Stanford/Palo Alto Macintosh User Group Newsletter|
May 1, 2010
As I write this on May 1, it's officially Roger Ebert Day in San Francisco, which actually has nothing to do with our May meeting except in that my participation in the Roger Ebert Film Festival has led to a severe delay in getting this newsletter out. My apologies, and I hope you can all still make it to our Monday 3rd meeting and our presentation from Google of their entry into the burgeoning social media field. Incidentally, Ebert's voice has not been stilled, since he can type pretty quickly on his MacBook Pro which then "speaks" with a reasonable electronic facsimile of the old Roger. Also, I heartily recommend his blog on many subjects besides film at rogerebert.com
. You can also try his Twitter feed @ebertchicago, but it's been pointed out that Ebert twitters more than most teenage girls.
|May SMUG Meeting Agenda |
|Timothy Jordan, Developer Advocate, Google|
"The conversational web as it was, is, and will be. Particular attention will be paid to open standards and interoperability. Also to be highlighted is Google's entry into the space: Buzz."
Buzz was only recently launched on February 9th as a new way to share updates, photos, videos and more, and start
conversations about the things you find interesting. Apparently, Google believes that that the social web works best when it works like the rest of
the web - many sites linked together by simple open standards. Rather
than launching with a one-off API (do I see a knock at Facebook here?), "we see Buzz as a tremendous
opportunity to work with the community to create and support open
protocols for the next generation of social web apps and websites."
What's all this mean? - Timothy will be here to explain in as much detail as we can handle, and no doubt there'll be stuff on Google's Social Web and Friend Connect also.
This month Owen Saxton demonstrates some applications featured as Mac Gems in recent issues of MacWorld.
BashFlash... Flash animations and videos are among the top processor hogs on Mac OS X. A single poorly-designed Flash banner - even in an inactive window or tab - can suck up an entire processor core with its shady mortgage offers. Your 5-hour battery life gets cut in half, your laptop runs hotter, and your legs cook to medium-rare.
That's where BashFlash comes into play. BashFlash lets you stop a running Flash plug-in dead in its tracks, letting your new-fangled Mac cool down, use less power, and give you more time to do whatever it is you do. Probably blog or tweet or something.
Requires OS X 10.5+ (Chrome) or OS X 10.6+ (Safari). Free.
Cinch gives you simple, mouse-driven window management by defining the left, right, and top edges of your screen as 'hot zones'. Drag a window until the mouse cursor enters one of these zones then drop the window to have it cinch into place. Cinching to the left or right edges of the screen will resize the window to fill exactly half the screen, allowing you to easily compare two windows side-by-side (splitscreen). Cinching to the top edge of the screen will resize the window to fill the entire screen (fullscreen). Dragging a window away from its cinched position will restore the window to its original size.
If you prefer a keyboard-centric approach to window management, you might also take a look at our other products SizeUp or TwoUp. Use Cinch together with either SizeUp or TwoUp to cover both your mouse and keyboard needs.
Requires OS X 10.5+. $7.00.
ClickToFlash is a WebKit plug-in that prevents automatic loading of Adobe Flash content. If you want to see the content, you can opt-in by clicking on it or adding an entire site to the whitelist.
Try control-clicking (or right-clicking) on an unloaded Flash box to access ClickToFlash's contextual menu which allows you to do advanced things like edit its whitelist, specify settings, and load all Flash on the page.
Requires OS X 10.5+. Free.
Freedom is an application that disables wireless and ethernet networking on an Apple computer for up to three hours at a time. Freedom will free you from the distractions of the internet, allowing you time to code, write, or create. At the end of your selected offline period, Freedom re-enables your network, restoring everything as normal.
Requires OS X 10.4+. Free.
iMedia Browser... Do you like the media browser that Apple includes in some of its applications, but wish you could use it from any application? Now you can. Download the free Karelia iMedia Browser and use it whenever and wherever you need to access your library of photos, music, videos, and bookmarks.
Requires OS X 10.4+. Free.
jitouch is an application that expands the set of Multi-Touch gestures for the new MacBook and the new Magic Mouse. These thoughtfully designed gestures will enable you to perform frequent tasks more easily such as changing tabs in web browsers, closing windows, minimizing windows, changing Spaces, and a lot more.
Jitouch also fulfills many missing functions for your Mac, for example, the middle click for the Trackpad and Magic Mouse, the full-screen maximizing function, arranging windows side by side just like Windows 7 but way faster, moving and resizing windows by grabbing anywhere on the window, showing desktop and Exposé gestures for the Magic Mouse, and much more.
Character Gestures is a new feature in Jitouch 2 that allows you to invoke commands by drawing an English letter or a simpler gesture such as up, right, up-right, etc.
Unlike any other software you've seen, Jitouch combines the capability of multi-touch and a character recognition system together to let you draw gestures anywhere, anytime on the trackpad without a need to first draw a "listening" gesture or use the other hand to press modifier keys. Our gestures are simply better and faster to perform compared to other approaches that take twice as many steps.
Please visit our website to see all features and lists of gestures at http://www.jitouch.com
Requires OS X 10.5+ and a multi-touch MacBook or Magic Mouse. $5.99.
MiniUsage displays various data like CPU usage, amount of network flow, battery status and process names which uses much CPU time in a menubar. It takes little space and can display various data, so it's suitable for notebook.
While the application is running, this information can be referred via AppleScript.
Requires OS X 10.5.8+. Free.
Movist... Movie Player for Mac OS X based on QuickTime & FFmpeg.
Supports QuickTime and FFmpeg
Customizable high quality caption
Supports smi, srt format captions
Media playback control
Full screen control panel
Simple user interface
Requires OS X 10.4+. Free.
Password Assistant triggers the Mac OS X Password Assistant dialog any time you need it, allowing the generation of various types of secure passwords.
Requires OS X 10.4+. Free.
QuickBoot is a small application to make it quick & easy to temporarily boot another drive/partition like a Windows drive and have the system boot back to your default system afterwards.
Requires OS X 10.4+. Free.
ShareTool lets you access all of the Bonjour services on your home or office network from anywhere in the world securely over a 100% SSH encrypted connection. This includes iTunes Music Sharing, Screen Sharing, File Sharing, Remote Sleep, and much more. No configuration. No complication. No server or technical skills required. Just a mouse click!
With ShareTool, you can listen to your entire iTunes music library at work, control the screen of any of your home computers, or grab that important file you forgot to bring with you. And this is simply the tip of the iceberg. With ShareTool, it's as if you've never left your own network.
Requires OS X 10.5.8+. $30.00.
SizeUp allows you to quickly position a window to fill exactly half the screen (splitscreen), a quarter of the screen (quadrant), full screen, or centered via the menu bar or configurable system-wide shortcuts (hotkeys). Similar to "tiled windows" functionality available on other operating systems.
Additional features include moving windows from one monitor to another, from one Space to another, and restoring a window to its original size and position (SnapBack).
Requires OS X 10.5+. $12.99.
SpaceControl shows the free space available on your startup disk and warns you when the free space goes below the chosen limit. The warning can also be sent by e-mail.
SpaceControl also has support to warn the user for other Volumes then the start up disk.
SpaceControl is designed to be simple. Download the application, unpack the file and drag the application (the one with the hard disk icon) to your Applications folder. Launch SpaceControl. A text will appear in your menu bar showing how much free space there are available on your startup disk. Click on the menu item and submenus will apere, showing information about all disks or volumes mounted on your desktop.
If you want SpaceControl to start every time you log in to your Mac you can choose that option in the Preference window. You can also make some choices about how you want the menu item to appear.
Requires OS X 10.2+. Free.
Plus Q & A and raffle
|April Meeting Report: Steve Shepard of Storyist demos the iPad|
(Note from Dave: We found that the iPad VGA adapter only
works with YouTube, Keynote, and Videos apps. The overhead projector would show
blank when the iPad was not playing video or Keynote slides. Why, Mr. Jobs,
WHY? But our Steve, the Storyist Steve, was still able to do a fine
presentation for us!)|
Steve Shepard will soon release an update for Storyist so
that you can export your novel to ePub format soon. The iPad can show that, of
course, the iPad is an e-book reader!
Steve's son found that when he was reading a story on the
iPad, he could touch that word and look it up in the dictionary.
As for the iPad hardware and software: the screen is 9.7
diagonal. There are audio and iPad jacks. It runs (at the time of the
presentation) iPhone OS 3.2, and the iPad runs FAST.
Like an iPod, the iPad has audio out and the standard iPod
connector, and also a switch that locks screen orientation (landscape or
portrait). Now, why would you want to lock the orientation? Steve showed how
the iPad switches orientation fast, the accelerometer woks very well. But what
if you are lying in bed, reading a book on the iPad? You might want to lock the
orientation so that the iPad book stays portrait to match your horizontal head.
The iPad comes with fewer apps that the iPhone. Its maps app
is very quick to get around in. Steve's iPad uses WiFi triangulation for Maps to
figure out where he is, since Steve had a WiFi only iPad. (Note from Dave: Here
is a list of standard iPad apps that I see on www.apple.com/ipad/features: Safari,
Mail, Photos, YouTube, iPod, iTunes, iBooks, Maps, Calendar, Contacts.)
You can also buy thousands of apps, including iWork
(Keynote, Pages, Numbers). (Note from Dave: And I hope to see Storyist on the
iPad someday, so I can read AND write novels!)
Steve showed the YouTube app. Yay, we can watch dogs riding
skateboards! Up to this point in the presentation, Steve had been talking and
showing the iPad screen directly to us, since the iPad was not showing any
video through the VGA connector to our overhead projector. But YouTube will
show. (Note from Dave: Again, why, Mr. Jobs, why?)
The iPad app for iTunes is a hybrid between the iPhone and the
Macintosh version. Steve found it a little hard to get around on. You can buy
songs and TV shows on the go (on the iPad).
And you can buy iPad apps from the app store. The iPad will
run pretty much all the iPhone apps you have. But an iPhone won't run an iPad
only app. The comparison of an iPad being pretty much an iPod Touch is true. But
size matters. Apps for the iPad can show a lot more and be easier to use
because of the increase in real estate.
For those of you who like protecting your iPhones and iPod
Touches with a clear film cover, Apple is removing film covers from the Apple stores!
(Note from Dave: And I am a guy who likes to protect my MacBook Pro, I have
both a display film cover and a clear keyboard cover!) The iPad does a good job
at collecting fingerprints! You will see a grid of fingerprints on your iPad where
you press the most.
(Note from Dave: Oops, I forgot to take notes for a short
time, I simply fell in love with staring at the iPad!)
Steve finds that the iPad display is very nice, but it will
wash out in bright daylight. (Note from Dave: I would like to add that I also
think it looks very nice, very clear, I could read a book on it. But then, I
stare at my MacBook Pro display for hours at a time. And I have not taken an
iPad into bright sunlight. I did look at one at Red Rock Coffee, and moved it
into a shaft of sunlight, and it was still perfectly readable.)
The battery life is 10 hours or so, up to 12 hours,
depending on how you use it.
There are over 150,000 third party apps. Get a taste from www.apple.com/ipad/apps-for-ipad/.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the Marvel Comics app (I love my comic
books)! Pinch to zoom in on the Hulk punching a tank! And you can buy Marvel
comics from the iPad. There is an app to watch ABC shows on the iPad. This app
showed that the iPad speaker ain't bad at all! (Note from Dave: I can hear it
several rows back, it seems to do better than the typical laptop speaker.)
A selling point for Steve's wife was that the iPad does a
great job as a digital picture frame. She can stand the iPad in the kitchen as
a digital photo frame.
The iPad does games. The iPhone is mobile, making games a
good way to waste time on the go. Steve started a game on the iPad. The
response time is fine (the iPad is an openGL device). Steve showed a driving
game. (Note from Dave: VROOM, VROOM, SCREECH! The game runs pretty fast!)
There is a Dictation app, using the Dragon Naturally
Steve believes that you won't really do a lot of typing on
the iPad display (it can display a large keyboard). In landscape mode, you can
sort of type on the display with two hands, but the ergonomics of typing on
such a display sucks. (Note from Dave: You can connect the Apple Bluetooth
keyboard. Other Bluetooth keyboards will connect also. And keyboards that have
a hardware connector to an iPad will work also, although I am not currently
aware of any.)
Steve thinks of the iPad as a different device than an
iPhone/iPod Touch, which is always with him. (Note from Dave: I believe Steve
mentioned that the iPad is great for consuming content: reading, videos, music,
games, but for now, not so much for creating content. In my opinion, that might
change; I would love to have an iPad as a noveling machine.)
Instapaper is an app that lets you tag web pages for later reading.
iPhones and iPads are not content creation devices. The iPad is a more casual
device; it is not always with you. (Note from Dave: Well, when I get one, I
might buy a bigger man-purse for it!) iPad owners are likely to care more about
iPad that the smaller iPhone/iPod Touch, and be more careful with an iPad.
Watching video on the iPad is great. Its screen is great, although you need to
wipe it down.
There seems to be some quirks about the Apple Bluetooth
keyboard. If you walk the iPad away from the keyboard, it can break the
pairing. (Note from Dave: Well, I think that is what Steve said.)
Steve Jobs says the iPad is between a laptop and a phone. It
is not a laptop replacement.
Laptops have been around for 20 years, and have been
customizes like crazy. For now, the only customizing on an iPad is putting on a
new app. (Note from Dave: I added "for now" because I suspect people
will make devices to plug into the iPad port.)
The iPad can read some of its content out loud to you.
Steve showed a Winnie the Pooh book on his iPad. This is the
first color e-book reader! You can buy books from the iBooks store, and through
the Kindle app, from Amazon. The iBooks store has fewer books than Amazon; the
Kindle, based on Amazon, has an order of magnitude more books that you can buy.
The Kindle stores your books in the cloud, while books from iBooks syncs with
Amazon is still likely do well anyhow with the Kindle. The
iPad is twice the weight of the Kindle. The iPad is very nice to read on. The
Kindle uses a proprietary format, while the iPad can read ePub books, so
Smashwords books will work on the iPad. Storyist will soon export to ePub
format. (Note from Dave: So someday you can read my novel on it!)
You can listen to music on the iPad and read at same time.
Steve's iPad is the 64-gig WiFi only model.
Steve recommends that if you don't have a lot of time when
you first set up your iPad, don't sync photos the first time. It took him an
hour to sync his photos. You can pick and choose what you want to sync.
You can look up words in your books in the iPad dictionary.
His son loves that, he does not have to pick up a dictionary or admit he does
not know the word. Someone's two 3-year-olds ran an iPad for 12 hours, and at
the end of that, the iPad still had 40% battery.
You cannot change the size of the buttons (icons). You can
run iPhone apps at iPhone size, or you can pixel-double the app. Music apps run
People have completely redone their app interfaces for the
iPad to take advantage of the increased real estate.
So, is Storyist going to be on the iPad? (Note from Dave:
You remember Storyist. Steve Shepard's software for writing novels and
screenplays on your Macintosh.) Is the iPad not a writer's device? Should there
be a companion Storyist app? Maybe review, make notes on the manuscript? Since
the iPad is mobile, maybe collect location information, sounds, etc.?
No, the iPad does not smell like a book. (Note from Dave:
And I do not think there will be an app for that.)
I asked if the iPad might bring about the resurgence of the
man purse. I did not get an answer.
The OS on the iPad is the same as the iPhone/iPod Touch, the
low-level libraries are the same, but higher up the stack it gets more
different. It is still pretty much the iPhone OS. You have multi-touch trackpad
gestures on the iPad.
There is a VNC app, so you can run your desktop from your
The iPad is likely great for real estate salesmen! Show the
property on a nice big screen!
Question: do you miss Flash (the iPad, running the iPhone
OS, does not run Flash)? Steve Shepard has not missed that. He has not seen the
blue Lego display. Web sites are going to HTML5.
Storyist: version 2.2 is coming out soon. This version will
export to the ePub format. (Note from Dave: I have not seen it as of this
writing, but I will upgrade as soon as it is out.)
Steve found things that iBooks does that is non-standard for
the ePub format, such as using iTunes cover art. Steve will tweak Storyist some
in that regard. (Note from Dave: I think that Steve said he would tweak
Storyist like that!)
Storyist will sync with Stanza. Stanza (www.lexcycle.com) is
a free app that lets you download and read thousands of e-books. For now, to
get content onto the iPad, you must get it into iTunes. (Note from Dave: In a
Google search, I read that Stanza had the sync via USB removed from Stanza, but
it is still syncable via WiFi. But in the future, there might be some type of
on-device shared storage folder that the iPad will be able to use like most
other e-book readers. I guess we will see what the future holds.)
As Robert Downey Jr. said in the Iron Man 2 TV ads, when he
saw the Black Widow (bodacious woman in black catsuit after she kicked the
butts of several guys): "I want one."
Special thanks to Steve Shepard for this presentation.
Dave Strom/SMUG Vice-President
|See you all on Monday May 3rd in the Redwood Room.|