Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mac OS X Leopard Guide: Green Tips

Mac OS X Leopard Pocket Guide by Chuck Toporek is an easy-to-use and authoritative guide to Mac OS 10.5, Leopard. Save a tree: the book is available as a downloadable PDF. Read it on your Mac as a PDF, and/or print out only those sections you want in hard-copy format. $10 for the PDF.

Do you have an acquaintance considering switching from a PC to a Mac? Check out
Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Leopard Edition by David Pogue. The Macintosh user-interface seems intuitive to long-time users, but for PC switchers simple tasks such as finding the Documents Folder can be intimidating and discouraging. Unfortunately, only a print version is available at $30.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Office 2008: To Buy or Not to Buy, That is the Question

Word processing has changed little since I first began using Word Star on Windows 3.1.1 and MacWrite on a a black-and-white Mac Plus. As the now-infamous guy who stated that "parts is parts" when discussing automobile parts sales, for most of us, "words is words."

Give me a spell checker, some font and type size controls, spacing, and alignment and tab settings. Toss in a table tool and I'm a happy camper.

MS Office 2008 for the Mac is the first version of this office suite that is MacIntel native. Earlier versions run in emulation mode, such that the application can offer new meaning to the term sluggish. The Houston Chronicle offers a first-look at Office 2008 for the Mac.

Unless you exchange MS Word or Excel files with others for the purpose of co-writing, the Apple iWork package, at about $80, is a bargain recommendation from yours truly. Keep in mind that anyone can read any iWork files which are converted to PDFs. You can continue to share files with others by generating PDFs from the Apple word processing application, Pages, or the number-crunching Numbers. Getting in the habit of distributing PDFs is a good thing, even if you stick with MS Word.

Many home offices will do well to purchase iWork 08 and pocket the change that would have gone for the more expensive Office 2008.

Oh, you want the capability of reading MS Word files? No problem. Pages will open them..

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Time Machine Tip

Have a document you've been working on for days or weeks? Did you delete a paragraph that you now wish you hadn't? Time Machine to the rescue.

Find the document in your Documents folder or wherever it is. Click once to highlight the file. Click on the Time Machine icon in the Dock.

Taah--daah. A window opens depicting a stack of files trailing off into the distance. Scroll back through them to find the version of the document prior to your deletions. Click the file. Rescued.

The term "data" is geek-speak for irreplaceable pictures, text documents , home movies, and pricey iTunes music libraries. Data loss due to hard-drive failures rarely come with advance signals from the drive. Data loss due to inadvertent deletions are relatively common.

The dog ate my homework, won't be in your lexicon with Time Machine on your Mac.

Friday, January 18, 2008


The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Backing Up Your Data — Painlessly

The call is inevitable. The script written well in advance by Fate:

Picking up the phone, "FixMacs? Can you come over right away? I can't find my files. My Mac has a blinking question mark and I have Fill in the Blank due tomorrow. You can get my files? I don't understand it; my Mac was working fine yesterday."

Question to panicked prospective client, "Do you have a data backup system?"
Caller answers, "No."

Politely; tactfully as I know how I reply, " Sorry, I work with clients on a long-term basis so as to avoid such crises. Sorry, I'm not available. Thanks for calling."

All computers fail. Most computers fail due to a mechanical failure of the hard drive. All hard drives fail eventually.

The single question confronting every computer-user is when, not if, a hard drive will fail. Only three things are certain in life, Death, Taxes, and Data Loss.

With Mac OS 10.5, you get Time Machine backup, and with the new Time Capsule you get a place to put your backups.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Optimal Mac Laptop Battery Use

With the introduction of the MacBook Air yesterday, here are Apple's tips for optimal battery use. Following these tips will extend the life of any modern Mac laptop battery.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Macworld Expo 2008 News

Apple announced several new products and features today at Macworld Expo, San Francisco.

A new AirPort base station model called the Time Capsule was previewed. This device includes an internal hard drive, either 500 Gigs or 1 TB (terabyte), to be used with Leopard's Time Machine backup feature. Available in February.

The iPhone gets a major software upgrade, available today as a free download. New GPS, maps, SMS text messaging, and customizable home.

The Apple TV gets a software overhaul in concert with the new Apple iTunes movie download service. Four bucks for new releases. Movies run on Macs, PCs, iPods, and iPhones.

Saving the nugget for last, Steve Jobs announced a new MacBook model, the MacBook Air. Apple's Air subnotebook weighs in at 3 lbs., 12-inch screen, with a 60 GB (iPod) hard drive. This is one ultra-thin MacBook.

That's the news from the technology front. Check it out at Apple.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bento — New Mac Database for the Home Office

Bento is a new, user-friendly database application based on FileMaker Pro. For Macs only, the database integrates with iCal and Address Book for ease of tracking projects, small business clients, events, or a even a library of books or DVDs. Hightly customizable, Bento can do what many small business owners have wanted out of the more expensive FileMaker Pro.

Priced at about $50, this new application may prove useful and cost-effective for small businesses, home offices, and community organizers.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

MS Office 2008 on the Cheap

Purchases of MS Office 2004 Student Teacher Edition before the close of Monday, January 14th are eligible for a free upgrade to MS Office 2008 Media Edition.

This is a deal.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Serious QuickBooks Pro 2007 Data-loss Bug

QuickBooks Pro 2007 for the Mac reportedly has a bug that can result in the loss of financial data. This serious glitch has garnered a class-action lawsuit response from some Mac users.

A ComputerWorld article relates the nature of the data-loss bug and the class-action lawsuit.

I recommend that Mac users cease using QuickBooks Pro 2007 until the matter is fully resolved by Intuit, or else keep daily--or hourly--backups. You could permanently lose important financial data.

QuickBooks Pro 2007 users beware. Use at the peril of data loss.

Macworld Expo Rumors Running Rampant

As Macworld Expo approaches, the 'net is abound with rumors anticipating this important event. Apple always unveils something new and different. What will it be this year? We'll know January 15th.

The odds are on the revelation of a new laptop series--a subnotebook. Such staid Internet news sources such as BusinessWeek are betting on the appearance of new, smaller and cheaper laptop, thus either expanding the current crop to three forms (including the MacBook and MacBook Pro), or else replacing the MacBook altogether.

Speculation has it using flash memory only, sans hard drive. Such a notebook would be significantly lighter than the current 5-pound MacBook, and sport long battery life, as well as a smaller outline for easy transportation.

Stay tuned. More to come.

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