NVMUG November, 2013 Meeting News
Northern Vermont Macintosh Users Group
We had fifteen members attending this meeting and it was wonderful.
Ron Lay Sleeper, Jane Fuller, Kathy Mann, and Midge Lubot
Midge Lubot started the lively meeting when she said that the charger on her MacBook sometimes shows that it is not charging.
Geof Gonter said she probably needs to reset her battery or SMC —System Management Controller.
On a computer when you can remove the battery:
Shut down your MacBook. Pull the battery, do not plug your computer in. Hold the power button down for at least 15 seconds. Then Goef usually waits a minute. Next reconnect the battery and MagSafe power adapter. Then try to start it. That resets the SMC, System Management Controller, to fix the problem.
Geof said Midge cannot remove the battery in her MacBook, so she should plug her MacBook in. If it turns green, it is getting power. Hold down the option and control with the left thumb and the shift with the index finger, and hold down the power key at the same time for at least 10 seconds. Release all the keys and the power button at the same time. That resets the SMC so you can press the power button to restart you computer.
(For more details go to http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3964
I did not dare to include these instructions without checking my notes somewhere.)
Kathy Manns asked what do you recommend for backing up.
Geof recommended a separate hard drive. You could get one with 500 gigs, but he recommends that you get a terabyte because they do not cost much today. A Firewire connection may be faster, but is not required if you have a Mac with an Intel processor.
Bill German said you only really need to back up your data. Kathy said all she was worried about were her photos. Geof recommended backing up everything with Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper as he does so you can easily reinstall everything on a different computer if you need to.
Bruce Shields is happy with Time Machine for backing up, but it only backs up his data. Geof also uses Time Machine because you can go back to see what your data was a few days ago and change back to your earlier version if you need to.
Geof recommended creating a file on your hard disk to hold all the files you usually put on your desktop temporarily. Put an alias of this file on our desktop. Then instead of saving or dragging items to your desktop, save or drag them to the alias. The alias is very small and does not slow your computer down the way many larger files can do, and clicking on the alias quickly takes you to the file when you want it.
Geof says he has to give some credit to Microsoft:
The main difference between Apple and Microsoft is that Apple sells hardware that runs their software. That is why they can give away Mavericks.
Microsoft sells software and they have to support Dell, HP, and many other platforms, and Microsoft does a great job. Geof said the Windows 7 is like a whole new operating system and is a big improvement. Windows 8 is a big change, and is set up for a touch screen, but can also be made to run like Windows 7.
Stephen Farber’s birthday was on the 7th. Midge had brought enough cupcakes for everyone, and we sang Happy Birthday.
Midge Lubot, Bill German, Homer Mays, Berry Hayes with Stephen Farber’s hat by his cup cake.
Bruce said the new high speed version of Airport Extreme seems to be thicker, and he has heard it can be set up for a more directional connection. Airport Extreme is Apple’s version of a wireless router. Geof said that Airport Extreme is now taller and faster, and supports b through n connections, and that you can set up more than one channel on a unit.
Ron Lay Sleeper is now using Yahoo, and asked about the advantages of gMail for email. Geof uses and prefers Mail because it does a good job of screening. He also said a fix just came out for the problems Mavericks had with gMail.
Bill said the government has access to everybody’s email, but they don’t look at it. The might scan for something like “bomb” then grab a bit more when they find it. (But you know their scanning would have to be much more sophisticated than that because they couldn’t look at all the phrases that use the term “bomb.”)
Ron said Adobe put all their staff on the Cloud. Neil Raphel had to reinstall Adobe stuff to get it to work.
Neil Raphel said that when you call AppleCare they may not to help with an Adobe question, but it you persist they will get a level 2 person to help. Geof said that at Apple everybody has to be certified and have the knowledge of the problem. They do not just read a screen of instructions and ask you to “try this.”
Midge said she sent a computer to Apple with a bad battery, and got it back with several other things fixed in addition to a new battery. She also had a cat that pulled keys off of her keyboard, and it came back with a whole new keyboard.
Someone asked if anyone had experience with refurbished equipment from Apple. Midge and Bill said they had no problem. Refurbished equipment carries the same AppleCare as new equipment. Neil said he got one refurbished that did not work.
Geof read a full list of Mavericks supported computers. Some as early as 2007. Neill said he thinks Mavericks is faster. Geof said it is definitely faster and the battery lasts longer.
Jane Fuller reads documents on line, and has a problem because documents would not wrap when she made them larger. She would use Reader to read a document in Safari, enlarge the document using the font indicator “A” in the toolbar, but then the text would not wrap. It is difficult to read it when you have to slide the page from left to right to read a each line. Then she could not see the toolbar to get to it to reduce the text size.
Kelly Gonter likes a program called Readability. You create an account, then put a book marker in your toolbar so you can read it better online and save it to read later.
Ron Lay Sleeper was the only one who responded by email to the offer for a free Mac Dragon Dictate from a PC user who had heard about NVMUG. She wanted it to go to someone who would make good use of it. Ron had written that he would like to have the program. He would use it to transcribe a number of poems and some short prose pieces that he has in typescript and has slowly been transcribing into computer files. In addition, he started some longer prose pieces over the years and would like to work on those with an oral transcription program rather than type them by hand.
He was concerned that he is running Snow Leopard on his iMac G5 system. He would look into upgrading.
When we received the program we learned it was an older MacSpeech Dictate which will probably run on Ron’s present system.
He was unanimously selected as the one who should get the program.
Ron Lay Sleeper
Midge had suggested that we go around the room and introduce ourselves and say what kind of computers we have and how we use them.
Bill German is a collector who buys and sells computers. He has at least 300 Macs, and even has more than one vintage Cray computer that is about the size of three refrigerators.
Homer May said he has to use an older computer. He does websites. He has a problem because he cannot get a customer using Google Chrome to delete her cache file. Geof gave him some advice for using option delete.
Barry Hayes said he just had back surgery at Dartmouth two days ago and was still on drugs. He said he does a lot of location work in photography and uses his laptop for it.
Neil Raphel said they have a lot of older Macs in his publishing work, and get new ones about every four years.
My wife and I both have MacBooks, and iPod Touches. She has an iPad Mini and I have an iPad. We both sync our own devices using iCloud.
Mike Marks is into music, he broadcasts a music program, and he uses iTunes on both a Mac and a PC. He has a problem with iTunes creating duplicate and triplicate copies of his music.
Ron Lay Sleeper said he has the same problem with iTunes. He has also had the same problem with older versions, and it doesn’t index them. Ron said he uses his Mac mostly for writing and photography.
Kelly Gonter agreed that Geof has a number of older Mac computers around the house. Kelly uses an iPhone and said she wants an iPad Mini when she gets rich.
Jane Fuller was on youTube when it asked if it could store something on her computer. Even the New York Times asks if it can store something on your computer. Someone recommended that she go to Flash Player in System Preferences > Advanced and select Delete All in Browsing Data and Settings. Stephen Farber said it may contain hundreds of cached links that can be asked for when a site reloads a page, including all the little page pictures, which make it faster to see them.
Kathy Manns has an iMac that she syncs with her iPod Touch. Stephen said he likes sharing Contacts on devices so he has them remotely.
One last bit of advice that we learned, it you get any electronic device wet, immediately turn it off or do not turn it on, you may try to shake any water off, then stick in in a big pan of rice. Rice will draw the water out. (But the only thing guaranteed to work is to not get it wet.)
It was 12:30, I had to leave, and our scheduled meeting time was over.