Don is away in Hawaii so Ed, Holly, and I will be manning the Kibbles helm this week (and for the next several weeks). If you have ideas for articles for the newsletter or discussions for the Dog Food for Thought Pawcast, let us know. Your wish is our command!
It’s been a quiet week for Apple, with no new announcements. CeBIT is going on now in Hanover, Germany. CeBIT is the “world’s largest trade fair showcasing digital IT and telecommunications solutions for home and work environments.” You may have heard that Microsoft et al were to announce products called UMPCs (Ultra Mobile PCs) – better known in the Apple world as Newtons. The products announced at the show a few days ago are really just prototypes, with battery time limited to about 15 minutes. (Now that’s some microprocessing!)
Engadget (one of my favorite websites) posted some pictures of the products, which received a lukewarm reception. Comments range from the unprintable to “I’m waiting for April 1st.” (April 1st is Apple’s 30th anniversary, and announcements are predicted.)
Take a peek at these UMPCs and tell me these do not look like the Newton. In case you’ve forgotten what a Newton looks like, check out our blog, Barkings, where I’ve posted an article and picture of the Newton 2100. (There’s a link to the CeBIT pictures as well.)
We’ve added another Pawcast to our list. The easiest way to subscribe is to use the Podcast feature of iTunes. You can either search for the podcast in the iTunes store and subscribe OR follow these steps:
Launch iTunes Go to menu ‘Advanced’ Select ‘Subscribe to Podcast…’ Paste this URL into the dialog box: http://blog.smalldog.com/podcast-rss
You can also use the easy link on our blog page, “Pawcast Feed iTunes,” which will launch iTunes and subscribe for you.
FTP software is handy to have in your application folder. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It describes the process of moving a file from one computer to another. It’s IP based and it works for both network and Internet. Apple built FTP serving and client into Mac OS X, but it’s not the most intuitive way to transfer files. If you want a slick software solution to do this, you’ve probably been looking for FTP software. If you want to set up FTP using the Mac OS, here are links to two easy to follow instructions:
I came across a list of FTP software on MacOrchard, which is a great resource for Internet software. The list is pretty long, so I’ll only mention the software I’m familiar with. If I don’t mention your favorite, post a comment to our blog, where I’ll post an entry for this article.
Fetch has a long Mac history. It was created by Jim Matthews while he was employee of Dartmouth College in 1989. (On a side note, Jim purchased his creation, the name Fetch, and the code after being a winner on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”) Fetch is shareware and is available for $25. It recently went through some significant updates.
Cyberduck is open source FTP software. It is full of features and add- ons. Cyberduck is getting a lot of great press and it is worth checking out. The software is free, though donations are welcome, and it is Universal for both PowerPC and Intel Macs.
Interarchy is another application getting great reviews. I haven’t used this title, so I can’t vouch for it, but I see from the reviews that people have really gotten behind this software. It is shareware, selling for $39.
Yummy is the FTP software I use. I chose Yummy because of its name and because I felt bad that it was at the end of a very long list. I keep using it because it is so darn easy and it just makes sense to me. I launched it, connected, and it worked like a dream. Yummy is shareware, selling for $25.
How to Make a Favicon
Have you ever noticed the tiny image in the URL of a web page? This is called a favicon. They are easy to create, though not as easy to make look good. I created the banana that is on the PodJungle.com site. A favicon is a 16×16 pixel bit-mapped ICO file. If you are using Photoshop, there is a donation-ware plug-in that allows you to create ICO files. There are also several online Java-based applications for creating ICO files. I’ve listed links to the plug-in as well as to one online ICO creator.
Once you’ve installed the plug-in and restarted Photoshop, create a new document that is square, say 64×64 pixels. It’s easier to start drawing with a larger file and then resize, but you could start with a 16×16 file and then magnify it so that it’s easier to work with. When you create the document, leave the background transparent.
Draw your image, keeping in mind that most detail will be lost when you resize the image to 16×16. As you are creating the image, check it at the smaller size to see if you can still tell what it is. I set my crop tool to 16×16 so I can easily reset the size smaller. Keep in mind that simple things will translate best.
When you have the icon the way you want, resize it to 16×16. Choose Save As, then choose Windows Icon (ICO) as the format. Name the file favicon.ico (must be a real icon file), and upload it into your web directory in the root of your html files. For example you would put it here:
The code that you can put into your web page within the <head> tags is this (href is the URL for your favicon.ico if you’ve put it somewhere other than your root folder):
<link rel=”shortcut icon” type=”image/ico” href=”/favicon.ico” />
If you make an favicon that you are particularly proud of, let me know!
Nuances of Junk Mail Filtering By Holly Buttura (Holly @ smalldog.com)
Anyone who uses email knows about spam – unsolicited junk email. There are a number of ways you can find yourself on a spammer’s email list, including signing up for newsletters that sell lists of their subscribers’ email addresses, listing your email address on a webpage or newsgroup, or even by choosing an email address that spammers may be able to guess.
Spam contains viruses, illegal get-rich-quick schemes, pornography, and other undesirable garbage. There is more spam than real email. In many cases, there’s so much spam coming into your mailbox that you accidentally lose real email while deleting the junk. Currently, there isn’t any way to stop 100% of spam. However, there are things you can do to dramatically reduce the amount you get.
Spam filters block spam either before or after it gets to your mailbox. This technology generally resides on your email provider’s server. There are several techniques that they use to catch spam. One technique is keyword matching. Your spam filter will look for common phrases found in spam messages and try to make an intelligent decision regarding the message. Many spam filters require that you “train” them by letting them know when you get spam messages for the first few weeks, so that they can make more reliable decisions.
Blocking spam with email rules is one of the most effective ways of cutting down the amount of junk in your email box. (Rules in Mac Mail can be found by clicking Mail > Preferences.) When you use rules, you are identifying email messages that you do and don’t want. Each email program has a similar way of organizing your email messages as they come into your inbox, based on the From: address, the To: address, the content of the subject line, and the content of the body of the message. Blocking spam with rules, or filters as some programs call them, can be incredibly effective when done right.
You can have Mail automatically file, forward, or highlight a message (or perform a variety of other actions) based on the message’s sender, recipients, subject, content, and several other criteria.
1. Choose Mail > Preferences and click Rules. 2. Click Add Rule and type a descriptive name for the rule. 3. Set the conditions necessary for the rule to apply to a message. 4. Choose actions to perform on messages that meet the conditions. To specify multiple criteria and actions, click the Add (+) button.
If you have multiple rules, they’re applied in the order in which they appear in the Rules list. Drag a rule in the list to change its order. Mail stops applying rules to a message when the message is transferred to another mailbox, or if the Stop Evaluating Rules action is specified.
There are countless ways to organize your Message Rules. One of my favorite ways is by attaching rules to known email addresses. For instance, I have created folders within Mail for the Small Dog Newsletter. I created a rule that looks for the subject line in the email addresses and have it move to the specified folder. By doing this, I keep my emails organized and don’t have to hunt through them all.
Earlier I mentioned that I use email aliases. To create an alias with a .Mac account, choose Mail > Preferences and click Accounts. Select your .Mac account and click Account Information. Click Edit Email Aliases to go to the .Mac website. Log into your account. Click Accounts, then click the Add button in the Email Aliases section. Enter a name for the alias and click Create Alias. The alias will then be available in the Account pop-up menu in new message windows.
To send a message from a .Mac email alias through Mac Mail:
1. Choose File > New Message to open a compose message window. 2. Click the Account pop-up menu and choose the email alias. When you send the message, it will appear to come from your alias.
If you don’t have a .Mac account, you will probably need to contact your ISP to inquire about aliases, which mostly likely will come at an additional charge. At some point, it’s likely that email address will become deluged with spam, too. If there’s one reason to buy a .Mac account, it’s this. You can use the aliases and when you start getting spam, you can delete the alias and create another one. I believe there is a lag of five to seven days between when you delete an alias and when you can create a new one, if the five aliases you’re allowed are all in use.
To order .Mac: http://www.smalldog.com/product/39452/mymac
To order a Family Pack: http://www.smalldog.com/product/39451/mymac
The family pack comes with one main .Mac subscriber account with 1GB of storage space and four additional .Mac accounts with 250MB of storage space each. That means every family member gets their own email account as well as their own iDisk for publishing personal web pages, backing up files, syncing bookmarks and contacts, and more. There’s a shared iDisk folder for when you want to share items such as family photos and key information with your family members.
Why are rules and aliases are important? They are your best defense against spam. The other option is not to use email. I don’t know about you, but that’s not an option for me at all!
Another way we may end up on a spammer’s list is by displaying images and embedded objects in HTML email messages. When you visit a website, the very act of going to the site is like you’re giving permission for your browser to load images from their stored location so you can see the site in full. When you load the images in an HTML message, you are doing the same thing, and by doing so you’re letting spammers know they’ve got a valid email address.
How can you avoid this? For starters, you can turn off the ability to display remote images in HTML messages in your Mail Preferences. To do this, click Mail > Preferences and the Viewing option. When you do this, messages in the preview pane of Mail will be seen as a broken image. You’ll have the option to Load Images (seen just underneath the Preview Pane bar) for individual messages. In this way, you can choose to load images from the email addresses you recognize.
Lastly, NEVER EVER respond to spam when it says “to unsubscribe, click here.” All you’re doing is letting the spammers know they’ve got a valid email address.
Moving iTunes to an External Drive Ed @ smalldog.com
We live in an age of ever expanding waistlines, budget deficits, and iTunes libraries. Many people are surprised when their computers’ seemingly spacious hard drives are suddenly consumed by their iTunes libraries. All those imported CDs, iTunes Music store purchases, and imported videos for the iPod devour dozens of gigabytes.
Many people get to the point where they’d like to move their iTunes library to an external hard drive and use the drive as a sort of iTunes Vault. I’ll describe how to do this below.
iTunes comprises a simple interface overlaying a powerful program with a sophisticated database. In moving your library, you want to be sure not to jumble iTunes’s underlying database.
While there are several ways to move your iTunes library off your computer and onto an external drive, the following method seems to work best and is also easiest. You can also store some of your music on the iPod, but I don’t recommend this – it’s too easy to lose or damage an iPod, and thus lose your tunes.
Pretty much any external FireWire or USB 2.0 drive will work as an iTunes vault. I like the LaCie P3 drives for this task. If you have a Mac mini, you might consider one of the Mini drives that sit right under the Mac mini. You can see all of our drives here:
First, connect the hard drive, plug it in, and turn it on. If it’s a brand-new drive, you may have to format it using OS X’s Disk Utility program.
1. On your computer’s desktop, click on the icon of the connected hard drive.
2. Create a new folder called something like “Music” or “iTunes.”
3. Launch iTunes and navigate to Preferences under the iTunes menu bar. At the top of the pop-up Preferences window, select Advanced.
4. Where it says “iTunes Music folder location” select Change and then navigate to the new music folder you just created. iTunes will look for your music in this folder from now on.
5. You should also check “Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library.”
6. Close this window and browse to Advanced on the iTunes menu bar at the top of the screen. Select Consolidate Library. All music will be copied to the new folder on the external drive. This may take several minutes, if you have a large library.
7. When this is finished, browse to the new folder and confirm the transfer happened properly.
8. Quit and then relaunch iTunes. Click on a couple of songs to make sure they play correctly. You can also control-click on individual songs and select Show Song File to make sure the tunes have been copied to the new drive.
9. iTunes does not delete music from the old library when you create the new one; you’ll need to do this yourself, to free up hard drive space. Browse to your old iTunes folder and then drag all of the Artist folders into the Trash.
11. Important! The master iTunes database file isn’t transferred to the new folder when the music is. It remains in the original iTunes folder, in a subfolder also (confusingly) called “iTunes.” Don’t accidently delete this “iTunes” folder when deleting your original music!
12. Restart iTunes. Once again, make sure your music is in order. When you are 100% confident that everything has transferred, go ahead and empty the trash. You’ll free up all sorts of hard drive space on your computer.
Some hard drive specials so you can create your own iTunes vault:
LaCie 160gb 7200RPM FireWire P3 Porsche – $119.00!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16512/mymac
LaCie 160gb 7200RPM FireWire mini HD – $144.00!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16514/mymac
LaCie 250gb 7200RPM FireWire Hard Drive P3 Porsche – $149.00!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16483/mymac
Here are the specials for this week, valid through March 16th or while on-hand supplies last. Be sure to use the wag URL to get this special pricing.
NEW* Mac mini Intel Core Solo 1.5GHz 512/60/Combo/AP/BT, ViewSonic VA912B 19-inch LCD DVI/VGA, Canon Pixma iP6600D Color Photo Printer, Apple Pro Keyboard, and Kensington Pilot Mouse Optical Pro USB – $1175
After mail-in rebate: $1125!
Download rebate coupon: http://www.smalldog.com/rebates/canon_PIX$50.pdf
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16506/mymac/
* You must be a Top Dog Club Member to purchase this special.
Apple iLife ’06, The Macintosh iLife 06 Book, and Apple 8x DVD-R 25- Pack Spindle – $139
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16507/mymac/
NEW iPod photo 30gb (2005), AppleCare Protection Plan, The iPod Book: Doing Cool Stuff with the iPod and iTunes, and MobileJuice iPod 4G PowerGuard – $349
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16507/mymac/
Xserve G5/2GHz 512/80Gb/CD/2xGigE/Unlimited (new) – $1999
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16509/mymac
Small Dog Groove Cube Portable Speakers with AC Adapter and a 512MB iPod shuffle (used) – $69
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag50043/mymac
PowerBook 17-inch G4/1.67GHz 512/120/SuperDrive/AP/BT with additional 1GB RAM and AppleCare – $2299
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16510/mymac
Have mouse, will travel! Extra small for easy portability.
MacAlly OptiMicro USB Programmable Mouse with Scroll – $17
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16511/mymac
Ricoh AP410 Laser Printer Postscript – $519
The AP410 offers everything needed to achieve the highest levels of office productivity and efficiency: low cost per page, fast throughput, a large expandable paper supply, flexible paper handling, superb image quality, and intuitive device management utilities.
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16513/mymac
Epson Perfection 3490 Photo Scanner – $94
True 3200 x 6400 dpi resolution, built-in transparency adapter
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16515/mymac
iPod photo 30gb (2005) with free Small Dog Hippod Speaker/Case – $279
The weather sounds like it will be cold and wet over the weekend, so it should be a good weekend for chores. This time of year can be a bit dreary in Vermont, but the days are longer and there is enough of a tease that spring is around the corner that you begins to get hopeful. Of course, right when you’ve convinced yourself that winter has ended, there’s usually a big snowstorm. I have my fingers crossed for an early spring as I can’t wait to get my hands dirty in the garden.
Please enjoy your weekend and thank you for reading Kibbles & Bytes!
Dawn, Ed, and Holly