Mac stuff

Mac Miscellany — Deb's take on stuff in the Mac world

This is the page on which I'll put my random thoughts. To find something on this page, it's best to do a Find. That's Command (apple)-F. Enter the word you seek and press Enter. To find the next occurrence of that word, and the next, use Command (apple)-G.

NOTE: This page has not been added to in several years. I've tended to voice opinions when I speak at meetings/events, but not had time to update here. Sorry.

iPhone Unlocking, Apps, Pricing and law suits

I love the iPhone. I love my iPhone. People who bought their phone the day it came out have posted on lists that they felt it a great deal. One man put it well, pointing out that for just a couple of dollars a day (price before $100 credit back) he got great functionality that was well worth it.

These lawsuits are really angering me!
Fact: Apple created a product that has specific features and requires a contract with AT&T.
NO ONE was forced to buy this product and sign this contract!

I have no sympathy for anyone who bought this product, altered it outside of the way in which it was intended to be used, and has the gall to expect Apple to go out of its way to support all those alterations!

No about this woman in NY who is sueing over the price drop:
What??!!
Resale value? How many people do you know who have bought a cell phone, used it, then sold it for any value?! It just doesn't happen! I know people who give away their phone, but have not known anyone to sell a used phone. So, did this woman really buy it for her own use? Or did she buy it to sell it at a price-gorging profit. If that's the case, she gambled, tried to take advantage of others, and lost. How the h*ll does that give her a basis to sue?!
Forcing a contract? She knew the deal when she bought the phone. Don't want AT&T? Fine! Don't buy a phone that requires AT&T!
No one made her buy this phone! She has no true loss!

Apple and AT&T were perfectly open about the features of the iPhone and the contract/usage terms. We live in a free country where we get to decide for ourselves to purchase or not. Don't like the terms? Don't like the functions? Don't buy the product! That's how all products work!

The hackers who are going beyond what the phone can do may do so. But there is no reason for Apple and Apple shareholders and other Apple users to pay the price!

 

Classmates.com

This isn't a Mac tip perse, but I just wanted to put it out there. Long curious about Classmates.com and Reunion.com and what they would really bring to our lives, I joined Classmates.com for a year.

I can't tell you that it changed my life or brought a long-lost high school love back into my life — but it did bring my HS journalism classmate/friend Jimmy back to life. Well, for me, not for him. Jimmy knew he was alive. I, however, had been told he'd died right after school. It was great to have an exchange with him and learn he was alive and well, 1500 miles from our home town.

I wish I'd used my membership more. I'd built up my profile but I didn't try to get in touch with others.

The internet alone has brought me back in touch with many friends, teachers, and even family though — the ones who use Mac for the mostpart, or FileMaker or Office, or create websites. They find me by accident when they're looking for Mac or software help. Maybe if I wasn't all over the web for my Mac involvement, Classmates.com would hold a lot more value for me. Time to try Reunion.com, and maybe Classmates.com again. :) [DS 8/27/07]

 

iPhone vs Treo — no contest.

Are you wondering about the Treo? Most people who know me know that I loved the Palm and that in 2003 I even worked for Palm. I was a huge advocate. But I made no secret of the fact that I was very frustrated that the Palms never progressed. The very same things I was requesting the year they came out are still on my wishlist. (No, list of demands of what is necessary, not wishes.) The Palm was always a shadow of the Newton, but I'd hoped and expected that shadow of a device to grow. It didn't, despite what is now 11 years of existance.

And then I got a Treo 700. Gotta say... I hate it. The Treo is a very poor phone and a very poor Palm. The number of steps it takes to do anything and everything is just insane. The screen is hard to read. The button are tiny and slippery and hard to hit. The screen doesn't react to the tap of a finger or even the hard press of my fingernail. 9 times out of 10 when I pick up the phone to answer it, I disconnect the call! This happens whether I pull it from the outside compartment in my handbag or picking it up off a desk. The words that come out of my mouth each time I try to answer my Treo are not words that I typically utter. This thing is horrid. I am in hate.

To be clear, I was in hate with the Treo before Steve Jobs mentioned the iPhone at Macworld Expo. I was in that audience nodding vigorously as he pointed out the flaws of existing Smartphones. What did I learn while working at Palm? That they said "we can't" and that they didn't get the Mac. Imagine Apple if anyone there said things like "we can't" or "impossible" or "good enough" about development.

As a phone, calendar and address book iPhone v1 beats Palm or Treo v whatever.
As a To-Do list or note pad, the iPhone will beat the Palm by miles before the Palm people open their minds. [DS 8/27/07]

 

Important Tip for Automatic Updates!

I've long wondered why some folks have problems after doing any update, while most folks don't. Rosyna, one of the very cool developers at Unsanity has found one reason — and it's very simple for us to avoid the problems this one causes.

You can read all about the update/installation process bug and solution here.

Here's all you need to know though:

  • According to Rosyna, while your updates are downloading, it's ok to work, but when you see that the update says "Optimizing System Performance" don't touch your Mac.
  • However, I'll add that Mail may be set to automatically download, and perhaps someone will invite you to an iChat. So I recommend that you quit Mail, iChat, and other such apps before you do the update.
  • And... because it's very easy to become distracted while your in the thick of working or playing, it's easy to miss noticing that the Optimizing is happening.
  • So, to play it very safe, if you can, start your updates and go find something else to do. It's a great opportunity to go stretch your body. Get some exercise, call a friend, have lunch, etc.

Apple Dropped the PC Card...

Some people gave Apple a bad rap for switching from a PCMCIA card (AKA PC card) slot to an ExpressCard slot. Indeed, it did give some a scare because ExpressCards weren't on the market yet when the first Express Card-using Apple laptops came out. But these cards were in development — and not just for Apple hardware.

The ExpressCard is the next generation of the PC card; both developed by the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association.

Per ExpressCard.org:
"Users are able to add memory, wired and wireless communications, multimedia and security features by inserting ExpressCard modules into compliant systems. At roughly half the size and lighter than today's PC Card, ExpressCard products also leverage the proven advantages of PC Card technology, including reliability, durability and expansion flexibility while offering improved performance.
ExpressCard Advantages:
• A Smaller and Faster PC Card Solution
• Suitable for Mobile and Desktop Systems
• Supports USB 2.0 and PCI Express Applications
• Lower System and Card Complexity"

Once again, I'm proud to be using a Mac, designed by a company that builds for tomorrow, not just for yesterday. -March 17, 2007

 

Windows Users Are Buying Macs, or Wanting To

I love it! People who use Windows are telling me things like "I can get a Mac now and be able to run Windows when for my existing software." Yes! That's what I love about the new Intel-based Mac hardware.

Now, a Windows user can get a Mac and enjoy all the free apps that make life so much easier, then run software he/she already has on the Windows side. Little by little, perhaps switching to Mac versions, or finding he prefers a MacOS software instead. (Sorry Windows developers but I wouldn't be suprised.)

 

Belkin Router and WEP Keys

I'm not sure if this will happen with any other routers. Perhaps.
I had this experience with the Belkin N1 Wireless router, which I love.

In order for my wi-fi to work with Windows users, I use hex password, rather than the any-text password. There are always 4 keys to set up. While changing my pass code, I switched to entering a passcode under key 2 (and yes, selecting that key's radio button). This worked fine for my friend's PC, on which we are using the Belkin Pre-N wi-fi card. However, none of my Macs could find the internet.

I went into the router's control, changed to the Key 1 radio button, entered the pass codes, hit Apply — and was online on all Macs immediately.

 

Rumours...

Tuesday, March 7, 2006
I said this on the Macworld stage at Macworld Expo NYC years ago, said it before that, and said it ever since...

I do not engage in rumours. I do not discuss them. I do not spread them. I want my software and hardware to continue to develop. Thus, I respect Research & Development, which means I do not support rumour sites.

Today an ACN friend pointed me to this Joy of Tech cartoon that said it all for me. (Thanks Garry.)

(By the way: please know that I do not take bribes and do not automatically say good things about products I am given. My opinions and words come from my beliefs, not from any wallet.)

 

iTunes officially supports PodCasting

Tuesday June 28, 2005
Until now Apple appeared not to be taking a public position on the phenomena of podcasting, although its very name was iPod-inspired. With iTunes 4.9 and the corresponding iPod updates, PodCasting just gained major endorsement. Perhaps I can say PodCasting has just become mainsteam, as it has certainly become easy for the average user to subscribe to podcasts and have them land in iTunes and/or iPod.

To quote Apple's webpage, "Every podcast on the iTunes Music store is free. With the click of a button, you get the most recent episode — and all future episodes — automatically delivered directly to your iTunes Podcast Library."

A personal friend of mine — the amazing Mark Jeffrey — has been dramatically recording his book, The Pocket and the Pendant. I've loved listening, but gave up trying to figure out how to subscribe to it, or any other "show" as a podcast. There was software, but it was a pain. But Apple has included The Pocket and the Pendant in its very first Podcast offerings so...

Today...
In iTunes, I clicked Music Store, then the new Podcasts link, selected Arts & Entertainment->Science Fiction. Seeing my choice, I clicked Subscribe and clicked OK. Very soon, The Pocket and the Pendant was in my Podcasts folder. I may have had a setting wrong becuase it didn't download all the chapters. But there was an arrow in the list so I clicked that and revealed the list of all chapters available. Then I just clicked Download for all of them. If the enire book was not already there, new chapters would come to me automatically until I clicked Unsubscribe. So easy!

A(nother) whole world just opened up to us with iTunes 4.9!

So with that, I hearily recommend you have a listen to The Pocket and the Pendant audiobook. It's under Arts & Entertainment -> Science Fiction.

Other Podcasts I like are Shelly Brisbin's and The Mac Observer's.

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About Apple and IBM

June, 2005
People are asking me what this means to Mac users and whether they should buy a new Mac now in case these IBM-chip Macs are different.

My response to all this: I trust that Apple has thought this all out and has it well planned. They have a lot invested in our great OS and they're not about to blow it. Apple has made two major technology jumps and done them well. I expect nothing less from them this time.

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Catch the TIger by the toe

Sat May 25, 2005
In June 29, 2004, Tiger, the 5th version of OS X — made its first public appearances. First a proud, effervescent Steve Jobs introduced it in person at the keynote of the Apple World Wide Developer's Conference (WWDC). Then it was unveiled to the world at large both on the OS X pages at Apple's site and in a stream of the WWDC keynote.

Tiger has been out for a while now. Many are using it. Some await key software updates that will enable the to move to Tiger and keep using their beloved software or hardware. If you're wondering whether you'll have an incompatibility to deal with, here are some good resources:

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Virus on Mac OS X?

Sat May 15, 2004
There's a bunch of talk about the Mac "virus" that's eating people's hard drives. To set the record straight on that, it was not a virus. It was a "trojan horse" which is a harmful application dressed up to look enticing enough for you to double-click it. All this time, we Mac users have rarely had to worry about viruses and trojan horses. We relaxed when Windows went thru that hell and rushed out to purchase anti-virus software. Well, perhaps one anti-virus publisher — Intego — wanted to change that.

I don't know what Intego's motive was, but I was furious when Intego put out a press release telling the world about way to do damage to files in Mac OS X, Panther. They could have quietly told Apple about their finding, enabling Apple to deal with it. But instead, they put the recipe out there for any fool to follow. And perhaps that's what happened. This week a Macworld UK reader reported downloading from LimeWire (a Peer-to-Peer, P2P, network) what he thought (for some stupid reason) was a demo of Office 2004. He then double-clicked it and it deleted his entire Home (User) folder! Feel sorry for him? I don't. If the file was legitimate he would have found it at Mactopia.

The wise thing for all people to learn is that if they happen to be on a P2P network and see an "application" of any sort there for free:

  • Question its origin
  • Question its intent
  • If you think it may be a legitimate demo, seek it from the legitimate source
  • If you think trying to get expensive software for free, not paying your fair share of the R&D or infrastructure that goes into making this software possible, then you do it at your own expense.
  • And...Funny how it always comes down to this: always keep a backup of anything that is important to you. (Or be willing to lose it without complaint.)

By the way, there's no saying that someone couldn't put out a malicious file and dress it like your favorite song.

Ammendments: For an excellent take on this, I recommend Adam Engst's May 17th Tidbits column. And for a serious look into Mac security issues visit SecurityFocus.com under UNIX

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The lifespan and value of our Panther

For the January 2004 issue of MacAddict I was given the assignment to decide whether or not Panther was worth it's $129 price tag. I went through each feature, looking at the interface, testing it, running it on various Macs, timing tasks. There was no question that it was a great update and saved you at least $129 worth of your time if you used it for a year. The headline became Panther — Worth Every Penny. Now we know Tiger will be out sometime between January and July 2005. This means we'll have Panther for approximately 13-18 months — and that even if you just decided to buy Panther now, it'll be worth it.

I'm suprised to hear some folks tell me they have not yet installed Panther, fearing that something bad may come to light. In my opinion, that does not make sense. I can see waiting a few weeks, but don't feel it pays to wait months.

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More thoughts coming as topics arise.

  

Disclaimer: The words on this page are simply my own thoughts of anything Mac.
They are not a reflection on any of my employers.

 

   ©Deborah Shadovitz 1996-2013. Content may not be used without prior express written permission from Deborah Shadovitz. • Logo design by Daniel M. EastEmail Deborah.