Vimtag P1 Smart Cloud IP Camera
Company: Vimtag
Price: $129.95

Vimtag Smart Camera P1 Series is a 720P smart cloud camera with remote control and two-way audio for home security and monitoring. The camera can connect to WiFi directly without using a computer. It provides audio video application services which include real-time monitoring and recording storage meeting the consumer needs for monitoring elder, babies, pets and home security. The easy installation taking only minutes to complete and provided high definition video via tablet, smartphone, or computer from anywhere.

p1

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About Vicki Stokes

Vicki is a IT professional working in the Silicon Valley. Listen to her podcast, 3 Geeky Ladies, co-hosted with Suzé Gilbert and Elisa Pacelli.

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The following long essay was written in response to recent TechFan episodes in which the new Star Wars film was discussed.

Falcon

Hey Tim & David,

After watching “The Force Awakens” a number of times and having listened to recent episodes of TechFan where you’ve discussed the film, I’ve had a bit of time to reflect upon my thoughts about the new film.

Let me preface my comments by stating for the record that I am an unabashedly huge Star Wars fan. I attended opening day for “A New Hope” in 1977 and have been hooked ever since. Even my science lab/classroom is filled with Star Wars memorabilia. I’ve included a couple of pictures of my desk at school so you can see just how important it is to me.

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About Mike Breed

Writing for MyMac.com since August of 2009, Mike Breed is an Earth Science and Biology teacher at Chenango Valley High School in Binghamton, New York. He is currently acting as the Science Department Chairman in his school district as well. Mike has received numerous grants to incorporate Apple products into the laboratories and activities of his students, with the hopes of adding a new element of learning to the teaching of science in a demanding learning environment. A lifelong resident of Cortland, New York, Mike enjoys spending time with his family when not busy with his duties at school. An avid fan of the Macintosh platform, Mike also spends a great deal of time reading and working from his iPad and iPhone, where he is reading his way through the entire chronology of Star Wars novels. Mike is also passionate about fishing and enjoys spending time each weekend fishing with his father on the waters of central New York State’s Finger Lakes.

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Mini Bluetooth Keyboard
Company: Kanex
Price: $40

Kanex Mini USB Keyboard and StandI recently had the opportunity to review the Kanex Mini Bluetooth Keyboard with Stand Cover, and I am impressed. Inside the box are the keyboard itself, a magnetic cover (which doubles as a stand for your tablet or phone), and a USB charging cable.

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About Peter Nikolaidis

Peter is an entrepreneur, IT security guy, mountain biker, role-player, open-source legend, and naturalized Kryptonian. His latest string of letters after his name include CISSP, GCFE, GCIH, GPPA, GSNA, and is quite NSFW, JKLOL. Often splitting his time between rural Vermont and urban Boston, MA, while not negotiating galactic peace treaties, he enjoys coffee and networking of various types, and occasionally co-hosting a Podcast. He can be found sharing useful, amusing, or annoying tidbits on various social media platforms.

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Fantastical for Mac – Review

On April 5, 2016, in Apps, Macintosh, Review, by Nick Rodriguez

Fantastical for Macintosh
Manufacturer: Flexibits
MSRP $49.00 U.S.

screen800x500

Why in the world would you want anything other than the Mac’s built in Calendar? It does a pretty great job, right? Hold on. Fantastical can shake your world up. At least that’s what Flexibits says they can do with Fantastical 2 for the Mac.

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Abby iPhone Case
Company: Peralta Bags
Price: $89.00

Peralta is a line of bags developed by WaterField Designs, a San Francisco design company. This design company has a number of products for tech-savvy customers such as the Staad Backpack and Bolt Briefcase. The Peralta line was created for professional women “juggling life’s many responsibilities.” I had the pleasure to review the Abby iPhone Case for the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, Samsung Galaxy and other phones of similar or larger sizes. As advertised it is an all in one elegant phone case and stylish purse.

Abby Case

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About Vicki Stokes

Vicki is a IT professional working in the Silicon Valley. Listen to her podcast, 3 Geeky Ladies, co-hosted with Suzé Gilbert and Elisa Pacelli.

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Adventures of Poco Eco: Lost Sounds for iOS
CompanyPossible
Price: $2.99 USD

Poco Eco

Once upon a time, games in iOS were deeply criticized for being bad, annoying, In-App-Purchase generating machines. This was largely accurate, and remains largely true today. But in 2014, a game called Monument Valley punched a hole right through the theory that iOS games had to be this way to succeed. Instead, it focused on beautiful art, deeply rich audio effects and music, outstanding logic puzzles, and inscrutable yet intensely relatable characters.

It may seem strange to you that the first paragraph of a review about a game released in March, 2015 called Adventures of Poco Eco: Lost Sounds is about a different game released almost exactly one year earlier, but there’s a logical connection. Monument Valley showed the world that art and playability were not exclusive to each other, and that people would respond to being stimulated mentally with challenging puzzles, visually with gorgeous art, and audibly with rich, emotional sound effects and music. Adventures of Poco Eco: Lost Sounds is a game that very much exists in the tradition of Monument Valley, and one that seems clearly influenced by it.

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About Scott Willsey

Scott is a long time Apple enthusiast whose first personally owned computer was the original 128k Macintosh introduced in 1984. He has 35 years of experience computing experience, working with Apple II, Mac OS X, Windows, and a variety of flavors of Unix and Linux, and last but far from least, iOS. Scott can be reached on Twitter at @scottaw and his website is at saw66.com.

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OtterBox Strada Series Case for iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus
Company: OtterBox
Price: $60

OtterBox has a reputation for producing high quality, stylish cases. I had the pleasure of reviewing an iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus case from their Strada Series. The Strada case combines a folio with a cardholder encased in premium leather. This is the first case from OtterBox to use genuine leather material.

stradacasefront

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About Vicki Stokes

Vicki is a IT professional working in the Silicon Valley. Listen to her podcast, 3 Geeky Ladies, co-hosted with Suzé Gilbert and Elisa Pacelli.

Newertech NuPower Mac Laptop Batteries
Company: Newertech
Prices vary by model from approximately $90 – $130

the battery

I chose to review the white non unibody 13” MacBook battery, because I had a suitable MacBook, now used by my daughter, in need of a replacement battery. I am confident that what applies to the battery I reviewed will apply across the board to all of their other batteries. I admit that I have, in the past, purchased a cheap, no brand, pattern part, battery for a similar MacBook on the basis of price. That turned out to not be a great investment. I will make occasional comparisons along the way between my experience with this NuPower battery and the cheap copy where I think it seems appropriate.

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About Simon Parnell

I am British, and now the "wrong" side of 50 years old, I am married and have 3 children. I started working in a design studio in the early 80's back in the days of Cow Gum, Rotring Pens and Scalpels. I moved on to using Macs in about 1989 (way back when 40MB Hard Drives were BIG and 8MB RAM was a top end spec, System 6.0.3 was the cutting edge and the IIcx I worked on set me back about £5000... eek!). Since then I have worked on pretty much every generation of Macintosh and every Mac OS Apple have released. I have done design and pre-press work with a wide variety of "DTP" applications old, new, well known and obscure. I have a fascination with finding cheaper alternatives to the "big guns" so DTP can be accessible to everybody! For the last 15 years I have worked in a small print works close to my home doing design and pre-press work.

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Learn Japanese with Tako for iOS – Review

On January 28, 2016, in iOS, iPad, iPhone, Review, by Scott Willsey

Learn Japanese with Tako for iOS
Company: Grogshot Games
Price: $2.99 USD

TakosJapanese

A couple of years ago, I recommended some great iOS apps for learning Japanese on my website. I still like and use most of those apps regularly, especially Midori and Japanese.

Recently I found another Japanese study app for iOS that I’ve been using on a daily basis to learn and remember more kanji. It’s called Learn Japanese with Tako, and it’s a fun and novel app for learning hiragana, katakana, and kanji, as well as basic pronunciation.

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About Scott Willsey

Scott is a long time Apple enthusiast whose first personally owned computer was the original 128k Macintosh introduced in 1984. He has 35 years of experience computing experience, working with Apple II, Mac OS X, Windows, and a variety of flavors of Unix and Linux, and last but far from least, iOS. Scott can be reached on Twitter at @scottaw and his website is at saw66.com.

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Audio Hijack – User Report Review

On January 25, 2016, in How-To, Mac, Review, by Mark Chappell

Audio Hijack 3
Rogueamoeba.com
Price: $25 (upgrade) $49 (full version)

Audio Hijack Hero Image 2

 

Audio Hijack in its most basic sense is a way to capture audio from your Mac. If you want to record audio from a microphone, a website or an application, you can do that and a whole lot more. It looks so simple to use yet can also do many complex and rewarding audio tasks.

Audio Hijack’s new interface is a lot like playing with Lego. You start with one block, join them together, add more blocks and hopefully you end up with something at the end. For this article I will mix the review and my usage experiences together and share the results.

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About Mark Chappell

Mark’s a guy who lives in a shack by the sea in far western England, binge watching Netflix series in between reviewing tech and Mac related goodies. The switch to Macintosh was easy when using dreaded WinVista and adding a printer proved nigh on impossible. That tipped him over the edge and since getting a Mac he’s never looked back, including the Hackintosh years. Wanna be guitar player, intermittent podcaster, and a Taylor Swift fan.

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Case Logic Huxton Laptop Sleeve – Review

On January 22, 2016, in Laptop Case, Review, by Vicki Stokes

HuxtonLaptop Sleeve_MidnightNavy2_HR
Huxton 15.6” Laptop Sleeve

Company: Case Logic
Price: $30

The Case Logic Huxton Laptop Sleeve is a case made of heathered fabric designed for protecting your 15.6” laptop  when traveling to the office, school, or local cafe.

The Huxton Laptop Sleeve is designed to protect a laptop with a 15-16 inch screen. The sleeve dimensions, 15.9 x 1.2 x 11.8 inches, can fit devices sized 15.2 x 1.2 x 10.5 inches. There is a zippered pocket to store smaller electronics such as an iPad or Kindle. Though well padded, the polyester material weighs less than a pound. Color options are black or midnight navy.

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About Vicki Stokes

Vicki is a IT professional working in the Silicon Valley. Listen to her podcast, 3 Geeky Ladies, co-hosted with Suzé Gilbert and Elisa Pacelli.

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Secūr SP-2000 Digital Solar Radio & LED Flashlight 

Company: Secūr

Price: $50 USD

Main

I am currently the advisor of the Environmental Club at the high school where I teach. As a result, I’m always on the lookout for ways to minimize the impacts upon the environment that our technology inevitably causes. Our club recycles hundred of pounds of batteries each year in an effort to reduce pollution in our landfills. When I discovered Secūr’s line of solar powered devices, I was intrigued and eager to take a look at them.

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About Mike Breed

Writing for MyMac.com since August of 2009, Mike Breed is an Earth Science and Biology teacher at Chenango Valley High School in Binghamton, New York. He is currently acting as the Science Department Chairman in his school district as well. Mike has received numerous grants to incorporate Apple products into the laboratories and activities of his students, with the hopes of adding a new element of learning to the teaching of science in a demanding learning environment. A lifelong resident of Cortland, New York, Mike enjoys spending time with his family when not busy with his duties at school. An avid fan of the Macintosh platform, Mike also spends a great deal of time reading and working from his iPad and iPhone, where he is reading his way through the entire chronology of Star Wars novels. Mike is also passionate about fishing and enjoys spending time each weekend fishing with his father on the waters of central New York State’s Finger Lakes.

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Case Logic LoDo Large Backpack – Review

On December 22, 2015, in Back Pack, Review, by Vicki Stokes

Case Logic LoDo Large Backpack
Company: Case Logic
Price: $100

The Case Logic LoDo Large Backpack is well constructed with protective storage for a laptop and tablet. The backpack weighs 1.76 pounds making it ideal for daily use. However, the $100 price may be a drawback for the budget conscious consumer.

Case Logic is marketing this as a stylish, contemporary designed backpack for work, school or  travel. This large backpack can hold a laptop with a display size up to 15.6 inches. It easily accommodated my 15-inch retina MacBook Pro and iPhone. The laptop pocket is padded for protection. There is a tablet pocket that can store a 10.1 inch tablet and a zippered phone compartment. Another zipper compartment is provided to store pens, pencils and other items. The cotton canvas exterior is responsible for the light weight of the 1.76 pounds backpack. This is ideal since a 15-inch laptop and other electronics could add significant weight. The external pockets have magnetic snap-closures that will ensure the safety of stored accessories with a hook for keys in one of the pockets. The internal compartment has a draw string to allow easy access and prevent items from falling out.

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About Vicki Stokes

Vicki is a IT professional working in the Silicon Valley. Listen to her podcast, 3 Geeky Ladies, co-hosted with Suzé Gilbert and Elisa Pacelli.

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Capture One Pro 9 – Review

On December 16, 2015, in Review, by Mark Sealey

 

Capture One Pro 9
Phase One USA http://www.phaseone.com
$299; $15 per month subscription;
$99 upgrade from versions 7, 8

CaptureOnePro9Logo
Earlier this year MyMac looked in depth (1, 2) at Capture One Pro 8 from the Danish company, Phase One.

It’s an impressive alternative to Apple’s own Aperture, which is no longer being developed and – although the Digital Asset Management system of choice for many – is not guaranteed to work on unspecified future operating systems. Version 9 of Capture One Pro was released this month. It’s every bit as good as its predecessor and remains the preferred alternative to Aperture over Adobe’s Lightroom.

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About Mark Sealey

Mark Sealey is a British expatriate working and living in Southern California with his artist/writer wife, Roberta Lannes-Sealey, whom he met in 1996, when the web, she and he were much younger. Mark's interest in computers began in the the early ‘80s when his father suggested that, If we don’t understand how to control them, they’ll creep up behind us and make life unbearable. Have they? Using the venerable Acorn system until his move to the US, Mark wrote extensively about the BBC and RISC machines. He concentrated chiefly on education, music and productivity/system software; at the time Micronet and Prestel led the way for wide area networking… he published over 2,000 articles for these outlets. After graduating with a humanities degree, Mark was a teacher for 20 years until 1994 - first in Italy then the UK. Becaming increasingly attracted to the world of information technology as a major contributor to children’s learning and development, he eventually moved to editing the UK’s chief journals in the educational computing. He has always enjoyed freelance reviewing, consulting, editing and writing. When he moved to the US, he was fortunate enough to find full time employment at a major arts non-profit as a software engineer; though it’s doubtful if there’s a single skill which he was originally hired to use that’s still in daily use. Mark is also a composer of chamber and orchestral music, music critic, a published poet, photographer and environmentalist with an enthusiasm for fitness, vegan nutrition and long distance running. He is now convinced that only humans’ humility can save our planet.

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UpStanding Desk – Review

On December 14, 2015, in Features, Review, by Russ Walkowich

UpStanding Desk
Company: UpStanding Desk
Price: $199.99 and $249.99 USD

Standard

Double Wide

To Sit or not to sit… To Stand or not to stand… That is the question. It has been a normal daily routine going back to before typewriters and through the computer age for one to sit at a desk to work or to relax and read email or surf the web. In the past few years, the logic of sitting down at a desk has come into review as to the impact upon the user’s body and what happens if one sits down all the time. University studies had shown that extended sitting was having a negative impact upon the human body with a possible increase in coronary heart disease and other health problems from a lack of movement. Yet there was also the possibility of negative impact from extended standing.

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About Russ Walkowich

Russ Walkowich is the longest contributing member of MyMac, starting back in 1995. He has served as writer, author, editor, and spiritual guide to a tribe of MyMac Founders in all that time.

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Orbit Wireless Mobile Trackball
Kensington
Price: $60 USA

Trackballs are not just devices for gamers. They can also provide a viable alternative way to control and select for more traditional computer usage. The Kensington Orbit Wireless Mobile Trackball was reviewed in a non-gaming environment to ascertain if it could become part of the arsenal of a first-time adopter. After years of using mice, would the claimed advantages be compelling enough to overcome the natural resistance to change that comes with an old, familiar way of working?

The Kensington Orbit Wireless Mobile Trackball (just Orbit Mobile from now on) resembles an overgrown mouse with the rolling ball where the scroll-wheel would be on a conventional mouse. The Orbit Mobile fits under a hand in a very natural way, with the middle finger rolling the ball to move the screen cursor, thumb and pinkie operating the left and right click buttons, and the second and fourth fingers operating the touch-sensitive pads that control scrolling. If that sounds complicated, be assured that it isn’t: starting to use the Orbit Mobile does not require you to do anything other than place your hand comfortably on top of it with the weight of your hand supported by your palm and your wrist resting on the desktop.

KensingtonOrbitStore the easily-lost wireless receiver inside the battery compartment.

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About Ian Scott-Parker

After training as a cartographic surveyor and then draughtsman, Ian worked in the haulage and manufacturing sectors before retraining to operate a short-run digital-color print studio. He spent the larger part of the last century of the previous millennium in the UK and the larger part of the present millennium in the USA, but claims to look younger than that makes him sound. Now retired, he lives as an Internet recluse with his wife Beth, whom he met through MyMac, and four unruly rescue dogs, Tika, Sammy, Gracie, and Truffie.

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Sibelius 8 – Review

On September 1, 2015, in Music, Review, Tablet, by Mark Sealey

 

box-500x375fixzed

Sibelius 8
Perpetual license: $599
Annual subscription (new users): $239
Upgrade from all previous versions (1 to 7.5) of Sibelius, including one year’s upgrades: $89 per annum
Switch from Finale, Notion, Encore, Mosaic: $199
Full licensing details

 

Jean Sibelius, the 150th anniversary of whose birth we celebrate this year (he lived from 1865 to 1957), officially composed only seven symphonies. Certainly only seven were published. Yet fragments of an 8th do exist; and indeed were performed in 2011… barely three minutes long, though. Sibelius certainly withdrew and tried to suppress his 8th.

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About Mark Sealey

Mark Sealey is a British expatriate working and living in Southern California with his artist/writer wife, Roberta Lannes-Sealey, whom he met in 1996, when the web, she and he were much younger. Mark's interest in computers began in the the early ‘80s when his father suggested that, If we don’t understand how to control them, they’ll creep up behind us and make life unbearable. Have they? Using the venerable Acorn system until his move to the US, Mark wrote extensively about the BBC and RISC machines. He concentrated chiefly on education, music and productivity/system software; at the time Micronet and Prestel led the way for wide area networking… he published over 2,000 articles for these outlets. After graduating with a humanities degree, Mark was a teacher for 20 years until 1994 - first in Italy then the UK. Becaming increasingly attracted to the world of information technology as a major contributor to children’s learning and development, he eventually moved to editing the UK’s chief journals in the educational computing. He has always enjoyed freelance reviewing, consulting, editing and writing. When he moved to the US, he was fortunate enough to find full time employment at a major arts non-profit as a software engineer; though it’s doubtful if there’s a single skill which he was originally hired to use that’s still in daily use. Mark is also a composer of chamber and orchestral music, music critic, a published poet, photographer and environmentalist with an enthusiasm for fitness, vegan nutrition and long distance running. He is now convinced that only humans’ humility can save our planet.

Parallels Desktop 10 – Review

On July 2, 2015, in Review, by Vicki Stokes

Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac
Parallels Inc.
$79.99/Upgrade $49.99
Screen-Shot-2015-07-01-at-22.51

 

Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac is hardware virtualization software for Macintosh computers with Intel processors. It utilizes hypervisor technology. This software technology maps the host computer’s hardware resources directly to the virtual machine’s resources allowing the virtual machine to operate like a standalone computer.

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About Vicki Stokes

Vicki is a IT professional working in the Silicon Valley. Listen to her podcast, 3 Geeky Ladies, co-hosted with Suzé Gilbert and Elisa Pacelli.

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Backing Up Your Mac – Book Review

On June 30, 2015, in Book Review, Review, by Elisa Pacelli

Backing Up Your Mac
Author: Joe Kissell

Publisher: Joe On Tech
Price: $9.99 Ebook, $14.99 paperback
202 pages

cover

You’ve heard it time and time again: backup, backup, backup. Updating software? Backup first. Installing a new hard drive? Backup first. Sounds simply enough, but how many of us are really doing it, or if we are backing up, how many of us are doing it correctly? Never fear, Joe Kissell is here to help us with his latest book, Backing Up Your Mac.

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About Elisa Pacelli

Elisa is a wife, mother to 3 boys, "creative genius", and all-around techno geek. She enjoys reading, quilting, knitting, cruising to Caribbean beaches, and learning new things in the technology world. In the evenings Elisa can be found knitting while listening to podcasts or watching Netflix on her iPad. Listen to her podcast, 3 Geeky Ladies, co hosted with Suzé Gilbert and Vicki Stokes.

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Capture One Pro 8 – Review, Part II

On June 29, 2015, in Photography, Review, by Mark Sealey

Capture One Pro 8 logo

 

Capture One Pro 8: $299 (or $15 per month subscription)

Phase One USA

Last time, Phase One’s Capture One Pro 8 (version 8.3) was introduced as an alternative to Apple’s outgoing Digital Asset Management (DAM) and photo editing software, Aperture. Capture One Pro 8’s functionality was described and some equivalents with Apple’s effectively discontinued and potentially defunct software touched upon.

Now – to conclude – the actual process of transitioning from Aperture to Capture One Pro is considered; photo adjustments in Capture One Pro are described; and an overall evaluation of the product is offered.

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About Mark Sealey

Mark Sealey is a British expatriate working and living in Southern California with his artist/writer wife, Roberta Lannes-Sealey, whom he met in 1996, when the web, she and he were much younger. Mark's interest in computers began in the the early ‘80s when his father suggested that, If we don’t understand how to control them, they’ll creep up behind us and make life unbearable. Have they? Using the venerable Acorn system until his move to the US, Mark wrote extensively about the BBC and RISC machines. He concentrated chiefly on education, music and productivity/system software; at the time Micronet and Prestel led the way for wide area networking… he published over 2,000 articles for these outlets. After graduating with a humanities degree, Mark was a teacher for 20 years until 1994 - first in Italy then the UK. Becaming increasingly attracted to the world of information technology as a major contributor to children’s learning and development, he eventually moved to editing the UK’s chief journals in the educational computing. He has always enjoyed freelance reviewing, consulting, editing and writing. When he moved to the US, he was fortunate enough to find full time employment at a major arts non-profit as a software engineer; though it’s doubtful if there’s a single skill which he was originally hired to use that’s still in daily use. Mark is also a composer of chamber and orchestral music, music critic, a published poet, photographer and environmentalist with an enthusiasm for fitness, vegan nutrition and long distance running. He is now convinced that only humans’ humility can save our planet.

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