Programs 2001

… back in the day when we were the
Santa Barbara Mac Users Group

Presented in reverse chronological order.

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Mike Descher (Photo: Pia Oliver)
Mike Descher Photo: Pia Oliver

December 20, 2001: Apple’s Mike Descher gave us an entertaining presentation of the iPod — Apple’s revolutionary little music machine. Mike showed us how simple it is to load music from CDs and other sources into the iPod from a Macintosh, in MP3 or WAV or other format, and organize the music files into playlists. The palm-sized iPod can be worn on a belt or carried in a pocket while listening with “earbuds”, or with an adapter can play through the sound system in a car. The versatile iPod can also serve as an external FireWire hard disk for portable file storage.

We finished the evening with a great deal of amusement as members of the Amateur Radio Club presented their ticket-picking robot, which drew tickets for this month’s goodies: a couple of baskets of snacks and Mac accessories, some collectible Apple posters from past Macworld Expos, and a Lynda Weinman CD and manual for “Intermediate Flash 5.0”.

Ed Togami (left) and Bruce Gordon look at the ticket-picking machine (Photo: Brian Carlin)
Ed Togami (left) and Bruce Gordon look at the ticket-picking machine (Photo: Brian Carlin)

The ticket-picking machine, built from junk parts worth less than $10, is called the “Immaculate Contraption”. Bruce Gordon, N6OLT, was the presenter; SBMUG member Bill Talanian, W1UUQ, introduced Bruce. The other members of the team were Jim Cook, K6ZEM, Joe Kelly, KG6BSM, and Sig Wathne, W6LGK. Thanks, guys, for helping us end the year with a jolly good time!

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November 15, 2001: Our own Ed Togami showed us how to network two Macintoshes to each other, an iMac and a PowerBook. Making the evening even more interesting, a number of SBMUG members showed up with their AirPort-equipped PowerBooks and iBooks and were networked to Ed’s demonstration. Thanks to Mike Bishop of the MacMechanic for bringing the AirPort base station, and to Brian Carlin for bringing the iMac.

Here are some resources to help you with your own networking projects:

  1. The networking handout from our meeting. It’s a two-page PDF file that prints nicely. (146 KB download size.)
  2. An interesting article about Ethernet from MacAddict Magazine. Newer Macs also have information on Ethernet in the Mac Help file.
  3. A great source of “how-to” information for networking two Macs from Bowie High School in El Paso, Texas.
  4. A very well developed site for networking how-tos and issues from

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October 25, 2001: Photographer Dibblee Hoyt gave us a refreshing look at digital photography with his simple, practical methods. He showed us how to get good images into the camera and out again, and how to quickly make digital images of old photographic prints or slides using a copy stand or a slide adapter that fits on the camera lens. Dibblee illustrated his presentation with photos taken on his travels in Russia, photos taken in low light, photos of antique shows, portraits, his black-&-white cowboy pictures, and historical images of Santa Barbara.

On New Year’s Day 2000, Dibblee took the plunge into digital photography. He uses the digital camera as a tool for reporting and recording. It’s small and travels everywhere with him. He has become adept at using it in many different forms of light, and believes in getting the image right. There are many uses for digital photography and Dibblee only touched the tip of the so-called iceberg at this meeting.

As a free-lance photojournalist Dibblee has done much international traveling, published articles in national and regional magazines, and is a regular contributor to the Santa Barbara Independent. You can see some of his work on “Western Images: Photographs by W. Dibblee Hoyt“.

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September 27, 2001: We had a repeat of one of our all-time most successful programs. Don Baker of Klassic Specialties talked about printers, how they work, the differences between different types and makes, myths and facts about inks, what paper is most suited for what printing, and much more. Don makes printing in colour seem easy!

Don discussed the ever-changing technologies of printing and images:

  1. Printer Technologies: an overview of the various technologies, printers, operation characteristics, and advantages & disadvantages of each;
  2. Ink: the different ink formulations, “original” and compatible inks, and refill kits;
  3. Media & Paper: what is different about inkjet paper and what to look for when selecting it; and examples of other types of paper-based, fabric-based, reflective and transparent media;
  4. Tips: on print settings, scanning, printer care, image file type selection, and more.

Don also brought lots of inks and papers and made them available to us at special prices.

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August 23, 2001: Macromedia’s Matt Robold demonstrated how to build a complete website, including animated vector-based graphics, using the latest versions of Flash, Fireworks, and Dreamweaver. All three products have a consistent, easy-to-learn interface design.

Matt is a Web Solutions Engineer and has been with with Macromedia for about a year. His background is in web application development using ASP, Cold Fusion, and PHP.

Matt says, “Macromedia is passionate about the web and what the web can be. Macromedia has emerged as one of the top software companies in the web space with such groundbreaking tools as Flash, Director, and Dreamweaver. With more than 10 years in the industry, Macromedia is looking to continue in its role as a leader in the industry.”

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July 19, 2001: Are you ready for rolling blackouts? Or for local temporary disasters like simply tripping over the power cord and pulling the plug? Or having your puppy chew the wire and finally have it break? (That actually happened to me.)

Surge protectors and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) were the subject of discussion at this month’s SBMUG meeting, and Marc Basché of Power and Environment International gave us a very palatable presentation. However boring you may think the subject, just like a back up regimen it is vital to anyone who is serious about his files. And for a business it is suicide to ignore UPS and back up software.

Protection from surges, outages, brownouts and blackouts is a cross-platform issue for users of Macs, PCs, and all other computers as well. Uninterruptible power supplies are solid-state devices that offer protection from these damaging conditions. Running on battery power, a UPS will bridge momentary interruptions in AC voltage, or even maintain power during a blackout until you can safely shut down your Mac. — Pia Oliver

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June 21, 2001: Apple Senior Systems Engineer Dave Marra presented an exciting evening exploring Mac OS X, the world’s most powerful operating system! We were quite impressed with OS X, and with Dave’s well-orchestrated presentation, which he ran on a new iBook.

Many of us knew that Apple’s new OS was based on a very stable UNIX kernel, featured advanced dynamic virtual memory, far greater multitasking capabilities, and protected memory (so an errant application couldn’t crash another, or the Mac itself). But there many other great new features in Mac OS X, too many to mention them all. Here are some of the best:

  • OS X is dual-processor aware, meaning that all applications can benefit from the increased speed capability of dual processors.
  • Graphics and text are PDF-based, and any OS X application can save files directly to PDF, Adobe’s cross-platform Portable Document Format. OS X comes with over $1000 worth of professional-quality fonts, too.
  • QuickTime 5.0 supports all popular graphics, audio, and video formats, and has a customizable interface. OS X supports OpenGL, the industry’s most widely supported 3D format.
  • OS X is the first operating system built specifically for the Internet. It is self-configuring and connects automatically to AirPort, Ethernet, or dial-up connections.
  • Apple’s AirPort wireless system is now completely cross-platform. A new hardware-based security feature makes it very secure.
  • OS X supports cross-platform USB and FireWire peripherals and input devices, such as cameras, printers and mice.
  • OS X comes with support for seven languages.
  • Installation includes both OS X and OS 9.1 System Folders. Older software can run in “Classic” mode, which is OS 9.1 running within OS X. Restarting is unnecessary to enter Classic mode. Dave showed us examples of a few old apps running in Classic mode, including a graphics program from 1984, the first year of the Mac!
  • Apple’s beautiful new Aqua interface has a number of new features to make using the Mac even easier to use. The Finder has new choices for viewing the contents of folders in addition to the familiar icon and list views.
  • The Print dialog box is no longer modal, and allows you to choose your printer at print time instead of through the Chooser.

As a Senior Systems Engineer for Apple Computer, Dave Marra has conducted over 500 technology presentations, keynote addresses and workshops for businesses, schools, computer user groups and other professional organizations across the United States. His specialties include digital multimedia, internet technologies, and cross-platform integration. Dave also has served as a technology consultant to numerous schools, businesses and technology advisory boards. For more information about Dave Marra, please visit his web site at

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SATURDAY, June 16, 2001: SBMUG member Brian Carlin led twenty SBMUG members in a very exciting AppleScript workshop. This class filled to capacity almost as soon as it was announced in April. See Brian’s AppleScript Class webpage for more information about AppleScript.

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May 17, 2001: Our own high flying cyber pilot Susan Carty presented “The Intenet Revealed”, how to navigate our quest for information by using some not-so-obvious features of Google, Susan’s favorite search engine.

Among the many things we learned about from Susan were AltaVista’s Babelfish translation feature, ilor for post-processing a Google search and efficiently organizing “way too many hits”, and Susan’s second favorite search engine, Northern Light.

SBMUG member Susan Kinnell Carty is the Computer Book Buyer and Custom Publishing Manager for the Bookstore at UC Santa Barbara and columnist for the Information Searcher. In her spare time she teaches Adult Education courses, and classes on search engines and the Internet. Susan also gave us a presentation last May on the secrets and labyrinths of the Internet.

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April 19, 2001: OS X (pronounced “O-S Ten”), “a new face (and heart) for the Mac”, as David Pogue so aptly said, was the subject for our April meeting. OS X is the most important event in the Macintosh evolution since the original Mac operating system. Our own Robert DeLaurentis gave us a demonstration of it, commenting on his own hands-on experience of OS X, its present almost-finished state, and news of what’s in the works. Morris Herman, who teaches a Mac OS X class in Adult Education, added his comments as well.

Robert DeLaurentis is an SBMUG member and a Senior Editor at MacFixIt, the premier Macintosh troubleshooting source on the Web. In addition, he brings his twenty years of computer experience to a twice-monthly column titled MacInsight. At one time or another he has been a Macworld Expo faculty member, the managing sysop and a software developer for CompuServe Mac forums, a consultant, and FileMaker Pro developer, and has even written software for the Newton MessagePad. He has also contributed to everal Mac-related books. When not writing about the Macintosh, he writes fiction. Several of his stories have appeared locally in the Santa Barbara Community of Voices books.

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March 15, 2001: Sebastian Frey of 4th Dimension Software gave us a demonstration of 4th Dimension’s integrated database and server products. Sebastian has been developing applications with 4th Dimension since 1989 and has worked as a 4D consultant around the country and around the world. Sebastian is currently 4D’s Web Development Tools Evangelist.

4th Dimension’s debut product was the first relational database management system for the Mac. What began as a simple database, grew to a true client/server application in the early 1990’s and went cross-platform to Windows in 1995. In 1996, 4D gained its own built-in web server and now “offers amazing flexibility, performance and value with more standard integrated web features.”

With the purchase of StarNine Technologies and the WebSTAR Server Suite, 4D is now a leader in the Mac web development market offering users a more powerful integrated database solution. With its roots as a Macintosh product 4D is very committed to continuing its support of the Mac platform, and is committed to porting both 4D and WebSTAR to Mac OS X.

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February 15, 2001: Todd Clement, head of the Mac Lab at Brooks Institute of Photography, spoke to us about digital imaging: how to get the image into the computer and how to “tweak” it in an editing program.

Todd is super smart when it comes to Macs. When he graduated from Brooks they offered him the job of managing the Mac Lab. Todd is the one who put their current Mac Lab together, and it is truly to die for! They have 29 student stations and one teaching station, all with G3s and iMacs with LOADS of RAM, and all the trimmings. The teaching station is connected to a HUGE screen, and is also networked so the teacher can go into each student station and make changes! Wonderful.

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January 18, 2001: After the usual Q&A session at 6 p.m., our first official business of the year was to vote on changes to SBMUG’s by-laws. Next, all of last year’s board were re-elected, and two new Members-At-Large were appointed. (You’ll find our current officers listed on our Contact SBMUG! page.)

Mike Descher (Photo: Pia Oliver)
Mike Descher Photo: Pia Oliver

Then came the real fun: Our guest, Apple’s Mike Descher, presented highlights of the San Francisco Macworld Expo. (Mike’s card describes him as “Development Executive, Publishing and Creative Markets”.)

Among the highlights:

  • The all-new Titanium PowerBook G4. Only an inch thick, it’s the slimmest PowerBook ever made and one of the lightest. It’s fully featured, with 15.2-inch wide-screen 1152×768-pixel display, up to 30 gigabytes of hard-disk space, room for 1 gigabyte of memory, a slot-loading DVD-RAM drive, ATI RAGE Mobility 128 graphics, FireWire, USB, PC Card slot, VGA and S-Video outputs, built-in microphone and stereo sound output. Battery life is said to be up to five hours on a single charge.
  • A new generation of Power Mac G4 models ranging from a $1,699 466 MHz model to a $3,499 model running at 733 MHz. The new G4s feature System Bus speeds up to 133 MHz and improved internal architecture. (Based on a suite of Photoshop 6.0 performance tests, Apple reports the new 733 MHz G4 is up to 57% faster than a 1.5 GHz Pentium 4.) All new models come with four high-performance PCI expansion slots, AGP 4X graphics slot (with a “state-of-the-art” 3D accelerator installed in most models), and AirPort card slot.
  • Free iTunes software turns your sound files into MP3s and turns your Mac into a jukebox. It comes installed on all new G4 models, and can be used to burn music files to the CD-RW drive now included in every desktop model.
  • iMovie 2, installed on all new Macintosh models, has an improved interface and enhanced capabilities.
  • New iDVD software enables you to burn your iMovies onto DVDs and watch them on a TV. It’s included with the 733 MHz G4, which is available with the new “SuperDrive”, a built-in drive that both reads and writes CDs and DVDs. (It will be available in other models later in the year.)

Mac OS X (pronounced “O-S Ten”) finally gets a release date: March 24, 2001. New in OS X since the public beta version: the familiar Apple Menu and menubar clock; the familiar List and Icon Views as well as Column View. Other enhancements: the Dock has pop-up menus for docked items, a Desktop Window menu makes it easy to find one window when several windows are open. Buttons in the Finder windows make it easy to get to frequently accessed folders and files.