Moe's Notes

A Report of What Went on at the Last Meeting

By Moe Comeau, Main Meeting Recording Secretary

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May 8, 2010 Meeting

Tony DiPiano opened the meeting shortly after 9 AM. There were about 70 attendees. Maria O. Arguello reminded everyone that tickets were on sale for the $250 Gift Card from MacOutfitters. If you win you can call and have your winnings sent by mail. Avoid the last minute rush. Tony announced that today's special guest is Bob "Dr Mac" LeVitus. After today's meeting there is a free cookout at MacOutfitters in Doylestown. There was one visitor today, Louise Masterson, a new Mac user, who was referred to MLMUG by Craig TenBroeck. All three SIGs were Q&A today.

Bob LeVitus
Dr Mac was introduced by Tony. Bob's presentation was entitled The Best Things in Mac/iPod/iPhone/iPad are Free. Bob noted that all the apps are available via VersionTracker or the Apple App Store. [Note: All the links in these minutes are to the developers' sites, not the AppStore nor VersionTracker.]

[Note: The PDF Version of Bob's slides are available online.]

Free Apps for Macs

Dropbox gives you 2 GB of cloud storage. You can increase that by getting referrals. Or you can buy more fairly cheaply. It can automatically synchronize to file versions on your Mac.

Many people hate Flash. ClickToFlash for Safari will intercept Flash ads and let you bypass them. You can enable Flash at sites you do want to see. HTML5 is a better option than Flash.

iStat Menus 2 is free; V3 is $10. MenuMeters is free. Both give you usage metering of your hardware. Having that in the menu bar lets you monitor processes and usage in your Mac.

TinkerTool - not for the faint of heart; but it does have a RESET function. You can modify many Mac OS functions to get better performance or deactivate things that annoy you. It includes: Finder hacks; Dock hacks; General hacks; Snow Leopard Hacks; and Login Items.

Skitch is a screen-snap app, sketchpad, with annotation. You can drag the resulting graphic to the desktop, or to email. It includes a history file. There is an online storage function as well.

Isolator - Lets you get rid of clutter to avoid distraction. It hides everything except what you are doing.

Skype - Voice calling and video chats for free. Works on all platforms. iChat may not work for calls to PCs, but Skype does. Free for Skype-to-Skype calls; Calls to landlines or cell phones are 2.1 cents per minute. Skype for Business lets you pick your own area code; Bob's is Cupertino.

Glims (for Safari) - A plugin that adds alternate search engine suggestions, thumbnails, fullscreen switch, multiengine search, forced autofill, close download window on completion, and dropdown search suggestions.

MemoryStick 1.5 - Gives you a graphical display of your physical RAM usage under Mac OS X. It gives you an audio warning when RAM gets full.

Free Apps for iPhones
Bob pointed out that most iPhone apps also run on an iPad and on an iPod touch. Exceptions are: Camera-related apps run only on an iPhone; 3G-related apps do not run on an iPod touch. Most that are iPad-only have an iPhone equivalent. Many are being updated to add an enhanced version for the iPad.

Words with Friends is a Scrabble®-like game you play against up to five other players. The $1.99 upgrade lets you play against up to 20 opponents.

ReQall is a voice-to-text to-do list manager. It can send email reminders. If the translation to text is bad, you can listen to the audio file too. It even has smart context translation.

RedLaser is not free ($.99-1.99) but it saves you money. It will scan barcodes and check the web for best prices (if you are willing to wait to buy it cheaper). Sometimes it will show alternate local store prices. iPhone only, as it requires the camera.

Wolfgang's Concert Vault offers thousands of concert recordings in an app and on their website. Some that are not available anywhere else.

Q: Will it allow you to save a copy for posterity?
A: Not legally. Some of them are for sale. There are utilities like Audio Hijack or Wiretap Studio Pro.

The Google Mobile app gives you Google Maps, Sync, Gmail, YouTube, and Latitude for your iPhone. It lets you do searches by VOICE. He demo'd "Show me Vizsla dogs." It automatically goes into voice mode by detecting that the iPhone is being held up to your face.

Weather apps - The built-in iPhone app has minimal info. Weather Channel gives you much more. Video, moving RADAR maps, severe weather warnings, and more.

Great Free Apps for iPads
Most all have iPhone/iPod touch counterparts.

Pocket Legends - Free 3D Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. After the first two dungeons, they charge. Fun; time-killer.

Comics: Comic reader, comic book store (many free), and comic organizer

Instapaper - Lets you bookmarklet items to save for later reading, when there is no connectivity. The free version holds 7 items. The Pro version ($5.00) lets you organize in folders, gives you "tilt-to-scroll," and unlimited storage.

Pandora radio lets you build a radio station customized to your taste. Thumbs up/down buttons help fine tune each station to your unique tastes. It uses the Music Genome Project to categorize music to offer its selections

Internet Movie Database (IMDb). This site carries Cast Listings, plot summaries, and other movie data. Great for settling disputes.

Now Playing locates movie theaters closest to your current location. It shows the movies now playing in your city, the details of movies, movie reviews, and movie trailers for many movies. You can even buy your tickets online with a single finger tap.

ABC Player (iPad only) Plays current ABC-TV shows, complete with commercials; or you can buy most commercial-free for $1.99. Partial-screen in portrait mode; full-screen in landscape.

iPhone & iPad & iPod touch Tips & Tricks

Do the Slide - Fast switch to punctuation and numerals, and back.

  • Start a slide action with your finger on the 123 key but don't lift your finger off the screen.
  • When the punctuation and numeric keyboard appears on-screen,
  • Slide your finger to the punctuation mark or number you want to type.
  • Lift your finger and the alphabet keyboard reappears.
  • You can also slide from key to key - they don't register until you lift your finger.
Do the Slide II (iPhone only) - If your finger initially lands on the wrong character, do not lift it, but slide to the correct character. Only the correct one will be typed.

iPad: Hidden characters on keyboard
  • Press and hold on period to type an ellipsis (...)
  • In Web apps (i.e. Safari, Mail, etc.) press and hold on the .COM key to type other domains such as .ORG, .NET, and .EDU.
  • Press and hold on the exclamation point/comma key to type an apostrophe.
Power preservation
  • Turn off features you're not using such as: WiFi, Bluetooth, and even 3G
  • Activate Auto-Brightness (Settings-->Brightness)
  • Turn off Location Services (Settings-->General)
  • Turn off EQ on your iPod (Settings-->iPod--EQ).
You can also buy a solar battery charger.

iTunes hidden scrub feature - The "scrub control" moves through the track left and right, imprecisely. If you drag your finger downward first, you'll be scrubbing at half-speed. Drag your finger down even further lets you scrub with very fine controls.

Screen shots - To create a picture of what's on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch screen, press the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons simultaneously.

Accessories (not free)

The Apple iPod case is pretty good ($40). The Incase Convertible Book Jacket is very good ($60). Newer Technology's NuGuard clear and leather case is nice at $25, but the Newer Technology logo is annoying.

Film protection products - Wrapsol is very nice, easy to apply. It claims to protect an iPhone against a 6-foot drop (UNTESTED!). InvisibleSHIELD is another; also Best Skins Ever.

iPad keyboards - The $69 Apple iPad Keyboard Dock's major deficiency is its limitation to portrait-orientation only - dumb. A better choice is the Apple Wireless Keyboard, at the same price but more versatile.

Earphones, headphones, and headsets - Bob described several. He also mentioned a 2-into-1 stereo adapter. Someone asked what sound quality should one use? Bob rips his audio at 192, AAC.

Speakers: - Wired & Bluetooth:

  • Tenqa SP99 Bluetooth Speaker $49.95 (battery or AC)
  • Tenqa SP109 Bluetooth Speaker $49.95 (AC only)
  • Audioengine A2 $199.00
  • Audioengine A5 $349.00
Griffin A-Frame ($50) - a simple stand for an iPad - Portrait, landscape or laid down.

Bob mentioned that he had not used Keynote on the iPad to present, because it does not do all the transitions and other features of the "real" Keynote. Bob concluded that iPad Keynote is "Not ready for prime time."

Changing OS's Label Colors
Finally, Bob attempted to demo how to pick your own label colors in the Mac OS. It did not work; Apple appears to have removed that feature.

Gift Presentation
Maria presented a thank you gift to Bob: A painting of Boathouse Row/Philadelphia skyline, which MLMUG commissioned Linda McNeil to paint and frame. Linda noted that the Comcast tower was purposely omitted. Maria then gave a last call to buy tickets for the Gift Card Raffle. Next was a break of seven minutes for attendees to enter the Free Raffle.

Free Raffle
Moe Comeau announced the rules: You do not have to be a member, but must be present to win; you can only win once, so the best prizes are drawn first.

Photos of the Free Raffle winners are included in the May 2010 MLMUG Photo Album, along with other photos from this meeting. The prizes awarded were:
  • Several blue baseball caps, emblazoned with a white Apple logo, donated by the Apple User Group Advisory Board
  • Office 2008 for Dummies, donated by Bob LeVitus
  • Mac OSX Snow Leopard for Dummies, donated by Bob LeVitus
  • iPhone for Dummies, donated by Bob LeVitus
  • Incredible iPhone Apps for Dummies, donated by Bob LeVitus
  • Two each, Noteholder, with Apple Logo, donated by the Apple User Group Advisory Board
  • MovieWedge, an iPod/iphone beanbag holder, donated by Bob LeVitus and MovieWedge; demo'd by Bob himself.
  • In addition everyone in attendance was given an Apple tote bag, donated by the Apple User Group Advisory Board
Special Raffle
To win this one, you had to be a member, but did not have to be present to win. Dr Mac drew the winning card - Bill Morlitz! Maria announced that Bill is in the hospital, recovering from a heart attack.

— Moe Comeau
Main Meeting Recording Secretary (Temp)

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©2010 by Moe Comeau and MLMUG
Posted 05/11/10
Updated 05/12/10