 and three copies of the new CD produced by St. Bartholomew’s Choir of which Richard Bannister (of this parish) is a member.

Not only that, we had our usual high quality Christmas feast of hot savouries and wine (special thanks to Sylvia and Henry) which were enjoyed by all.



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November 2011 meeting

Due to flood damage in Merrion Cricket Club (see picture below), the November meeting of ClubMac was held in Old Belvedere Rugby Club.

picture of flood damage at merrion cricket club

Training session

Noel Davidson’s training session also was a victim of the weather. His planned talk on iPhoto has been re-scheduled for the December meeting.

Technical Q&A

Hosted by club member, Peter O’Reilly, this session considered:

  • how to rescue a large MS Word text project after an irretrievable crash during an attempt to save it to a USB flash drive; the file concerned had not been saved first to the hard disk of the iMac running Snow Leopard on which it had been created. Suggestions: if the Word version concerned post-dated 2004 its autosave function would have saved text on the fly, but not perhaps with a recognisable name in a recognisable place — a Spotlight search for a specific but uncommon word in the body of the document might find it; otherwise try opening the file in another application, e.g. TextEdit or Pages or seek assistance from MS Word Customer Care;
  • how to achieve a sync to an iPhone of a selected portion only of a large music file stored on iCloud;
  • pros and cons of upgrading a 3-year-old MacBook Pro to Lion — points to remember: Lion’s use of 64-bit processing might mean older applications would not work; at least 20-30% of free disk space would be needed for the upgrade to succeed; care would be needed to ensure word processing and iPhoto files were transferred successfully; it was advisable to clone the current contents of the hard disk to an external drive to ensure a safe return in case of trouble — in other words, if the current system was working well why change it.

What’s new in the world of Apple

Tom Martin, Club Chairman, outlined the following:

  • The death of Steve Jobs which happened on the day of our October meeting;
  • iPhone 4S launch weekend: 4 million sales;
  • iPod: 10 years old this month;
  • Apple Q4 results: $23.8 billion in sales; ¢6.62 billion in profits;
  • Rumour 1: Apple HDTV?
  • Rumour 2: End of the road for the Mac Pro?

Scanning

John Maguire, Committee member, demonstrated the use of scanners to turn analogue pictures in the form of prints, negatives or slides into digital versions for computer storage and editing. The right choice of scanner, where models ranged from ultra cheap low-end to mind-blowingly expensive high-end, was important because of the need to provide sufficient resolution to ensure no loss of picture detail. A mid-range machine providing 300 dpi would be sufficient for ordinary home use, while 1200 dpi would enable later enlargement and editing of pictures. Pre-cleaning of pictures before scanning generally did more harm than good and was not advised.

Aperture

Stephanie Joy, Committee member, reviewed the advantages of using Aperture as a photograph storage and management system that also operated seamlessly with Photoshop. Aperture’s ability to divide a large picture library into projects focused on particular topics made for ease of handling of separate assignments. Raw pictures could be imported into a given project, displayed in various ways and then graded by appeal and quality for further editing through Photoshop until a final selection of finished items could be made.

Guest presentation: Grant Howie, Grants of Baggot Street

picture of Grant Howie at the November meeting of ClubMacGrant Howie described the work of Grants of Baggot Street, which had been 25 years in the photographic processing business. It had responded to changing technology and the decline in film-based photography by moving into other processing fields such as digital colour printing, poster printing, document printing, archival printing and the scanning and archiving of old photographs from prints and negatives. Professional contract work was carried out for the National Gallery and the RTE collections and an interesting demonstration was given what this involved. He reviewed what might be entailed for the individual customer embarking on the scanning, enhancing and output on CD or DVD on a personal collection of prints, negatives and slides. He concluded with a special photo processing offer to ClubMac members.

Special thanks to John, Stephanie and Tom

We owe a debt of gratitude to John Maguire, Stephanie Joy and Tom Mac Mahon for organising the November meeting.


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October 2011 meeting

ClubMac held its October 2011 meeting at Merrion Cricket Club on Wednesday, 5 October.

Training session

Noel Davidson’s regular training session held before the main meeting focussed on Lion.

Appeal results

Tom Mac Mahon, Committee member, reported that, further to the appeal he had made in September, a home for the donated Macs he has been recycling over the years has now been secured. The Macs were now going to needy schools in Haiti; in the first stage of their journey they were to be loaded from their present storage facility to a shipping container on Friday, 7 October. He thanked all those who had contributed Macs in the past, and for the help received with the current shipment.

Technical Q&A

this was hosted by Peter O’Reilly, Club member, and considered:

  • ROS operating problems this year with Safari and, at times, with FireFox, could be due to conflict with recent upgrades of ROS and/or existing apps affecting the browser (to prevent the latter remove current FireFox and download a new copy) — remember that accessing ROS involved interaction with an existing database and not simply an ordinary website;
  • possible reason for a perfectly scanned file reaching an email recipient incomplete was that Mac OS scanning software had been used instead of the scanning software proper to the printer/scanner;
  • non-receipt of an emailed scanned file could be the result of an incompatible format — ensure file was scanned into .jpeg or .pdf format;
  • before emailing .docx files ensure the intended recipient had the relevant version of MS Word, many users have not upgraded — the simple solution is to save the document as a .doc file before sending;
  • to import a group of photos from iPhone to Mac use the connecting USB cable supplied with the iPhone — photos can be imported to iPhoto or to the iTunes library;
  • where a number of mobile.me accounts were shared by a number of Apple products (Macs, iPhone, etc), designating one specific account as the master account would ensure that all other accounts were synced to that one so that all accounts would be correlated;
  • some regret was expressed that not all features of mobil.me (e.g. the Gallery) would be carried over when it was replaced by iCloud.

What’s new in the world of Apple

Tom Martin, Club Chairman, was fortunate in that Apple had a major media event the day before, otherwise he would have very little to report:

  • Launch of iPhone 4S and the new Siri, voice recognition/artificial intelligence app;
  • Updates to the iPod Touch;
  • Minor update to the iPod Nano;
  • The new iCloud service will be launched on October 12;
  • Some interesting data on Apple sales that had been revealed by the company at yesterday’s media event.

Useful utilities

Tom Martin gave a presentation on Dragon Dictate for the Mac 2.5, the major speech recognition software from Nuance. This type of software had always been at the top of his “wish list”, because although he was a fast and reasonably accurate typist (50–60 w.p.m.), repetitive strain injury-related issues were coming to the fore. The prospect of being able to dictate to your computer was very appealing; additionally, information provided by Nuance indicated that talking is three times faster than typing (!) and hence he was keen to try it out.

The current version of Dragon Dictate requires Mac OSX 10.6, 2 GB RAM and 3 GB free hard disc space. A USB headset microphone is provided along with the software. The product retails at €200 in the Apple Ireland online store.

Getting started was fairly straightforward: you have to set up a profile in order that the programme gets used to your voice. You effectively “train” the programme to recognise your voice. The programme can be used in programmes such as Microsoft Word and the iWork suite (Tom used the programme to dictate this Keynote presentation). You can use the programme in a number of modes, including Dictation and Command modes (the latter allows you to speak commands to your computer e.g. Open New Document, Save, etc).

Tom reported slow progress at first but then Nuance sent him a training DVD which greatly speeded up things. The DVD cost €20 and was well produced.

The advantages of Dragon Dictate are that it is easy to set up, the training materials are of a high standard and there are good tools for correcting mistakes. The disadvantages stem from the long learning period and the need to change how you work (when you dictate text to your computer you must remember to voice the punctuation, e.g. COMMA, FULL STOP, etc).

There was a lively exchange of views from the audience, some of whom were familiar with the programme.

For more information on Dragon Dictate for the Mac, visit Nuance web site

Keynote presentation: Lion

Photograph of John Kelly and Brian Redmond

John Kelly, Committee member, (see here on the right with co-presenter, Brian Redmond) reviewed the salient aspects of Lion, the eighth version of MacOS X and demonstrated the major items among the 250 new features there. Multitouch provided screen management (scrolling, page turning etc.) by means of trackpad gestures. Provision was made for full-screen viewing of apps with this facility. Mission Control combined the features of Exposé, Space and Dashboard to give overview and navigation of all running apps and open windows; Launchpad provided a view of all apps on the Mac concerned for click and launch. Resume ensured that after quitting an app all windows open before the quit would reopen on relaunching the app. Autosave and Versions provide automatic saving of any file being worked on with the ability to revert to all previous stages of the file’s creation for revision or retrieval of changes. AirDrop provided for WiFi transfer of files between any two Macs in the same locality. Mail had a new wide full-screen layout, an improved search function and a conversation view. Lion was available by download from the App Store at €24. The downside was that this required having Snow Leopard installed for access to the App Store and sufficient download speed and capacity to handle a 4 GB input. The thinking behind that approach was that the economies achieved by sidestepping printing, CD copying and shipping costs made the sale price more accessible.

Brian Redmond, Club member, mentioned some of the downsides he had experienced with his move to Lion on its launch. Not all printer driver upgrades had been included in the overnight download owing to its size; they would have to be sought from the printer manufacturer. He regretted the loss of Spaces and did not find Mission Control a satisfactory replacement as it had difficulty in handling more than six spaces. Before making the decision to download, he would have appreciated a list of the specific features that had been axed from Snow Leopard.


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September 2011 meeting

The first meeting of the 2010-2011 season took place on Wednesday, September 7, in Merrion Cricket 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.

Training session

A training session was provided as usual by Noel Davidson before the main meeting.

Appeal

Tom Mac Mahon, Committee member, who has over the years been recycling donated Macs for dispatch to a school in Tanzania, now finds that the school is currently unable to accept further shipments because of ongoing building work at a time when his storage facility in Dublin is being closed down. He appealed for suggestions for a good destination for these Macs. A couple of proposals were put forward at the meeting; anyone else with ideas please contact Tom at 086-3390301 or tmacmahon@eircom.net.

Technical Q&A

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

What to do if shutdown was blocked by Mail or Safari, how to get rid of empty email messages that refused to be deleted from an iPhone, how to use a laptop with a dongle as a WiFi source for an iPhone, obviating problems with access to certain websites by keeping FireFox as a second-string browser, reason for an Irish Times iPhone app shutdown would have to be sought from the third party servicing it, was it better to shutdown Mac or leave to sleep at end or work session (opinion out on this unless moving the Mac), a good way to speed up a Mac was to clear all icons sitting on the desktop, particularly if in large numbers, to a folder elsewhere.

What’s new in the world of Apple

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

  • The release of OS X Lion 10.7
  • iCloud
  • New version of iOS
  • Updated MacBook Air range
  • Updated Mac Mini range
  • New ThunderBolt display
  • Steve Jobs resigns as Apple CEO; Tim Cook takes over as CEO

My favourite iPhone apps

A new feature in our monthly meeting is My Favourite iPhone/iPad Apps in which we invite a member to present their top 5 apps.

Unfortunately our scheduled speaker was unable to present. However, we did get a fascinating taster from long-time member, Joe Fletcher, who demonstrated how using an app on his iPhone he could control a recently-purchased quadricopter, the AR.Drone.

For more information on this app, visit AR Drone Parrot

Useful utilities

Tom Martin presented a session on his experience of producing a printed photo book with iPhoto. Apple allow iPhoto users to produce printed versions of their photographs in a variety of formats: hard and soft cover books, cards and calendars. Tom’s photo book was a hard cover with its own dust jacket. It was relatively easy to produce and took 5-6 days to arrive.

ClubMac is planning to produce its own Photo Book of the meetings held during this season.

For more information on photo books, visit this page

Guest presentation

Dean Lochner of the Bondi Group, which specialised in the sale and service of Macs and training in their use, emphasised the need for all Mac users to pay attention to regular data back-up to prevent such not unusual happenings as hard disk failure, accidental deletion, physical damage as well as theft, fire and other outside events from turning a nuisance into a catastrophe. The greater capacity of external disk drives and their lower cost nowadays currently made them the method of choice for ongoing back-up in tandem with Apple”s Time Machine, which had shipped with the last three versions of OS X. For further peace of mind, in case both Mac and Time Machine disk vanished together, the Mac’s hard disk should be backed up regularly to off-site storage — either by uploading to a cloud (although this could be hampered by slow upload and retrieval rates) or by creating a clone (using Carbon Copy Cloner from bombich.com) on a spare hard disk.

For more information on the Bondi Group, click here.

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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:

  • iWork (Pages, Keynote & Numbers)
  • iPhoto
  • Using MobileMe
  • Apple’s Mail programme

ClubMac’s popular training session will continue throughout the Spring season.


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.