Past ClubMac meetings

The memos of ClubMac meetings held in the September 2012–May 2013 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 2013 meeting and AGM

The 2013 Annual General Meeting of ClubMac was held at Old Belvedere Rugby Club on Wednesday, 1st May. 24 members were present, the requisite quorum of 10 thereby being attained.

The Chairman, John Maguire, called the Annual General Meeting to order at 8.00 p.m.

The agenda of the meeting was read and approved. The minutes of the 2012 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 slight decline in subscriptions, a slight increase on income at meetings and increased expenditure on equipment (purchase of a projector), the accounts for the years ended 31 December 2011 and 2012 were read and approved. The Secretary’s report, showing that membership of 49 at end 2012 was still somewhat down on earlier years whereas attendance at meetings had remained good, was read and approved. The Chairman’s report on the state of the Club, was read and approved, following which he thanked all those who had contributed during the past year to the successful running of the Club.

The following were elected officers of the Club:

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.

With regard to the proposal to buy in training/presentation, the Chairman spoke of the considerable difficulty he had encountered during the year in finding willing and interesting outside speakers for the keynote presentation at meetings. There was also a need to find another host for the popular pre-meeting training session since Noel Davidson’s current busy schedule left him no time to spare for the Club. One suggestion made was that a degree of training could be provided as part of a keynote presentation. It was agreed that payment of travel expenses or a fee of €50 for a 30 minute presentation might be offered to potential speakers. Another was that a list of potential areas of interest for presentations might be drawn up by the Committee and that individual Committee members might be allocated responsibility for finding a speaker for individual meetings.

Under any other business, a proposal that the notice of a general meeting required by the Club’s Constitution to be sent out in advance to the membership should be sent out be email rather than by post was unanimously accepted.

The Chairman then announced that on his own behalf and on behalf of the Management Committee and the membership it was his great privilege to award honorary life membership to Sylvia Yates for her outstanding commitment and devotion to the Club.

The Annual General Meeting rose at 8.40 p.m.

Following the AGM, the Club continued in ordinary meeting.

Guest presentation: Ger Allen, Stream Solutions

Ger Allen, Managing Director of Stream Solutions, reviewed the current state of play in the Apple world and the likelihood of new products in the autumn. He discussed current thinking of security matters, with particular reference to passwords. It was now accepted that a regular cycle of password change was more detrimental than protective. A preferred solution was to select one strongly encrypted password for universal use, consisting of some 12 to 16 characters, mixing upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols, keeping it unchanged for the future. Since a password should be committed to memory and not written down, he mentioned a number of techniques for making passwords more memorable without compromising their security. For those who preferred a variety of passwords a product such as Dashlane (www.dashlane.com) enabled a single password to access a group of passwords. However, it should be remembered that since the advent of OS9, Apple had offered secure storage for collections of passwords in Keychain, which was accessible from the Utility folder in the Applications folder. With regard to the need for backup, he noted that use of Time Machine, the standard approach, could nevertheless lead to loss of data if the external hard drive employed for such storage was less than double the size of the working drive, the reason being that, since Time Machine provided incremental backup, items not regularly accessed might be inadvertently discarded. An additional safety net was provided by Carbon Copy Cloner (www.bombich.com), which could clone a bootable copy of an entire hard drive onto external storage. A third approach was to use the cloud for backup through an application such as CrashPlan (www.crashplan.com), which for a modest annual fee provided three varieties of encrypted cloud storage.

Ger raffled two user vouchers for Crashplan which were won by Tom Duggan and Gary Costello.


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April 2013 meeting

Introduction

The ClubMac April 2013 meeting was held at the Old Belvedere Rugby Club on 3rd April.

Technical Q&A

Moderated by Peter O’Reilly, Club member, this considered:

  • why Safari, when asked to open a pdf, showed a blank screen despite the latest Adobe upgrade being present, other browsers were not affected — answer could lie with the latest Safari update;
  • what to do when the high-output cartridges in a laser printer expired after several years of use and 5000 printouts — the recommendation was to get a new printer!

What’s new in the world of Apple

John Maguire, Club Chairman, reported a minor update to iWorks in March. Photos had been released of the original prototype for the iPhone. The 13 inch Retina display appeared to be available in the United States for considerably less than in Ireland. Otherwise, an OSX upgrade to 10.8.3 was expected, the next iPhone was due in July and there were rumours of an Apple 4K Ultra HD TV in the pipeline.

Pebble: the watch of the future?

Peter O’Reilly, Club member, demonstrated his Pebble, the smart watch developed by Pebble Technologyand released in 2013. It had been funded by a hugely successful money-raising campaign by KickStarter, in which backers (including Peter) spending $115 were in effect pre-ordering the $150 Pebble at a discount. The Pebble communicated with iOS devices via Bluetooth and came with a number of apps; its battery was charged by means of a modified USB cable. The face and functions were customisable and included control of music playing on other devices and provision of email, message and other alerts.

Keynote Presentation: Making music on the Mac

Guest speaker, Andy Bannister, unravelled the secrets of Ableton Live 9and demonstrated, on a MacBook Pro, its capabilities for combining individually recorded instrumentals and vocals into a high-level performance track. Live also came with a collection of instruments, sounds, kits and loops which could be used for creating music on the Mac; in particular, Andy showed what could be achieved with the drum and guitar kits. Although performances could be tweaked with a pitch correcting plug-in such as AutoTuneit was generally better to encourage artists to try harder!

The meeting concluded with a raffle among those attending the meeting, the prizes being assorted flash drives and a pocket USB 2.0 hub.


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March 2013 meeting

Introduction

This is the memo of the ClubMac March 2013 meeting, held at the Old Belvedere Rugby Club on 6th March.

What’s new in the world of Apple

John Maguire, Club Chairman, reported a slow month for Apple news. Although Apple's share price was down it was still accounting for some 20% of personal computer sales. In addition 23 million iPads had been sold in the fourth quarter of 2013. Adobe was releasing a further Flash update to address new attacks on Mac and Windows. There were rumours of a new low-cost iPhone in the offing.

Technical Q&A

Moderated by Peter O’Reilly, Club member, this addressed a complaint that on a computer with several email accounts the Mail program refused to send out emails from all but one of those addresses (the outgoing mail server provided by the computer's ISP probably did not recognise outgoing mail addresses hosted by other ISPs — a solution could be to use Spam Arrest, http://www.spamarrest.com/); another complaint was of the limitations of the Apple fax modem — a dedicated fax machine could be the answer or the Apple store could point the way to more suitable software. Other topics covered were ways of ensuring parental controls were turned of in older Macs being used in schools and which monitors were the best buy.

Presentations

Old Macs beginning a new life in schools

Tom MacMahon, Committee member, described how a number of donated old Macs had been restored to useful life, upgraded to OS9 and used to run programs for that system. Such Macs, although unable to run on OSX, still provided much useful work space for schools. He demonstrated the attraction and continuing utility of a number of former programs for pre-OSX systems, in particular ClarisWorks for Kids, which provided many entertaining drawing and learning tools for primary school children. Sixty such machines had already been placed in schools. Other machines, to which pupils had free access, had been placed in the library of a secondary school, where they were in regular, frequent use.


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February 2013 meeting

Introduction

The February 2013 meeting of ClubMac was held in Old Belvedere Rugby Club on Wednesday, February 6.

John Maguire, Chairman, welcoming those attending the meeting, regretted that it had not proved possible to find a guest speaker for the evening, a number of promising candidates having dropped out at the last minute. He appealed to members with useful contacts or operating in specialist areas likely to provide presentations of interest to consider contacting the Committee with suggestions.

Technical Q&A

Moderated by Peter O’Reilly, Club member, this considered matters such as: the occasional disappearance of the hard drive from a MacPro desktop — could be a connector malfunction, try placing the drive in a different bay or put it in a caddy drive, which, as it had its own power unit, could check the drive as well as the connection; apparent spontaneous loss of the Safari and Google apps from an iPhone — check all app pages first, they could simply have moved from one to another; a Mail account for one of two user accounts on the same Mac did not provide automatic removal of mail from the server — check that the preference pane for the problem account is set for automatic removal, if it is, contact the ISP for further help; inability to send email when outside Ireland although incoming mail is received — the ISP is the problem, some will not forward incoming mail to a location foreign to the email address, a solution is to use a local mail service or acquire a gmail account; what is the best time to buy an iPhone — unanswerable, something is always in the pipeline, for possible indicators try http://buyersguide.macrumors.com.

What’s new in the world of Apple

John Maguire, Club Chairman, noted that, although Apple’s 2013 fiscal first quarter results, announced on January 23rd, had been flat and its share price had dropped, sales of iPhones and iPads had nevertheless reached record levels, generating a net profit for the company. There were rumours of iPhones 5S and 6 in the offing, of a 128 GB iPad although the latter’s expected price would bring it almost to the level of the MacBook Air and of a new MacPro.

Presentations

Tom Martin, Committee Member, gave a presentation on AppleTV 3, a device which plugs into your TV screen and on which you can show your iPhoto collections as well as play your iTunes music catalogue. It connects with your Mac wirelessly or via an Ethernet cable. The device also allowed you — albeit in a limited way — to browse the Internet on your TV monitor via YouTube and Vimeo and to watch films through Netflix and iTunes. AppleTV is in its third iteration and costs approximately €120.

MacDraft: JohnMaguire, Club Chairman, presented this drawing program (MacDraft web site), which was available in both a personal (PE) and a professional (Pro) edition.The former was perfectly adequate for such drawing tasks as preparing architectural plans, signs, letterheads, posters and other tasks at less expense that QuarkExpress or Illustrator. In conclusion, he demonstrated the abilities of a recently acquired iPad mini.


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January 2013 meeting

Introduction

John Maguire, Chairman, welcomed those attending ClubMac’s first meeting of the New Year, which took place on Wednesday, January 9, in the offices of Compu B in Grafton Street, Dublin.

What’s new in the world of Apple

Club Chairman, John Maguire, reviewed the somewhat meagre crop of Apple events over the Christmas break: a new iPad, a new iMac, possible assembly of MacMinis in the States in future, a pay cut for Apple’s CEO, Apple’s first quarterly result to be out on January 23, rumours of a new iPhone.

Tony Stott, Compu B service and IT manager and long-time supporter of ClubMac, presented iTwin Connect (www.itwin.com), a pairing device allowing work to be done one’s office computer from home by giving a Mac secure access to files on a remote Mac or Windows PC.

Technical Q&A

Moderated by Peter O’Reilly, Club member, this suggested solutions to problems such as how to remove an app from an iPad, how to use Time Capsule to retrieve files no longer on a Mac hard drive (not possible — Time Capsule is a backup not an archive facility and will not keep removed files: to clear computer space archive overlarge files to a separate external hard drive), how to get photos received by email into iPhoto using Mountain Lion (click transfer with ML no longer possible — use drag and drop); what is a good place to store a large collection of work files off computer — try DropBox; why did a MacMini running OS 10.6 and DBI connection provide a perfect display when one running OS 10.8 and HDMI did not (solution probably to use DVI connection for both and not HDMI).

Keynote presentation

Guest speaker, Tony Stott, demonstrated a number of Mac-based highly cost-effective solutions to meet the operational and organisational needs of small and medium-sized businesses. Compu B, which had started life in Limerick with one Apple store and now had six, with over 130 staff and a UK and Ireland office, had successfully integrated these systems into its work practices.

They included:

  • FaceClock (www.faceclock.com), an iPad-based facial-recognition clocking-in system for staff; an electronic point of sale (EPOS) iPad-based fast and flexible retail cash-register-replacement system suitable for small businesses such as restaurants, boutiques, hairdressing establishment etc, for booking orders, preparing receipts and receiving cash payments;
  • LightSpeed (www.lightspeedretail.com), a full/blown Mac-based electronic sales system for larger multi-store businesses; Security Spy, a video surveillance system fully accessible both inside and outside the business;
  • In addition, four Kerio Technologies (www.kerio.com) products currently in use in Compu B were demonstrated: Operator, Connect, Control, and Workspace.

In conclusion, he noted that Compu B, in addition to selling Apple products also provided repair, consultancy and training services.

Conclusion

John Maguire thanked Compu B (Noel Hayes, Tony Stott and Andrea Molloy) for their contribution to a very enjoyable and informative evening, and reminded members that the next ClubMac meeting takes place on Wednesday, February 6th, in Old Belvedere Rugby Club.


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December 2012 meeting

ClubMac held its December 2012 meeting (and Christmas party) at Old Belvedere Rugby Club on Wednesday, 5th December.

John Maguire, Club Chairman, reminded everyone that the next meeting would take place on the second Wednesday in January (9th); details of the agenda and venue would follow.

What’s new in the world of Apple

John Maguire reviewed the following happenings on the Apple scene:

  • iPad Mini: reviews have been uniformly positive;
  • New iMac: believed to be 54% faster than previous models; however only limited sightings in the shops;
  • New version of iTunes: big problems associated with version 11;
  • Spotify: new Irish site;
  • TED has released a video by ClubMac’s resident trainer, Noel Davidson;
  • New film out about the life of Steve Jobs.

Technical Q&A

Moderated by Peter O’Reilly, the following issues were raised:

  • iTunes 11: there has been a lot of problems; better not to upgrade yet;
  • iMac G5: problems starting up — may be an issue with the power supply;
  • VGA-Mini-Display connector wanted: while one member in the audience had this, it was suggested that All Cables might be a good source for those trying to find hard-to-get cables and connectors;
  • Problems accessing GMail through Mail: one suggestion was to check the settings in Mail;
  • Apple TV: iTunes had to be running on the main computer before iTunes would work on ATV.

Hard drive docking stations

Committee member, Henry Leperlier, demonstrated a number of hard disc docking stations that allowed you to greatly increase your storage capacity at a very reasonable cost. While the FireWire version was more expensive than the USB version it had the advantage of faster data transfer.

In addition, these products came into their own so if the electronic connectors of an external hard disc were faulty but the actual drive itself was working. The docks provided the electronic connections to permit the user to access the data on the hard drive.

A History of Apple Mac Operating Systems

Committee member, Richard Bannister, gave an entertaining review of the Apple Mac Operating System starting with the Apple I and working his way up to the current generation. The talk was a veritable trip down memory lane for many in the audience.

Healthy computing

Club member, Donal O’Leary, provided useful information on the correct posture for sitting at a computer and also outlined the concept of earthing which helps to get rid of static in the body and also improves sleep. Earthing also helps to improve your blood profile. Donal recommended a number of information resources including earthing.com and mentioned that he would be giving a more detailed talk next week in 27 South Williams Street.

Christmas party!

Thanks to Sylvia for organising the food and to Henry for selecting the wines for the enjoyable party that took place afterwards.


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November 2012 meeting

ClubMac held its November 2012 meeting at Old Belvedere Rugby Club on Wednesday, 7th November.

Technical Q&A

Moderated by John Maguire, Chairman, in Peter O’Reilly’s absence, this considered:

  • How to deal with sound cut-off on plugging a microphone jack into an iPad;
  • Potential crash of Photoshop when a 2008 MacPro with 6 GB RAM is asked to handle a large photo file — before considering adding more RAM check first whether lack of RAM is the bottleneck, try iDefrag (link), Activity Monitor, etc;
  • Warning of a fake Mac virus circulating (MacDefender) — scam is to seek cash for its removal — if need is felt for anti-virus software try free-for-personal-use Sophos (link), an antivirus, malware detector and removal tool.

What’s new in the world of Apple

Club Chairman, John Maguire, reviewed the latest happenings on the Apple scene: the new iPad mini; the new MacBook Pro with 13” retina display; a revised Mac Mini; a new super-thin iMac on the horizon; and good fourth quarter results for Apple, although sales had fallen slightly.

Useful utilities

Tom MacMahon, Committee member, reviewed the tools available for solving hard disk problems: the Mac’s own Disk Utility and others such as Disk Warrior, TechTool Pro 6, Drive Genius, AppleJack and Data Rescue. None of these, however, which all required the disk for repair to be visible on the desktop, had been able to solve his own problem: the vanishing of his hard disk icon from the desktop. Removal of the problem disk from the computer found the associated electronics fried but the disk itself undamaged and readable if plugged into a docking station or IcyBox. This tale underlined the essential need for good backup practice if hard disk hassle was to be avoided.

Keynote presentation

Stephanie Joy, Committee member, recommended Apple’s Aperture as a tool with a more user-friendly approach to storing, managing, editing and accessing one’s personal or professional photographs than iPhoto, with its impenetrable library system. With Aperture, photographs could be stored in an easily retrievable way in folders in a filing system of one’s own choosing, which could be stored in one or more external drives. Raw images could be downloaded directly from camera to Aperture for external storage, then drawn on to provide individual project folders for refining and editing elsewhere. Once a project was ready for viewing, a plug-in would give Aperture access to SmugMug (link to SmugMug web site), a digital photo-sharing website offering each customer a customised website in which to display their portfolios in an advertisement-free environment and to share them with any or specified viewers.

You can download a copy of Stephanie’s presentation notes here {Word document].


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October 2012 meeting

ClubMac held its October 2012 meeting at Old Belvedere Rugby Club on Wednesday, 3rd October.

John Maguire, Chairman, welcoming those attending the meeting, noted that it was the first outing of the Club’s newly purchased projector.

Technical Q&A

Moderated by Peter O’Reilly, Club member, this considered: iCloud, its benefits and how to get the best out of it; why gmail had recently refused to open in Safari (corrupt cookie?); the pro and cons of upgrading a 6-year-old Mac Mini or instead moving to a new Mac; DropBox rather than iCloud for sharing with a PC; the respective merits of various photo-sharing apps; why some non-mainstream browsers made input to online forms difficult.

What’s new in the world of Apple

Club Chairman, John Maguire, reviewed the latest happenings on the Apple scene: the arrival of iOS6; problems with Apple Maps; the arrival of the iPhone 5.0 — launched in Ireland the previous Friday and with 5 million sold worldwide on its first weekend. An iPad mini was rumoured to be on the horizon.

Guest presentation

Ger Allen, Managing Director of Stream Solutions, reviewed the wide range of Apple-related services (sales, training, servicing and repair) that Stream Solutions, the company he had founded in 2001, was offering to businesses (where more companies were turning to Macs), to core areas of Mac use such as photography, printing and architecture (unfortunately now struggling in the recession) and to newer fields such as medicine and education. In education in particular, work was in progress in collaboration with colleges on the introduction of iPads in schools as a school-books holder, a classwork aid and a homework vehicle. In such efforts Stream Solutions acted as an Authorised Apple Reseller and Service Provider, an Apple Solutions Education Expert and an Apple Authorised Training Centre, as well as being part of the Apple Consultants Network. He gave a demonstration of the versatility of AirPlay, when linked through Apple TV to an iPad, for on-screen presentations and link-ups to other video services and showed an iPad in a robust virtually indestructible case, originally developed for military use, but now foreseen as a child-proof item for school use.


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September 2012 meeting

John Maguire, Chairman, welcomed those attending the first meeting of ClubMac’s 2011-2012 season which took place on Wednesday, September 7, in Old Belvedere Rugby Club.

Technical Q&A

Moderated by Peter O’Reilly, Club member, this suggested solutions to problems such as a desk-top Mac refusing to complete start-up, another refusing to shut down, a website accessible abroad proving shy about appearing in Ireland, an iPhone insisting on seeking a camera and another storing a large number of emails, many duplicated, in several dispersed locations instead of a single folder

What’s new in the world of Apple

Club Chairman, John Maguire, reviewed the summer crop of Apple events: the advent of Mountain Lion, the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display, a redesigned Airport Express, Apple’s third quarter results and the resolution in Apple’s favour of its dispute with Samsung. There were rumours of a new iPhone (5.0) on the horizon, and, on an Irish note, of iPads for the Dáil and a developer-planned digital school bag.

Usefuless utilities

Richard Bannister, Club member, took a look at the upcoming Windows 8. Although very fast and well adapted to a touch-screen tablet format it appeared disconcertingly clunky for a mouse-driven desktop. Was this to be a sign of future intent? Whither now Windows 7?

Guest presentation

Noel Davidson, demonstrated the versatility and ease of use of the iPad as a presentation, educational and portable work tool. With G3 connectability it was well poised to make use of the new opportunities offered by iCloud and Drop Box, which served as an excellent replacement for the now defunct MobileMe, iDisk and Gallery. MS Windows and Mac apps held in iCloud were accessible to iPad or desktop without downloading and could be used, for example, for rapid, trouble-free editing and addition of material to KeyNote presentations. Access to remote computers and printers was also simplified. DropBox in particular, which offered free 2GB cloud storage, provided a simple, transparent and safe means of sharing files and photos between one’s own devices and those of other users. New features of Mountain Lion were touched on, in particular its message and dictation feature.

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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 Apple Mac 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 iCloud
  • Apple’s Mail programme

ClubMac’s popular training session will recommence during 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.