Kibbles and Bytes – 473

Finally it seems like summer is really here.  We had a perfect day for the 4th of July celebration with crowds lining the streets in Warren for our traditional 10 AM start.   The cannon goes off promptly at 10 AM marking the start of the parade and in the tradition of Warren 4th of July parades, it was nearly 11 AM before the parade actually got underway.  I would guess that there were about 10,000 people in my tiny home town of Warren, Vermont (population about 1000).  Grace and I were in the parade with the Mad River Run and Rally, the motorcycle rally that is this coming weekend.   Grace rode her Victory Vegas with Fantail Shrimp riding on the passenger seat in the Beastrider.  I had Hammerhead in the sidecar.    Hammer stole the show again this year.  People were oohing and ahhing and taking pictures.  I’d swerve over to the crowd and kids and adults alike would come over to pet Hammer.  He was taking it all in like he was a rock star.  I have to say he was looking pretty good in his sidecar with his Doggles on!

Grace & I had our usual after-parade party and the strawberries definitely cooperated this year as we had plenty for the daiquiris (both with rum and virgin).  I had a good collection of children of all ages to help pick the berries and drink the alcohol free strawberry drinks.  My house is pretty much kid-proof so they had a great time entertaining themselves while the adults talked on the porch or watched Italy beat Germany in the World Cup.

When I awoke on Wednesday I had this illusion that it was Saturday but Grace soon busted that bubble and it was off to work with my hands still stained a bit red from the strawberries.  There’s a lot going on here at Small Dog Electronics these days and our retail store was busy all week as visitors to the valley came into the store for Macs and iPods.  Ed and I interviewed Tim Robertson from for this week’s Small Dog Electronics Dog Food for Thought Pawcast.   We hoped to have an interview with the winner of our MacBook Pro give-away but have not been able to connect with the winner yet.    Look for contest news in the next week where we announce the winner and the new contest (hint- it is black and is not an iBook).


TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence Data Shows Apple on the Rise By Don @

TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence measures consumer interest in buying various computers.  TechnoMetrica has been tracking the home computer market since April 2002. The research firm surveys more than 900 U.S. adults in random phone interviews each month.  This month showed a huge gain for Apple as for the first time, Apple was the #2 brand in the survey with 11% of the people surveyed choosing Apple. Among those who said they were going to buy a computer in the next six months, 16% choose Apple.

This is significant news because it shows a huge rise since May when Apple scored a 6% share.  It corresponds with Apple’s continued introduction of Intel-based Macs and the recent advertising campaign for Macs.    We are seeing a similar phenomena here at Small Dog with many first time Mac buyers calling and buying at our store!

Dell remained the number one brand but their score declined by 21% since the April survey among those that indicated they were going to purchase a computer in the next six months.


11 For 10:  Essential Applications for OS 10.4 By Ed @

Sooner or later it happens to all Mac users: a friend’s Windows PC has a fatal malfunction, and the friend comes looking for advice about switching to the Mac. It happened to me last week. My friend Jen, who runs a very successful business in Middlebury Vermont, had a fatal crash on her Dell and decided it was time to convert to a Mac. The ability to run OS X and Windows XP on the same machine sealed the deal. She quickly settled on the 20″ iMac, with Boot Camp installation and Windows XP Pro.

While the iMac comes pre-loaded with a great selection of software titles, she wanted to know what additional software she should consider for it. I quickly came up with the following list of applications. Some are boxed, commercial titles, some are downloadable shareware, and a few are downloadable freeware. All will work with an Intel based Mac – most are Universal applications, while a couple only work in Rosetta. These are applications targeted at the average user; not someone designing websites or otherwise writing code.

Commercial Titles:

– Office 2004: For the many people, particularly business owners, this is an almost required title. The Student Teacher version retails for $145 and has a mail-in $50 rebate until September 20. The Student Teacher version can legally be installed on up to three computers, and can be purchased by anyone with a Student or Teacher in the family. It has the same features as the non-student teacher versions of Office 2004. If you don’t have a student or teacher in the family, consider purchasing Office 2004 at the same time that you purchase a new computer, for $199. If you buy Office later, and you really don’t have any students or teachers in your family, you can buy Office 2004 for $369. The Student Teacher version is the correct title to buy for most people.

– Photoshop Elements 4: An excellent image editor at an awesome price – only $84. Not only does it play well with iPhoto, it extends iPhoto beautifully. I know some professional designers who use Photoshop Elements for much of their work.

Freeware: – Onyx: OnyX is a maintenance, optimization, and personalization utility for Mac OS X. A great tool to run every now and then.

– Adium: Adium is a free instant messaging application for Mac OS X that can connect to AIM, MSN, Jabber, Yahoo, and more. Basically, it’s iChat on powerful open-source growth hormones.

– VLC: A free cross-platform media player, that will play a huge number of digital video and audio formats, including formats that Quicktime, Windows Media Player, or the Real Video player won’t touch. A great free program that keeps getting better.

– Flip4Mac: Play back Windows Media files within the Quicktime Player. You have to pay to actually edit and export Windows Media files, but the player is free.

– Firefox: Safari is my primary browser, but every now and then Firefox comes though where Safari fails. About half the people at Small Dog only use Firefox at this point. Camino is a strong (and much faster) runner-up.

– Thunderbird: Having trouble with Mail? Try Thunderbird. I personally haven’t used it very much, but many of my friends use and swear by it. I prefer Mail, but it’s great to have an open source alternative.

– MacTheRipper – This is for backing up DVDs. For example, if you’ve made an iDVD project that you want to get off of the disk and into your computer’s hard drive. Shareware:

– SuperDuper:  Easy-to-use backup and system recovery software. Makes fully bootable computer backups. It’s a universal application, which is why I am currently recommending Superduper over Carbon Copy Cloner.

– NetNewsWire – My favorite RSS news aggregator. There is a free version available, too.


Audioengine Speakers! By Ed @

Small Dog Electronics is now carrying Audioengine A5 speakers. These innovative, high-quality speakers have received excellent reviews everywhere they’ve been tested. Small Dog Electronics decided to carry the Audioengine speakers after I ordered a pair directly from Audioengine, and was very impressed with their performance. I am rarely as enthusiastic about hardware as I am with the Audioengine speakers; I give them 4 1/2 out of 5 dog treats.

The Audioengine A5 system comprises a pair of  attractive white bookshelf speakers that plug into AC power. The two speakers are connected by a standard speaker cable. They feature:

– USB power charging port – 2 audio inputs – Built-in power amplifier, no receiver/amp needed – Power outlet for Airport Express (plug the Airport Express directly into the speakers to stream music from your computer to the speakers – I love that!) – Front panel volume control – Custom Kevlar woofers for super low end – Silk dome tweeters for smooth highs – Built-in subwoofers for awesome bass – Hand-built and tuned cabinets w/high-gloss furniture-grade finish – Magnetically shielded for placement near video monitors – 3 year transferrable warranty – All cables included, packed in a handy little bag.

Audio engine says they “spent over 6 months tuning each speaker and almost exclusively used MP3, AAC, and WMA 128 and 192kbps files during this process. We also tuned with lossless CD-quality audio, but found that MP3 files really do sound great on Audioengine speakers.”

For best placement, the two speakers should be separated by about six feet. They are also complement the Mac Mini. A Mac Mini, flat panel TV, and a pair of Audioengine speakers make an awesome home theater for a mid-sized living room, condo, or apartment.

The only catch with the Audioengine speakers is that they don’t come with an iPod dock. You do get higher quality audio from using the line out on the iPod dock, compared to the iPod’s headphone port, so it’s unfortunate Audioengine couldn’t bundle even a third-party dock with the speakers. The Apple iPod dock costs $39.00. We sell a couple of third-party docks, starting at $25.00.

Also, I wish the Audioengine A5’s had an optical input. Other than those two issues, I love these speakers – I would recommend them to almost anyone. Check out the other reviews online.

We are selling them with free three-day express shipping for the next few weeks; check them out at:


“Why can I receive but not send email?” By Holly @

Has this ever happened to you? Your email application is working fine and then one day you’re just unable to send email but yet you can still receive it? I have 2 friends who are experiencing this issue. One is running Windows XP using Outlook Express and the other is using Mac Mail with OS 10.2.8 (I think). Each time they’ve called their Internet Server Provider the first question they’re asked is “Can you connect to the Internet”, when they say “yes”, the ISP Customer Service Rep says “Well then the problem isn’t on our end. You’ll need to contact the support department from the email program”. Great customer service huh? So I thought I would do some research on the subject and see what I could find. Doing a Google search on “can receive but not send in (email program)” immediately let me know this is not a rare occurrence. In fact, one site called it the “biggest email configuration issue around”.

I think a big frustration for people like my friends, is that when someone does try to help, it’s usually someone who really knows what they’re talking about, but are unable to relate how to fix it in terms they understand. Even in today’s computer age, there are still many people who get a glassy look in their eye when you start talking SMTP, IMAP or POP3. I’ll admit my eyes don’t get glassy, but my mind does immediately starts to wander to something else! I found this site that laid out step-by-step instructions WITH pictures.

Here’s another link from Apple called “Email Quick Assist”:

This is the error my friend using Outlook Express is getting:

The connection to the server has failed. account ‘’, Server: ‘’, Protocol: SMTP, Port: 25, Secure(SSL): No, Socket Error: 10060, Error Number: 0x800CCC0E

When I typed in Google the Socket Error # and Error #, I found this information at

“You are on a an ISP (such as Earthlink or Mindspring) that blocks their users using any SMTP server other than their own. Your solution is as follows:

To set up Earthlink, Mindspring, or your ISP’s SMTP servers for your outgoing email you must click on your account settings in the email client you are using (Outlook Express, Eudora, Netscape etc.) In the SMTP (outgoing mail server) field you will enter (or whatever your dial up or direct access ISP’s SMTP server is) as your SMTP server. You must then enter your Earthlink (or your ISP’s) username and password for that mail server. In Outlook Express it is at the bottom of that same tab. You must uncheck ‘My server requires authentication’ and click on ‘settings’ to enter your Earthlink (or your ISP’s) username and password.

“Your email will still be from your own domain name, the only difference is in the way it is routed throughout the Internet. Instead of being sent through our servers it is processed through Earthlink (or your ISP’s) servers. This allows Earthlink (or your ISP) to monitor its users.”

Wow! For what felt daunting, it was a simple explanation. As far as why the email goes from working fine to not receiving but not sending.. it’s probably a number of issues. However, I’m sure most are related to user error. I recommend when you — or whomever sets up your email — write down all the information so if for any reason it ‘decides’ not to work, you know how to fix it! Download a “cheat sheet” from Apple now!


Condition Codes By Don @

Small Dog Electronics sells new, refurbished and used Macs and iPods.   We use a condition code to indicate whether your product is brand new or an Apple Certified Refurbished product.   Here’s the various condition codes that we use and their explanation:

Product Condition Codes:

New (n) New (n): New product sold by Small Dog Electronics is just as it comes from the factory – never opened, never used. Complete with documentation, warranty/registration materials and software. Please note: We will open boxes to install memory or peripherals purchased at the same time. Small Dog never charges for installation of memory in your new Mac! Please let us know if you would prefer that we not install your memory.

Demo (d) Demo (d): Demo machines are new but have been opened and should have undergone very light usage. Usually they are machines that have been sent back to the distributor for restocking or as DOA machines. Small Dog Apple-Certified technicians test these machines and repair any defects. They should come with all the original packaging and peripherals. These computers generally have Apple’s 1-year limited warranty. These machines are eligible for the AppleCare Protection Plan, which would add two additional years to the standard Apple warranty.

Factory refurbished /Apple Certified Refurbished (r) Apple started naming their refurbished product “Apple Certified Refurbished” product about a year ago.  This was a good move to distinguish those products that Apple factory has refurbished and carry Apple’s warranty.  Apple Certified Refurbished product comes directly from the manufacturer where it has been brought to factory specifications, tested and repackaged. Apple Certified Refurbished product comes with all accessories, such as mouse, power cords, etc. Apple Certified Refurbished product is fully tested (including full burn-in testing); refurbished with replacement parts for any defective modules identified in testing; put through a thorough cleaning process and inspection; repackaged (including appropriate manuals, cables, new boxes, etc.), and given a new refurbished part number and serial number. Each unit is also placed into a Final QA inspection prior to being added to sellable refurbished stock. Refurbishment procedures follow the same basic technical guidelines as Apple’s finished goods testing procedures. Apple Certified Refurbished  product comes with the same 1-year limited warranty as new product and is eligible for AppleCare Protection Plan, as well. Refurbished warranties for products from other manufacturers will vary.

Factory refurbished, open box (o) Factory refurbished, open box (o): Same details as above, but the package has been opened and returned to Small Dog. These computers have very little use. They have all the packaging and warranty that the refurbished computers have.

Small Dog refurbished (s) Small Dog refurbished (s): Small Dog refurbished product has been refurbished by Small Dog Electronics’ technicians. These products are generally returns to Small Dog or other Apple distributors and normally come complete with all accessories and documentation. Small Dog’s Apple-certified technicians test and bring the product to current specifications. These products now carry a 1-year Small Dog Electronics limited warranty.

Used (u) Used (u): Used product has been cleaned and tested by Small Dog Electronics. Used computer systems come with a 90-day Small Dog Warranty, all other used equipment come with a 90-day Small Dog Warranty. It may or may not have complete documentation, original packaging, distribution diskettes or accessories. They do NOT come with a keyboard or mouse. Please ask for the complete description of used equipment prior to purchase.


Start Soapbox

Efficiency and Conservation is the Low-Hanging FruitBy Don @

Vermont has a public utility called Efficiency Vermont which is is the nation’s first statewide provider of energy efficiency services. They are operated by an independent, non-profit organization under contract to the Vermont Public Service Board.  Funded by a surcharge on the electric bill, Efficiency Vermont gives out money to individuals and businesses when they install or upgrade to energy efficient lighting and appliances.

Over the past five years they have helped over one in three Vermonters reduce annual energy costs in their businesses and homes by a total of more than $24 million. Over 2 million tons of carbon dioxide greenhouse gases have been kept out of the environment over the 14-year lifetime of the measures installed from 2000 to 2004 because electricity did not need to be generated. As a result of the energy efficiency investments by Vermont home and business owners from 2000 to 2004, emissions reductions is equal to avoiding burning 900 barrels of oil per day.

Investments in energy efficiency from 2000 to 2004 will also saved other resources, including:

1.4 billion gallons of water 5 million gallons of propane 800 million cubic feet of natural gas 3 million gallons of oil

With the double threat of oil depletion and global warming knocking on our door, it is time to look carefully at efficiency and conservation as an important part of the answer to reducing our dependence upon oil.  With the rapid increase in gasoline prices, there has also been a new resurgence of interest in hybrid vehicles and other technologies that will make for more efficient transportation.  If we really recognized this as an emergency situation we would see greater and greater fuel economy, an increase in more efficient public transportation and a tax system that would severely penalize those that insist upon inefficient vehicles.

The same need to exploit efficiency and conservation should be used for lighting, heating and appliances. If you drive around at night, just notice how many unnecessary lights remain on all night.  The use of motion sensitive lighting could save a ton of electricity alone. Businesses should be motivated (through tax or regulation) to embrace efficiency.  If your local restaurant rolls out those big propane heater umbrellas to extend the patio dining season, it should cost a bunch!  If they leave their front doors open while it is snowing outside, ditto.

If we start now and look at all uses of energy as tapping into a limited supply of natural resources, perhaps we could buy decades of energy.  Certainly the development of renewable energy sources and new technologies is an important part of our energy future but there are literally millions of barrels of oil to be had without expensive drilling and negative environmental impact simply by making efficiency and conservation the most important part of our energy policy.

The energy we use today, whether it is oil or electricity is not being sold at its value.  What I mean by that is if you take the view from thousands of years and miles into space, humanity is taking an incredible resource of stored energy that took millions of years to make and burning it all up in a flash of a couple hundred years.  If I were an alien observing this planet, I’d have to say that this civilization is not ready.   This precious resource should be protected and conserved so that our children and grandchildren will also have the benefit of the earth’s resources.   What is the true value of a barrel of oil that now sells for $75?  With the view from afar, it seems like we are the Fergengi from Star Trek – a culture which is based entirely upon commerce.

Efficiency Vermont uses commerce to conserve and encourage energy efficiency by providing incentives to change wasteful behavior.  We can use our tax and regulation system to make energy saving the smart business move and we need to do that sooner rather than later when it may be too little too late.

What do you think about energy conservation and efficiency?

Share your thoughts at the Small Dog Soapbox:

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Here are the specials for this week, valid through July 13 or while on-hand supplies last. Be sure to use the wag URL to get this special pricing.


Kingston Data Traveler 512mb USB Flash Drive – now only $21!

To order:


Kingston Data Traveler 1gb USB Flash Drive – now only $30!

To order:


Apple Airport Extreme Base station with modem/antenna port (r) – $145

To order:


EZQuest Monsoon 300gb Firewire 400/USB 2.0 drive – $152!

To order:


Epson Stylus CX5800F Printer Scanner Copier AND Fax – $169

To order:


Apple iPod 40gb Clickwheel with Dock, Griffin iTrip (Dock connector), Kensington Case – $224!

To order:


Audioengine 5 Speaker System – FREE 3-day Express shipping – $349!

To order:


iBook 14in G4/1GHz 768 MB RAM/40 GB hard drive/Combo drive, Airport Extreme Card – $949!

To order:


iBook 14″ G4/1GHz 768 MB RAM/40 GB/Combo/AP, Airport Extreme Base station, Sling case – $1099!

To order:


The Mad River Run & Rally has had rain for the first two years of its existence and the organizers, our UPS driver and significant other, nearly gave up last year as the field was flooded and rain kept the motorcyclists away.  This year it looks like glorious summer weather and a chance to have some fun.   Hapy and his crew of strong men and women in kilts will be having a Highland Heavy Athletics competition with multiple classes and some world champions and record holders showing up.  If you happen to be in the area on Saturday be sure to come on over to Kenyon’s field in Waitsfield!

Even if you can’t make it to the rally have a great summer weekend! Thanks for reading Kibbles & Bytes!

Your Kibbles and Bytes Team

Don, Ed & Holly


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