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 held in the September 2014-May 2015 season are presented below:

Click on the links below to access the memos of meetings held in previous years:

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


May 2015 meeting and AGM

Meeting

Tom Martin, Committee Member, opened the May meeting and introduced the guest speaker for the evening, Tony Stott, Technical and IT Manager for Compu b, Ireland and the UK.

Tony who is a long-time friend of ClubMac and who has presented at our meetings in the past gave an enthralling overview of the new MacBook. Tony also gave an overview of the recent developments in the Compub, including an expansion into the UK market.

In his presentation, Tony also covered other developments in the world of Apple and answered a number of technical queries from an appreciative audience.

Annual General Meeting

The 2015 Annual General Meeting of ClubMac was held at the Merrion Cricket Club on Wednesday, 6th May.

The Annual General Meeting was called to order at 9.15 p.m.

22 members being present, the requisite quorum of 10 had thereby been attained.

The agenda of the meeting was read and approved. The minutes of the 2013 Annual General Meeting were read and approved. Following presentation of the Treasurer’s report, which showed that the level of cash resources in the Club account, although still healthy, had continued its decline, largely owing to a fall in subscriptions, the accounts for the years ended 31 December 2013 and 2014 were read and approved. The Secretary’s report, showing that membership (currently only 37 — although there was still time for new members to join before the end of the year) had stood at end 2014 at 39, five less than the previous year, although average attendance of 20 at meetings had still been reasonable, was read and approved. As no Chairman had been elected for 2014/15 there was no Chairman’s report. The Committee 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:

Chairman: As no candidate had come forward for the post of Chairman, the meeting agreed that the Committee would collectively appoint a Chairman from among its members.

  • Secretary: Sylvia Yates
  • Treasurer: Garrett Wren

The following were elected to the Committee:

  • Richard Bannister
  • Stephanie Joy
  • Michael Killen
  • Henry Leperlier
  • Tom Mac Mahon
  • John Maguire
  • Tom Martin

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

Under any other business, the Committee felt that it was necessary to consider what could be done to improve the viability and vitality of the Club and, rather than an increase in the membership subscription, which might only accelerate the current decline. it proposed that since the Club currently had sufficient funds in hand some should be set aside to provide a regular training session at each meeting as a proven incentive to improve attendance at meetings and attract new members. This proposal was approved. Meetings would therefore consist principally of a training session, a question and answer session and what’s new and useful utilities slots. As it was becoming ever more difficult to find keynote speakers such talks could be an occasional rather than a regular event. As to the content of the training programme, a number of suggestions were made from the floor, including an introduction to iCloud and how to coordinate a number of email accounts. The topic to be covered would be announced in advance and attendees encouraged to suggest topics for further sessions. A suggestion was made that the Club needed to make an effort to make itself more visible: it was agreed that a small leaflet could be prepared that members would be urged to hand into their local libraries or other community outlets for display and a small card with information about the Club prepared for Apple resellers to include with purchased goods.

The Annual General Meeting rose at 9.55 p.m.


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April 2015 meeting

ClubMac held its April meeting on Wednesday, April 1, in Merrion Cricket Club. The meeting was opened by Committee Member, John Maguire. He said that the May meeting and AGM would be held on May 6th.

Training

Committee Member, Richard Bannister, presented a training session on best practice to using passwords on the Internet, with particular regard to 1Password. More details on 1Password can be found here.

Technical Q&A

Supervised by Peter O’Reilly, this session covered a number of issues including photos from an iPad not being fully synchronised with other Apple devices, faulty predictive text and how to send blind messages via Facebook.

What’s New

Committee Member, Tom Martin, reviewed developments on Planet Apple since the March meeting and focused on the forthcoming launch of the Apple watch range and the introduction of the new 12 inch MacBook. He also noted hardware upgrades to the 13 inch MacBook Pro and the 11 and 13 inch MacBook Airs.

Richard Bannister said that Microsoft had announced a free “preview” — or public beta version — of Office 2016 for Mac. The full software suite will be available this summer for purchase or as part of Microsoft’s Office 365 monthly subscription service, but until then the company is providing it as a 3GB download. The preview can be downloaded from here.

Keynote presentation 1: My experiences of upgrading to Yosemite

Club member, Donal O’Leary gave an interesting and informative talk of his experiences of upgrading from Snow Leopard to Yosemite with particular reference to iCal which he uses extensively. The upgrade did not go smoothly due to the careless approach of an Apple dealer. However, since then Donal’s experience has been more positive and he particularly enjoys the benefits of iCloud i.e. having all his files synchronised between his laptop and iPhone.

Keynote presentation 2: Effective presentations

Noel Davidson made a welcome return to ClubMac and gave his usual highly entertaining talk on the value of Macs for making effective presentations. Like Donal, Noel extolled the virtues of iCloud for synchronising documents and files between Apple devices.

During his presentation, Noel mentioned coconutBattery, a useful application for checking the health of your computer’s, iPad’s or iPhone’s battery; you can find it here.


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March 2015 meeting

The March meeting of ClubMac was held on Wednesday, March 4, in Merrion Cricket Club. The meeting was opened by the meeting chairman, Tom Martin.

Technical Q&A

Moderated by Peter O’Reilly, this session covered a number of issues relating to emails including corrupted passwords and re-appearance of spam mail messages had been previously deleted.

What’s New

Tom Martin took the meeting through recent developments in the world of Apple including

  • Apple’s very impressive first quarter results which showed the the company sold just under 75 million iPhones;
  • Apple have issued invitations for a Live Event on March 9 at which it is rumoured they will present more details on the launch of Apple Watch and a larger iPad;
  • Apple are to establish two new data centres in Europe, one in Galway and the other in Denmark. The Galway investment is said to be in the order of €850m; Apple already employs over 4,000 people in Ireland.

Guest presentations

ClubMac were very fortunate to have not one but two guest presenters for its March meeting:


Luke Brennan, The Maglus Stylus

Luke who is the Commercial Director gave us an overview of the development of the Maglus Stylus, a pen tool for the iPad and similar devices. The Maglus was developed by two Irish designers and the company is based in Tullamore. Luke covered the development of the product including its efforts to raise money through crowd-funding. The device has been very highly rated by online magazines such as The Verge against competing devices.

Luke showed us a video, Dawn to Dusk, illustrating the use of the Maglus Stylus — which you can see here on YouTube.

Luke also offered a discount to ClubMac members purchasing the product from the company’s web site; the Club Secretary will email members with details of this tempting offer.

For more information on the Maglus Stylus, visit the company’s web site.


Dr. Simon Spence, MacInformation

Simon who has presented to ClubMac before gave a fascinating account of his experiences as a publisher using iBook Publisher to publish books on the Book section of iTunes. Simon who trained in the classics and is a Mac consultant has married his two interests and has authored three children’s books based on Greek mythology: Perseus, Jason and the Golden Fleece and Odysseus.

In addition to the iBook platform, Simon also publishes his fully illustrated books on the Kindle platform.

Simon very generously provided to members at the meeting a discount off the cost of his book on the Book store.

Further details on Simon’s award-winning books can be found here.

Simon’s Mac-related web site can be found here.


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February 2015 meeting

ClubMac held its first monthly meeting on February 4 in Merrion Cricket Club. The chairman for the evening, John Maguire, apologised for the fact that the management committee were unable to hold the January meeting for resource reasons. He also said that because of the unavoidable absence of some committee members it was not possible to provide all the regular meeting slots.

Luckily for ClubMac, our guest presenters, iConnect, were more than able to cover all of the bases. Michael Kennefick, Business manager, explained that iConnect is a premium Apple reseller which has four stores in Ireland: Liffey Valley, Newbridge, Henry Street (its flagship store) and Derry. It is part of the €1 billion Al Mana Group based in Qatar; the iConnect unit was established by Irishman and former Apple employee, John McEvoy.

Stream Solutions (Ger Allen) who have presented at a number of ClubMac meetings are now part of the iConnect group in Ireland. The company has recently acquired Galway company, Screenway, to boost its presence in the educational market.

Lee O’Connell, a certified technician from iConnect’s Liffey Valley store, provided an overview of two products:

  • GarageBand
  • iMovie

Michael Kennefick then previewed some of Yosemite’s key features. He also brought along a number of new products (iMacs, iPads) to show.

ClubMac's John Maguire with guest presenter, Michael Kennefick of iConnect, pictured at ClubMac's February 2015 meeting


The picture shows from left to right, Michael Kennefick, Business Manager, iConnect, with John Maguire, ClubMac.


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December 2014 meeting

ClubMac held its final meeting of 2014 on December 3 in Merrion Cricket Club; the meeting also doubled as its Christmas party.

Technical Q&A

Moderated by Peter O’Reilly, this session covered a number of issues such as:

  • How to show images on an iPad onto a TV screen;
  • Difficulties with Safari not loading web sites in Yosemite.

What’s New

Tom Martin gave an overview of new developments in the world of Apple during November:

  • Time Magazine includes three Apple products in its New Gadgets of the Year: at Number 9, the iPad Air 2, at Number 5, the iPhone 6 Plus and at Number 1, the Apple Watch [Even though it has not been released];
  • Apple releases WatchKit, a set of tools to enable develops to produce apps for the Apple Watch
  • Apple is running its Apps for Red campaign to raise money to fight AIDS in Africa;
  • Bad news for Apple: AppleTV is losing market share in the US to Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV;
  • More bad new for Apple: in the US education market, the iPad has lost its number one slot to Google's Chromebook
  • In desperation to fill the void of lack of any new developments during November, Tom mentioned that Kerry’s own Michael Fassenbender had been pencilled into play Steve Jobs in the forthcoming film to be directed by Danny Boyle.

Useful Gadgets

John Maguire introduced the iMic which allows you to connect microphones and other input devices to your MacBook or other Mac using a USB interface. It supports both mic and line level inputs via a selectable switch, and provides line-level output for connecting speakers or headphones.

Keynote presentation

Club member, Michael Walsh, gave a highly entertaining talk of his 30 years of using Macs from a professional and personal perspective, starting with a Mac 128K in 1985 right up to his current desktop and laptop.

Christmas party

We had Sylvia to thank for providing a range of delicious seasonal goods and to Henry for the perfect choice of read and white wines.

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November 2014 meeting

ClubMac held its November meeting on Wednesday, November 5th, in Merrion Cricket Club at 8 p.m. and John Maguire, Committee Member, opened the meeting by introducing the agenda. He introduced in particular two issues:

  • He passed on a note of thanks from Louise Cooney who achieved a 1st class honours masters degree from DIT based on her research into Apple’s loyal customer base: she greatly appreciated the help she received from ClubMac members;
  • October meeting update: Stephanie Joy noted that the SSD drive which had not worked when installed in the October meeting, had been replaced by the supplier, OWC. Stephanie said that Richard had installed the replacement and her Mac Pro was like a new machine.

Training

Richard Bannister gave a brief masterclass on using Apple Mail and Gmail.

Technical Q&A

A number of technical queries from the audience were answered under the guidance of Peter O’Reilly.

What’s New

Tom Martin gave an overview of new developments in Planet Apple during the month of October:

  • The updated Mac Mini range
  • The new iMac Retina 5K Display
  • The updated iPad range
  • The release of OS X 10.10 Yosemite
  • Apple Pay

Useful Gadgets

John Maguire introduced the Elgato video capture device which allows users to digitise video from a VCR, camcorder or other analogue video source for your Mac and iPad.

Fore more information, visit the Elgato web site.

Useful Utilities

In his own inimitable way and using the musical, Les Misérables, as an example, Committee Member, Tom Mac Mahon, outlined the virtues of ClipGrap which allows user to download and convert online videos.

For more information on ClipGrap, go here.

Tom also mentioned Microsoft’s OneNote note-taking app: available from here.

Guest presentation

Dean Lochner of the Bondi Group gave an insightful presentation on the necessity to back up your data and outlined the dangers of not doing so. Dean provided strategies on how to back up your data. His key messages were (a) to back up your data on a regular basis and (b) ensure that the back-up disk was working.

For more details on the Bondi Group, visit their web site.

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October 2014 meeting

The October 2014 meeting of ClubMac was held in Merrion Cricket Club on Wednesday, October 1st.

John Maguire, Committee Member, opened the meeting by previewing the agenda and outlining the provisional programme for the November meeting to be held on November 5.

Installing a Solid State Drive (SSD) hard disk

The meeting focussed on the installation by Richard Bannister and filmed by Stephanie Joy of a Solid State Drive (SSD) in a MacBook Pro laptop (2009 vintage) and in a Mac Pro.

SSDs have a number of advantages over traditional hard disks. The main advantage though is that they offer superior performance: a Mac with a SSD boots faster and applications launch quicker. A SSD drive has no moving parts so it is less likely to lose your data in the event that you drop your laptop.

Richard passed on a number of tips while he took out the existing hard drive and replaced it with the SSD drive.

SSD drive

To demonstrate how much faster the MacBook Pro would go with the new 480 GB SSD drive, Richard timed the boot up with the existing hard drive and then compared it with the boot up time with the new drive installed — and the difference was staggering.

Boot-up time
Existing drive New SSD drive
90 seconds 18 seconds

Details of the SSD drive that Richard installed can be seen here.

Richard also showed the installation of a Mercury Accelsior_E2 PCLe Express SSD drive in a Mac Pro which provides improved performance for video editing and creative professionals and additional RAM. The Mercury Accelsior_E2 utilises the PCIe slot (the fastest data interface available) in a Mac Pro to deliver blistering performance up to 688MB/s.

Though installed correctly, a hardware fault in the Mercury Accelsior_E2 PCI Express SSD meant that it did not work. Richard pointed out that he had installed the same card in his Mac Pro and could testify that it was fantastic!

The SSD device that Richard installed in the Mac Pro can be seen here.

There were no issues with the installation of the additional RAM — these worked perfectly.

Though the PCIe card did not work when installed, the replacement SSD sent by OWC a few days later did. The average disk performance of the Mac Pro in which it was installed jumped from approximately 25 MB per second to 325 MB per second (write performance) and to 650 MB per second (read performance)!

Technical Q&A

Peter O’Reilly moderated this question-and-answer session which dealt with hardware & software issues posed by the audience including how to detect fraudulent email messages.

What’s new in the world of Apple

Tom Martin, Committee Member, provided an overview of new developments in Planet Apple since the September meeting including:

  • The new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+
  • The launch of iOS 8;
  • Apple’s first wearable device: Apple Watch
  • Proposed introduction of Apple Pay
  • Apple’s free gift of the new U2 album
  • Update to the AppleTV software
  • The EU Commission claims that Ireland gave Apple an unfair tax advantage.

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September 2014 meeting

ClubMac held its September 2013 meeting at Merrion Cricke Club on Wednesday, 3rd September.

Tom Martin, Committee member, welcomed those attending the first meeting of ClubMac’s 2014-2015 season. He said it was a special occasion for the club to be returning to its “spiritual” home in Merrion Cricket Club. The club had to seek alternative accommodation in Old Belvedere Rugby Club following the extensive damage to Merrion Cricket’s club house as a result of the flooding in 2011. The club house has now been rebuilt to a very high standard. Additionally, wifi was available in the room — the lack of broadband in Old Belvedere was a limiting factor.

What’s new in the world of Apple

Tom reviewed the happenings in the world of Apple since the May meeting, the main features being:

  • The announcement of iOS 8;
  • New hardware changes to the MacBook Pro Retina Display and iMac ranges;
  • Apple’s Q3 results;
  • Speculation around the forthcoming Apple special event on September 9: the new iPhone 6 range and Apple’s first wearable device: the iWatch;

Training

Richard Bannister, Committee member, gave a demonstration of Services, a facility in the Mac OS whereby users while in one application can avail of the services of another application. He illustrated his talk with a number of examples. He noted that not every software manufacturer had implemented the Services facility e.g. it was not available in MicroSoft Word.

He also gave a preview of Mavericks, the forthcoming Mac OS X, due out later in the Autumn. He declared himself very impressed with the speed of the system, noting that Apple had put a lot of effort “under the bonnet” to improve performance.

Technical Q&A

Moderated by Peter O’Reilly, this session discussed solutions to such problems difficulties with sharing Pages files with other users, mysterious email messages and slow start-ups on some machines.

Useful Utilities

Tom Martin gave a preview of MacTracker which Richard Bannister had mentioned in a previous talk. MacTracker provides detailed information on every Apple Macintosh computer ever made, including items such as processor speed, memory, optical drives and expansion options. Not only is it free but it is updated on a regular basis.

For more details on MacTracker, follow this link.

Useful Gadgets

Gary Costello, Committee member, provided an overview of the following:

  • Universal USB adaptors
  • Secrid mini wallets
  • Next Fire and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Systems

Discussion

The members present discussed a number of ideas for future meetings between now and December.

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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:

  • Importing music into iTunes
  • Maintaining your Mac
  • 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, iConnect and CompuB, who provide club members with a discounts on hardware and software purchases and/or repairs.