Macintosh/Apple Odds and Ends

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September 2012

How to Be an Apple Genius. Gizmodo obtained a copy of Apple's Genius Training Student Manual. It's an exhaustive manual for understanding customers and making them happy. Seems like psychology training. Also seems to be for all Apple Store employees. Interesting reading before you go to a store.

Flipboard Hits 20 Million Users. Tech Crunch reports that Flipboard users have increased from 5 million at the end of 2011 to over 20 million today. It's a great app to quickly review headlines and read what you want. I wonder how the Zite app is doing.

Apple v. Samsung. A new cottage industry has arisen - assessing the results of the verdict and what it means for the future of the computer industry and the evolution of devices. Does anybody really understand what's going to happen?

Apple iPhone Sales. Forbes reports that in the March 2012 quarter Apple's iPhone sales were greater than all of Microsoft sales for all products. $22.7 billion v. $17.4 billion.

No More Subsidized iPads AT&T joins Verizon in eliminating the sale of subsidized iPads. Now all you have to do is figure the complicated usage pricing plans.

iPad Sales Surge. reports that iPad shipments are surging as Amazon's Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablets saw major drops. Market share is now 70%.

A Guide for a Child's First Phone. The New York Times' Sam Grobart has published a guide for your child's (or grandchild's) first phone. He says a consensus developing that the 11- to 13-year-old range is appropriate.

July 2012

New MacBook Pro Runs 4 Displays! The new 15" MBP ran 4 displays at their native resolution: the MacBook Pro display, two through Thunderbolt ports and one through an HDMI port. The demonstrator played video on all 4 displays simultaneously. Fantastic?

Using iPhone Abroad. The Mac Observer has a number of posts for using the iPhone in the UK and Italy. If you're going abroad, the posts look very useful.

Daring Fireball on Microsoft's Surface Tablet. It's a pre-announcement. Doesn't look ready yet, but it seems Microsoft is now adopting the Apple model, or as Alan K said 37 years ago, "People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware."

Daring Fireball's 3 Takeaways From WWDC Keynote. First, Apple now has the resources to have 2 OSs in active development. 2nd, the MacBook Pro's Retina Display is the best display Gruber has ever seen. It's amazing, but it's expensive 3rd, a "screw you, Google" tone.

Email Attachments and Sandboxing. If you want to understand why you can't have attachments to sending emails from iOS devices, potential workarounds, why Apple hasn't implemented this feature, and some philosophical considerations regarding Apple's operating system, you ought to read Ted Landau's article in Mac Observer.

New Web Site Tools to Replace iWeb. John Martellaro posted the 2nd installment on new tools. I particularly like the description of Sandbox' new feature called "Extract Content of Website". It appears to be able to extract many pages from any Web site in addition to iWeb sites.

June 2012

Rename Batches Of Files. Miraz Jordan of reviewed A Better Finder Rename, an app for the Mac which enables you to easily rename files or batches of files and make multiple changes in the files with one pass. It's her favorite app. It's $19.95 and a free trial is available. I've used it and am very satisfied.

Evernote and Skitch. The article is extensively about using the 2 programs for gardening, but it does give you an idea of the power of using both of the programs.

.Zip. Kirk McElhearn, a name I'm sure you recognize, recently wrote an article in Macworld answering frequently asked questions about working with .zip files, including how the compression works, how to make a zip file, how to open a zip file, and how to consolidate old zip files.

ITunes Store Hack. Jason O'Grady posted an informative account to It's worth reading to get an idea of what's going on, what you can do if you've been hacked, and what additional information you should request.

10 Finder Tricks. Matthew Bolton posted an article to about 10 Finder-related features which one could use. These include Quick Look, Search, Labels, View Items, Customize Toolbar, and Use Smart Folders.

Tim Cook At D10. Tim Cook, Apple CEO, was interviewed by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at their All Things Digital conference. The interview and partial transcripts appear at a number of websites. Take a look at
"Steve told me, when he called me to his home to talk about being the CEO and subsequently the discussions we had, he told me, 'you know, I witnessed what happened at Disney when Walt passed away.' He said that people would go to meetings... and all sit around and talk about, 'what would Walt have done? How would he view this?'

And he looked at me with those intense eyes that only he had, and he told me to never do that, to never ask what he would do. Just do what's right. And so I'm doing that."

Flame. If you are interested in the Flame malware which has been infecting computers, primarily in Iran and other Middle Eastern countries, the most comprehensive article I've seen is at


iAnnotate. Geri Dreiling posted a 1.5 page review in Legal Tech Review about lawyers using iAnnotate and the iPad for document reviews and cutting down editing time. Its a good introduction to the use of iAnnotate for someone who not only saves articles, etc, but likes to highlight them and insert

Storing Articles And Taking Notes. Dreiling says a lawyer uses the Goodreader app ($4.99) to store case files, Notability ($0.99) for note taking, and PDF expert ($9.99) to edit documents. I guess some lawyers have really gone high tech. I prefer Evernote for both file keeping and note taking, but all seem good.

Should Your iPhone Be Your Only Camera? Ted Landau posted another excellent article to the He says many people are now using the iPhone rather than a point-and-shoot camera. Hes on the edge, but it looks like on his upcoming vacation hes only taking and using an iPhone.

Tim Cook At D10. On the tablet v. PC debate, Tim Cooks following statement at All Things Digital conference was very balanced. Will the tablet displace the PC market? Today there are a lot more believers in that. Id bet there are a lot of people in the audience who use their iPad a lot more than their computer. I know I do that. And I love the Mac, but I find myself spending more and more time on my iPad. As time goes on, I think it will get more and more like that. Sounds familiar to many of us.

Delayed Reading. Jessee Hollington posted an article to iLounge reviewing and comparing Safaris Reader and Reading List, Instapaper, and Readability. For those readers who often move out of Wi-Fi range, these are good choices.

Better Bing Traffic Results. You can now get traffic advice and geo-coding on Bing by way of Nokia. It has broader coverage and improved turn-by-turn directions.

May 2012

Unzip almost any archive file. Kirk McElhearn at suggests that you get the free app, The Unarchiver, for decompressing many obscure types of archive files. His hint is at

Bing's new uncluttered design. If you want to understand Bing's new results page and how it compares to the old Bing design and current Google design, take a look at Josh Constine's article in Tech Crunch.

Apple's Incredible Shrinking Taxes. The New York Times reports that Apple, like many international companies and particularly international technology companies, has gone to great lengths to reduce its taxes. For the full story and the extensive article, go to Apple's response is at

Neighbors routers and networks. Paul Levy of the Princeton MUG list serve reports that if you want to see all the other networks in your area, you can use iStumbler (, but the function is built into Lion. Just click on the gray apple, About This Mac, More Info, and System Report. On the left under Network, click on Wi-Fi. At the bottom of the resulting window is "Current Network Information" which shows your and your neighbors' networks. You may have to do this a few times to see all the other networks.

Sales Taxes On Internet Sales. The Star-Telegram reports that Amazon will begin collecting Texas sales tax on online sales. Both parties will work on getting Congress to enact federal legislation. I doubt that will happen, but the agreement makes it more likely that more retailers will reach agreements with states to start collecting sales taxes on their online sales.

90% of the Internet's top 200,000 HTTPS websites are Insecure. PCWorld says a report was released by the Trustworthy Internet Movement, a nonprofit organization dedicated to solving Internet security problems. Protections against the certain attacks have already been built into newer browsers.

3D photo tours in Google maps. Google Maps has added 3D photo tours of more than 15,000 popular global sites. Gizmodo reports that the tours are derived from publicly shared photos on Picasa and Panoramio. Go to the Map icon in the upper right of Google Maps and click on the arrow and select Photos in the drop-down menu. In Safari you have to enable WebGL from the Developer menu.


How Much of your data Plan are you using? How Much of your data Plan are you using? Since you can so easily run through your iDevice's monthly data allotment, you must have a data-monitoring app such as DataMan ($2 for the Pro version) or Data Usage ($1 for the Pro version). For more information, read Bob Tedeschi's April 11, 2012 New York Times column, Help for users who push their data plans to the limit.

Apple iPad 3's continuing international rollout. Apple launched sales of the iPad 3 in more countries in the last week of April, including India, Israel, South Africa, Columbia, Montenegro, and Thailand. It's the fastest iPad rollout ever, but perhaps more importantly for Mac users, it puts Apple in more countries than ever.

Woz Likes Windows Phone. Steve Wozniak is impressed by the new Windows phone, probably the Nokia Lumina. He says "I'm kind of shocked. Every screen is much more beautiful than the same apps on Android and iPhone." The article indicates he's got at least 10 cellular devices in his regular rotation.

iPad drawing new customers to Apple. AppleInsider reports that about 25% of buyers in the U.S. have made the iPad their first-ever Apple product. It would seem that many of these users will end up buying Macs and so there is one more reason for Apple to continue Mac innovations. NPD Group also reports that the average home with Apple products owns 2.4 Apple devices.

The Evernote note story - part 1. Phil Libin, Evernote CEO, said "The driving force was no one is really happy with biological memory". Back in 2008 Evernote was within 3 weeks of being shut down when a Swedish user emailed him about making an investment in the company and sent $500,000. Last week the company raised another $70 million which put the company's valuation at $1 billion. I don't think you have to worry about Evernote running out of money.

Why Tablets Will Become Our Primary Computing Device. So sayeth It made a lot of sense to me, but many of the comments disagreed. In part, they were reading the article as saying that a tablet would be the only computing device, but the author's thesis is that it will be the primary computing device that we use most of the time. It's worth reading the article and comments.

April 2012

Dropbox Referral Bonuses Doubled. Dropbox Referral Bonuses Doubled. For every friend that you got to install Dropbox, it gave you an additional 250 MB of free storage space. Adam Engst at reports that Dropbox has now sweetened the deal by doubling the bonus space award to 500 MB and doing it retroactively.

Disposing of Old Backups. Ars Technica discusses ways to get rid of your old backups so your data can't be salvaged by someone else. Overwriting seems like the easiest method. The writer doubts if 35 times is necessary.

Spring Cleaning. A reader at posted his periodic maintenance routine. Run "Cocktail" (or some other utility that cleans out everything). Run "AppleJack". Reset the System Management Controller. Reset the NVRAM. Nice and concise and easy to do.

Google Search. Amit Agarwal at references a two-minute video on searching from Google. From there go to Google.inside for further explanation. This should be helpful for the average user.

Backing up calendars and contacts to iCloud. Melissa Holt at the Mac Observer provides detailed instructions on how to back up both data sets to iCloud. I have some question as to whether the data is still on your local drive, but the instructions are quite helpful.

When Cometh An Apple TV? From Not until 2013 says a research group. Who knows , but the reasoning is informative.

Auto-Analytics. If you would like to see how you spend your time, but don't want to take the time to do it, investigate auto-analytics. Software might do it for you. Start with James Wilson's article in HBR. That can take you to a list of 504 tools. I selected the Productivity tag and found Rescue Time, which looks like an useful tool.

All About Bitrates. Andy Doe at The Naxos Blog explains compression techniques to make music take up less space when converting a CD into MP3 format.


Video Speed Trap In New iPad. The Wall Street Journal gives several examples of how users of the new iPad have churned through their monthly data allowance in days, if not hours. Verizon estimates that video on a 4G LTE connection runs 650 MB per hour, double what get on 3G because more data coming through. Be careful!!

iPad 3 Users Risk High Usage Charges! ZDNet reports that by watching a 720p Netflix movie at 3800 Kbps on Verizon 4G LTE you can burn through your 5 GB monthly allotment in less than 3 hours. Downloading certain types of iPad apps can also do a job on usage. Sounds like better use WiFi whenever you can. And read the article at

iOS App Store Searching. Ars Technica reports that Apple has acquired Chomp to vastly improve searching on the iOS App Store. A free IOS app is currently available from Chomp for the iPhone and iPod touch. You can browse without being limited to Apple's categories or app names.

SugarSync 3.0 Available for iPhone & iPad & iPod touch. So reports Jeff Gamut at the Mac Observer. You get syncing, sharing and 5 GB of free storage. Some say it is better than Dropbox.

Heatgate and the iPad 3. John Martellaro over at the Mac Observer reports that the sound and fury over heat on the iPad 3 is "complete nonsense". But he wishes the iPad 3 had stereo speakers as every other tablet has. Guess we have to wait until next year's model.

Apple's War On Android. For an extensive view of the fights in 10 countries between Apple, Google and Google device makers, read Businessweek's article. Will anyone really win? Will Cook pull back on Jobs' threat of annihilation?

The new iPad will slow The Internet. Buzzfeed reports that web sites will need larger file sizes to accommodate the increased resolution of the new iPad. The size of Apple's site quadrupled [the article says it went from 500 MB To 2 GB, but that seems way to small to me]. Your downloads will take more time; it's just a question of when.

Future of Mobile Computing. For an extensive slide deck of information on the growth of smartphones and tablets, the platform wars, and how consumers are actually using their devices, go to

February 2012

Apple Sales Breakdown. It's simply astonishing that Macs comprise only 15% of Apple sales and that the iPhone and other iDevices and services are 85%!

Apple V. PC Industry Shipments. Apple U.S. Mac shipments grew 21% in fourth quarter 2011, to 2.1 million, while the PC industry shipments declined 16%. Apple market share is up to 11.6% from 9% a year ago. Looks like buying a Mac is becoming legitimized.

Ultrabooks and the MacBook air. Larry Dignan on, when discussing whether ultrabooks will make it in the Windows world, says: "No matter how much you love ultrabooks, Apple created the category. Price will matter for ultrabook success largely due to Apple prices. At $800, many folks will go MacBook Air over the ultrabook assuming they can handle an 11-inch screen (I can't) starting at $999. At $1,299 for a 13-inch MacBook Air, an ultrabook at half that price is very appealing. The challenge for ultrabooks is that the PC industry is going where Apple has been--not where it's going. Apple could cut prices, cook up new designs and offer more screen variety to fend off ultrabooks.


[None this month.]

January 2012

The Story Behind Dropbox and the Confrontation with ICloud. You have to read the 7 page article by Rachel Swan in about how Dropbox came to be, what was involved in modifying Apple's Finder, how Dropbox works, and what about the confrontation between little Dropbox and big Apple's iCloud. It is absolutely fascinating.

Apple Stock. If you are interested in why Apple stock should be trading at a much higher price and also viewing the Apple company from a high-level, it would be worthwhile for you to read the 3-1/2 page article by Andy Zaky in Seeking Alpha.

Build Your Own Hackintosh. provides a download of a free guide to build your Hackintosh, a PC which will run Mac OS X - assuming you want put in the time and

Apple Store, Grand Central. In December, Apple opened a new store overlooking the main hall in Grand Central Station in New York City. It was, not surprisingly, architecturally striking. There are no walls and there is no separate ceiling to the store, just the roof of the main hall. If you go to New York, it's worthwhile visiting the store. Apple's site has 14 photos.

The Changing Composition of Apple's Sales. If you want to see the change in Apple since the iPod was delivered in 2001, all you have to do is look at Apple's sales. Projections for 2012 are that the iPhone accounts for 50% of sales; the iPad, 22%; the iPod, 4%, and the Macintosh, 15%. That 15% is still $26 billion - and it keeps rising - but there's been quite a change in the composition of sales and the business of Apple.

What You Ought to Know About SOPA and the Movie Industry. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), if passed by Congress, could radically affect what you can see on the Internet. For a history of the movie industry's resistance to progress, take a look at the article by Steve Blank (a highly successful technology entrepreneur). Also, see David Carr's column in the New York Times.

Hybrid Hard Drives, The New Alternative to SSDs Seagate is offering a 750 GB hybrid hard drive, which combines a small SSD with a disk-based drive. Pricing is currently at about $250, much more expensive than a traditional hard drive, but much less expensive than a pure SSD and a lot more capacity.


No Need to Kill Apps in The Multitasking Bar! The apps shown in a multitasking bar on your iOS device don't slow performance and suck up memory. - contrary to whatever you've heard. If you want a better understanding of iOS multitasking, read Fraser Spiers blog. I may even put it in next month's newsletter.

Should You Buy an iPhone or an Android Phone? Dave Gewirtz' column in was designed to help you make a decision as to which phone to buy, given your needs and preferences. He concludes there is no clear winner and that where you have to do your research is only which apps you want or need.

Enhanced iPad Photos and Videos. John Martellaro at the Mac Observer reviewed a $2.99 app for the iPad 2, Camera Boost, which provides the experienced photographer with the ability to substantially enhance iPad 2 photos and videos.

Apple's Siri Feature Doubles iPhone Data Usage. And about 1% of high-use subscribers downloaded 50% of the data. As the use of voice command software accelerates, will this also accelerate the shift to consumption-based pricing of smart phones.

Apple Mobile Device Shopping Huge - Comparatively. Darrell Etherington at reports that iPhone and iPads accounted for over 92% of online retail sales not originating from a desktop device. However - mobile shopping is only about 4% of total online shopping, but the trend is

A 7-inch iPad? There is a war among the rumor sites as to whether Apple will release a 7-inch iPad in 2012 because of the success (?) of the Kindle Fire and the Nook. Steve Jobs said that a 7-inch screen is too small to express the software. We shall see. Personally, I have no problem with the 9.7 inch iPad display and think I would prefer that size.

The Smartphone Camera is Replacing the Single-Purpose Camera. John Paczkowski at reports that 27% of photos taken in 2011 were captured by smartphones, up from 17% last year. So unless you're a professional photographer or a hobbyist, don't expect to keep buying point-and-shoot cameras.

December 2011

2nd-generation hybrid drive. Seagate has announced a new hybrid drive that combines a 750 GB 7200 RPM conventional drive and 8 GB of flash memory. Benchmarks indicate it's just a few seconds slower than an SSD drive. These drives could be our bridge to faster speeds until SSDs replace conventional drives.

SSDs for Data Centers - And You. Start-up Pure Storage claims that its systems can store data for less than the cost of hard drives, retrieve data 10 times faster, and use one-tenth the power and space of hard drives. If these claims are anywhere near true, you might expect to see SSD drives in your Macs within 3-5 years.

Making The Computer Disappear. If you're interested in the idea that successful technology involves making the computer invisible to the user, you probably want to read Matthew Ingram's article in The full article will be in our January issue.

The Data Furnace. A recent paper looks at how computer servers — though still operated by their companies — could be placed inside homes, offices and apartment buildings and used as a source of heat. The authors call the concept the "data furnace."

Tracking Your Moves.
CNNMoney reports that a software company will track people's moves in 2 malls by monitoring the signals of their cell phones. It can follow shoppers' paths from store to store. Personal data is not tracked.

Mac Growth Continues. Macs have outperformed the general PC industry for 22 straight quarters, with 44% year-over-year growth during the last quarter alone.

The iPhone 4S Camera. Ars Technica has published an extensive report on the iPhone 4S camera and whether it can replace a "real" digital camera. For the professional photographer, the answer is no. For everyone else, the answer is it depends upon your needs. Although the answer was not definitive, the discussion was very informative.

AT&T's First LTE Smart Phones Are Fast. Dwight Silverman at the Houston Chronicle tested two new phones and experienced download speeds of more than 44 Mpbs. When are they coming to Philly?


Apple Beats Android In Mobile App Revenues. A stock analyst estimated that Apple generated more than 12 times the mobile app revenues that Android did, $4.9 billion v. $342 million. Interestingly, paid apps were 13% of Apple revenues v. 1.3% for Android revenues.

Kindle Fire Becomes A Distant #2 To iPad. Survey results show that for users planning on purchasing a tablet, the iPad got a 65% share, the Kindle Fire a 22% share, and Samsung's Galaxy a 4% share. No other manufacturer got more than a 1% share. There's much more information at

Learning Thermostat. The team that helped design the iPod has developed a programmable thermostat that looks and acts like an Apple product. It has Wi-Fi so you can program it from afar and it learns from your manual adjustments. There's much more in David Pogue's review at

Indoor Mapping. Google now joins Microsoft and a couple of startups in extending its mapping application to large indoor public spaces such as airports, malls and big department stores that partner with Google and share their floor plans. Google has started with the Android. App. is a free app for the iPhone and the iPod touch which tells you whether to buy now or wait for your new consumer electronics gadget or game. It predicts whether prices will go up or down in the future and whether a new or better product will soon be released. The extensive article in the New York Times is at

New Google Search App. Google announced it has significantly redesigned and improved the Google Search app for the iPad. It is supposed to be more interactive, more visual and more helpful in assisting you find what you are looking for.

Record Calls On The iPhone. has reviewed 3 apps (Recorder, Google Voice and EonPhone) which enable you to record calls on the iPhone. You have to determine whether it's legal. Only the Google app is free. The article also describes a free way to do it without installing any app.

SoundNote. An alternative to the above 3 apps is SoundNote which allows you to not only record incoming or outgoing calls on your iPad if you use the speaker, but also enables you to record general conversations, meetings, radio programs, etc. Just go to the App Store.

November 2011

Apple store super customer options. If you order online a product which is in stock at an Apple Store near you, you'll be able to pick it up in 12 minutes after completing the order. AND if you find an item at the store that you want to buy. You can scan it in the store with your camera, click purchase, the credit card associated with your Apple ID will be charged. And then you just to walk out of the store with it. No lines. WOW!

Taxing online sales nationally. Amazon and California have agreed to a one-year reprieve from Amazon collecting sales taxes on online sales in the state. More importantly both have agreed to work together for a national standard on taxing online sales. The states have been working on this for the last 7 or 8 years. I think there's more than a 50-50 probability that online sales will be taxed in the next 2 years.

Lion adoption rate soars. CEO Tim Cook announced on October 3, 2011 that Apple had sold more than 6 million copies of Lion. The number is 80% higher than the sales of Snow Leopard during a similar stretch and represents about 22% of the Mac market. Very impressive.

Editing Photos With Photoshop Elements 10. If you'd like to start editing your photos with Photoshop Elements, but you don't want to first read Peachpit Press's 400-plus page book, then this article, which is a chapter from the book, will quickly get you started. In addition, if you're considering Elements, this is a good place to start.

Preview, AppleScript & Sandboxing. Andy Ihnatko is fretting that Apple does not allow Preview to be scripted with Apple Script. He says that the Mac must never become a consumer product like the iPad, saddled with artificial limitations name of safety, reliability, and tidiness. And he loves his iPad! The article elicited 59 comments, most agreeing with him. Do you think Apple is constraining its more advanced users?

Paperless filing system. There's a guest post in about a simple paperless filing system. The system uses a main folder for each letter of the alphabet with subfolders under each main folder. Thus, there are only 26 main folders. The concept is intriguing and worth thinking about.


PC growth slows as tablets boom. The Gartner Group forecast worldwide PC shipments of 352 million units, an increase of 3.8% over 2010, but lower than the previously projected 9.3% growth. Most of the growth was outside the US and Europe. Tablet sales are now running at a shipping rate of about 75 million annually in eating into PC growth. At this rate, tablet sales could equal PC sales within the next 5 years.

iPad dominance. Although many analysts predict an Android tablet will catch up to the iPad by 2012, a marketing research firm believes that it will take until at least 2017. Also interesting is that another research firm predicts that global tablet shipments will reach 330 million by 2017 - up from less than 60 million units in 2011. I wonder how many will replace PCs?

iOS 5 extensive review. Dan Morin at Macworld wrote a long review of iOS 5. Much too long for the newsletter, but something which should be very useful to iOS 5 users.

iOS 5's New and Hidden Settings. Ted Landau at The Mac Observer has given us an excellent review of most of the options contained in the Settings app of iOS 5. It's another helpful piece from Ted. His conclusion: "iOS 5 is the most spectacular iOS upgrade since the original iPhone was released in 2007.....If your iOS device can run this update, get it. Period."

iPhone 4S: upgrade or wait? Lex Friedman at Macworld addressed the buy or wait issue. One conclusion-the 4S is here today; the next-next generation is a giant unknown. However, he gives the reasons for buying or waiting, dependent upon your circumstances. If you're in a quandary, this is a helpful article.

iPhone Review. Here's another extensive review from Macworld, this time from Jason Snell. Again, too long for the newsletter. Again, very helpful. Very interesting to see the comparison of the photos taken from the 5 different iPhones.

Hotmail is hot on iOS 5. Microsoft reports that some 2 million Hotmail accounts have been linked to an iOS device since IOS 5 was released and some 100,000 are doing so daily. What's going on?

Waze App. Dwight Silverman (one of the best tech writers) at the Houston Chronicle reports a free turn-by-turn app for the iPhone and iPad. Looks like you have to get it if you do any driving at all

October 2011

Path Finder as a finder replacement. As many people know, I'm a big supporter of Path Finder. So is Tessa Thornton at App Storm. She says that if you've ever wished that Finder had feature X, Path Finder probably has it. She sees Path Finder as not just an "enhanced" Finder, but a much more powerful replacement. Read the article and try Path Finder.

Designer Jonathan Ive. "Jony" Ive, the leader of Apple's design team, was the main impetus, along with Steve Jobs, of Apple's eye-catching products. For an in-depth and fascinating discussion of Jony's history with Apple and his immense contribution, read the article in

Why Flash Is the Future of Storage in Data Centers. Flash memory is beginning to replace hard disks in consumer computing, although it is expensive. Steve Lohr at The New York Times reviews the technical advancements in moving flash into data-center computing. You can expect the advancements to trickle down to the consumer space. Funny; for a number years the direction of progress have been from the consumer space to the commercial space.

How to downgrade from Lion to Snow Leopard. A few people have had a problem with Lion. An article in GigaOm tells you how to reinstall Lion. What do you need first of all? A cloned backup of your pre-Lion drive. Always good advice.

Translate English English to US English. If you like English movies, TV shows, Internet sites or computer reviews, you might take a look at Sci-FiOne's dictionary containing hundreds of terms. Or you just might want to skim it anyway. I thought the same language was spoken on both sides of the "pond". Duh.

Steve Jobs in Newsweek 1983-Present. The Daily Beast (I think it runs Newsweek) has 8 slides highlighting Newsweek's coverage of Steve Jobs over the years. This is the place to go if you want to see Jobs in a shirt and tie (including a bow tie).

Lion's upgraded security features. An explanation of the top three new Mac security measures: sandboxes, address space layout randomization, and Filevault 2. Not a reason to upgrade, but nevertheless useful information.

No more boxed software. It appears that all Apple software products will only be available through the Apple Online Store. Will this policy soon apply to all Apple resellers?

Mail In Mac OS X Lion. Dan Frakes' 4-page article on the Lion version of Mail is a must read. Just too long for this newsletter. He says, "The latest incarnation of Mail still has its shortcomings, but it's easily the best version yet, making it a solid built-in solution for those new to the Mac, as well as a compelling option for those who've been mulling a migration from another email client."


Skype on the iPad. It was worth waiting for said Yarra Lancet at on September 1, 2011. The article has detailed instructions and 16 images. Very helpful.

8 iPhone 4 battery cases. Lex Friedman at Macworld reviewed 8 cases, selected 2 as his favorites and recommended one if you crave thinness more than power or protection. Choosing a case is never an easy decision. This article should help you.

Improve battery life. If you'd like to keep your battery running for as long as possible, has a number of tips, including keep your device out of the sun or heat, reduce screen brightness, reduce the Auto-Lock time, use Airplane Mode when you don't need Internet, use Wi-Fi instead of 3G, reduce or eliminate system sounds, and disable Location Services.

Amazon's Kindle Fire. Amazon's announcement of the Kindle Fire on September 28th is a device tablet users should understand. It's an alternative to the iPad rather than a direct competitor. John Gruber at has written another of his incisive articles. It's worth reading. You might also want to read Businessweek's extensive article on Amazon.

Apple's iPhone 5. By the time you read this, Apple will probably have announced a new iPhone. Expectations are for a larger screen, faster processor, thinner design and an 8-megapixel camera. Most observers think iOS 5 will also be announced. From what I've read about the beta versions, I certainly hope so. And iCloud?

iPhone 89% retention rate. AppleInsider reports that a survey by UBS, the giant Swiss bank, indicates that 89% of iPhone owners say they will stick with Apple for their next smartphone. Number 2, HTC,had only a 39% retention rate. Sounds like good news for Apple in the smartphone space.

What about the iPod? For a very interesting discussion of the future of Apple's 10-year old iPod line, take a look at Dan Frommer's article in Although it only represents about 5% of Apple's revenue, Apple ships more than 40 million iPods year, generating billions in revenue.

September 2011

10 Lion tips for Snow Leopard users. Maria Langer has written a fairly extensive article for Peachpit covering a number of the features in Lion which are different from Snow Leopard. I think it should be very helpful in making an "upgrader" comfortable with the differences he will see in Lion.

10 Reasons To Switch To Lion. Tom Negrino at Peachpit Press gave an extensive review of the main features of Lion, too long for this newsletter, but worth reading if you're still considering switching. The 10 reasons are: better browsing, improved apps, full screen apps, Mission Control, Launchpad, Auto Save and Version Control, Resume, better file management, gestures scrolling, and AirDrop.

80 OS X Lion Features You May Have Overlooked. J. R. Bookwalter at Maclife assembled the host of new features in Lion. I put about 40 of them in a file for use over the coming weeks.

Lion Tweaks for customizing Lion. Lion Tweaks Is a free little app that is an easy GUI front-end for customizing Lion. It can be activated from a central location at the click of a button.

Install Snow Leopard on a new Lion-based Mac. If you have some apps and plug-ins that will not run under Lion, David Gewirtz at ZDNet posted a nice little piece detailing how to install Snow Leopard on your new Mac.

MacBook Air. Tim Stevens at Engadget reviewed the new MacBook Air line and was impressed. Sleek and powerful. Thunderbolt port, more than twice as powerful as the 2010 MacBook Air in the Geekbench test, 5-7 hour battery life, solid state drive for fast, fast booting and app and file opening. It's now Apple's low end laptop. Only one problem. Expensive. NOTE THE LAST 3 LETTERS OF THE URL!

My Neighbor Steve Jobs. Very touching blog by a neighbor about the human side of Steve Jobs.


Dvorak on the iPad and Mac Laptops. John Dvorak, supposed anti-Apple guru, says "I personally cannot even see a reasonable competitor for the iPad anywhere on the horizon. The Mac laptops have become the prestigious executive laptop of choice."

Smartphone Market Share. TechCrunch reports that Android and Apple together now account for nearly 70% of smartphone subscribers. Android's at 42% and Apple's at 27%.

Great Craigslist Apps. Bob Tedeschi at the New York Times writes of several iPhone apps that are superior to Craigslist's own app. Browsing is easier and you can receive alerts on items of interest. On CraigsPro+ you can search on and receive alerts from multiple cities simultaneously.

AT&T New Texting Plans. AT&T has just terminated its $10 per month texting plan, offering instead a $20 unlimited texting plan or a pay-per-text plan. Ricardo Bilton at ZDNet pans both alternatives.

AT&T data throttling begins. Gilberto Perera at reports that smartphone users with unlimited data plans may experience reduced speeds once their usage in a billing cycle puts them among the top 5% of the heaviest data users. Among the questions is what amount of usage put you in the top 5%.

Apple v. Samsung. Infinite Loop summarizes the court battles between Apple and Samsung in 4 countries and my conclusion is the lawyers are the only winners. Big billings in a soft economy.

An Apple television set in 2012. MediaBeat reports that multiple Silicon Valley sources believe that Apple will release in late 2012 a TV set based on the iOS operating system. Venture capitalist Stuart Alsop says "Apple will do to television manufacturers what it did to phone makers with the iPhone."

August 2011

Podcast Catcher. iCatcher, a $2 app for the iPad and the iPhone, got a rave review in Macworld's AppGuide. Use it to find podcasts you didn't know existed, to download or stream them, to sort them, and in general to manage your podcasts. Two comments were "a gem" and "tough to top".

iPad 2 Cases. It's tough to make a choice when you have too many options. The solution is to read Jason Snell's review in Macworld of nine (out of a few dozen) iPad 2 folio-style cases. The review should definitely help you make a choice, even if you can't physically touch all the cases.

iPad Office Apps on the Go. Matthew Miller wrote a five-page article in comparing the following iPad office apps — Documents 2, Documents To Go, iWork, Office2 HD, Quickoffice Pro HD and Smart Office. If you have the need for this type of app, I suggest you read the article, although it is too long for this newsletter. Miller's conclusion — iWorks is really the best suite available, but also the most expensive. Quickoffice Pro HD is his favorite in the lower cost range.

Office 365. Sam Diaz in sums up Microsoft's hybrid cloud-desktop Office 365 offering as follows: "requires a computer science degree just to sign-up", 11 different plans, three editions in two tiers, full of complexity and lock-ins. It certainly makes it easier for Google to compete in this area. I wonder what Apple will offer.

One computer, multiple iDevices. If you want to learn to use more than one iPad, iPhone, or iPod with the same Mac, take a look at Apple Support's article at for three methods and detailed instructions.

Use your mobile phone to scan business cards. Amit Agarwal has another excellent short useful article on scanner apps for reading business cards. The apps are Google Goggles, CardMunch, and Abbyy's Business Card Reader. The latter appears to be the best and also the most accurate. BTW, Abbyy software is used with Fujitsu's ScanSnap scanner.

Skype. A new version of Skype is now available for the iPad. Matt Miller at ZDNet reports that it is much improved and has full video, call, and IM clients for the iPad, iPhone and Android. Oops, Skype pulled the iPad version off the App Store, tweeting that it was posted prematurely.


Apple Folklore.When Seymour Cray (founder of Cray Research) heard that Apple had bought a Cray supercomputer to design the next Macintosh, Cray commented that he had bought a Mac to design the next Cray.

Apple #3. The Mac Observer reports that research firm Gartner reports that Apple was the #3 PC vendor in the U.S. with a 10.7% market share, passing both Toshiba and Acer. More details at

Lion And Quicken. Ted Landau, a Quicken user since the 1990's, concludes in the Mac Observer that Intuit, Quicken's developer, treats Mac users with a disregard that comes close to contempt. I think a lot of people feel that way. Adios Quicken and forget about Quicken Essentials.

Lion Install Help. Take a look at Dan Frakes Macworld article, "Installing Lion; What you need to know",, and Joe Kissell's e-book, "Take Control of Upgrading to Lion", See my column.

Apple Death Knell #56. Great reading for the depressed. The Mac Observer maintains The Apple Death Knell Counter, a collection of death pronouncements for Apple throughout the years. Bryan Chaffin has a droll column on #56. Someone went a little bonkers on open versus closed systems. Chaffin's conclusion: "awesome" trumps "cheap piece of crap".

Apple Stock has 30% Upside Potential. If you are interested in Apple's stock price, this column mathematically analyzes the pricing and concludes "fair value" is around $430. Right or wrong, it's an interesting analysis.

Extend Wireless Network's Range. Amit Agarwal has written another excellent article on how to extend your Wi-Fi network using an old wireless router and connecting it to your existing router using inexpensive Ethernet cable. It has very detailed instructions.

Mac Malware Update. For Ed Bott's update of what happened to Mac Defender, its disappearance in late June, and the evidence that suggests the next round will be significantly worse, you should read his article in

July 2011

iWork for All iDevices. In late May Apple extended the iPad versions of Pages, Numbers And Keynote to the iPhone and iPod touch. There were also a few improvements in the Suite, particularly the sorely needed ability to group documents into folders. For more information, you should read Ted Landau's article at,, as well as a number of Apple support articles.

MobileMe Transition. Apple released a short bulletin on the transition from MobileMe to iCloud, basically saying that your service has been automatically extended through July 30, 2012 at no additional charge. Then MobileMe Dies!

Exhaustive List Of iOS 5 Features. Jason O'Grady, one of our local gurus, noted three of his favorite iOS 5 features that have been largely unnoticed — text macros, LED flash for alerts, and custom vibrations. He also listed the first 50 of a list of 133 iOS 5 features that TechZoom had compiled.

How iCloud Works With A Shared Apple ID. Brian Stucki's house has 4 people, 8 IOS devices, and a shared Apple ID. If you have more than one person in your house, you may find this setup helpful. In addition, Brian shows how to set it up with iOS 5, including a number of screenshots.

Connect To My Devices To One Mac. reports that you can buy a dual link cable that costs $25 and permits you to connect two devices to one Mac. It works with an iPad, syncing it, but not charging it. Rats.

iDevice App #1 — SoundNote. Superb way to take notes in meeting, lectures, etc. and audio record the session. During playback, tap a word and SoundNote jumps to that spot. I've used to record MLMUG meetings. $1.99.

iDevice App #2 — Bamboo Paper or Penultimate. Both apps let you create handwritten note, sketches, doodles, etc. using a stylus or your finger. Resulting notes are emailable.

Magic Trackpad. If you haven't used the Magic Trackpad, Apple's Multi-Touch Bluetooth trackpad designed to work with your Mac desktop, go to the nearest Apple store and try it out. I've been using one for a couple months and it has replaced my favorite mouse.


Misuse Of Admin Account. Create a non-administrator user in the Accounts pane of System Preferences and use the account for everyday tasks, especially surfing the Web. Only use the administrator account when performing system admin tasks.

Mac OS X Security Configuration Manual. If security is a concern, you might want to take a look at Apple's security guides. The 272-page Snow Leopard version is at

Apple Now the World's Largest Purchaser of Semiconductors. Apple became the world's largest purchaser of semiconductors with its chip consumption up 80% in 2010 compared to 2009. Purchases were $17.5 billion and 2011 projections are $22.4 billion. 61% of purchases were for iPhones and iPads

Jobs' Presentation On The New Apple Campus. You must see Steve Jobs' presentation to the Cupertino City Council on the day after WWDC keynote on the plans for Apple's new modern 50-acre campus for 12,000 employees. Parking is underground and 80% of the acreage is landscaping. The key, however, is not the building, but the video of Jobs. He looks pretty good to me.

Download Manuals In PDF Format. has the URLs for thousands of manuals in PDF format.

Amazon Sales Tax Battle State-by-State. website provides a state-by-state look at how Amazon is handling the push by many states for tax on Internet sales. Although Amazon collects tax in only five states, expect this to increase as budget problems push states and local governments. Federal legislation is not out of the question.

Lengthened PC Replacement Cycle. A survey by InformationWeek found that only 15% of desktops and laptops at corporate IT departments were running Windows 7 which was released in October 2009. Thus, the traditional three year replacement cycle has now been extended. More importantly, most user needs were more than satisfied with two and three year old computers.

June 2011

iWork for All iDevices. Apple announced that its iWork productivity apps, Keynote, Pages and Numbers, are now available for iPhone and iPod touch, as well as iPad. Free updates are available for anyone who owns the iPad version.

Rolling Stone V. Forbes. The head of Rolling Stone thinks it will be a generation or two before readers switch en masse from printed magazines to tablet computers. A blogger disagrees, noting that Forbes is now making more money from digital than from print. Rolling Stone didn't put its McChrystal profile on its website and chaos ensued.

Apple V. Mac Defender. Apple's Security Update 2011 — 003 eliminates Mac Defender malware installations and prevents further infections. Works with 10.6.7. Download the Update. It only takes a few minutes and doesn't require a reboot. Update. Ed Bott reports that a new variation of Mac Defender is in the wild. This one has a new name, Mdinstall.pkg, and it has been specifically formulated to skate past Apple's malware-blocking code.

Tablet shipments. AppleInsider reports that J.P. Morgan estimates Apple's competitors have reduced their build plans because of lackluster sales of their products. JPM projects 63 million 2011 total tablet builds, with the iPad representing about 33 million units, a 52% market share.

Verizon Tiered pricing coming. Reuters said that Verizon will be eliminating smartphone plans that allow unlimited Web access for a flat fee. Heavy data users will pay more. Family data plans may soften the blow. Expect more carriers to do the same.

iPad Usage. A Nielsen survey of nearly 12,000 U.S. tablet owners indicates that 70% of tablet owners use their devices while watching television and 57% use their tablets in bed. My guess is that tablet owners do a lot more multitasking than desktop owners, but I am not sure that anyone has done such a survey.

New AT&T Network. GigaOM reports that speeds on the trial LTE network were 28.9 Mbps on the download side, and 10.4 Mbps on the upload side. This compared to speeds of 3.8 Mbps on the download side and 1.218 Mbps on the upload for an iPhone capable of maxing out on AT&T's 7.2 Mbps HSPA network. I'm waiting for the rollout.


Steve Jobs' Presentations. Thanks to John Krause for pointing out the Writers Block Live article and comments on Steve Jobs' presentation mouse and all the work that goes on behind the scenes for a steve presentation. It shows you need a lot of work beforehand to do a great presentation - and really everything.

New iMac hard drives near impossible to replace. Ted Landau in the Mac Observer guesses that Apple indifference seems the most likely explanation, but the discussion on the various conspiracy theories is fascinating.

Big Apple Announcements. On June 6th, Apple will have unveiled Lion, its eighth major release` of Mac OS X; iOS 5, its mobile operating system; and, most intriguing, iCloud, its upcoming and mysterious cloud services offering.

More memory for a 2007 iMac. Dwight Silverman's blog of May 27, 2011 has a very interesting discussion of his upgrade of his 2007 iMac from 4 GB to 6 GB, the performance enhancement, and to what extent manufacturer memory limits have to be examined with jaundiced eye. He substituted a 4 GB module for one of the 2 GB modules. Significantly reduced the spinning beach ball.

Apple corporate sales surge 66%. AppleInsider reports that Mac sales surge while the rest of the PC market grew just 4.5%. Apple also saw a 156% increase in government sales, compared to 2.3% for the overall PC market. Apple is certainly firing on all cylinders.

Solve Printing Problems with Preview. Lex Friedman of says that opening a PDF version of your file in Preview and then printing that version can solve many printing problems.

Travel-Friendly Cables. Dan Frakes in indicated he uses 3-inch cables for travel, leaving the longer standard ones at home. Great idea for travelers.

Sales tax on online sales. There is a new push to tax online sales which, in general, are exempted from state sales tax if the vendor doesn't have an in-state location. The states are losing billions in revenues. More details to come, but we might see federal legislation in 2012.

May 2011

iPhone 5. Apple normally announces a new iPhone every June. The latest rumors are that because new Verizon iPhone customers would cry foul, being stuck with a two-year contract and an old iPhone, there wouldn't be June release. But a number of sites speculate on a joint September announcement with iPod and iTunes products.

iPad is not personal computer replacement. Adrian Hughes on ZDNet provides four criticisms of the iPad and concludes it is not a replacement for the personal computer, at least not yet. To me the major one is the lack of a shared file storage area.

iPad Pricing. BusinessWeek says that Apple, never known for inexpensive products, has priced the iPad so aggressively that the iPad has actually become the low-cost option. Apple has gained market share so quickly so nobody else can come in and make money. I guess we'll see low prices for a while.

The decimation of single-purpose products. The New York Times says: "The smartphone has crushed the market for GPS devices, put a serious dent in the point-and-shoot camera industry and threatens the existence of many other everyday devices — the wristwatch, the alarm clock and the portable music player." Will the iPad kill the Kindle? Probably not, but a serious dent is very likely.

Choosing a Good Stylus for your iPad.Macworld reviewed 12 styluses for the iPad and other touchscreen devices. What was particularly helpful was an 8 minute video demo.

Using Apple's Find My iOS Device Service. Dan Moren at Macworld provides detailed instructions on how to set up Apple's Find My iOS device on your iPad and iPhone. Set it up before you lose it.

Is the iPad for a kid a healthy "replacement" for TV? Absolutely. Mike Elgan at Cult of Mac demonstrates it's better in so many ways. I agree

iPhone And iPad has pages of tips, organized in 10 categories such as Phone tips, Message tips, Email tips, Photo tips, Video tips, etc. My guess you can easily spend an hour looking at and perhaps trying some of the tips.


Apple Market Share Up. IDC reports that Apple's U.S. computer shipments in the first quarter of 2011 were up 9.6%, while the industry shipments were down 10.7%. Apple's U.S. market share has now increased to 8.5% from 7% a year ago. If you counted the iPad as a computer, Apple's global market share of Q1 2011 shipments would be 9.5% vs. 3.5% in Q1 2010. However computed, Apple's on a roll.

Mac Vs. PC Users. has been asking questions of its visitors for the past 18 months. 52% were PC users, 25% were Mac users, and 23% said neither (I wonder what that means). The differences in answers were very interesting. Have fun and take a peek For example, PC people are 43% more likely to say talking about computers is akin to "struggling with a foreign language", while "Mac people are 21% more likely than PC people to consider themselves computer-savvy gearheads".

Mac Malware. ZDNet Reports that a Danish IT security company says there is evidence that the next target of some malware authors is Apple. The report even shows a snippet of the malware script and with the Trojan installed on the Mac, a remote host was able to log keystrokes in Safari and capture passwords for a Gmail account.

Mac Malware Crimekit. eWeek reports that there is a crimekit available on a few "closed underground forums" where criminals can buy software to build malware for the Mac, similar to what they can do for Windows.

Time machine guide. You must go to John Pond's website which has the best Time Machine guide (in the form of FAQs) that I've seen. In addition, it has a number of other tips, including how to use the console app, how to read those mysterious log files, data recovery, and recovering disk space.

Apple's cloud strategy. "Apple's online services are, at best, uneven; at worst, missing." So says Charles Jade ofGigaOM, as reported in the New York Times. He suggests Apple should (1) fix what doesn't work [iDisk], (2) include free services, including email and synchronization, and (3) offer expanded services such as music storage.

Finder's Column View. Double-click on the Resize handle at the bottom of the column to expand to the width of the longest name. Right-click for more options.

April 2011

The iPad 2. For an excellent and extensive review of the iPad 2 by Macworld's Jason Snell that would have run 6 pages in this Newsletter, go to You will find the comparison of the photos from the iPhone 4, the iPod Touch 4G and the iPad 2 particularly illuminating.

Pogue - the iPad 2 and Your Emotions. Now switch over to the emotional side of your personality. The improvement in thinness, weight and speed, although they may seem slight, transform the experience. Ask anybody who gets an iPad 2. And the iPad 2 costs less than the competition! No ifs, ands or buts.

Apple Vs. Google in the Mobile Space. If you want to read why someone thinks a replay of the PC v. the Mac will result in Google beating out Apple in mobile operating systems over the next 10 years, read a column by Clayton Reeves. Well written, but not persuasive.

iPads in the corporate world and Our World. CIO Magazine reports that Marc Benioff, Chairman, says that he still has a PC but is using it less and less as he's using his iPad more. He called 2011 "the year of the tablet", as he does 2012 and 2013. Looking around at our meetings and other MUG meetings, it seems we need to spend more time on Apple's iPad.

Photoshop for iPad Marks the End of the Desktop Computing Era. A superb column was just published in Gizmodo discussing not only the new Photoshop app for the iPad, but how and why normal people prefer tablets over full computers. I'll include it in next month's newsletter, but if you want to read it before May, the URL is!5787574.

Nisenholtz On Times' Paywall, Etc. If you're interested in the background of the New York Times subscription plans, take a look at by All Things Digital's Peter Kafka's extended interview of Martin Nisenholtz, the Times' Digital Czar.

Dell - iPad will fail in the enterprise. Jim Dalrymple,, reports Dell slams the iPad. He says "Am I going crazy or has Microsoft been trying this strategy (tablet PCs and Microsoft Windows) for a decade now without success. How is it that Dell thinks things are going to change now?"

MACINTOSH This website arranges all the links of must-read technology stories from hundreds of news sites and blogs into a single, easy-to-scan page. I recommend you read Techmeme first thing every morning — even before you make your coffee.

Jobs twits Samsung, Apple's big chip and display Supplier. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Steve keeps beating up on Samsung although the Korean company makes the crucial A4 chip. More importantly, Samsung is not using the chip in its own products. For the reasons why and why Apple will be able to stay ahead in the tablet market, go to

SelfControl. reports on a neat little app that blocks distractions when you need to focus. For example, Facebook, Twitter, games, even email. You set the time from one minute to 12 hours and you can't undo the block until the timer runs out. And it's free.

iOS & OS X At WWDC. Tickets for Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference sold out in under 12 hours. Fastest sell-out on record. Expected to be primarily software, with a focus on mobile and Mac operating systems. Expect to see more of a convergence of the OSs. Mac users - better start learning gestures!

Apple's Area 51. Apple's North Carolina 505,000 square-foot data center is just about done. All Things Digital's website wonders if it's for an iTunes music and video streaming subscription service, iAd mobile advertising, free MobileMe service, or a voice interface and navigation service. It probably will change your computing experience.

Is Apple Stock Undervalued? David Morgenstern, Jason O'Grady's partner in The Apple Core blog,, discusses a piece from the Seeking Alpha website exploring whether Apple is a Warren Buffet stock. It's a fun read and the original article,, is most informative.

Apple booming sales growth. Bloomberg reports that Forester Research's CEO predicts that Apple can keep posting sales growth of more than 50% in the next two years, fueled by demand for mobile applications.

Boring hardware updates. Marco Arment, Instapaper founder, muses that hardware advancement is reaching diminishing returns and won't get much publicity. Software, on the other hand...

March 2011
The iPad 2. It was announced March 4th and has two cameras, front and rear. It is also slightly thinner and lighter than the original. More importantly, it has a new dual-core processor, the A5, which although still 1 GHz, is said to be twice as fast as the original's 1 GHz A4. Same 10-hour battery life. How many iPad owners will switch to the iPad 2 and what will be the price on eBay for the original? For details, go to

Macworld Favorite iPad Apps. One more list and this one is excellent. 24 top iOS apps.

Inexpensive Adapters And Cables. Last month I referred to an article in the New York Times recommending purchasing cables from MonoPrice. The February issue of Macworld,, also recommends MonoPrice, this time for affordable adapters. The $29 Apple MiniDisplayPort to DVI Adapter is just $7.65. Looks like the place to go. Also, look at the other items they carry.

Digital Magazine Files Are Too Large. Many magazine publishers try to have the digital product be a replica of the print product. The result is horrendous file sizes. The digital versions of Wired and The New Yorker were 250 MB and 150 MB, respectively. Long download times are slowing purchases. Switch to viewing thru a browser?

iPad, iPhone Challenge Management. reports that IT departments are being forced by employees and business units to support iDevices and many are not ready. If you think that iDevices are taking Apple's attention from Macs, we consumers have it a lot easier than businesses.

Criminals Attack Smartphones. With smartphones now outselling PCs, criminals are targeting smartphones more often. The Nokia and Android phones are the favorites. Apple's regulated environment has mostly prevented problems. For additional information, go to

Dropbox. Terry White, of Adobe and MacGroup-Detroit fame, has a great blog, particularly for photo aficionados. He has a well-written and extensive piece on the ways he uses Dropbox. I'll include it in next month's Newsletter, but if you want to see it early, go to

Cheap, Fast Broadband. In Hong Kong, 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) costs $26 a month. Verizon charges $145 for 50 Mbps. That's 1/20th the speed at more than 5 times the price.

Apple Without Steve Jobs. Bloomberg Businessweek has the best article I've seen on on Steve Jobs most recent leave of absence, how the management runs the company, and the survival of companies after visionary founders depart. The final sentence - "...the spirit of Steve Jobs will live on within Apple, and when it finally has to, Apple will carry on without him. A must read.

Solutions for an overstuffed hard drive. J.D. Biersdorfer's squib in the New York Times succinctly reviews three alternatives - upgrade the drive, store the files online, or set up a network-attached drive at home. She gives two good references on the latter choice.

Thunderbolt interconnect technology. The new MacBook Pros include the Thunderbolt technology (originally known as Light Peak) manufactured by Intel in collaboration with Apple. Using the Mini DisplayPort, Thunderbolt supports two channels of 10 Gbps in both directions and appears to have at least twice the throughput of USB 3.0. Thunderbolt can be daisy-chained to multiple peripherals. It's by far the fastest interconnect technology and Apple has a one-year exclusive on the technology.

Artificial Intelligence. John Markoff reports that 50 years ago there were two labs at Stanford University. One lab worked to replace the human mind with a thinking machine while the other worked to augment the human mind. Artificial intelligence versus intelligence augmentation. The difference in the two approaches is fascinating.

The Comcast-NBC Deal. The structure of the deal is simple. Comcast owns 51% of NBC and controls NBC. The regulatory approval conditions are complex. What will be the effect on the average consumer is impossible to tell. CNET News has a piece which makes the situation somewhat understandable to those of us not in the cable/media business.

Obama's Silicon Valley Tech Supper. If you'd like to know what executives were at the supper and who sat where (apart from the Mac/PC guys and certain MLMUGers - see page 13), go to Search Engine Land,

College Online Courses. For a discussion of the issues involved in colleges offering online courses for credit, go to There is much more involved than you would think.

February 2011
The iPad as a Monitor for Your Mac! Using Avatron's Air Display iPad app, you can wirelessly connect the iPad to the Mac and use it as a second or third display. Files can be dragged to the iPad screen, as can inspectors and other palettes. At $9.99 this is a steal. An extended review is at

The Dirty Secret of Apple's Design. If you're interested in an imaginative discussion of Apple's design and comparison to Brancusi, Bugatti, Braun, Sunbeam and a Pennsylvania Railroad 1938 locomotive, you should read an article in the latest issue of Newsweek.

More Free Kindle Books. You can now download onto your Kindle and iPad millions of free and out-of-copyright books from Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive, and other online sources. Better check your reading glasses.

128 GB iPad? Two mock-ups of the iPad 2 at the Consumer Electronics Show had 128 GB of solid-state memory. This makes the iPad a more viable competitor against traditional notebooks, not to mention netbooks. I predict that for many users a tablet will be their future computer.

Documents To Go. The DTG app enables you to create and edit word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation documents in standard Microsoft formats. You can also sync them with your computer via Wi-Fi. The developer is long-time Mac developer, DataViz. Not the greatest program in the world, but if you have a need for Office docs on your iPad, this app is worth a look. Macworld's review is at

Apple's Water Damage Policy. The Atlantic reports Apple has quietly relaxed its water damage policy. What looks like an internal Apple memo states: "If a customer disputes whether an iPad with an activated LCI (Liquid Contact Indicator) has been damaged by liquid contact and there are no external signs of damage from corrosion, then the iPad may still be eligible for warranty service."

MobileMe Syncing. Joe Kissell has an extensive article in the March issue of Macworld on syncing Macs and iOS devices. It's too long for this issue of the Newsletter, but you can read it at You can also read the MacLife article at

Alternatives to the Mac App Store. An article at Bright Hub lists several alternatives. What looks especially interesting is a pre-Mac App Store site, Bodega, Bodega will check the apps on your hard drive to see if you have the latest version, even if the app was not bought through Bodega. Very convenient, but I need to look into the security aspects.

Overclocking Guide. Extreme Tech has published a guide for those who are interested in cranking up the speeds on your computer's CPU, memory and video card. The Guide is long and techy. Even if you don't overclock, you'll learn a lot just by reading it.

Breaking Your Passwords. A security researcher has shown that Amazon's cloud computing can be used to break passwords. He broke a 63-character password in 6 minutes at a cost of $2. I guess we all better start using longer passwords with symbols as well as numbers.

Apple Dominates Tech News. Pew Research Center found that 15% of tech articles were about Apple, versus only 11% about Google and 3% about Microsoft. The No. 1 story was texting while driving, while the iPhone and the iPad were No. 2 and No. 4, respectively.

Apple's Monopoly Business Model. The Boston Globe: "Historically, after innovation comes fight for control..." Apple's iPhone and iPad, superb as they are, are each limited by design. Only Apple makes the devices, and each of them can only run software that meets with Apple's approval. It's a business model quite familiar to those of us who recall the Bell System." For much more insight, see

Microsoft Office:Mac 2011. If you're considering buying Microsoft's Office Suite, take a look at Macworld's reviews of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.,, and For those of us who have to interact with the Windows world, Microsoft's newest offering is recommended by many reviewers.

Apple TV. The new Apple TV is a vast improvement over the original and cost only $99. If you are at all interested in exploring hooking up your Mac to your HD TV, Jonathan Seff and Jason Snell's 5-page review in Macworld is a good place to start.

January 2011

18 iPhone Apps For SMBs.  InformationWeek published a list of the best iPad apps for SMBs ( small and medium size businesses). Among my favorites of their favorites are files to go, GoodReader (a must for every iPad user), PrintCentral (for printing from your iPad),and SugarSync (for both backup to the cloud and syncing computers) and (for storing documents in the cloud).

Access Your Mac From Your iPad. Gizmodo has a useful article,, on how to access your Mac from an iPad. It recommends StreamToMe over Air Video for downloading both video and audio. It touts GoodReader to download documents. So do I. It favors Mocha VNC Lite to control your desktop. I go for LogMeIn.

Smartphones - just Apple and Google.  Troy Wolverton at disputes conventional wisdom that everyone is battling for third place behind Apple and Google. He sees just the two - and that's it. He dismisses offerings from Microsoft, HP, and RIM (BlackBerry). Gutsy call.

Best time-Wasting apps.  Hard to believe it, but Bob Tedeschi at the New York Times has published a list of the best time-wasting apps. For those of us who are looking for something to do so we don't do what we should do, or are obsessive-compulsive, this is a deadly list. I like the hint that it pays to go to the App Store and see what updates are available. With big updates it's almost as if someone has given you a new app.

Ebook Sales Skyrocketing. U.S. eBook sales were estimated to grow from 3 million in 2009 to 8 million in 2010. Estimates of 2011 sales are as high as 18 million.

Inexpensive and good cables.  Roy Furchgott in the New York Times,, highly recommended purchasing cables from MonoPrice. One of his examples was HDMI cables which went from $45 to $260, although there is one outlier at $9. The MonoPrice cost was $2.50. Looks like the place to go. Also, look at the other items they carry.

Leo Laporte's TWIT Podcasting Empire. You must listen to one of Leo's podcasts. His flagship podcast is "This Week in Tech" (TWIT), a two-hour show featuring journalists and industry insiders talking shop. I'm sure if you listen to it once, you become a regular listener.  He produces for 30 hours each week 23 free podcasts, which are downloaded about 6 million times a month. Go to

Steve Job's NeXT Experience.  Professor Randall Stross reported in the New York Times that the Steve Jobs who returned to Apple in 1996 was a very different Steve Jobs who left Apple in 1985. His years of travail at NeXT made him a much better manager. As one exec said, he still had the passion for excellence, but he learned to delegate and keep people. Fascinating observations about Jobs' time at NeXT.

iPad a creative tool.  Technologizer's Harry McCracken reports: "As far as I know, Future/Canvas was the first multiple-artist show that consisted entirely of works created with iPads. Much of the art on display was in the form of prints of digital paintings and drawings created with apps such as Brushes and SketchBook Pro...". You''ll be amazed at the art created on the iPad. McCracken also blasts the commentators who push the creative/consuming split.

The Mac of the future.  Macworld has 6 articles on the future Mac. They cover the OS, CPU, connections, storage, graphics, and doomsayers. Makes you wonder if should you should buy a Mac soon or just go into hibernation for 2-3 years. Not really.

101 Most useful websites.  Amit Agarwal's website has a list of the 101 most useful websites. You can download the list as a PDF. I found a number of very useful websites that I had never heard of before. Try some.

Top 10 Apple Stories Of 2010.  InformationWeek also published its top Apple stories. These include the iPad, antennagate, flash banned, flash ban revoked, new Mac app store, stealth data center in North Carolina, thinner, lighter, cheaper MacBook air, Apple goes social with ping, Apple unseats Microsoft as most valuable tech company, and contractor troubles in China. It's a quick review of the year's happenings.

The importance of your camera's sensor size.  David Pogue has a great column in the New York Times about camera sensors, their importance, how to convert sensor formats into inches diagonal for comparative purposes, and how difficult it is to do it. For you camera buffs, this is a must read.

10 best digital cameras. Another interesting site for  camera buffs. PC Magazine picked two winners in each of five categories - point and shoot cameras, digital SLRs, compact interchangeable lens cameras, superzoom cameras, and rugged/waterproof cameras.


December 2010
iOS 4.2. The Web site has the best explanation I've seen of iOS 4.2. In addition to images, it has two videos and probably will take you 30 minutes to go through. It has a separate explanation for the iPhone and the iPod touch. If you watch both, figure spending an hour reviewing the material. It will be well worth it. In addition, the site has tons of helpful information. Take a look.

iOS 4.3? Rumors abound that iOS 4.3 may be announced in mid-December to accommodate a new app from Rupert Murdock's News Corp., a daily newspaper designed for the iPad. John Gruber's website, daring, has an excellent discussion of what recurring subscriptions, paid through an iTunes account, could mean. Expect other new newspapers to follow. Not a good time to be in the print newspaper business. Also But Dwight Silverman disagrees.

Great iPhone Apps. Both David Pogue and Bob Tedeschi have in the New York Times published lists of their favorite iPhone apps. Among my favorites of their favorites are Dragon Dictation (speak to type), SoundHound (better than Shazam), Evernote (extensive notepad), Google Mobile (speak to maps), Line2 (wi-Fi calls), RedLaser, (retrieve product info), and Instapaper (save Web articles).

App discovery engines. App discovery engines. Robert Scoble's Web site,, mentions several apps which help you discover apps available from the iTunes Store. They are Chomp, Appolicious, Appsfire, and GetJar. Interesting concept

Steve Jobs' action figure. For $80 you could have purchased a little plastic action figure of Steve Jobs with black turtleneck, blue jeans, rimless glasses, New Balance 991 sneakers, and an iPhone. No longer. It's been withdrawn.

Amazon & Sale Tax. Amazon's price on many items is lower than most sellers. And on top of that, except for five states in which it (as opposed to its subsidiaries) does business, it doesn't charge sales tax. So if you buy a Mac from the Apple Store or Best Buy, you pay sales tax, but you don't if you buy from Amazon. For a longer explanation, go to

A guided tour of computing history. Harry McCracken's Web site has a fascinating report of the sneak preview which reporters got at a new exhibit which opens on January 13 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. The guide was Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak. Harry said "it was a bit like touring the Holy Land with Moses". The museum will put a digital version of the exhibit on its site. This is without question a must see, either in person or on the Web.

10 ways to boost your wireless signal. If you have a connection problem you know you're going to have to spend time and/or money to solve the problem. has a good article, including slides, which may get you started on the solution. It's a bit geeky, but networking is never easy.

Laptop Running Hot? Bright Hub has a short but helpful discussion on why laptops heat up and what you can do about it. If you have the problem, take a look at the article.

Saving web pages. If you want to save webpages, but you don't want to have a long document with large print, I have a suggestion for you. Select the material you want to copy, copy it into your word processing document, reduce the font to 12, reduce line spacing to 1, and, most importantly, make the document a two-column document. This will automatically makes images fit Into one column.

Launching Apps With Spotlight. Mac|Life has a very useful hint on how to use Spotlight to launch apps. The key is to go to system preferences > spotlight and move Applications to the top of the categories list in Search Results.

DRAM. Computerworld reports that high-end 2GB DDR3 (double data rate, third generation) DRAM modules declined to $25 in the first half of November, down 46% from its peak of $46 in the first half of this year. The price is forecasted to fall to $20 by year end. Time to buy more memory?

iPad Sales. AppleInsider reports that an analyst forecasts that the iPad, a product which didn't exist a year ago, will cause more than 40% of Apple's growth in fiscal 2011 (ending September 2011). He projects more than 32 million iPad will be sold in the year. With notebook sales sagging and Kindle sales flattening, it looks like the iPad is changing the face of computing for many.

November 2010
iPhone/iPad Information Site. I found numerous interesting tips on the use of your iPhone or iPad at For example, how to set up a MobileMe account on the iPad, how to sync iPad notes with your computer, how to make and install free ring tones for the iPhone, and how to set up Google Voice voicemail on the iPhone. Bookmark the site.

Best iPad Apps. Macworld's November issue reviews 117 iPhone, iPod touch and iPad apps. Tech briefly reviews 75 really useful iPad tips and tricks. For more iPad apps, just Google "iPad apps" or "iPad best apps. You can do similar searches on the iPhone and the iPod touch.

Consumer versus enterprise focus. Although Apple focuses on the consumer, businesses are rapidly adopting Apple mobile devices. 65% of the Fortune 100 are piloting or deploying iPads and the iPhone is now mainstream at more than 80% of the Fortune 500. The low wall between consumer and business products is being seriously eroded by businesses' adoption of Apple's mobile devices. As business feedback surfaces, I think we will see improvements feeding back into the "consumer space".

iOS 4.2 Coming Out. By the time you read this newsletter, it's very likely that iOS 4.2 will have been released. The iPad will get multitasking, folders and the Game Center. You will be able to print from the iPad to a printer on your wireless network and be able to stream music from your iPad to compatible devices, including an AirPort Express and Apple TV. For a comprehensive view of 4.2 with screenshots, go to iLounge's site.

Ditching your laptop. The November issue of Mac|Life has an interesting article on replacing your laptop with an iPad. It's not yet on Mac|Life's Web site. One suggestion was to set (through Settings > General > Home) double clicking the Home button to Search rather than Home or iPod so that you save time doing a Find on your iPad. Another was getting an iPad- compatible Bluetooth keyboard or getting the $29 Camera Connection Kit to hook up to any USB keyboard. My experience has been that so far the iPad's virtual keyboard works very well, but — I'm no touch typist.

MacBook Air Price Cut. Apple's reduced the price of the MacBook air, introduced a smaller model with an 11.6 inch screen, replaced the hard drive with solid-state storage, slimmed it down even further, and the smaller model is priced under $1000. Steve Jobs compared it to a combination of the MacBook and iPad. The weight of the 13.3 inch model was reduced to 2.9 pounds and the 11.6 inch version is only 2.3 pounds. Both models are available immediately.

Lion is coming. Steve Jobs said it would ship in "summer 2011". It will include some of the functionality of iOS.

Mac App Store. Sometime before the end of January, Apple will launch the Mac App Store, supposedly similar to the App Store. Details are not yet available. Who knows what apps will be available there.

Jobs speaks! The complete transcript. Macworld published the complete transcript of what Jobs had to say at the October 18, 2010 conference call with security analysts. He doesn't usually participate in these calls. Read his statements about Google, tablets, the iPad and cannibalization, and his answers to analyst questions. Also there are 34 comments. Makes interesting reading.

Command L. Kibbles 'n Bits notes that when in Safari,you can simply press Command-L. The URL field in the top of the browser glows blue allowing you to enter a new web address. You can take this tip one step further by pressing Tab, which jumps your cursor over to the dedicated search field in the upper right. Saves a little time.

"Back to The Mac" Event. To access PC Mag's blog of the October 20th "Back to The Mac" Event, including the show slides, go to

Microsoft Office for Mac 2011. Microsoft released its new version of its popular Office for Mac, the first major update since January of 2008. Visual Basic is back and Outlook is substituted for Entourage. It's available now for $120 - $200.

The New MacBook Airs. David Pogue reviewed the new MacBooks in the New York Times on November 4th. Great machines. To summarize, "Nobody's kidding you: small, light and chic commands a price premium. But at least with the new 13-inch Air, you're not also paying a speed penalty. The 11-incher... It's sort of like an iPad with a keyboard.

October 2010
Apple's Market Value v. Microsoft's. On May 26, 2010 Apple's total market value edged past Microsoft's, $222 billion versus $219 billion, a $3 billion gap. By September 28th the gap had widened to $54 billion as Apple's market cap surged to $264 billion while Microsoft's declined to $214 billion. Nothing like a few iPhone and iPod sales. There are a couple more factoids at

Abuse Your Notebook Battery! Yep, that's the best thing you can do for your battery. Dave Hamilton at The MacObserver recommends that you completely drain and recharge your battery at least every 2 weeks. The worst thing for your battery is to leave it plugged in all the time.

Change the name of the cell phone to "Head". Scott Adams, the author of Dilbert, says that this term recognizes that you are essentially a cyborg with a detachable brain. He says "there isn't much chance of name confusion with the organic part of your head because the context will always be clear. If you say, "I can't find my head," or "Whose head is ringing?" each utterance has only one rational interpretation."

A Pen That Listens. With the LiveScribe Pen you can take notes while the pen records what you're hearing or saying. It correlates the two with special paper so if you click on a note, the paper will play back what was being recorded at the time. About $125. Lots of applications.

Great iPhone Typing Tip. If you tap the space bar twice, it adds a period.

Apple TV. Engadget's extensive but early review concludes that the latest version of Apple's "hobby" is a winner. "The question is ultimately about ease versus options — right now it's hard to whole-heartedly recommend the Apple TV even at its $99 price point given the thin list of partners Apple has courted. If you just want a dead simple movie rental box and you're not that picky about content, the Apple TV is a no-brainer. If, like us, you're looking for options good enough to make you can the cable, Apple's new box still feels a lot like a hobby."

Steve Jobs' New House. Gizmodo reports on the new house Steve will be building to replace a mansion he bought in 1984. He's tearing down a 30-room 1920s mansion and replacing it with a new $8.45 million home. At only 4,910 square feet, it's quite modest compared to Larry Ellison's $70 million estate. Lots of details in the article.

Thumbnails for the Dock. Dwight Silverman's September 28th blog discusses HyperDock which shows you thumbnails of an app's open windows when you hover your cursor over the app's icon in the dock. It's a beta version at the moment and it's somewhat similar to Expose, but it's faster. and http://hyperdock.bahoom.

A Thinner, Lighter iPad. AppleInsider reports that Goldman Sachs says that come Spring, 2011 Apple will release a new iPad which will feature a camera, mini USB; and be thinner and lighter.

Bing predicts flight prices. Bing announced a new version of its iPhone app that will give you flight price predictions on your iPhone, with an indication of the confidence level. I also like the way airfares are presented. Very readable.

When Technology Makes Headlines. If you're interested in how the media covers information technology, take a look at an extensive study by the Pew Research Center. The study finds that tech stories only accounted for 1.6% of the total coverage by the mainstream press. Apple was the most covered tech company, closely followed by Google. The two top themes were "technology makes life more productive" and "the Internet is not secure". Sort of conflicting, isn't it? The study includes much, much more.

The Hack Of the Century. Whoever designed the Stuxnet computer worm attacking industrial control systems, particularly those in Iran, brought a new level of sophistication to hacking. Was it the United States or Israel? We'll probably never know, but the story will continue to unfold and hopefully the technology will not be absorbed by others and used to infect the rest of us. For a somewhat technical explanation which is still understandable by non-programmers, you might take a look at the security watch portion of blogs.

August 2010 is a 2005-launched website which spotlights on a single page the hottest tech stories from all around the web. Not only a three or four line summary of the story, but it lists and links to the various web pages which ran the story. I understand that many in the technology world look at the site first thing in the morning.

File Sharing with an iPad. Ted Landau, founder of the MacFixIt and long time author and speaker on Macintosh topics, has published a superb article in The Mac Observer entitled "File Sharing with an iPad: Ugh!" The title says it all, but if you're getting an iPad, you want to read this article. File sharing and is doable, but it ain't pretty.

Google v. Bing. Microsoft's search engine, Bing, has slowly increased its share of searches to 12.7% from 8% when Bing was introduced in May 2009. Google's share is 62.6%. The result has been that there is increasing competition in the search market. Google is adding more features, particularly some that were introduced by Bing. Try out Bing. I think you'll enjoy and learn from Lifehacker, an award-winning daily blog that features tips, shortcuts, and downloads that help you get things done smarter and more efficiently. Lifehacker launched in January 2005, and now ranks as one of the top-linked blogs on the internet according to Technorati. It's both light and serious; covering techy issues and nontechy issues.

Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. Those of you who are steeped in science understand that Heisenberg's uncertainty principle is at the foundation of quantum mechanics: You can measure a particle's position or its velocity, but not both. Now it seems that quantum computer memory could let us violate this rule. If you want to know more, go to, of all places, Gizmodo, for the article and the comments.

Tablet PCs v. iPads. SArs technica reports that Apple sold more iPads in its first three months of availability than PC vendors sold Tablet PCs in the whole of last year. Balmer and Microsoft have yet to understand the iPad's success. Good article.

Passwords. At the July 31st Philadelphia PowerBook User Group meeting Jason O'Grady gave extremely important advice. Have long passwords for all your financial sites, have different passwords for each of the sites, and use an separate e-mail address for those sites. He suggests making the password a sentence with a capital letter at the front, at least one space, and a period at the end. He says that will make the password unbreakable. He recommends that you do it immediately since it's possible that hackers can get your passwords out of your normal e-mail accounts. Philadelphia PowerBook User Group. PPUG meets quarterly at the Manayunk Brewing Company restaurant. I attended for the first time and found it very rewarding.

1Password. Jason also strongly recommends that you obtain 1Password to store all your passwords. It works across most browsers. It can generate passwords with strength you desire. 1Password uses AES 128-bit encryption. For an excellent overview of 1Password, watch Dan Frakes' 5-minute video review.

1Password for iPhone and iPad. At $10 it's an expensive app, but well worth it.

Antennagate. If you want to understand the rating bars on your iPhone, AnandTech has an excellent four page explanation, including several charts. Best explanation I've seen.

iHome iHM77 speakers. At the PPUG meeting I heard the iHome iHM77 tiny (2"X2"X2") rechargeable speakers. Absolutely amazing. About $40.

Microsoft Office 2011. Microsoft announced that Office 2011 will be available this year for 20% to 50% less than Office 2008. The Mac Home and Student edition will sell for $119 for a single license compared to $150 for the same package of Office 2008. The Home and Business edition, which includes Outlook rather than Entourage, will go for $199 versus $400 for Office 2008.

iPhone 4 Camera. Ted Landau's article in The Mac Observer, "Ten Things to Know About the iPhone 4 Camera", states that the iPhone 4 camera is really good and that the iPhone 4's HD-quality video is spectacular. Stan's Photo of the Month was shot with an iPhone 4. Editor - Might as well buy an iPhone 4 just for the camera!

July 2010
DON'T UPGRADE IPHONE 3G TO iOS 4. A number of Mac sites have reported serious problems when trying to upgrade iPhone 3s (not 3GSs) to iOS 4. Seems the best advice is to delay the upgrade until further clarification from Apple and reports are no more problems. reported that "3G owners were hurling themselves off buildings". HOWEVER, SOME MLMUG MEMBERS REPORTED NO PROBLEMS.

iPhone 4 Sales. Apple announced that it had sold 1.7 million iPhone 4s in the first 4 days that it was on sale and has sold 3 million iPads in the first 80 days.

iPhone V. The Droids. We've all read about how the new Droid smart phones based upon Google's android operating system have all sorts of advantages over Apple's iPhone and are coming on strong. They are, but, as David Pogue says, it's a good idea to read the fine print Sprint's EVO Android phone looks great on paper, but it's been unstable and has a serious battery life issues or problems. Before you switch, better do some research.

Broadband Speed Tests. The fastest and standard tool to test your Internet connection is The FCC is making a broadband test available to the public so that it can gather information about the quality of broadband connections. The website is and just takes a couple minutes. It asks for your address so that location statistics may be aggregated. For more information, go to PCWorld's

Apple a Victim of Sour Grapes? Apple, the tech industry's perennial underdog, is now the industry's superpower, and competitors and the government are now scrutinizing Apple's moves. Apple is not only the industry's highest valued stock, but its market value is second only to Exxon's. So expect to see more complaints about monopoly, even though Apple has less than 10% of the PC market and only about 1/3 of the smartphone market, behind R.I.M.'s BlackBerrys.

Billions of searches. Search Engine Land reports that Google processes 88 billion searches per month. Probably not a surprise. But, guess what? Twitter processes 19 billion, while Yahoo has only 9.4 billion and Bing 4.1 billion. Seems like you're missing out if you're not doing some searches on Twitter, although Google search is picking up some Twitter data.

The Behind The Scenes Story Of Comcast Internet Blocking. Jeff Gelles, Inquirer columnist, reported how Robb Topolski, a former Intel network engineer, discovered how Comcast was blocking his uploads to his barbershop-quartet recording BitTorrent site. Topolski says this shows net neutrality is necessary to prevent the ISPs from manipulating Internet usage.

Macs Are Much Cheaper To Manage Than PCs. In fact, they are a lot cheaper says a report in CIO Magazine on a study by the Enterprise Desktop Alliance. Among the interesting facts and statements are that top executives often prefer Macs and "Mac owners tend to do a lot of problem resolution themselves by communicating with other users." Sound familiar?

Packing The Right Gadgets When You Travel. Whether you're a frequent or occasional traveler, it's handy to have a list of what you need to pack. It's become more complicated as we accumulate electronic gadgetry. The New York Times has a helpful list of what you might need, including extra cables, power adapters, an old GSM cell phone, a Skype account, a guide as to which hotels don't charge extra for WiFi, a geotagger, and a waterproof sleeve for your e-reader.

Solid State Drive (SSD) Comparisons. SSDs are gaining in popularity. The 128GB drives had an average street cost of about $2.75 per GigaByte, significantly higher than hard discs, but they are faster, draw less power, are quieter, and less subject to corruption. In its July issue , Mac|Life benchmarked 8 SSDs on value, speed and extras. The Web site has 2 pages of graphs which are helpful if you're looking for an SSD. Mac|Life selected the Crucial M225 2.5-inch 128GB SSD as the winner. The price for the 8 ranged from $275 to $450 so they ain't cheap.

Your Phone's Signal Bars are Almost Meaningless. A blogger with a Ph.D in wireless network planning techniques posted an excellent but technical article to his blog,, explaining the mechanics of how the signal bars are constructed and why they vary so much from phone to phone and even from one release to another. In short, they measure the signal to noise ratio for how your phone receives messages from the the cell tower (not what the tower receives) and everyone scales the results differently.

June 2010
Keyboard Shortcuts. Apple Support contains a revised article with over 100 keyboard shortcuts. It's worthwhile printing it out to have it handy as you learn to use more of them.

10 Things You Need To Know About Today's Facebook Privacy Changes. Facebook totally screwed up privacy settings and users are up in arms. Revisions have been announced.

Download Speeds. The U.S. was ranked 26th in the world, with an average downstream broadband speed of only 10.2M bps. South Korea was first at 34.1M bps. Latvia (24.3M bps), the Republic of Moldova (21.4M bps), Japan (20.3M bps) and Sweden (19.8M bps) rounded out the top five countries for downstream broadband.

Dirt Cheap iPhone 3GS. Walmart is now selling 16 GB 3GS iPhones for $97. 3G models are probably extinct. New models are expected to be announced at WWDC in June.

You better get a Twitter Account. Over 114 million users are on Twitter. Many teens have given up email for Twitter and Facebook (now close to 500 million users). If you want to communicate with your grandchildren, you better get a Twitter account. If you want USA Today's account of the Twitter market place, go to P.S. Time magazine reported that Americans sent 110 billion text messages last year, which is double the number from the previous year.

Daring Fireball on Multitasking. I discussed multitasking in my column last month. For a real expert's comparison of Apple's and Google's multitasking models, you have to read John Gruber on his Web site, They're very similar. In fact, read John often. He's very informative.

Seagate confirms 3 TB drive. If you're interested in understanding why the current maximum hard drive capacity is 2.1 TB and what's involved in increasing that maximum, take a look at an item in Very enlightening. Seems the max was set 30 years ago when no one figured that we would ever address more than 2.1 TB.

YouTube at 2 Billion. The YouTube blog reports YouTube exceeds over 2 billion views a day. It says that's nearly double the prime time audiences of all 3 US major networks. Who knew the networks had that many viewers!

May 2010
The iPad For Reading Books. The iPad For Reading Books. rates iBooks for the iPad at 3.5 out of 5, stating "if ...your eyes can handle more hours staring at yet another LED screen, the iPad's color display and touch capabilities make the iPad's iBooks app a very capable e-book reader". The author prefers the Kindle or Nook if you just want to use the iPad as an e-reader. [But who would?]

Dwight Silverman's 3 Weeks with the iPad. "I tend to keep it around me most of the time. Originally, I expected that it might take up residence in my living room, but I find that I carry it around the house. It's even at my side when I am at my desktop PC. The reason: I prefer apps on here to anything I could use on another platform." But, he doesn't yet see it as a compelling buy. Want more info? See

Bill Gates and the iPad. When Bill Gates was asked "Do you like the iPad?", he replied, "It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." The blog also contains very interesting comments on social networking and journalism.

Steve Jobs Replies. When Steve was asked if there would be a Mac App Store similar to iTunes App Store, his terse email reply was "Nope".

The PC-Mac Commercials. When Justin Long was asked about the status of the Apple commercials, he replied, "You know, I think they might be done. In fact, I heard from John, I think they're going to move on. I can't say definitively, which is sad, because not only am I going to miss doing them, but also working with John. I've become very close with him, and he's one of my dearest, greatest friends. It was so much fun to go do that job, because there's not a lot to it for me. A lot of it is just keeping myself entertained between takes, and there's no one I'd rather do it with than John." Very touching.

Netbooks. Past Their Prime? IDC reports that in 1Q10 Netbook processors fell to 20.3% of Intel mobile processors from 24.3% in 4Q09. That's a big change. 7-inch Netbooks are not being built. Reports are that Dell and HP are reducing their investment in 10-inch Netbooks. However, Scott Stein's blog on CNet news lists 10 things that Netbooks still do better than an iPad - and it's a well reasoned article. The list includes video chat, run flash, upload photos or video, store more than 64 GB of data, use a USB DVD/CD device, and a real keyboard.

Texting - Teen Girls v. Teen Boys. According to a new study by Pew Research Center, texting has surpassed phone calls, IMs, and social networking for communication between teens. Girls send 80 texts per day while guys send only 30. Weren't girls always better communicators? The real problem is that people who text and drive are 6 times more likely to be in an accident and many teens ignore the bans on texting and driving.

Apple & Microsoft: Better Understand Google! eWeek's Don Reisinger has crafted an informative slideshow on the 10 things that Apple and Microsoft haven't learned about Google. One of his points: Google was pretending that it's only foe was Microsoft and that it wouldn't target Apple. Ain't true no more!

Google Translations. Google's free Translate service handles 52 languages, more than any similar system, and people use it hundreds of millions of times a day. It doesn't use an artificial intelligence approach. It uses mammoth computing power in a statistical approach. "If you need a rough-and-ready translation, it's the place to go.

Apple Buys Another Chip Maker. Apple has bought another small chip designer, Intrinsity, in its push to gain an edge over its mobile device competitors. The speculation is that Apple used Intrinsity's technology to boost the power of the A4 chip in the iPad from 650 MHz to 1 GHz. Another example of Apple concentrating on mobile devices?

Solid State Drives (SSDs) Are Not Getting Cheaper. According to Computerworld, prices increased in 2008, are prohibitively high for the average consumer, and won't start to fall until 2011 when new fab plants come online. Some suggest that lower capacity SSD's could be used to run a PC OS and key applications, with files stored on a secondary internal or external hard disk drive. If you want an excellent overview of the SSD market place, go to

2 TB Disk Drives. contains a long and extensive article comparing 2 TB hard drives from Samsung, Seagate, and Western Digital. The article contains detailed data and easy-to-read charts and is a must read for anyone interested in such drives in the near future.

Menu Bar Free Apps. Your menu bar at the top of your screen can contain many icons, all with drop down menus from which you can run apps or access information. The April issue of MacLife has a list of its 10 best free apps for your menu bar. My favorite is Mail Unread Menu. (Mag only; not on line.)

April 2010
Buy the 3G-Capable iPad. If you're thinking of getting an iPad, wait a couple weeks, spend $130, and get the 3G capable version - so says Jason Snell of Macworld. Apple cut a great deal with AT&T. You're not committed to use 3G, you can use it for a month, and even have it automatically cancelled at the end of the month. The $130 is the price of the option to use it if necessary.

iPad Video Guided Tours. Apple released 12 videos on the iPad. They are fun to watch even if you don't buy one; helpful if you're considering buying one, and informative if are going to buy one.

iPad Replace Many Computers? A reader responded to a blog by Brooke Crothers at CNet News thusly: "I can see the iPad and future versions of the concept taking over home computing. Yes, there probably will still be professionals that will continue to need a 'full' laptop but for everyone else I am convinced that the simplicity of the iPad will see it replace the normal MacBook." I bet this rings a bell for many users.

iPad - A superbly written, expertly informative review.. If you want to read an outstanding column on why the iPad could change our use of computers, books and TV, you have to read the column by Daniel Lyons in Newsweek. For example, "But the very simplicity of the iPad masks its transformational power. Some say the iPad heralds a new era of computing, and I'm inclined to believe them." "Today we talk about 'getting on the Internet,' but with iPad you can have a persistent online connection, and that's a pretty profound shift." "The iPad could eventually become your TV, your newspaper, and your bookshelf." Powerful stuff.

How Woz Multitasks on His iPhone. Quoted from the Cult of Mac: "Ever the genius engineer, Woz has figured out a simple and elegant way to run two iPhone apps simultaneously (otherwise known as multitasking). He has two iPhones. Having two iPhones also doubles his battery life. Is that cool or is that cool!

Banish 7 Bad Tech Habits. CIO magazine had an article about tech bad habits. A number are related to Mac users, including storing passwords in an unprotected file, carrying an unencrypted flash drive, blindly clicking "Next" when installing software, relying on a single backup method, and creating too much desktop clutter.

Spring Cleaning Your Mac. Macworld's Chris Breen has a very watchable 5-minute video podcast (vodcast) on cleaning up your Mac. The steps include: 1. eliminate desktop icons by putting them into one desktop folder; 2. create an alias of the downloads folder and put that on the desktop, keep it in list view and sort by date created, making recent downloads readily available; 3. use a smart folder or other utilities find very large files and trash or archive them, freeing up internal disk, 4. trash Apple loops for GarageBand, iPhoto cache folder, and iPhoto Trash; 5. move old Mail to Old Mail mailbox which then can archive; 6. remove attachments from mail messages; and 7. periodically empty trash.

Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Hah! The Economist contains a very thoughtful article arguing that there may be "as much variation within the digital native generation as between the generations". A study cautions that the idea of a new generation that learns in a different way might actually be counterproductive in education, because such sweeping generalizations "fail to recognize cognitive differences in young people of different ages, and variation within age groups".If correct, those of us over 40 still have a chance in today's world.

The Future Will Not Be Free. A Newsweek article states that Stewart Brand did not merely say that "information wants to be free". The full quote was: "On the one hand, information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other." Expect to pay for newspapers, etc. on the Internet.

Freemium. If you want to understand freemium pricing with examples from Pandora, Dropbox, Evernote, Automattic and MailChimp, take a look at

Online Backup Services. Macworld contains an extensive article on online backup services by Glenn Fleishman, a Macworld regular and Take Control Books author. His opening sentence says it all - Backups work best when you have multiple copies, at least one of which is both current and offsite." He reviews services from Backblaze, Carbonite, Central, Home, Jungle Disk, Spider Oak, and iDrive. If you are at all interested in exploring offsite backup, this article is a must read.

March 2010
5 Mac Utilities. MacLife published a most readable and informative article by Cory Bohan entitled Master 5 OS X Utilities in 5 minutes. It covers Activity Monitor, Console, Disk Utility, Network Utility and ColorSync Utility and should be of use to almost all MLMUG members. I would have included the full article in the Newsletter, but it would have taken 4-5 pages. Read it and save it.

Mac OS X Market Share. AppleInsider reports that Mac OS X represented 11% of Web usage, up 29% from a year ago. Also, 27% of Mac users are running Snow Leopard, with adoption rates twice as high as Leopard and 4 times as high as Tiger. It's time, people, to get on the adoption bandwagon.

Macworld. Macworld was substantially smaller this year than last year, with Apple and most other large vendors, other than Microsoft and Canon, absent. The smaller turnout was not surprising. What was surprising was that opinion on the show was so varied. Not only did a number of commentators differ on how well attended was the show and how successful it was, but reports of the opinions of the attendees also varied. The detailed reports have me thinking I may well attend next year's show.

Net Neutrality Regs Allow Blocking BitTorrents. The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that new FCC regs on net neutrality contain a copyright loophole that would allow ISPs like Comcast to block BitTorrents as "reasonable network management" intended to "prevent the unlawful transfer of content".

Why Can't PC's (including Macs) Work More like iPhone? That's the title of an article by Nick Bilton, a blogger for the New York Times. Apple and Microsoft have buried the geekier aspect of their operating systems with slick user interfaces. Bilton notes that he often gets calls from family members on the OSs, but never on the iPhone. Google's OS X works on netbooks and smartphones. Apple has a great opportunity to do something similar, although it will not be easy. An intriguing idea.

Age of Social NetWork Users. Royal Pingdom studied the age distribution data across 19 social network sites. Only 3% of users were over 65. Looks like the average age is about 35. Average ages for particular sites are Bebo, 28; MySpace, 32; Facebook, 38; Twitter, 39; Slashdot, 40; and LinkedIn, 44.

iPhone as an External Disk. Take a look at's article on 6 ways to use an iPhone as an external hard drive. DiskAid is a free iPhone app and appears the best. It's free. I like Air Sharing, a $4.99 iPhone app which enables you to wirelessly transfer files between an iPhone and a Mac.

Western Digital Solid State Drives. Western Digital announced SSDs with capacities of 64, 128, and 256 GB. They are not as efficient as Intel SSDs and are more expensive. The point is that higher capacity SSDs are here, but the 256 GB drives are too expensive for most of us - about $800 at

Locked or Unlocked Smart Phone. Bob Tedeschi at the New York Times shows how to calculate if it's cheaper to buy an unlocked, but more expensive smart phone if the reduced monthly usage charge offsets the higher price of the unlocked phone. Interesting observation.

Price of E-Books. Motoko Rich authored a intriguing article in The New York Times, estimating the cost of publishing a book in both paper and e-book formats. He figures a publisher "nets" $4.05 out of a $26 hardcover and on a $12.99 e-book through Apple, it nets $4.56 - $5.54. The net is before deducting overhead for editors, office space, etc. E-books appear to be a bit more profitable. However, don't expect e-book prices to fall very much.There are other issues, such as the effect on paperback editions, the fixed cost of paper books being spread out over fewer books, and a desire to keep bookstores alive.

February 2010
Your Keyboard and Your Dishwasher. Ever spill anything on your keyboard or get it really grungy? An article in Macworld says put it in your dishwasher - top shelf, no detergent. Let it dry for a couple days until totally dry. Note - Only works with separate keyboards.

The E-Book Market. For an in-depth behind-the-scenes discussion of the e-book market and why and how Apple is killing Amazon, see a recent Gizmodo article.

VOIP Calls Available . iPhone and iPod touch (the lower case "t" still bugs me, man) users can now make and receive phone calls over Wi-Fi and 3G, even when you don't have a cell signal. You don't use phone minutes. It's iCall on the App store. A New York Times App of the Week. PC Magazine says it's better than Skype.

Net Neutrality Regs Allow blocking BitTorrents. The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that new FCC regs on net neutrality contain a copyright loophole that would allow ISPs like Comcast to block BitTorrents as "reasonable network management" intended to "prevent the unlawful transfer of content".

Which is More Important: Politics or Technology? The lead-in of the column was Obama's State of the Union message occurring on the same day as the announcement of Apple's iPad. However, the gist of the article was an extended discussion of how powerful technology has become in aspects of our and the rest of the world's culture. It's thought provoking.

Apple Reports Record First Quarter Sales and Earnings. Sales for the quarter were $15.7 billion and net income was $2.4 billion. Best quarter ever. 3,360,000 Macs were sold, up 33% year over year. iPhone sales were 8,870,000, up 100% year over year. Cash and marketable securities were $39.8 billion, up $5.8 billion for the quarter. What's Apple going to do with all that cash? has a good summary of the quarter, as well as sites for more information.

Mac OS X 10.6.3. Apple has released another beta of 10.6.3 to developers. I wonder when we will see it.

iPhone OSs Apple recently released iPhone OS X 3.1.3 which is available for download through iTunes. The iPad will run iPhone OS X 3.2. No announcement has been made as to when it will be for the iPhone or iPod touch.

January 2010
Home Office Setups. One of the NerdBusiness Blogs contains "The Top 96 Kick Ass Home Office Setups". It's a visual as well as a technological treat. You'll enjoy it, I guarantee.

Time Management Strategy. NerdBusiness also has a provocative article on time management, promoting focusing your time in 3 hour blocks. A day can have 1 to 3 blocks.

The netbook's days are numbered. The BBC reports that a number of industry watchers think the days of the netbook are numbered. User needs are becoming more complex, netbooks are increasing in price, notebooks are coming down in price and weight, and smartphones are getting smarter.

Apple Needs to Refresh iTunes. iTunes needs to become more Web savvy. It needs to have a subscription model and to handle streaming. So sayeth an article on ZDNet. Sounds right to me.

Why Apple Succeeds, And Always Will. Joe Wilson (no relation to the Congressman) on BetaNews makes a strong, although not perfect, proposition that the reason for Apple's success is that Apple under Steve Jobs has always reinvented the rules of the game rather than play by the rules established by the Goliaths of the market. He thinks success will continue so long as Apple continues to do so. What's equally interesting are the numerous comments by Windows devotees bashing Apple. It's like listening to talk radio or TV when you disagree with the other side.

Paying for Web Site Content. With Internet advertising in the worst decline ever seen, magazine closures and newspaper bankruptcies, Web content providers are again discussing charging for content. Expect to see subscription fees, at least from a number of specialized sites. The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times have already done so. We are approaching a "new normal" in this area.

Pull Down Audio & Video From Web Sites. Natalie Nowak at recommends it highly. MacUpdate gives it 4.9 stars. What is it? It's iTubeX Ultimate and it costs $7.50 after 5 free tries. What does it do? It enables you to download Youtube videos and .flv, .mp4, .mp3, .divx and .swf files from almost all other video / animation websites. Seems a bargain.

December 2009
Apple 48% of U.S. Desktop Revenues. Betanews reports that Apple's desktop market share was 48%, up from 33% a year ago. Apple unit prices were $1,338 vs. $491 for Windows PCs. Mac average price for notebooks was $1,410 vs. $519 for Windows notebooks. You can see what effect netbooks have on selling prices. In the 3rd quarter Apple sold 3 million Macs, while HP sold more than 16 million. Guess who made more money?

Has Apple Blown Its Best Chance? Jim Jubak in MSN Money states that Apple could be a much more dominant player in the smartphone and computer markets if it had taken a more aggressive attitude toward pricing and gone for more than the high-end market. He expects effective counterattacks now from Google Android phone OS X and Microsoft's Windows 7. Let's see how right or wrong he was next December.

iPhone 17% Worldwide market share. AppleInsider reports that Apple's worldwide smartphone market share was 17% and is expected to grow with expansion into China and addition of new carriers in a number of countries. Apple shipped 7 million iPhones, putting it in 3rd place behind Nokia and RIM. Not bad for a company that many said would never make it in the cell phone world.

iPhone Tethering. Technologizer ruminates that last November AT&T's President said AT&T would "soon" be allowing the iPhone to be tethered to Macs and PCs. In June Apple announced that iPhone OS 3.0 would support tethering, naming 22 carriers who were ready to offer it. AT&T was not among them. It still ain't there, citing network issues. Will it ready in 2014?

Old Macs at The Genius Bar. Gizmodo observes that Apple only keeps equipment from the last five years on hand so don't take your Mac Plus' there to be fixed. A video shows the Apple rep trying to help anyway. How's that for customer service?

Smoking and Your Mac. TUAW reports that two people got turned down for AppleCare maintenance because their Macs were used in a house with a smoker, claiming second hand smoke is a hazard. Both lost their appeals to Steve Jobs office. TUAW reports disgusting brown resin built up. So we have another reason to give up smoking - it voids the AppleCare warranty!

Hard Drives v. Solid State Drives. Dwight Silverman doubts that SSDs will be competitive with hard drives for at least the next 5 years - as least for consumers. Very well written and informative article, but I have to disagree. My guess is that they are on different cost reduction curves since SSDs are all electronic, but we'll see.

November 2009
100 UsefulTips. Dave Marra found an article at entitled "101 really useful tips for Mac beginners". My guess is that even intermediate users will find some useful tips.

Snow Leopard 10.6.2 Coming. AppleInsider indicates that a new beta of Mac OS 10.6.2, the second update to Snow Leopard, has been supplied to developers. The release to the public is expected in November.

Finding Good iPhone Apps. Dwight Silverman's TechBlog discusses the problem of finding good iPhone apps out of the thousands available. Try Apple's Apps for Everything site and Pinch Media's RSS feeds, particularly Top 100 Paid Apps and top 100 Free Apps.

The 27-inch iMac. highlights the curious pricing of the 27" iMac. It has better resolution than even Apple's Cinema Display, but he figures the $1,700 price tag means you're getting a high-end computer for about $200. It can be used a a monitor for other Macs or devices. What's Apple's strategy?

David Pogue "Don't Cry For Me, Cupertino". has David Pogue's musical tribute to Steve Jobs. ( ) Very enjoyable.

What Comes After Hard Drives? cited a recent IEEE study concluding that in 2020 a two-disk, 2.5" hard drive will store more than 14 TB and cost about $40. Except for two potential candidates, no new technologies could compete with the HDD on a cost per TB basis. So figures our drives will be around a while.

Virus, etc. Protection. Ryan Faas' article in Datamation concludes that Mac users need some protection software. He recommends Intego Virus Barrier. $70. 30-day free trial is available.

NYT Editor Reads NYT Online. Bill Keller, Executive Editor of The New York Times, spent 3 weeks reading the NYT on the Web. My impression of his comments is that although he prefers paper, the Web editions are comprehensive, missing some print material, but add other content; there is serendipity, just in an alternative form; the desktop version is much better than the "a bit balky and drab" Kindle; and he wonders whether even Apple can combine the advantages of the various platforms. I guess paper will be around a while.

iPhone Apps to Disappear? Gizmodo observes that many apps and services take a price dip in the App Store. Buying cheap songs and video on iTunes sets low price expectations. The probable result is that developers, particularly those with established products on other platforms, will leave the iPhone platform. Not a pretty picture.

October 2009
Google Fast Flip. You have to try this. It's an experiment by Google which enables you to see thumbnail shots of pages of search results from 3 dozen publishers, including Newsweek, New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, The Daily Beast, Salon, and Slate. You can visually easily flip through the articles and if an article looks interesting, you click it to read it, if not, just flip left or right to go to another. Very fast.

New iMacs, MacBooks and Mac Minis Coming Soon. Apple has informed its retailers that at least the four models of its iMac line and the low-end Mac mini are inventory constrained and will probably not be restocked, lending credence to reports that new iMac, MacBook and Mac mini models will soon be announced. Wait for the new models before buying. On a MacNotables podcast Bob Levitus mentioned this Web site as a great source of extremely cheap prices for electronic substitutes for brand name products. Example: AA battery powered charger for iPhone for $3.79 with free shipping. Based in Shenzhen, China. 6 years old. He bought a number of products from the site and appears satisfied.

Mucho iTunes Apps. There are now more than 85,000 apps for iPhone and iPod touch users. Apple's Web site has a new section, called "Apps for Everything" which places apps into 12 categories, including Cooks, Keeping Current, The Music, Work, Students, and Working Out. The problem is to find great apps and it is getting worse as more apps become available, Take a look at for 4 sites which can provide you with better selection methods.

USB 3.0 Coming. Freecom has introduced a 3.5" portable hard drive based on the USB 3.0 standard. The data rate is approximately 130 MB/s, as compared to the existing USB 2.0 standard, which theoretically transfers data at a rate of up to 60 MB/s. The USB 3.0 theoretical standard is 500 MB per second, which would transfer data nearly 10 times quicker than USB 2.0 so we can look forward to much higher speeds.

Light Peak. Keep attuned to discussions of Light Peak, a data transfer technology being developed by Intel, supposedly based on input from Apple conversations between Jobs and Otellini. Transfer rate is 10 GB/s! That compared to 60 MB/s for USB 2.0. Engadget.

Star Trek Mac. Keep attuned to discussions of Light Peak, a data transfer technology beene Roddenberry's Mac Plus is going to be auctioned off. For the full story and some old video, see

September 2009
Snow Leopard 10.6.1. AppleInsider reports that Apple has already provided a select group of developers with betas of the first maintenance and security update for Snow Leopard. P.S. Maybe we'll get 10.6.1 within a couple of weeks as some of the reports of problems are truly horrendous.

ZFS File Management. Robin Harris' blog on ZDNet laments that Apple has again eliminated ZFS, an advanced and reliable file management system, from Mac OS X. He says it's a major step backwards for the PC industry.

"Enraged Typography Connoisseurs" Attack Ikea's Change of Fonts. The New York Times reports that Ikea changed the font in its catalog from Futura to Verdana. The typography professionals went bonkers! Futura was created in the 1920s by the German designer Paul Renner and was used in Kubrick's 2001 and the plaque the U.S. left on the Moon. Verdana was created by Matthew Carter for Microsoft in 1996 and was designed for computer pixels. All you font mavens will enjoy the article.

A Gigabyte is now a Gibibyte. Ever been confused by file size calculations? Gigibyte,etc. has long had two meanings. Computer science people use exponential counting so a gigabyte is 1,024 megebytes. For the rest of us, a gigabyte is 1,000 megabytes. Snow Leopard has changed the way it calculates file sizes to the normal non-computer method. The result? A file that in Leopard was 241.2 MB is now 252.9 MB in Snow Leopard. That 250 GB hard drive that Leopard indicated was 238 GB is now back to 250 GB because the drive manufacturers and Snow Leopard both use the non-computer meaning of the term. Confused? Join the crowd. For Macworld's discussion see

The Definitive Snow Leopard Review. If you want to read an absolutely fantastic review of Snow Leoprad from both a techniocal and readability viewpoint, one that delved deeply into the innards of Snow Leopard, you MUST read the review in It's 23 computer pages, but well worth it. The reviewer is John Siracusa, the author who thoroughly slammed the Finder. My kind of guy.

Utah Will Put Texting Drivers in the Slammer. Utah treats a texting drivers who kills someone the same as a drunken driver. Up to 15 years in prison. Right on Utah! For the New York times article, see

12 Must Have Firefox Plug-ins. notes that choosing from thousands of Firefox plug-ins can be confusing, like choosing from the iPhones' 65,000 apps. The article describes 12 essential Firefox extensions. Worth reading, you Firefox users.

August 2009

iTouch Tablet. Great article by Jason Schwarz in on why Apple will announce an $800 iTouch Tablet with a 10" screen and why the product "will be the most significant in the history of Apple". Awesome! I hope he's right. P.S. Read the comments; you'll get a good feel of the high-tech world in which we live.

Apple 91% Market Share. Betanews reports that NPD reports that in June Apple had a 91% market share of the retail market for computers costing $1,000 or more. It was 88% in May. It was "only" 66% in 1Q 2008. Long discussion of brand strategies, Apple and Microsoft ad campaigns, and Apple strategies. You've got to read the comments!

Apple Q32009 Earnings. Another record-breaking quarter. Revenues were $8.34 billion; net income was $1.23 billion; 2.6 million Macs were sold, including 1.75 million laptops; laptops sales were up 13% while desktops were down 10%. 10.2 milion iPods were sold,down 7% from last year while 5.2 million iPhones were sold, up 626% from last year. iPhones are cannabalizing iPod sales, altho all MP3 player sales are down. In addition, iPhones available in many more countries this year and since the 3GS is available in only 18 of Apple's 80 markets, iPhone sales should continue to see large year-over year increases for quite a while. Cash and investment at June 27th were $24.2 billion. What's Apple going to do with all that cash?

iPhone Users Thank AT&T. The Apple/AT&T partnership changed the cell phone industry, taking control away from the carrier. AT&T network have been overwhelmed. No one expected the demand from iPhone users. However, there are innumerable complaints about the AT&T service, causing more than a few to vow to drop the phone service.

Netbook Hackintosh. I heard one can install Mac OS X on a Windows netbook in about 30 minutes. The Dell Mini 9 (out of production) and the HP Mini 1000 are reported to be the best for this operation. Just Google "netbook hackintosh" and you'll find many sources, particularly articles at and

Snow Leopard. The latest version of the Mac OS 10 operating system will be out in September. Nothing new there. No specific date. Windows 7 will be officially released October 22nd. Let's see the comparisons.

Botnets. Networkworld reports a very scary list of the 10 most dangerous botnets running on PCs. Be thankful we Mac users are not affected. Yet. When and how do we protect ourselves?

Licensed Streaming Services Replacing Illegal Downloads. Easy to use ad-supported services are replacing cumbersome, illegal free sites. The world is changing. NY Times.

Moore's Law. Is it inevtable or does belief in Moore's Law result in human behavior to progress along the curve indicated by the Law? Long and very thought-provoking article in

July 2009

The Zooming Mac User Base. Phil Schiller, Apple SVP Worldwide Product Marketing, announced at WWDC that the Mac user base had tripled in less than 2 years from 25 million at the end of 2007 to 75 million users today!

Perfect Smartphone. If you're interested in contemplating the transition of a smartphone to a full-fledged computer within five years, take a look at John Dvorak's column in Just throw in a 250 GB drive, a faster processor, and a docking station that can be hooked directly to a keyboard, a large screen, and a couple hubs. Visitor Time. Nielsen reported that in May the average time per visitor at the website was 74 minutes! Unbelievable! Most sites are happy with several minutes. My guess is there's a lot of time spent watching videos. In the same month Apple was the number one manufacturer Web site with 55.7 million unique visitors. HP was second with 21.3 million, less than half of Apple's number.

New iPhone Sales. Trade reports indicate that Apple sold 1 million iPhone 3GS's in its first weekend. That's about what the 3G did, but the economy is a lot worse these days.

Pat Fauquet. Another "twofer" from Pat Fauquet's blog, The June 25th and June 29th blogs discuss the need to back up your external drives and briefly review some external battery pack cases for the iPhone.

How Many Mac Utilities Do You Need? Take a look at an article in Mac360 forums discussing utilities. Also look at the comments, particularly the one by David Coffin indicating the number that he needs (uses every day). What's your experience?

iPhone Apps. In informIT, Ryan Fass gives a list of what he calls 20 must-have apps for iPod and iPhone users. With so many apps out there, a couple must-have lists like this one are useful. I had most of them on his list.

Snow Leopard. The latest version of the Mac OS 10 operating system will be out in mid-September. For Leopard users the price is $29 for a single copy and $49 for a family version. A great price. A fair price. This is a new site from the founders of Engadget and Gizmodo. The reviews and discussions are from users. If you're a gadget lover, you'll love the site.

June 2009

AppleJack. I have to repeat an item from the Listserve. On June 6th, David Berg pointed us to an article from the New York Times extolling this utility — which is free. AppleJack is an easy way to fix your Mac when it starts acting funky. Sounds like another must-have tool when life gets messy.

Apple $1 billion data center in North Carolina. Supposedly to support the growth of its iTunes and App Store digital download services. I wonder what else it's for.

Google Wave. Start paying attention to Google's latest announcement of its Wave communication and collaboration software. Primarily open source. It will become a platform for developers. It's available to developers now even though product is still being developed by Google. There's a 80 minute video on the Google site.

Pat Fauquet. We've again got a "twofer" this month from Pat Fauquet's blog, The May 25th and May 28th blogs show you what steps to take when your Internet connection goes down. You should download them and save them in some sort of trobleshooting file because who can remember the details when the infrequent problem occurs.

Backups. MacFixIt strongly recommends you "have both a snapshot-based system such as Time Machine in addition to a bootable clone system as well using a software package such as SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner. Doing this will ensure you can both boot and access your most recently changed files in the event of either data loss or hardware failure."

Hulu. If you are considering watching TV shows and movies on your Mac, take a look at through your browser or, better yet, download Hulu Desktop to run it directly without a browser.

Palm's New Pre. Check out Daniel Eran Dilger's article in RoughlyDrafted Magazine ( explaining why the Pre will not kill the iPhone. He's probably right on, even though the head of the Pre team came from Apple and sales last weekend were pretty good.

May 2009

Apple March Quarter Results. Apple sold 2.2 million Macs, 11.0 million iPods, and 3.8 million iPhones. Mac sales were $2.9 billion and iPod/iPhone sales were $3.2 billion. Total sales were $8.2 billion and earnings were $1.2 billion. That's the best "non-holiday quarter" ever. Apple has $29 billion in cash and securities. Looks like Apple can fund new products for a while. P.S. Microsoft sales were down for the quarter, first time ever.

Apple Netbook. Much speculation and rumors about an Apple Netbook. Great little things for $300 - $400. Underpowered, etc., but handy to carry around if all you need to do is surf the Web and read email. Rumors of big orders by Apple for 10" screens. My guess is that Apple will release a somewhat larger iPhone within 12 months that will run rings around the current netbooks. Or maybe not. Check out Ron McElfresh's site,, where he reviews software he likes and uses and thinks others will like. He states the site "is a resource for only the best of Mac software complete with links to the latest updates, reviews, how-to, and experienced commentary".

Pat Fauquet. We've got a "twofer" this month from Pat Fauquet's blog, The April 18th blog shows you how to use CosmoPod, a $10 software package, to capture videos from YouTube, Google Video and other sites. Looks easy for you video mavens. The April 29th blog gives some useful tips to preserve your Mac notebook's battery life, particularly various stages of screen dimming and suspending Time Machine.

Office 2004 for Mac. Microsoft announced that official support (including security updates) ends in October. The ars technica site indicates Microsoft has a policy of retiring support 5-¼ years after introduction. I never heard that before.

Safari 4 Beta. I've been using Safari 4 for about 4 weeks and the more I use it, the more I like it. The Top Sites feature has been extremely useful.

MeterRead. This $2.99 iPhone/iPod app by Zerogate helps you read your electric meter, records the reading, projects your usage for the next 30 days, and should help you monitor and change your electric usage.

— Mark S. Bazrod, Editor

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©2012 by Mark Bazrod & MLMUG
First Posted 05/05/09
Latest Update 09/03/12