Presented in reverse chronological order.
December 15, 2011: This month we took a break from the usual with a holiday pot-luck party hosted by SBMUG VP Richard Johnston at Laguna Cottages in downtown SB.
Partiers also brought food items and dollars for donation to Foodbank. The Foodbank turns every dollar into $15 worth of nutritious food. SBMUG added to the dollar amount collected for a total of $100.
November 17, 2011: Todd Ryckman, head of information technology in the Santa Barbara High School District, and Harold Adams, SBMUG member and Apple consultant, discussed the integrated use of Apple TV, iOS 5 and Siri with the iPhone and iPad. They focused on various uses of the Apple TV in education and in the home, showing how to connect to it with iPhone and iPad. Questions and answers and exchanges of ideas followed the presentation.
October 20, 2011: SBMUG member Ed Togami talked about video conversions from web video to iPad/iPhone, etc. Mostly Flash, but also unprotected .wmv formats. Both free and inexpensive (under $100) programs were discussed. The meeting also remembered Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder who passed away October 5.
September 15, 2011: Joe LaCorte, one of MacMechanic’s expert instructors, gave an excellent presentation on Apple’s Mail app and what’s happening behind the scenes in email, so we can better understand, set-up, and trouble-shoot email problems. Joe’s presentation was followed by a lively question-and-answer period with the audience of more than 30 people.
August 18, 2011: SBMUG’s 5th annual pot-luck picnic was at Hope Ranch this year, just a short stroll from the beach. (Thanks to Marjorie Wilser, Richard Eigen and Robert Winokur for the photos.)
July 21, 2011: Adam Borin showed us how to keep our Macs and iOS devices secure, to prevent loss of irreplaceable files, and to keep unwanted visitors and malicious code from attacking our computers and local networks. Adam works as a Certified Information System Security Profesional at Jacobs Technology, Vandenberg.
Adam covered a lot of ground. To begin with: passwords, email spam and phishing, and download safety. For Macs: network settings for wireless base station and devices, network access and firewall; account settings; System Preferences for security, AirPort and Bluetooth. For iOS: settings for Wi-Fi, Passcode, Bluetooth, Location Services and Safari; backups, and remote wipe. Adam also covered recent issues such as the MacDefender malware and the RSA security breach.
Adam’s projection slides, with added annotations, are available as a PDF to SBMUG members. (Want to join SBAUG? See our Membership page!)
Adam also suggests these security guides for further information:
- iOS Hardening Checklist from the University of Texas
- Mac OS X Security Configuration Guides for various versions of OS X
- Hardening Tips for Mac OS X from the National Security Agency
June 16, 2011: This month we had quite a meeting — with a birthday party, the Q&A, a presentation by reps from Scosche Industries, and some presentations about SBMUG’s Brian Carlin Memorial Fund.
We had a very good turnout and saw lots of old friends, and we sang Happy Birthday to Ed Togami who was celebrating his birthday! Thanks to Justine Togami for bringing the birthday cake, drinks and other goodies! And thanks to their son Kenzie, who aided in the Q&A session with great solutions!
Representatives from Scosche Industries, Oxnard, showed us demos and samples of their products. Scosche makes “gadgets” — and lots of them — like a flexible, water-resistant keyboard that works with iPad, iPhone, Androids and other Bluetooth-enbled devices. They also make a USB charger that plugs into the 12-volt power socket in your car, so you can keep your iDevice charged while traveling. There’s more on their consumer-tech products page. Travis Oram and his lovely wife fielded questions about the products by the rambunctious SBMUG audience with gusto and great humor.
Sandy Seale, president of the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Foundation, gave a brief presentation of the program and its expansion. Harold Adams talked about the AVID program and the need for iPads and Apple TVs in Dos Pueblos’ classrooms. The SBMUG board hasdecided to contribute funds from the Brian Carlin Memorial Fund to the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy and to buy Apple TVs for Dos Pueblos High School in Brian’s name.
Here’s more info about the Brian Carlin Memorial Fund.
May 19, 2011: SBMUG’s Mike Bishop told us about his recent trip to Apple’s campus in Cupertino and his meeting with legendary Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who spoke extensively about his experiences before, during and after his time with Apple.
April 21, 2011: SBMUG member Ed Adams, who describes himself as an “Apple geek”, showed us some fun low-cost and free Mac apps. Ed first gave us a little history of Apple dealers in Santa Barbara, remembering The Byte Shop at 10 W. Mission (the #1 Apple dealer at the time), Personal Computing, and Computer Plaza. Ed Gannon, Ed Togami and Ed Adams started the original Apple users’ group in Santa Barbara.
Photography: iPhoto is the easiest app for photo manipulation. It stores images in a central location and does non-destructive editing. But editing creates a new image, using more disk space. Photoshop Elements and Pixelmator are inexpensive but better; you can use them to edit images stored in iPhoto. Elements 9 now includes layers. Photoshop Express (free) is for iPhone and iPad. Other Mac image editors: GraphicConverter (shareware) and Gimp (GNU image management program, free). Ed doesn’t care for Photoshop CS5.
Backup software: Apple’s Time Machine can do hourly backups; SuperDuper! and Carbon Copy Cloner are shareware. BackBlaze is a cloud-based program that works smoother than Mozy. Ed’s backup strategy: Time Machine hourly, BackBlaze daily to the cloud, and SuperDuper! weekly to external hard drive.
Password keeper: Ed uses 1Password on his iMac and his iPhone, with a 28-character password. (Ed suggests taking a phrase you like and using the first letters of each word.)·
Other stuff: Cinch for window management and tweaking; PIXam makes it easy to share screen shots; click Caffeine’s menu bar icon to keep your Mac awake; Google Apps are changing the way we do things with integrated cloud-based apps for free; iLife and iWork — Ed did his entire presentation with “iApps”.
March 17, 2011: This month’s presentation, by SBMUG member Ricky Rodriguez, was on home networking — how to set it up, and what the important issues are.
A home network can share a connection with multiple computers and, when properly set up, can provide a firewall between the internet and your computers and data, protecting you from data hijacking and ID theft.
Unless you’re sure of your security, don’t access your bank or buy items online with your credit card when using other wireless networks, especially public wireless networks.
Apple’s Airport Extreme is the most common wireless router used by Mac owners, and its default is NOT secure. Even if you are using it only in a wired mode, you need to implement wireless security features, especially requiring a password to access the network. Otherwise, your internal network is subject to snooping from someone sitting in the street, accessing your wireless signal with easily obtained packet-sniffing software.
Here are some more tips: 1. If you are having intermittent network slowdowns, consider using OpenDNS or GoogleDNS rather than the default one from your ISP, as DNS servers are often a source of slowdown problems. 2. Open wireless is not secure; do not use it if you have any private information you don’t want to share on your network. 3. Wired is almost always faster than wireless; use it for speed when you can. If you are using only the wired portion of your router, but your router is broadcasting a wireless signal too (and wireless routers, including Airports, broadcast by default), your network is not secure unless you have implemented wireless security. 4. Wireless is just a radio signal, and it may interfere with other signals, like wireless phones, so you may need to change channels or frequencies. 5. Wireless routers are usually “g” or “n”; “n” reaches farther. 6. If you are using a program like BackToMyMac to access your home Mac while traveling, it is easier to configure the firewall in an Airport Extreme than in other routers. 7. The physical box (wireless router) can be assigned a name in the automated setup, but that is different from the name of the wireless network. 8. WEP is NOT secure; it is easy to crack. Most people should use WPA2 Personal. 9. Any password of 20 characters or more (preferrably with numbers, letters in both lower and upper case, and some special characters) is secure. You can use GRC’s Ultra High Security Password Generator to generate a password for you. Store it in your keychain. Use your keychain. Print the password and store it someplace secure if you think you might lose or forget the password. 10. Periodically check to see if there are software updates for your router. They patch security holes, just as web browser software updates do. 11. If you need help, there is lots of good information available on the network: Apple support pages; your ISP’s support pages; HowStuffWorks.com; GRC.com for computer security in general. 12. AirRadar, ~$20, helps you find wireless networks.
Thanks to Becky Davis for this report.
February 17, 2011: SBMUG members Jim Tinsley and Kathy Gleason presented highlights of the recent Macworld Expo at Moscone Center, San Francisco. Attendance was more than last year, about 25,000. Trends: many “big” companies absent, fewer peripherals companies (printers, external drives, cameras), more iOS stuff, especially for iPad; more “enterprise” vendors for managing large installations, business credit cards (Chase), patent assistance, etc. There were also people in costumes roaming around.
Favorites: Clothing with pockets for iPad or iPhone; iPad backpack which doubles as a briefcase by Assero; fancy iPhone cases with 3D decorations of crystals or rhinestones; paper iPhone cases you can decorate yourself from Trexta ; various iPad holders: a case with rotating hand strap on the back; the PadPivot stand folds up into about the size of an iPhone, only $25; the Tab Grip stretches over the back of the iPad and has tilt legs on the sides.
DriveSavers displayed an iMac burnt in a fire and a MacBook badly damaged in an earthquake; DriveSavers recovered data from both. JOOS Portable Solar Charger is a photo-voltaic power supply that recharges batteries via USB port at the same speed as AC-powered rechargers and has a battery in it too. FastMac has a duplex AC outlet with USB power outlets; the Tetrax “Fixway” car mount for iPhone attaches to dashboard or air vent (a metal piece must be glued to the phone or its case); iFusion SmartStation for iPhone charges the iPhone’s battery and makes it into a desk speaker-phone with handset; iGrill is a cooking thermometer that signals your iPhone via Bluetooth when the cooking is done, comes with a free app with more options; IRISPhoto 4 is a tiny battery powered photo scanner that saves scans to memory for later transfer to computer — see the Macworld review.
January 20, 2011: Long time SBMUG member Peter Worsley started a new profession as an artist painter when he retired in the mid 1990s. After a lengthy career around computers, naturally, he made them part of his new venture.
Today, Peter paints ordinary people doing everyday things, largely sourcing his figures from the thousands of photographs that he takes as he and his wife travel about town and further afield.
Peter showed us how he uses his computers to build a retrievable database of source photographs, to modify and display selected images as guides for painting, to create another archive database of images of finished paintings, and for record keeping and marketing. His website is peterworsley.com.