It seems like the landscape went from brown to green in an instant as I look out the window here at Small Dog. The maple trees have their leaves now and the pastures have reacted to the manure spread by our neighbor by bursting into brilliant green. We expect a lot of rain today and this weekend which will cause the foliage to expand even more. Mark Engelhardt is out this week to work on our shopping cart but I roped him into helping me with some motorcycle projects while he was here, too. We tried to put the sidecar back together but I had measured wrong and when I had the axle turned down to accommodate the Victory wheel, I neglected to measure the necessary axle length. Fortunately, there is enough material to add an inch so it’s off to the machine shop today.
The latest episode of the Small Dog Electronics Dog Food for Thought Pawcast has been posted to Apple’s iTunes Music store. This is a particularly interesting episode, with Ed interviewing many of the Apple Specialists and vendors at the Apple Specialist Marketing Cooperative’s meeting. I decided to send Ed and Rob Berkey to Chicago both because I wanted them to get the experience of interacting with other Apple resellers and the many vendors and because of a major ASMC scheduling screw-up having planned the event when the Cubs were out of town. I’m glad that I did, too, because they both came back full of energy and new ideas. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to our Pawcast, check it out. You can download it for free from the iTunes Music store, or from our blog, at blog.smalldog.com.
We were on the edge of our seats this week as all the signs pointed to a new product announcement from Apple, but as the week wore on it was clear that it was yet another false rumor. Early on in Small Dog’s history as we were considering various URLs to register we decided that false rumors.com would be fun. We haven’t had the time to actually put it up but we figured we’d have a good time putting up a bunch of false rumors with the clear disclaimer that every thing on the site was a lie. Maybe one of these days we’ll have the time.
My sister was having some problems with her computer and when I asked her which Mac I had given her, it turns out that she was still using a Dalmatian iMac. I offered her an Intel Mac mini or a G4 iMac and she told me that she didn’t want a Mac mini. When I asked her why, she told me that she was afraid of viruses. Â There have been a lot of news stories and misinformation about Apple and security this week. Most of the buzz was generated by companies that create virus detection software for the PC. Some of these companies have released “security” software for the Mac and have issued sensationalist press releases claiming that Mac OS X has a big target on it. The fact remains that there are literally thousands of viruses out there in the wild for Windows, and you’d be a fool not to run security software if you are running Windows. But for Mac OS X the total number of destructive viruses out in the wild is ZERO. We got a flurry of phone calls and letters from customers asking what virus software they should buy and our answer so far has been “Don’t waste your money.” When there is a vulnerability discovered in Mac OS X (and remember that a vulnerability is very different from a virus, trojan horse, or other malware) Apple has always been very prompt in releasing a free security update. In fact, the latest Apple security update is available today via the software update system preference. If you are running Windows, you have to pay to repair Microsoft’s errors!
Mac Maintenance Checklist
Apple posted the Top Ten Tips for keeping your Mac healthy this week. I think that most of these steps are good but I have a contrary opinion on a couple, especially the notion of using third-party software to “optimize” your hard drive and the value of installing virus software. Nevertheless, the list is definitely worth sharing with the Kibbles crew!
Top 10 Tips to Keep Your Mac in Top Form
1) Keep Things up to Date Make it a point to check for Apple software updates once a month to keep your system running optimally. From the Apple menu, choose Software Update (make sure that your computer is connected to the Internet). Software Update will assess the Apple software on your computer and check our servers for new versions. If it finds any, the updates will appear in the Software Update window. Select the checkbox for the software you want and then click the Install button to download and install the software.
I recommend that you check more frequently than once a month. Â I have my system preference set to check once a week.
2) Put Your Toys Away You’re not 5 years old anymore Â – make it a point to clear off the mess strewn about across your desktop and put your files away where you can easily find them. This can help prevent accidental file deletion (you may inadvertently select and trash a wanted file with your undesirables) and help you find things much more efficiently. You can get organized by creating new folders (in the Finder, press Shift-Command-N) and arranging them into a workable hierarchy for your files at hand, or you can move your files into existing folders.
Boy, you should see Hapy’s desktop – he needs to do this. He has an Apple 30-inch Cinema Display and if you look at his desktop it is covered by hundreds of little icons of files that he keeps there!
3) Name Your Children Untitled folder 8, Word027.doc, DSC_1366.jpg, you’ve probably got a few (or way more than a few) files and folders that you’ve felt less than inspired to properly name. Then suddenly you need to pluck that prized picture from your ginormous collection of DSC_0001.jpg to DSC_1400.jpg named files, if you only knew which number it was. Go through your generically-named files and folders and give them more descriptive names so you can find what you need fast (though it can find files quickly, Spotlight won’t find your tabloid-ready Bigfoot picture if you left the file alone with its cryptic camera-given name).
4) Prune Through Your File Forest To reduce the amount of clutter on your hard drive, free up some disk space by archiving large, seldom used files (learn how here), and be sure to name the resulting archive file appropriately too, so you know what’s in it. Delete any unnecessary or outdated personal files whenever possible and anything that you no longer want or need Â – just drag them all into the Trash and don’t forget to empty it. Be brave. Your computer will reward you with improved performance.
5) Repair Disk Permissions It’s a good idea to make sure that your disk permissions are in good working order on a regular basisespecially after upgrading or installing new software. Open Disk Utility (find it in /Applications/ Utilities) and select your hard disk icon in the left pane. Click the First Aid tab, then click Repair Disk Permissions to start the process, which can take a few minutes to complete. If Disk Utility finds any issues, it’ll fix them along the way.
6) Back up Your Files To prevent losing your prized or important files, make it a point to back up your keepsakes on a regular basis. You can back up files onto a CD, DVD, external hard drive, iPod, iDisk, or other storage medium and then delete the copies on your hard drive to free up some space. To learn how to back up files, choose Mac Help from the Help menu in the Finder and do a search for back up files. To get some ideas of what and what not to back up, see this page.
Buy .Mac and use Apple’s excellent Backup software that comes free with your .Mac subscription!
7) Restart Your Computer Every Once in a While While your Mac can happily hum along 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you should restart it every once in a while to refresh the system if you’re in the habit of keeping your computer running all day and night. This can help clear issues before they arise.
8) Check for Viruses Macs don’t get anywhere near the amount of viruses that Windows PCs are prone to, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t get infected. If you don’t already have antivirus software, you may want to consider making a purchase. If you have the software installed, be sure to keep your virus definitions up to date, you can find the latest updates on your software manufacturer’s website.
I guess I disagree with Apple here, I have not seen any viruses infecting Mac OS X yet and I think that virus software right now is a waste of money. That may change. Mac OS X is not invulnerable but right now it is very very safe.
9) Optimize Your Hard Drive To ensure the best system performance and keep file damage to an all- time low, optimize your hard drive once a year. Third-party utilities such as Alsoft Disk Warrior Optimizer and Micromat Tech Tool Pro will defragment and optimize your drive.
Again I have some questions about the value of optimizing your drive. Do not do this without having a complete backup. I have not found any benefit from using third-party software to optimize your hard drive.
10) Clean the Outside Too Dust and other debris can harm your computer’s innards if you allow the stuff to build up around your workspace. Use a soft, dry, lint- free cloth, feather duster, or canned air to clean your Mac’s outside as well as the surface areas around it. You can use a slightly water- dampened cloth to clean the screen. Do not use any type of liquid cleaner to clean your Mac.
Small Dog Electronics Will Now Pre-Install XP on Intel Macs! ed @ smalldog.com
After many customer requests, Small Dog is now pre-installing Windows XP Pro or Windows XP Home on Intel Macs. You order this service at the same time you order your Intel Mac. Small Dog will partition your Intel Macintosh hard drive, install the Boot Camp beta, and then install XP. Basically, you order the Intel Mac of your dreams, then order the Windows pre-installation here:
Bootcamp Installation on any Intel Mac Â For XP Pro – $183.75
Bootcamp Installation on any Intel Mac – Windows XP Home – $129.75
http://www.smalldog.com/product/40479 (for XP Home)
We’ll need to know how large of a partition for Windows you want to use. The minimum is 5 gigabytes. Remember, XP can only be installed at the time of purchase, and can only be installed on Intel Macs.
MacSpotting Followup Holly Buttura (Holly @ smalldog.com)
Last week I wrote about MacSpotting, the practice of spotting Macs in the media. I questioned why networks cover the Apple logo, as it seemed a little ridiculous to me. I learned why from one of our Kibbles readers who is a TV writer and producer. (Jon spent 5+ years writing for “Frasier”!)
Here’s what Jon told me:
“Dear Holly —
“As a longtime TV writer and producer (as well as a diehard Apple user for over 20 years), I can tell you that the shows block out the logos of products for multiple reasons. Â One is that the major networks are in the business of selling commercials (unlike cable networks such as HBO, which has a number of shows that show the Apple with no problem). Commercial networks don’t want to give free advertising to companies they’d like to have purchasing ads. There’s also the tacit “endorsement” of a product that’s seen on the show Â a character that uses an Apple product might scare off ads from Dell, just like a character drinking a Coke might scare off Pepsi dollars. Silly, I know, but it happens. I’ve even seen studios ask writers not to use the names of products in the scripted dialogue for these reasons.
“And finally, there’s the product placement issue. Studios will actually strike deals to feature products within the body of a show. It’s happening more and more that writers are being asked to put what’s essentially a commercial into a show’s story Â which is bad enough to begin with, but what’s worse is they’re not getting any piece of the money that the studios are getting from the advertisers.
“Probably more than you wanted to know, but there you have it.”
I found Jon’s insight interesting, and I thank him for the info. It makes complete sense. Besides anyone who uses a Mac knows one when they see one. At the end of the day, we don’t need any special props or recognition. We know the score!
11 Favorite Address Book Tips and Tricks ed @ smalldog.com
Address Book is one of those simple, everyday programs that’s easy to take for granted. In Tiger it’s been updated to version 4.0. It Â does the basics, like storing and organizing contact data, which can easily be searched, saved, exported, and backed up. There are also some features added for fun.
1) What is a vCard and What Can I Do With It? You may notice the Address Book stores contacts as “vCards.” A vCard (Virtual Business Card) is basically a digital business card that stores data in a standard, Â platform-independent format. Cell phones, iPods, PDAs, computer applications, and email programs all use vCards to store and exchange data. Because vCards are based on an open standard, they’re very easy to import to and export from Address Book. This also means that if you ever decide to dump Address Book for a different program, you can easily take your data with you.
The openness of Address Book is one its best features. You can enter data in Address Book once, and then have it almost anywhere. Having a .Mac account helps with this Â it’s the easiest way to sync Address Book data to multiple computers, and even have it stored online for access on any internet-connected computer.
2) Create Your Own Personal vCard It’s great to have your own vCard Â you can easily email the card to friends and clients, who can then simply drag and drop the card into their own information management program. In Address Book, create a new card with all of your relevant information. Then navigate to Card > Make This My Card. If you have a photo icon, it will now sport a little tab that says “me.” I have two cards: my personal vCard, and one I use for work. If you want to use one card, you can mark some fields as private. Select your vCard, then navigate to “Preferences” at the top of the screen, then navigate to “vCard.” Choose the “Enable Private Me Card” Â option. Go back to your personal vCard in Address Book, and click “Edit.” A series of blue Â boxes will appear. The checked fields will be included on your public vCard; fields without checks are private.
3) Email Your Own Card If you want to send your card to somebody via email (to show you’re trendy and that other thing), choose Card: Go To My Card and then File: Export vCard. Save your vCard file someplace convenient for quick access (mine is on my desktop), and send it as an attachment to any email message. You can also drag and drop your cards silhouette icon right from Address Book onto Apples Mail icon in the Dock, which opens a New Message window with your vCard attached.
4) Instant Email If you click on the image of the gear (the Actions menu) in the Address Book’s upper left corner, you’ll see an option to “Send Email.” This will launch your email program and create a new email with the contact’s email address in the “To:” field. This can save a considerable amount of time.
5) Printing Addresses from Address Book There are several ways to print addresses from Address Book. When you select Â “File” > “Print,” you’ll see a Â drop-down menu reading “Style.” Here there are options for printing mailing labels, envelopes, lists, and pocket address books.
Address Book will print all your labels and envelopes directly onto dozens of supported Avery, Avery metric, and Dymo label stocks, as well as standard envelope formats. Imagine the uses Â holiday greetings, party invitations, a printed newsletter, or a bulk mailing.
You can also print phone and email lists from the “File” > “Print” dialog box.
If you’re traveling without your computer, you can print out a handy, pocket-size book to take your contacts with you.
To go beyond the built-in printing formats and templates, Apple recommends a third-party utility called iDress. See this here:
For quickly printing envelopes out of Address Book, I recommend “Easy Envelopes.” It’s available from Ambrosia Software at this link:
6) Create a Group in Address Book This is useful for sending out a single email to many recipients, or printing envelopes or labels for a particular group. Here’s how you do it:
– Open the Mac OS X Address Book. – Press the + button underneath the Group column. – Name the new Group list. – Add people to the group by dragging and dropping in from existing contacts, or typing in a new contact. Â The new contact will automatically be added into the “All” category.
Now you have a Group. If you want to email the Group in Mail, simply type the name of the group in the “To:” field, and all members with email addresses will be added.
7) Accessing a Map from Address Book 4 Address Book includes a feature for locating addresses on a MapQuest Map. This will only work when the physical address field in the address book is filled out, and you have to be connected to the internet. It’s really easy to make Address Book generate a map simply click the tag (such as “Home,” “Work,” or “Other”) that appears to the left of the address. Want to use Google Maps instead of MapQuest? Download this plugin:
8) Share an Address Book You can give other users access to your Address Book, and even give them permission to edit entries. This is a Â great feature for families and certain businesses. I rarely use this feature, but it’s pretty cool. The person with whom you wish to share your Address Book has to be listed in your Address Book, they have to be a .Mac member, and they have to be connected to the internet. To do this, navigate to “Preferences” > “Sharing” and then select “Share.” Then enter the name of the person or people with whom you wish to share your Address Book. That’s it!
9) Merge Two Records It’s easy to accidently end up with two vCards for the same person. Address Book makes it easy to merge the two. Set Address Book to the “Card And Columns” view by pushing “Command and 1” at the same by going to “View” > “Card And Columns.” Use the Search bar in the upper right corner of Â Address Book Â to find the two contacts. Click on the first in the Name column. Hold the shift key and click on the second to select them both. Choose Card: Merge Selected Cards, and the two will merge. You many have to manually delete redundant information.
10) Use Spotlight in Address Book Sometimes you’re in the Address Book when you want to find a file relating to a particular contact. If you click on the image of the gear (the Actions menu) in the Address Book’s upper left corner, you’ll see the word “Spotlight” followed by the contact’s name.
11) Back up Address Book The following tip comes verbatim from Apple Support Article 301239. Read the entire article here:
To back up: Open Address Book and choose Back up Address Book from the File menu. A dialog appears, asking you to choose a save locationit also adds the current date to the saved file name too. Choose where you want to save the backup, then click Save.
To restore: In Address Book, choose Revert to Address Book Backup from the File menu. In the resulting dialog, locate your backup file (it ends with a .abbu extension), select it, and click Open.
Alternatively, in Address Book, you can select the “All” icon in the upper left corner of the application window. Navigate to “File” and then choose “Export Group vCard”. Save the file to a safe location. I periodically do this, and then email the Group Addresses to myself to maintain a safe copy.
Troubleshooting Address Book
There are many articles at <http://www.apple.com/support/> that can help resolve trouble with Address Book. These articles describe how to import contacts from Entourage, how to deal with syncing problems with specific devices, and how to work with older versions of Address Book on older versions of Mac OS X. Simply type “Address Book” in the search bar.
New Products Ogio Hip Hop Messenger Bag – Copper – $47.50 Geek-meets-street in this lightweight, biker-style bag complete with a heavily padded laptop sleeve, dedicated media and power supply pouches, and file folder and cell phone pockets.
Sonic Impact iFusion iPod Portable Speaker System – $129 The i-Fusion is the first rechargeable and truly portable speaker case system with docking station made exclusively for the iPod and iPod mini. Universal adapters custom fit any generation iPod or iPod mini with docking capacity. Non-docking iPod’s play as well using a stereo connector, included.
Boostaroo Revolution Audio Amplifier – $65 The Boostaroo Revolution is a unique portable pocket amplifier for personal audio devices and laptops. It will quadruple the volume of any player to headphones (60 ohm or higher) and provide 3-D surround- sound imaging. If you’re picky about your sound, the Revolution is tailor-made for your listening pleasure!
Epson Powerlite 62c SVGA 800×600 2000 lumens Projector – $989 The Epson PowerLite 62c delivers brilliant presentations virtually anywhere – all from a travel friendly SVGA ultraportable. Epson 3LCD technology works with its 2000 ANSI lumens to deliver accurate color, incredible saturation and remarkable image quality. And, with Epson exclusive Instant Off and 4-second startup features, setup and shutdown couldn’t be easier.
Epson Powerlite 82c XGA 1024×768 2000 lumens Projector – $1289 With 2000 ANSI lumens, 3LCD technology and XGA resolution, the 5.9 lb Epson. PowerLite 82c delivers brilliant presentations in any setting, along with easy operation and many high performance features. Four input connectors, 30 degree keystone correction and powerful 5 W audio facilitates extreme flexibility, while the Epson exclusive Instant Off feature and a 4-second startup make setup and shutdown a snap.
ViewSonic N2011 20in LCD-TV – $439 High brightness and contrast ratios deliver brilliant images from your favorite video or TV show, or while playing your favorite video game. The N2011 easily fits your lifestyle with its INTEGRATED TV TUNER AND PLUG-AND-PLAY CONNECTIONS for all your digital video entertainment. The wall-mountable, slim, flat-screen display with integrated dual 5-watt speakers is ideal for small spaces like the bedroom, kitchen, garage or even your RV.
ViewSonic N2751W 27in LCD-TV HD – $829 With an appealing, contemporary, slim design, the N2751w is ready to deliver stunning high-definition television as well as enhanced and standard television signals. Immerse yourself in the brilliant colors and crisp images delivered by true 1366×768 resolution, high brightness and contrast ratios. Multiple video and audio connections allow you to connect HD set top boxes, DVD players, game consoles and more to BUILD A COMPLETE HIGH-DEFINITION HOME ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM around the N2751w.
ViewSonic N3260w 32in LCD-TV HD – $1189 Watch off-the-air broadcasts on true HDTV with 1366×768 resolution, high brightness and contrast ratio, the N3260w delivers rich, saturated color for DVDs, movies and sports. SRS TRUSURROUND XT AUDIO DELIVERS CLEAR DIGITAL AUDIO to the integrated dual 10-watt speakers or to your home stereo system. Multiple connectors including HDMI with HDCP digital input provide connections for DVD players, set-top boxes, game consoles and more.
ViewSonic N3760w 37in LCD-TV HD – $1725 Experience full-color, true HDTV through 1366×768 resolution and high brightness and contrast ratio. The HDMI digital interface ensures long-term compatibility with evolving technology. The widescreen aspect ratio allows you to view HDTV movies and DVDs the way they were meant to be seen, while SRS TRUSURROUND XT AUDIO completes your home entertainment experience with clear, digital audio for DVDs, movies, sports and games. The N3760w is a versatile performer with multiple connectors including HDMI and HDCP digital input for DVD players, set-top boxes, game consoles and more.
Here are the specials for this week, valid through May 18 or while on- hand supplies last. Be sure to use the wag URL to get this special pricing.
iMac 17″ G5/1.9GHz 512/160/SuperDrive/AirPort Extreme PLUS 1 GB additional RAM Installed – $1099!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16668/mymac
PowerBook 17-inch G4/1.67GHz 512/100 + 1GB RAM + Messenger Bag & Sleeve – $1999!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16669/mymac
iPod Photo 60gb (2005) with FREE Apple iPod Camera Connector – $329!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16666/mymac
Apple Mac OS X 10.4.3 Tiger with free shipping – $119
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16656/mymac
Apple Mac OS X 10.4.3 Tiger Family Pack with free shipping – $185
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16655/mymac
Ed’s Favorite Compact Video Camera – the Canon Optura S1, now $699 w/ free shipping!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16665/mymac
It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday and we’re heading up to Burlington to spend time with my mom.
I was quoted in a new book called The Motherhood Manifesto: What America’s Moms Want and What to Do about It by Joan Blades and Kristen Rowe-Finkbeiner. It is a good book that talks about change that would empower mothers. They talk about the statistics that three- quarters of American mothers have jobs outside of the home, they tend to earn 27% less than men, while single moms earn 34-44% less. The national scandal of skyrocketing health care costs bankrupts families and pushes moms into marginalized jobs, while working mothers leave children home to unsupervised TV watching and substandard child care. The authors propose family-friendly flexible work schedules and offer compelling employer success stories. I was quoted in the section about health care for our work here in Vermont of health care reform and about Small Dog Electronics benefit programs.
Honor your mom on Sunday and have a great weekend! Thanks for reading Kibbles & Bytes.
Your Kibbles & Bytes Team,
Don, Dawn, Holly, and Ed