Kibbles and Bytes 491

Election week is always exciting.  I was up in Burlington at our new store today and someone had taken a huge quantity of now-obsolete lawn signs and put them in one giant display.  We’ve been having some mild Indian summer weather and I chose one day to ride one of my motorcycles to work.  I’d been chatting with Geoff late at night about a bunch of things and he asked me to bring him a helmet so we could go to lunch.    I did that and I think it might have been Geoff’s first ride and naturally was we headed to my favorite restaurant for lunch (Finkerman’s BBQ in Montpelier) it started to rain.   We went anyway and didn’t get too wet.

I know that this weather is short-lived but it gives me the chance to catch up on some fall work.  I have these big bushy arctic kiwi plants that I’ve only once gotten fruit from.  I built a rustic trellis for the vines and it is a very nice plant.  Unfortunately, my rustic trellis collapsed from rotten wood after about 10 years and my big plant was unsupported.  I read up on the arctic kiwi and discovered that if you want fruit you need to prune it back so I pruned it way back and now am debating just how I want to built my new trellis.  I’m thinking I’ll weld something up from scrap metal. Maybe I’ll have kiwis next year.

Ed will talk about the new speed-bumped MacBooks later in Kibbles but one thing that should be apparent is that Apple is going to be refreshing their product line on a more frequent basis as Intel releases new chips. One thing that is interesting about our new store is that we have a big upsurge in switchers and drifters coming into the store.  A switcher you know about, a drifter is someone that drifted over to the dark side and is now coming back to the Mac.  The message about Apple’s operating systems greater security, greater compatibility and ease of use is getting out there and as we have seen their market share is increasing.

One of the biggest challenges to our business, now that we are in two locations is to make sure that we have just one corporate culture. We are working hard to make sure that our social mission and open-book style of management is consistent between the locations. Towards that end Geoff and I have been spending more time up in Burlington and Hannah, Berkey and Matt are maintaining that focus. Once the holidays are over we’ll be cross training between our locations so there is an even closer connection.


Mac Treat #6: Empty Your Trash Super Fast! By Ed @

Emptying the trash in OS X can be a pain. It’s simply one of those easy-to-do-but-ever-so-arduous tasks that devour microseconds of life (actually, many computer-related tasks do that.)

Here are two ways to empty the trash moderately fast, and a third way to empty the trash in a flash.

Method one: make sure you are in the Finder. Then hold down Command- Shift-Delete (the Command key is the one with the Apple on it on Mac keyboards.) A warning will pop up before you can empty the Trash.

You can also click on the Trash icon in the Dock, hold down your mouse button down until a menu pops up with an “Empty Trash” message, and then choose “Empty Trash.” Your files will be deleted without a warning.

If you want to empty the Trash even faster, again without a warning, make sure you are in the Finder, then hold down Command-Option-Shift- Delete (the Command key is the one with the Apple on it on Mac keyboards.) Again, if you use this command, the Trash will empty immediately, with no warning. Even large files stored in the Trash will be deleted immediately.

To quickly move a file into the Trash, click on the file once to highlight it, and then hold down Command-delete. The file will immediately jump into the Trash.

I wish I could take out the trash at home this fast!


New Core 2 Duo MacBooks! By Ed @

New MacBooks were released on Wednesday. These new models are powered by Intel’s new Core 2 Duo processors; the previous MacBooks were powered by Core Duo processors. The Core 2 Duo processors are very fast – 25 percent faster than the previous Core Duo processors, which are already very fast – and have some advanced features not available in the previous Core Duo chips, including support for 64-bit applications. The Core 2 Duo is also used in the MacBook Pros and iMacs.

Here are the new MacBook’s basic specs:

13.3″ screen, white case, 1.83GHz, 512MB, 60GB, Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 video card – $1099 13.3″ screen, white case, 2.0GHz, 1GB, 80GB, Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 video card – $1299 13.3″ screen, black case, 2.0GHz, 1GB, 120GB, Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 video card – $1499

You can upgrade to 80GB (5400 RPM), 120GB (5400 RPM), 160GB (5400 RPM) or 200GB (4200 RPM) drive and 2GB RAM in each machine.

This is a welcome upgrade, coming just before the holidays. Intel and Apple are doing a great job of keeping the Apple line fresh!


About Mophie, and Mophie Review! By Ed @

If you haven’t heard about Mophie, you will soon. They are a small company based in Burlington, Vermont, that makes innovative iPod cases and iPod case systems. Apple, Inc. seems to have taken a shine to Mophie; you can see and purchase Mophie case systems at the Apple Store. Of course, you can also get them at Small Dog Electronics!

One of Mophie’s specialties is it’s ability to rapidly design and manufacturer cases for the newest iPod models. For example, they had 50,000 Wraptor cases manufactured for the new iPod shuffle, only a week after the shuffle was announced. Unfortunately, Apple changed the shuffle’s design specs at the last minute, making those Wraptor cases obsolete. Mophie recalled the Wraptors that had been shipped or sold, and a new case is now ready to go. That speed is extremely impressive, as are Mophie’s cases, including the Wraptor itself.

The Wraptor is an $8 crystal clear composite Lexan case for the shuffle, featuring precision engineered grooves allowing you to spool your earbud wires nice and tight and neat.

Mophie started with their Base Case and Relo accessory system. The base case is made of quality, shock-resistant silicon. The Base case protects the iPod’s screen and scroll wheel. The Base case is form fitting and adds minimal bulk to the svelte iPod. The Base case can then be combined with a number of Relo accessories: Relo Radio, a combination case and FM transmitter/receiver, Relo Recharge, a combination case and battery pack, Relo Ratchet, a 360° belt clip swivel, Relo Run, a no-slip armband, Relo 2, the world’s first headphone jack relocator for iPod, and the Relo Rest, which includes s-video and RCA jacks, to hook up your iPod to television, monitor and home audio equipment, along with a USB port to connect to your computer.

I use a Mophie case for my iPod nano. It did an excellent job of protecting the nano while I helped work on our new retail store. The atmosphere was thick with plaster and drywall dust, and there was lots of carpet glue, sawdust, wet cement, and paint around. The nano was clipped to my belt or attached to some old beat-up speakers, but it came out of the job in perfect shape.

Check out Mophie’s Gear here:

Read about them more here:


RAW vs JPEG By Mattk @

Last week, during my drive to our new flagship store in South Burlington, I heard American photographer Walker Evans’ birthday announced on Vermont Public Radio.  Walker Evans is best know for his work on the 1939 James Agee documentary “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.”  Together, Agee and Evans explored the rural South, immersing themselves in the lives of sharecroppers, producing a book that is now recognized as a master work in both literature and photography.

We serve a variety of photographers here at Small Dog, from the commercial to the recreational.  I occasionally hear photographers expressing minor frustration with the digital aspect of photography. While there are some challenges to the digital workflow, I think proper selection of the file format while shooting can eliminate most frustrations and highlight the benefits of a digital workflow.  The two file formats that people bring up most often are JPEG and camera RAW.  Deciding which format makes sense for you might make all the difference in whether you enjoy digital photography or get bogged down in digital files.

Here are my highly simplified recommendations:

Set your camera to high quality JPEG if you have enjoyed taking snapshots in the past and dropped film off at the one-hour processor.  You can still practice photography in the same manner now, just head past the processor with your memory card as you did in the past.

Set your camera to high quality JPEG if you are having a great time with digital photography and are thinking about getting into editing or printing your own photos from your computer.  JPEG, while not as flexible as RAW, does allow for manipulation in programs like iPhoto, Aperture, and Photoshop, but does not require it.  If you have a good image right from the start, you can print from the file as is.  If, on the other hand, you want to do a little bit of editing work on it and then print it, you can do that.  JPEG requires a great deal less time than RAW in the processing phase, and this can be a great help if you would rather be out taking pictures.

Use camera RAW if you are interested in working in the “digital darkroom” to tweak your pictures with greatest control.  If you used to print photos in a darkroom, or if you are interested in diving into more heavy-duty (and time consuming) image manipulation, then you may enjoy the flexibility of shooting in the RAW format.  Try using Apple’s new Aperture to streamline your RAW workflow – there is a free trial here:

So in honor of Evan’s birthday, head on out with your camera!


Start Soapbox

Our Founding Fathers Rock! by Don Mayer don

One of the basic tenets of our government is that we have separate but equal branches of government that allow for checks and balances and preserve a balance of power.  This week as we went to the polls, Americans re-discovered the wisdom of our founding fathers and restored a balance of power that has been missing for the past 6 years.  The happened even in Vermont, where we elected an independent avowed socialist, Bernie Sanders, to the senate by a landslide, elected a Democrat, Peter Welch as our sole representative to the House, elected a strongly Democratic legislature but also elected a Republican Governor and Lt. Governor.  We have a balance of power, we have checks and balances.  Even though I would have loved to see my friend win the election for governor, I am satisfied that the voters spoke and have preserved a system of power sharing that at least in Vermont, should make for better government.

President Bush has had veto-override proof legislative bodies for the past six years and as a result there has been unchecked power in the hands of the executive branch of our government.  This has led to the dangerous situation where we do not effectively question the policies of the administration.  The impact of this is that we lost the ability to question the conduct of the war, to stem an erosion of our civil rights and to protect our environment from exploitation by the few.  It is telling that only hours after the election results were known, the chief architect of the war was out of a job and there was talk about a cooperative new approach to Iraq.

It is my hope that with the change in power there comes a change in attitude, too.   I know that revenge and pay-back will be on the minds of many in the newly constituted legislatures, however, they should all keep in mind that elections come every two years and unless our representatives govern with intelligence and compassion they, too, may be looking for new jobs.  The balance has swung and we have another of those rare moments when we can seize the opportunity to cooperatively govern our nation.

Bill Clinton once said it in an interview right after our president was elected for the first time.  To paraphrase, he said that the democrats had 8 years to try to do it their way and the people didn’t think that there was enough progress so they gave the republicans a shot.  He predicted that the pendulum would swing again and that’s exactly what we saw on Tuesday.  The democrats now have the responsibility to govern for the people and the people will judge them in the next election, too.

I am an unabashed fan of Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and our founding fathers. Their insight and foresight continues to amaze me.

What do you think of the change in power in Washington?  Share your views on the Small Dog soapbox:



Here are the specials for this week, valid through November 17th or while on-hand supplies last. Be sure to use the wag URL to get this special pricing!


Apple .Mac 4.0 1yr Internet Service, New or Renewal, w/ FREE Kingston 512mb USB Flash drive – $99!


LaCie 250gb Extreme Triple Interface Firewire 800/400/USB – $149!


LaCie 500gb Extreme Triple Interface Firewire 800/400/USB


iPod photo 40gb (r) w/ FREE Belkin Sports Leather case – $189.00!


iPod 60gb Photo (2005, R), w/ FREE Belkin Sports Leather case – $209.00!


Two PC5300 SO DIMM 1GB RAM chips for MacBook, MacBook Pro, Intel Mac mini, Intel iMacs – $239!


Two FB-DIMM 667MHz DDR2 1GB RAM chips (for Mac Pro) with FREE Kingston 256 flash drive – $389.00!


MacBook 13in 1.83GHz (Core 2 Duo) 512/60/combo, Pixma MP160, Redline Bag, More – $1239!


MacBook Pro 17in 2.33GHz 2GB/160, Parallels Desktop OEM installation w/ Windows XP Pro – $2999


What’s selling at our new store?  It’s a little bit of everything but the iPod counters are crowded and with the new iPod Shuffle and our great selection of Apple Certified Refurbished iPods we are considering just how we are going to handle the holiday iPod rush. MacBooks and iMacs have been selling well and we have just about sold out of the Apple Certified Refurbished MacBook Pros.   I thought we had a retail store in Waitsfield (and we really do) but it is nothing like the experience of our flagship store in Burlington.  We are learning a lot!

Thank you for reading this issue of Kibbles & Bytes and have a great weekend!

Your Kibbles & Bytes Team,

Don & Ed