COMPUTER NEWS Inside This Issue The Napa Valley Personal

COMPUTER NEWS Inside This Issue The Napa Valley Personal
Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, California 94558
Volume 26, No. 4
April 2009
Inside This Issue
NVPCUG Special Interest Groups
NVPCUG Calendar
President’s Message
Officers List
How To Switch Internet Browsers
There Is More to Music
than the iPod®
Moving on to Vista – Part 13
Tech News That Affects
The Napa Valley Personal
Computer Users Group will meet
Wednesday, April 15th,
7:00-9:00 P.M.,
At the Napa Senior Activity Center,
1500 Jefferson Street, Napa, California
10 SIGNIFICANT BITS, February 2009
12 Photoshop CS4 Has Arrived
14 Moving to a New Mac
16 Memborship Application Renewal
The Napa Valley Personal Computer
Users Group has served novice and
experienced computer users since 1983.
Through its monthly meetings,
newsletters, online forum, special
interest groups, mentor program and
community involvement, it has helped
educate people of all ages. The
NVPCUG provides opportunities for
people to find friends who share
common interests and experiences.
From January 2003 to October 2007
the NVPCUG provided 783 computers
and 140 printers to local schools.
Additional equipment has been given
to charitable nonprofit organizations
and to disadvantaged individuals.
In addition to April 15th being the deadline
for filing your income taxes (which I am sure
you have done already), it is the night of the
General Meeting of the NVPCUS. So indulge
yourself and join us.
The meeting begins with Random Access, an open-floor
question-and-answer period during which attendees can ask
questions about computers and computer-related problems
and receive helpful information from other meeting attendees.
Questions may be submitted before the meeting by emailing
them to Random Access moderator Jerry Brown at
[email protected]
During the April Computer Tutor session
and the main presentation session our own
Jeff Solomon will continue his demonstration
of the use of the library on-line. If you have
an idea or question that the Computer Tutor can demonstrate,
please email your ideas to the Computer Tutor, Jeff Solomon
at [email protected]
May we will have a real treat. Members are being asked to
send their favorite web sites to Jeff Solomon at
[email protected] An explanation of why your site is
a favorite would be extremely helpful. You might even be
lucky enogh to sit with Jeff and be a temporary copresenter.
Could you use some practical information that would help you
make better use of your computer? Come to this meeting! Guests
are always welcome. Admission is always free.
Interested in becoming a member? See page 14 for application
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2009
In SIG meetings you can learn about
a subject in greater detail than is
feasible at NVPCUG general
meetings. SIG meetings are open to
everyone. M e e t i n g t i m e s a n d
locations occasionally change, so
for current meeting information, see
our Web site,, or
contact the SIG leaders.
Investors SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Monday
5:30 to 7:30 p.m
Jerry Brown’s home,
23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
Leader: Jerry Brown
(707) 254-9607
[email protected]
Digital Photography SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Wednesday
7:00 to 8:30 p.m
Piner’s Nursing Home,
Conference Room
1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Leader: Susy Ball
(707) 337-3998
[email protected]
Napa Valley Mac User Group
Meets: Monthly, second Thursday
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Napa Senior Activity Center
1500 Jefferson St., Napa
Leader: Ron Rogers
(707) 226-5352
Change Your Monitor’s Refresh
Rate In Vista
The refresh rate is the number of times per second the monitor
updates itself, and high refresh rates lead to smoother video
(and less flickering if you have a CRT [cathode-ray tube]
display). Look in your monitor’s manual to find the maximum
refresh rate it supports at the resolution you use, right-click
an empty portion of the Desktop, and click Personalize. Next,
select Display Settings, click the Advanced Settings button,
and click the Monitor tab. Use the Screen Refresh Rate dropdown menu to select the appropriate refresh rate and click
Apply. Keep in mind that you never want to set a refresh rate
that is higher than the one the monitor officially supports at
a given resolution.
Clean It Up
When editing video you shot with your camcorder, cut out or
edit any segments that are too bright or too dark or out-offocus. The same thing goes for any glitches or “snow” in the
recording. If there’s a patch of bad video during a scene you
want to keep, such as newlyweds cutting their cake, try
covering it with some “B-roll” footage. B-roll means other
scenes from the video, such as a shot of the bride’s parents
beaming as they watch the couple’s first dance. Edit a few
seconds of B-roll video (not including the B-roll’s audio)
over the bad spot of the original cake-cutting scene but leave
the original scene’s audio undisturbed. When you play back
the scene, you’ll hear the cake-cutting laughter and cheers
continue as the camera momentarily “cuts away” to the
reactions of the proud parents. No one will ever know there
was a glitch.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit to learn what Smart
Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG General Meetings
Held the third Wednesday of each month, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
NVPCUG Calendar
Apr 15
May 6
May 11
May 13
May 14
May 20
Jun 3
Jun 8
Jun 10
Jun 11
Jun 17
7:00-9:00 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
5:30-7:30 p.m.
7:00-8:30 p.m.
6:30-8:30 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
5:30-7:30 p.m.
7:00-8:30 p.m.
6:30-8:30 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
NVPCUG General Meeting + D
Board of Directors meeting + B
Investors SIG meeting + C
Digital Photography SIG meeting + B
Napa Valley Mac User Group + A
NVPCUG General Meeting + A
Board of Directors meeting + B
Investors SIG meeting + C
Digital Photography SIG meeting + B
Napa Valley Mac User Group + A
NVPCUG General Meeting + A
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2009, Page 2
Meeting Locations
A - Napa Senior Activity Center,
1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
B - Piner’s Nursing Home,
1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
C - Jerry Brown’s home,
23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
D - Peterson’s Family Christmas
Tree Farm, 1120 Darms
Lane, Napa.
Napa Valley Personal Computer
Users Group Contact Information
Officers for 2009
Board of Directors
Vice President
Other Directors:
Ron Dack
[email protected]
Dick Peterson
[email protected]
Marcia Waddell 252-2060
[email protected]
Roy Wagner
[email protected]
Susy Ball, Ron Dack, Jim Gray, Dick Peterson, Bob Simmerman,
Kathy Slavens, Dean Unruh, Marcia Waddell, and Roy Wagner.
Jim Gray
[email protected]
Appointed Officers
Computer Tutor Coordinator
Jeff Solomon
[email protected]
Facility Arrangements Coordinator
Dianne Prior
[email protected]
Greeter Coordinator
Kathy Slavens
[email protected]
Greeter Coordinator
Bob Simmerman 259-6113
[email protected]
Dean Unruh
[email protected]
Membership Director
Bob Simmerman 259-6113
[email protected]
Newsletter Circulator
Jim Hearn
[email protected]
Newsletter Editor
Susy Ball
[email protected]
Product Review CoCoordinator
Susy Ball
[email protected]
Product Review CoCoordinator
Marcia Waddell
[email protected]
Programs Director
Susy Ball
[email protected]
Publicity Director
Ron Dack
[email protected]
Random Access Moderator
Jerry Brown
[email protected]
Special Projects Director
[email protected]
Ron Dack
[email protected]
• All telephone numbers are in Area Code 707.
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2009, Page 3
Computer News
Computer News (ISS
0897-5744) is
published monthly by
the Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group, Inc.
(NVPCUG), P.O. Box
2866, Napa, CA
Subscriptions: $30 for
one year (12 issues).
Editor: Susy Ball,
[email protected]
The material in
Computer News is
intended for
purposes and may not
be reproduced without
prior written permission,
except that permission
for reproducing articles,
with authors properly
credited, is granted to
other computer user
groups for their internal,
nonprofit use only. The
information in this
newsletter is believed
to be correct. However,
the NVPCUG can
assume neither
responsibility for errors
or omissions nor liability
for any damages
resulting from the use
or misuse of any
The NVPCUG is an IRC
501(c)(3) tax-exempt
nonprofit educational
organization (EIN 680069663) and is a
member of the
Association of Personal
Computer User Groups
(APCUG), an
organization. Donations
to the NVPCUG are
tax-deductible as
charitable contributions
to the extent allowed by
law. Copyright © 2008
How To Switch Internet Browsers
Written by Sandy Berger, CompuKISS,, [email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is a software program that
comes on all computers that use the Windows Operating
System. Internet Explorer is called an Internet browser
since it is the software that allows you to view Web pages
and surf the Internet. In fact, at least 80% of you reading
this Web page right now are using Internet Explorer. You
don’t, however, have to use Internet
Explorer. There are several other Internet
browsers available.
Due to recent critical security glitches
in Internet Explorer, other browsers are
looking more attractive. Also, while
Internet Explorer has stagnated over the
past several years, several other Internet
browsers have overtaken it with useful
new features and advanced functionality.
Features like a tabbed interface that lets
you quickly move from page to page
and voice-activated menu systems have
put alternative browsers like Firefox
and Opera ahead of Internet Explorer.
Using an alterative browser is easy.
You simply download the browser from the Web site of the
manufacturer and install it on your computer. Firefox,
Opera, and Chrome are all alternative browsers that are
free downloads. Just follow the Web site instructions to
download and install the new browser. During installation
the program will see Internet Explorer and will ask you if
you want to transfer your Favorites and other information
from Internet Explorer to the new program. Most alternative
browsers will help you make the switch from Internet
Explorer to their browser program. When you install
Opera, Netscape, or Firefox you will be given the option
importing your Internet information. Opera can import
bookmarks and favorites. Firefox allows you to import
options, bookmarks, history, passwords, cookies, and
other data from Internet Explorer. This works for many
different browsers. Fox example, if you switch from
Internet Explorer to Netscape and decide that you would
then like to switch to Opera, you can move your information
from Internet Explorer to Netscape and then to Opera by
simply following the instructions given during installation.
To use a different Internet browser, you don’t have to
uninstall Internet Explorer. In fact, it is best to leave
Internet Explorer on your hard drive. Not only is Internet
Explorer difficult to uninstall: you may need to use it in the
future. Internet Explorer is the only browser that you can
use to access the Windows Update Web site. Also, since it
is the most popular Web browser, many Web sites are
optimized for Internet Explorer. If you use an alternative
Web browser, in your surfing you may find an occasional
Web site that does not work properly in the browser that
you have chosen. If that is the case, you can simply switch
to Internet Explorer to access that Web site and switch
back to your alternative browser for your main surfing.
You see, there is no problem with using several different
browsers. In fact, you can actually use two or three
different browsers at the same time with no interference.
When you start using your new browser
you will be asked if you want to set the
new software as your default Web
browser. Whatever browser is set as your
default browser will be the browser that
will appear when you click on a link in an
e-mail or other document. If you want to
use your new browser all the time, you
will want to set it as the default. If you say
no to setting the new program as your
default, the program will continue to ask
you this question every time you start it.
Look for a notice with a check box in
front of it to tell the program that you
don’t want to see that question again. For
instance in Opera you will click to put a
checkmark into the box in front of “Do not show this
dialog again.” In Firefox click to remove the checkmark in
the box that says “Always perform this check when
starting Firefox.” Then the program will not ask that
question again.
If you decide that you don’t want to continue to use the
new browser, you can switch back to Internet Explorer at
any time. Any new favorites or cookies that you have
added to the new browser can be transferred back to
Internet Explorer by using the export and import settings
in the two browsers. You simply export the information
from the program you are using and import it into to the
program you want to use. Click on File, and choose
Import/Export to use these functions. Most browsers have
Wizards that will help you through the entire process.
Some programs like Firefox make it easy to import
information, but make it more difficult to export
information. If a Wizard is not available you can use the
programs Help menu for detailed instructions.
If you are used to using Internet Explorer, downloading and
using a different Web browser is a big step. Although most
alternative browsers are similar to Internet Explorer, you will
need to invest some time into learning the new interface.
Some features may not be obvious. For instance the tabbed
browsing in Firefox is not instantly noticeable. So be sure to
read the help files and information on the product’s Web site
to get the full gist of what features are available.
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2009, Page 4
By Ron Broadhurst, Space Coast PC Users Group, FL,,
[email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
Dear friends,
These ideas are compiled from years of accumulations
from various magazines, books, on-line sites, and my
own personal experience. I claim neither originality
nor ownership to any of its contents. My only intent
is to share the various “tips, “tricks”, & “hints” in
hopes of helping & maybe enhancing your computing
experiences. They are all intended for anyone who
uses a PC. It is for beginners as well as advanced
users. Enjoy and use as you will.
Ron Broadhurst
How To Have Windows Remind You
About Pending Updates
Click Remind Me Later in the Automatic Updates
dialog box before you download or install the
• In the Reminder dialog box, you can specify the
amount of time Windows should wait before
reminding you.
• If the reminder is for downloading, Windows
reminds you only when you are connected to the
If the reminder is for installing, Windows reminds you
according to the schedule that you specify.
And How To Download Available
If you configured automatic updating to notify you
before downloading any updates, an icon is
displayed in the notification area each time new
updates are found.
• Double-click the icon in the notification area.
• Do either of the following steps:
If you want Windows to download an update, make sure
that the check box beside it is selected.
-orIf you do not want Windows to download an update,
click to clear the check box beside it. Your selected
updates are downloaded in the background; this behavior
allows you to continue working uninterrupted.
Downloading does not interfere with or slow down
other network activity, such as Internet browsing.
When downloading is finished, the icon is displayed
in the notification area to notify you that updates are
ready to be installed.
Customize The Start Menu
The Start menu gets more real estate in XP than in previous
versions, and it’s more customizable. To make the Start
menu display only the applications you want, rather than
the default determined by Microsoft:
• Right-click in an empty section of the Start menu’s
left column.
• Select Properties > Start Menu > Customize. Here
you’ll find a list of your most frequently used
programs. (XP keeps track of what you use and what
you don’t, then updates this list dynamically).
Don’t want your boss to know that Pinball, Solitaire and
Quake all make your list?
Go to the General tab, click Clear List, and set the
counter to zero.
How To Perform Disk Error Checking
In Windows XP
This describes how to check the integrity of the hard disk
drive in Windows XP. After you install Windows XP, the
Scandisk command is not available.
• Double-click My Computer and then right-click the
hard disk drive that you want to check.
• Click Properties and then click Tools.
• Under Error-checking click Check Now.
• Click Start.
Add Familiar Icons Back To Your
It’s the case of the missing icons. Many of you may be
wondering where all the icons from your desktop are in
Windows XP? You can place at least My Computer, My
Network Places and My Documents on the desktop.
• Right-click on the desktop and then click Properties.
• Click the Desktop tab and then click on Customize
Put a check mark in the box next to My Document, My
Computer, My Network Places or Internet Explorer, to
add those familiar icons to your desktop.
How To Find Your IP Address in
Windows XP
Start and click Run
Type “cmd” (without quotes) and hit enter
Once the box opens type “ipconfig /all” (without
quotes) and hit enter.
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2009, Page 5
There Is More to Music than the iPod®
By Mike Morris, Editor, Front Range PC Users Group, CO, http://www.,
[email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s case letters). It turns out there are many online music
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
databases (a Google® search turned up more than 68,000,
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
using the phrase “online music database”). The
There is more to music — and more to life — than the iPod. database was the best for my catalog project for the following
I think I can prove that statement with the words that follow. reasons:
Please don’t misunderstand me. I admire the iPod as a
1. A successful search for an artist will provide an
successful product — a success technically and financially
Overview, a Biography, a Discography (a list of all
— even though I don’t have one. However ….
albums by the artist known to the database, with title,
I need to start my “proof” by saying that in previous
date and label), Songs, Credits, and Charts andAwards.
articles that I have written for this newsletter, I made a claim
From the discography, one can click on an album and
to being an Old Analog Guy (as a reminder, the acronym =
information (usually) on the album tracks
OAG and is pronounced “ogre”). It is with that persona that
(including times), composer(s), recording date(s),
I bring this subject to your attention.
release date, label, format (LP or CD), the label’s
I just completed a catalog of nearly 300 old LP’s that
catalog number, and, for some albums, a review of the
belonged to a family member who died last year. And when
I say old, I mean some of those LP’s have release dates more
3. The search options include artist/group, album, song,
than 50 years old. Some of the recordings are much older
classical work.
than that. There are many memorable, and even historic,
There is substantially more information about the
performances recorded on those albums.
Jazz genre that just a list of names and dates. For
A small part of that music has been re-released on CDs.
example, on the Jazz “home page,” there are a number
But there is much of that music—almost all Jazz—that you
of “Related Essays” on Jazz, including “A Brief
will not currently find in any digital format. So put down
History of Jazz. (
your iPod (or one of its imitators) and please listen to what
I have to say.
I decided to create a database for this catalog using For a project such as the cataloging of an existing music
Microsoft Access®. One significant issue, as you might collection, with LP’s that are up to 50 years old, this
expect, is just how much information to include in the database is the best choice by far of all of the databases
database. This database is for family use—not for radio examined or considered. It is the equivalent of an
station or other broadcast use. I did, however, want to make encyclopedia, and the functionality makes searching easy,
a record (no pun intended) of whatever information was with related data presented on a single page. The ability to
necessary to properly document the collection. The most link from a list of albums (discography) to a single album (or
significant decision was related to the track (song) names, CD reissue) provides very efficient searching for a project
sequence and times on each side of each LP. Clearly, if I of this type. That is not to say that it is error free. There are
needed to document that information, both the data entry albums not included in the database—the web site makes no
task and complexity of the database were going to be much claim that it contains every album ever released. There are
higher. If the average number of tracks per side is 4 (it is also tracks missing from some albums (or the track order in
probably higher), and I wanted to include all that information, the database doesn’t match the order on the disk). An album
then I was faced with a data entry task of 4 x 2 x 300 = 2400 may be in the database, but not in the artist’s discography.
entries (plus all the other information I wanted to include). And, there are numerous problems with release and recording
dates. Still, the “pros” far outweigh the “cons. “
“No big deal” you
There is a feature offered by this web site that is unique.
say—there are many
page (any of the choices listed in item 1 above) has a
much much larger
“Corrections to this entry?” option, allowing the user to
databases in the world.
You are correct. But remember, I am an OAG (please submit corrections. Those corrections are then researched
correctly pronounce that acronym). Therefore I was looking for confirmation (if the web site statement is correct) before
for an “easy” way to complete this task. Credit is due to Ken they are added to the database. That feature was used
Campbell of radio station KRFC (more on that in a moment), extensively during the research for this music cataloging
a local public radio station, for a solution. Ken told me about project—although not every error or missing item was
an online music database called allmusic. com (http:// submitted.
For my project, the search by artist was the most effective. (yes, it is spelled with all lower
If an album was not listed in the artist’s discography, a
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2009, Page 6
search by album was the alternate choice. Although the
database has many very early jazz albums, there were a few
albums in the collection, both old and new—or at least
“newer”—by well-known artists that were missing from
the allmusic database. So, although not perfect, the allmusic
database is an excellent research tool, and you don’t need
the iTunes media player (or any other media player) to use
The database is not limited to research, however. You can
listen to short sound bytes from some tracks, and there are
links that allow you to buy selected tracks or albums
(correction – CDs).
OK, so your iPod and the iTunes media player are great
for listening to (and buying) current and even “relatively”
old music. But the iTunes media player is not going to help
you—to same extent as the allmusic database will — find
classic old Jazz performances (and perhaps classic
performances from other genres). And, you must have the
iTunes media player installed on your computer before you
can do any searching with it.
You may be wondering why I am talking about online
databases and why I consider a good online database
important to my “proof. “Yes, there is a relationship. But
before I offer the conclusion, I have several comments on
other databases.
Another online database used rarely was Gracenote®, a
wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America.
Gracenote is used “…for digital media recognition of CDs,
digital music files, and streaming audio. With the most
comprehensive database of music information in the world,
the Gracenote Media Database contains information for
more than 80 million tracks and 6 million CDs…. “This
database is normally linked to media players, such as
Winamp©, to automatically identify music on a CD or from
a download. It provides album title (and, in some cases, an
image of the album cover), and track names—if you
connect through a media player (or other audio/video
equipment with the enabling software installed that is
connected to the internet).
If you connect to
Gracenote directly
from a browser
(h t t p : / / w w w .
gracenote. com/
), the search options are
artists, albums, tracks. A successful search on an artist
returns a list of albums (a lot less than the allmusic database)
released by that artist that are known to the database. It is
important to note that the quantity information in the
Gracenote advertisement makes an explicit reference to
CDs. The album information is similar to that in the
allmusic database, except that there are no track times.
There are, however, links to the lyrics of some tracks—for
those songs that have them. Also the “Buy” buttons are
much more prevalent, and much more obvious in the
Gracenote database, compared to the allmusic database.
Another online database
examined briefly was
Rhapsody ®, http://
www. rhapsody. com/
home. html, a service
provided by RealNetworks. com, better known for its Real®
media player. The company claims to provide “Technology
and services that help people enjoy digital entertainment
whenever and wherever they want. “
Connect to the Rhapsody website and the first thing you
will notice are the annoying animated ads. Get beyond that
and the search options are artist, keyword, track, album,
composer, video, lyrics, and playlist. If a search for an
album is successful, you can, for most albums, get track
information by clicking on the album image — but that
track information (no times) is very probably going to be
from a more current CD release, not from the original LP,
depending on how old that original LP is and how popular
the album was. However, there is nowhere near the same
level of information available from this database, compared
to the allmusic database. The Rhapsody database is organized
for listening to (or buying) music that is already known to
the user, either by song name or by artist (in my opinion). It
is not an effective research tool for finding information on
old LP’s.
It is not necessary to have the Real player installed in
order to search the Rhapsody database.
Now listen up everyone! Here is my reason for talking
about music databases:
There is some great old music out there! In all genres.
Please don’t get so comfortable with your iPod that you
ignore that music. Especially when you have a resource
such as the allmusic online database to help you identify it,
catalog it, find reviews on it and find some history of it.
I suspect that many of you reading this article (I hope there
are many readers) have some of that “great old music”
sitting on your shelves or in your cabinets. Or perhaps
stored away somewhere. If so, “unstore” it. You will, I am
certain, enjoy that music, especially with the added
information available from the allmusic database.
And that is what I mean when I say “There Is More to
Music than the iPod. “
Here is the additional information I promised on radio
station KRFC:
Front Range PC Users Group (FRPCUG) has a partnership
with KRFC, 88. 9 FM in Fort Collins, CO. KRFC provides
“Community powered music, news and entertainment. “ For
more information, connect to http://krfcfm. org/.
FRPCUG provides computer maintenance help to KRFC,
and, in return, KRFC helps expand the knowledge of FRPCUG
activities within the local community. An internet audio
stream is available from the KRFC web site.
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2009, Page 7
Moving on to Vista – Part 13
By Neil Stahfest, Librarian, Tacoma Area PC User Group, WA,,
[email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s labeled “Shortcut key”. It probably contains the entry
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
“None”. By selecting a suitable key (letter or number),
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
you can create a key combination shortcut to your program.
The chances are the first peripheral device you purchased It’s a convenient way to access frequently used programs,
for your computer was a printer. You may have even spreadsheets and documents.
received a “free” printer when you purchased your
Before we leave this menu, notice the button labeled
computer. Vista makes it easier than ever to connect a new
Icon”. When you left-click on this button you’ll
printer to your computer than ever before. The Plug-andsee
of icons that you can use to substitute for your
Play feature really works (unless, like me, you have an old
Pick an icon, click on the “Okay” button and
laser printer that Windows Vista does not support. :-( ).
then click on “Okay” again. Your new icon will appear on
So you connect your printer, follow the Printer Wizard’s the desktop.
directions, it works and you’re happy. But wait. Have you
examined your printer to discover all of its functions?Did
iTunes’ Playlists
you know that many modern printers, even the inexpensive
Apple’s iTunes software contains a neat feature called
models, can print on both sides of the paper, print sideways
Smart Playlists. In essence, it turns iTunes into a disc
on the paper (called landscape mode), print in gray scale
jockey, drawing its material from your downloaded
as well as in color and allows you to control print quality
music files. Choose the New Smart Playlist feature from
(to save ink when you don’t need high quality print).
the file menu and select the criteria by which you want
Here’s how to find out what you can do and manage it.
iTunes to make its selections. You can have the program
search for songs by specific artists, genres, number of
Create or open a document using your favorite word
times played (you might want it to find some songs you
processing program or WordPad. At the top of your screen,
haven’t listened to very much, for instance), or even
click on “File” and then scroll down to “Printer Settings”
sound quality. You can further set the number of songs,
and click again. When the “Printer Setup” window opens,
minutes, or megabytes to keep your playlists manageable.
click on the “Properties” button. At this point what you see
Finally, click the Live Updating box to have iTunes
depends largely on your individual printer.
continually change the Playlist as you add new songs to
In the case of my HP printer, I see a window with tab
your folders.
labeled “Paper/Quality”, “Finishing”, “Effects”, “Basics”,
Stay Away From The Light
“Color” and “Services”. Selecting the appropriate tab
allows me to select print quality (Normal, Draft, Enhanced,
Avoid putting your TV right next to, or directly across
from, an exterior window or bright light source. Lots of
etc.), Portrait or Landscape mode , page order, color,
light makes a room more pleasing, but it can create
single or two sided paper printing and many other options.
glare, reduce contrast, and wash out the color on your
In the case of my HP printer, when I select two sided paper
flat-panel picture. Plasma and LCD technologies
printer, the printer prints on one side of the paper and then
frequently fail to display deep blacks to begin with; too
an on-screen message shows me how to reinsert the
much ambient light exacerbates the problem. Choose a
printed sheet in the paper tray to print of the other side.
TV viewing room with less external light, if possible,
These print options are actually determined by the printer,
and consider curtains or blinds on your windows instead
not Windows. Windows just provides the means to control
of a valance or scarf, so you can control the amount of
the printers features.
light that comes from outside.
Windows frequently provides more than one way to do
Wireless Speakers
the same thing. Desktop icons provide a shortcut to run
programs listed in the Start Menu. You can easily create
If you’re an audiophile, listen to wireless speakers
new desktop icons my opening the Programs section of the
before adding them to your entertainment setup to make
sure you’re comfortable with the sound quality. Some
Start Menu, Selecting a program, right clicking on it and
listeners prefer wired audio because it consistently
drag it to a blank area on your desktop. When you release
delivers audio to the speakers. Keep in mind that although
the right mouse button a short menu appears with the
you can buy wireless speakers at any point, you can’t
option to “Create Shortcuts Here”. Select it, and left-click
easily wire your home for whole-house audio after
once to create the icon. You can rename this icon to
construction completes.
anything you wish.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit
If you right-click on a desktop icon, one of the menu to learn what Smart
option is “Properties”. Select Properties and left-click
Computing can do for you and your user group!
once. Under the “Shortcut” tab notice the entry line
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2009, Page 8
Tech News That Affects Everybody
By Sandy Berger, CompuKISS,, [email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
Some of us scour the technology and business sections of
the newspaper and the Web to get the latest news. Some of
us head for the lifestyle and community sections, without
much of a care about technology. Yet, today’s technology
news is often news that will affect everyone’s life in one
way or another.
Let me give you a few examples. The Pope recently
announced opening of the Vatican YouTube channel
( which will feature
short video clips of Pope Benedict XVI’s activities and
links to news and information about the Catholic Church.
The Pope is posting two or three videos each day. Most are
short clips showing the Pope’s speeches, activities, and
participation in important events. In a recent speech, the
Pope praised the Internet as offering rich opportunities for
dialogue, friendship and spreading the Christian message.
There is a lot of irreverent stuff on YouTube, but the
Pope’s participation shows how mainstream this popular
video website has become. YouTube, FaceBook, MySpace,
and other social networking websites have become more
and more popular. If you haven’t yet visited any of these,
YouTube is a great place to start. (
Another recent news announcement was the Palm Pre,
which is a smartphone that will be available in a few
months through Sprint. You might think that this is just
another phone, and you would be right. But the implications
for cell phones are quite dramatic. Palm has developed a
totally new version of the operating system for this phone.
Google now has their own cell phone operating system as
do Microsoft, BlackBerry, and Apple. These are some
pretty big name and you will notice that the software that
runs these phones is called an operating system. That’s
because these phone are really mini-computers that can do
email, surf the web, and perform many other functions.
Cell phones are changing dramatically. They are turning
into handheld computers that will change the lives of those
who use them.
We also should not overlook Apple’s recent
announcement that they will be dropping the DRM
(digital rights management) for all songs in their iTunes
store. The DRM crippled the songs so they had limited
use. For instance, they could only be played on a certain
number of devices or be copied a certain number of
times. So music lovers the world over will be rejoicing to
see that by April of this year, all of iTunes 10 million
songs will be DRM-free. There is one caveat. Those who
have previously purchased music and/or videos on iTunes
that included Apple’s DRM will now have to pay to get
the DRM removed. Apple will be charging 30 cents a
song. iTunes has sold six billion songs since going online
in 2003. They did not offer any DRM-free music until
recently. So most of those six billion songs had DRM. If
every purchaser pays Apple 30 cents for taking away the
DRM, Apple would make $180,000,000. A boon to
Apple, a pain-in-the-rear for honest music lovers who
previously used the iTunes store.
Microsoft was also in the news recently with their
announcement that the beta testing version Windows 7,
their next operating system could be downloaded and tried
for free. Their website was inundated by curious Windows
users. So many came, that they had to add more servers
and download services. They originally said that they
would limit the downloads to 2.5 million, but recently
removed that restriction and will continue to offer the beta
trial until February. Don’t think that you will be getting
something for nothing, though. The beta of Windows 7
will stop being functional on August 1, 2009. At that time
you will either have to reinstall your previous operating
system or pay for Windows 7.
Last but not least in the technology news is the
announcement that Western Digital has created a 2
terabyte hard disk drive. Believe it or not, this may have
one of the biggest effects on individual users. As we can
store more and more digital data at reasonable prices,
more and more data will be digitized. We are already
living in a digital world, but that world gets more reliant
on technology every day.
Fine-tune Color
There’s more to brilliant, sharp pictures than screen
resolution; color reproduction and calibration make a
big difference, too. When you’re browsing HDTVs at
a retailer, be sure the colors are consistently true to
life. Blacks shouldn’t appear gray, bright areas
shouldn’t wash detail away, and high-paced action
scenes shouldn’t have jagged edges. Calibration is
another important factor to keep in mind; this will
ensure your HDTV’s settings will be far better than
the showroom settings many televisions ship with.
Most retailers offer professional calibration (such as
Best Buy’s Magnolia Home Theater Optimization
package) that uses special equipment otherwise
unavailable to consumers; in most cases, such
calibration is your best bet. However, there are
calibration DVDs that can walk you through the
process yourself.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit to learn what Smart
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NVPCUG Computer News, April 2009, Page 9
By Sean N. Henderson, VP, Marketing & Public Relations, Danbury Area Computer Society,
CT,, [email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
On Software Installations
I received as a Christmas gift Ahead’s Nero 9 – a CD/DVD
burning suite with some authoring and backup tools as
well. I have a combination of software pieces already on
my laptop that in some way do some or all of what Nero
9 claims it can do. However, the promise of having all
these tasks integrated into a single package seemed
appealing, so I decided I’d give it try. I had also recently
reinstalled my copy of Nero 6 on my downstairs PC and
was pleasantly reminded how much better I liked Nero 6’s
interface, so this was another push to try Nero 9.
The Nero 9 installation took 45 minutes on my laptop.
One colleague mentioned that maybe I should have tried
the install with my antivirus software turned off to speed
up the process. Except for operating systems, I’m curious
why a software package would take 45 minutes to install
in this day-and-age of high-speed processors and drives.
Nero 9 is much more involved than Nero 6 and similar
versions, where Nero 9 includes media players, some
authoring tools, and looks like it will replace the need
for other software items. In my case, my laptop had
separate programs already for viewing DVDs and
authoring DVDs/VCDs.
Remember when installing any software, and especially
anything that’s a “suite” to make a restore point first and
backup your system. I’d also recommend if the install left
some installation related files, to keep those around, since
some software titles need the leftover installation files to
uninstall themselves.
First impressions of Nero 9 are that it will extensively
“hook” into the Desktop environment, changing file
extension associations, and adding context-menu options.
For myself, I’m more fond of applications that do not
touch the registry and or are “portable” in nature, so Nero
9 has already a bad score in my book before I’ve even done
anything with it yet. While the installer gives options for
which components and templates to install, there is no
expert mode to prevent Nero 9 from messing with the file
extensions. Also, Nero 9 claims some file extensions that
are common or else used by another application.
Opera Mini and Palm TX Part II
You’ll recall I had mentioned previously about using
Opera Mini on my Palm TX. After a month or so of usage,
I’m finding that it works okay most of the time, but it is not
really optimized for different networks. In one instance I
had to delete all the scanned entries for other Wi-Fi
hotspots so that it would stop trying to logon to my distant
and not present work network. So currently, I only use
Opera Mini on my TX for home use, and the Blazer
otherwise. Be forewarned, having installed the particular
Java layer and Opera Mini, my Palm TX has tended to
crash more when using Opera Mini or Blazer.
Editing Just About Anything
Something I find somewhat irritating when trying to help
another computer user with a problem or task is when the
person really has not taken the time to learn their software
or operating system from a navigational perspective. I can
tell they do not know the software well if they do not use
the keyboard and/or keyboard shortcuts. (These keyboard
shortcuts are also referred to as “hot keys” or “key
combinations”, and so on.) This is where the person
helping, such as myself, says, “Please get out of your chair
and let me drive.” If you use a computer and do not know
your hot keys, read on.
The mouse and graphic desktop are great at giving
people quick access to files and a shorter learning curve for
applications. However, if someone’s primary way to
interact with a computer is by way of the mouse, then they
may likely take longer to do a task, especially spreadsheet
work. The reality is that people are capable of typing
(keyboarding?) faster than they can point-and-click (or
speak), menu diving or clicking around the screen at
teeny-tiny hieroglyphs that may-or-may-not be a link.
A quick way to learn all the key combinations for
your desktop and applications is to go cold-turkey and
simply to take the mouse off of the computer, have a
list of shortcuts and go from there. Here are some hot
keys in Windows XP that are pretty common to help
get you going. (Check your manuals and or on-line for
your particular desktop, application and operating
system if different.)
Ctl-Esc Start Menu
Alt+F4 Close window, application, or Windows
Select or highlight whatever is in the
location field, if present (browsers,
Show help
Ctr-F1 Hide help
Rename a file (Windows and many
applications using the standard open file
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2009, Page 10
The other thing to consider is that the availability of hot
Copy selected area into the ‘Clipboard’
are what make local applications so much easier to
aka the buffer
use than Web applications. Below are some links that list
Paste from the Clipboard (buffer)
more Windows XP keyboard shortcuts.
Undo last action
One of the reasons I think laptop manufacturers get away
with their unique (and thus horrid) keyboard layouts is
that most people never take the time to learn how to use the
control key in combination with the page keys, arrow
keys, and home keys. If people used the navigational keys
and hot keys more, I’m guessing the random placement of
these keys on laptops would not occur. (Pet peeve: Control
keys not being the outermost key on the spacebar row.)
Set Your Home Page
To set a Web page as your home page, first go to the
Web page that you’d like to use. Internet Explorer
users, click Tools in the Menu bar followed by Internet
Options. Click the Use Current button in the Home
Page section. Netscape users, click Edit, then
Preferences, then Navigator. You’ll see a Home Page
section in the middle of the dialog box. Click the Use
Current Page button to set your home page.
Multiple Zones
Many new home models have single-zone
home-audio setups that wow visitors who are
surprised to hear the music as clearly in the basement
as in the living room. If you catch yourself thinking
that the people upstairs may not have the same music
tastes as the people below their feet, check out multiple
zone systems. Installers offer equipment that can
break your audio setup into many zones, each of
which may include single (or multiple) rooms.
Dead Or Lit Pixels
Most manufacturers carry pixel-defect policies on
new LCDs, whereby if a certain number of pixels are
dead (show no color at all) or lit (stuck in the “on”
position so that they constantly appear red, blue, or
green), they will replace the LCD. If the manufacturer
won’t provide a replacement, however, perhaps the
retailer will. Other than that, there’s very little you can
do to fix this type of irritation.
Get The Most From Your Phone
Although camera phone technology is making vast
improvements, camera phones aren’t digital cameras
when it comes to image quality. However, there are
ways to get the most from your camera phone. Make
sure your camera is set at its highest possible resolution.
The more pixels you can devote to produce an image,
the sharper that image will be. Because you’re devoting
Keyboard Shortcuts for XP
Excel 2003 Keyboard Shortcuts
Sean N. Henderson is regular contributor to DACS.doc. More
information at
more pixels to every picture, they’ll take up more space
on your phone. Also, because of the larger file sizes, it’ll
take a little longer to send your pictures to others.
Put The Hurt On Dirt
DVDs have much larger capacities than archaic VHS
tapes, but DVDs are also much more vulnerable to
careless handling and the dusty detritus that floats
through our homes. So when you have a DVD that
won’t play properly, hold your disc up to a bright light
and tilt it from side to side so that you can examine it
for fingerprints, sticky smudges, and scratches. If you
detect any potential problems, gently use a lint-free
cloth to wipe dirt out of the way. Avoid using a circular
motion. Instead, wipe straight from the hub to the
outer edge of the disc. You can use a gentle, liquid
hand or dish soap, as well as some warm water to
loosen stubborn grime, but gently and thoroughly dry
the disc before playing it.
Screen Flicker
One of the causes of screen flicker, especially on CRT
(cathode-ray tube) monitors, is a screen refresh rate that is
set too low. In general, it’s best to set the refresh rate to the
highest possible setting. In WinXP right-click the Desktop,
click Properties, choose the Settings tab, click theAdvanced
button, and choose the Monitor tab. If you see a Hide
Modes That This Monitor Cannot Display checkbox,
select it. In the Screen Refresh Rate drop-down menu,
select the highest possible rate available. Click Apply, and
if prompted, click Yes to keep the new settings. Click OK
to close the dialog boxes and save your settings. In Win98
right-click the Desktop, click Properties, choose the Settings
tab, click the Advanced button, and choose the Adapter
tab. Select the highest refresh rate from the drop-down
menu, click Apply and OK.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit to learn what Smart
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NVPCUG Computer News, April 2009, Page 11
Photoshop CS4 Has Arrived
A review by Ron Hirsch, Contributing Editor, Boca Raton Computer Society, FL,, [email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission
for publication by APCUG member groups; all other uses require the
permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
Actually this is Photoshop version 11, since Adobe still does
keep a number ID for Photoshop. Adobe has been releasing
new version about every 18 months, and they are right on track
for this newest version. I’ve been reviewing Photoshop since
version 2.5, and it really has come a long way. With each new
version, I ask myself what they can possibly add in to warrant
a new version. Adobe has always surprised and delighted me
with the new features.
Most of my activities in Photoshop are related to image
retouching and restoration. I closed my custom darkroom and
switched to all digital about 5 years ago. Color processing in the
complete dark, along with the smell of chemicals can’t hold a
candle to processing in Photoshop. It’s like comparing the
stone age to today’s hi-tech world. And with all the digital tools
in Photoshop, pure magic can be accomplished when compared
to what could be done in the darkroom era.
I consider Photoshop to be the finest program ever written
for the PC.
Some of the New Great Features
Adobe has been refining and improving the program’s ability
to work better, faster, and more smoothly, using new approaches
for many of the tools and processes that Photoshop incorporates.
There are a number of new capabilities that build upon existing
tools to make using them better, and more flexible. And, there
a number of totally new features which allow users to improve
their work flow. Many of these are described below.
Adjustments Panel
Up to CS3, the various tools such as curves, etc., were
individually selected from a dropdown menu. Using them in an
adjustment layer required that the user click on a different menu
path to create a specific adjustment layer.Adjustment layers are
the best route to take, as one can go back to that layer at any time,
and change the adjustments made. Each adjustment layer had
to be called up from the dropdown menu lists.
In CS4, there is a new Adjustment Panel with a choice of
15 icons, all representing the various adjustments that are
possible, such as Levels, Hue/Saturation, Exposure, Channel
Mixer, Color Balance, a revised version of Curves, and also
a brand new Vibrance adjustment tool. All these adjustment
layer capabilities can now be created from a central panel.
With each choice, there are also a number of preset
adjustments, along with the ability to create a custom
“adjustment”, and save it for future use. The user can readily
turn off/on any adjustment, delete it, or reset that adjustment
to the starting no change default.
There is enormous flexibility in the
adjustments panel. You can resize it to
take up more or less space then the
default size. When any of the various
buttons on it are selected, the display in
that panel changes to what one would normally see for that
adjustment. Having the ability to use the default presets, and
custom user saved presets, make it all the more powerful
The Masks Panel
Masks are an indispensable feature of Photoshop. They
allow the user to block/pass material from one layer as
needed. Painting with white on a layer mask will allow the
painted material in that layer to become visible. Black will
block it. Gray will partially pass it. A mask is actually a
selection that is created. The selection can be “adjusted” via
the usual selection modifiers, to soften expand, contract,
etc., the selection boundaries. And it can also use other
selection tools to modify the actual selection mask. The
Mask panel has a collection of all these tools in one place to
make working with masks much more efficient. And this
panel can handle both pixel and vector based masks.
An update color range feature is included in the Mask panel.
“Density” and “Feather” sliders are also included. In the Mask
panel, you can select the color range to apply the changes to, use
a brush to change the mask, and adjust the mask edge to suit
your needs. All in all, this panel makes using masks much
easier, and more powerful.
Adobe Configurator
This is something totally new to Photoshop. Configurator is a
utility that enables the user to create custom “panels” within
Photoshop CS4. Running this utility brings up a window where
you can create (drag to size) an empty panel. Then you can drag
just about anything that Photoshop has in the way of commands,
tools, actions, et al, to build a custom set of Photoshop activities,
with all of them at your fingertips. Configurator provides you
with a good-sized window on the left of the Configurator
program window, where all the tools, menu items, et al are
displayed. And, for those tools where there are multiple tools
for a given tool choice, all the choices are displayed for one to
choose from. The same goes for all the dropdown menu items
in CS4. Every one is displayed.
Now, just drag the things you want to be available into the
custom panel. You can position them where you like, and in any
order you want. If you need more room in the new panel, just
drag an edge to adjust the size. When you want to call up that
custom panel, click on Window>Extensions, and select it from
the menu. Then drag the panel to the desired location on your
screen, and you can now click on any of the buttons in the panel
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2009, Page 12
to make things happen. Configurator does not give you any
added activities that were not in CS4 to begin with. But it makes
accessing them much quicker, much as the Adjustments and
Mask panels do.
Bridge CS4
Bridge has been the “file manager” for Photoshop and other
program in the “CS” suites since the suites started. Bridge is
more than just a file manager however. It has a wide range of
features and customization capabilities that make it the tool to
use when browsing, selecting, rating, and editing the EXIF
information in images.
Users can customize the display, set the thumbnail sizes, and
the size of the individual right side image display for the image
selected in the left side thumbnail area. It can mark images via
a user set rating value, and of course sort images via the many
choices of parameters. Any custom settings can be saved and
recalled for specific tasks. Files can be renamed in batches, via
a comprehensive set of rules which the user can customize.And
contact sheets can be designed in Bridge, and saved as PDF
files for printing and other uses.
CS4 does not appear to have any significant changes from
CS3. But it is a powerful tool to use in viewing, ranking,
selecting, evaluating, and ranking your images prior to opening
them in Photoshop.
Adobe Camera Raw 5.0
Adobe Camera Raw is the intermediate step for users to open
RAW files from their digital cameras et al, and do some
preliminary “processing” before then moving them to Photoshop
for the final retouching. All the activities in Camera Raw are
non destructive, that is the file in question is not permanently
changed. And Camera Raw has the equivalent of a “Panel” of
very comprehensive image adjustment features, some of which
are not in Photoshop, such as color temperature.
Prior to version 5.0, adjustments made in Camera Raw
covered the entire image. Now, however, the user has the ability
to restrict the areas where adjustments are made, essentially
functioning like a layer mask does. The “Adjustment brush” is
the tool that does this job. One can paint onto and limit the
affected areas. There is also a Graduated Filter that applies a
selected effect using a gradient, which tapers the effect from
full to none. This filter was previously only available in
Lightroom, but has now been included in Photoshop CS4.
When CS3 was introduced, it included the ability to open a
JPG file in camera raw, which was not possible earlier. So, that
gave the user the ability to work with the “Panel” of adjustments
that camera raw offers, even if the file is not a RAW file. This
became a usual route for me when working on JPEG images,
as the clustering of tools in Camera Raw moved most retouching
tasks along much faster.
Dodge & Burn Improvement
The dodge and burn capability in CS4 has been improved
considerably. In earlier version, when dodging and burning,
the tone of the are being worked on suffered a shift in the actual
color/tone. Now an option to “Protect Tones” has been added
to the options for these tools. When dodging in CS3, without
the “Protect Tones”, the area being dodged looks as if a whitish
color is overlaying the dodged material. When “Protect Tones”
is checked, this whitening is greatly reduced, and the tone/color
seems more vibrant after being dodged. The same saving of the
tonal quality is preserved when burning.
The Vibrance Tool
This was a tool only available in Camera Raw in CS3, but it is
now available in Photoshop CS4. It appears to similar to the
older Hue/Saturation tool. But Adobe has improved the results
here, similarly to the way they improved the old Brightness/
Contrast tool. Vibrance does add saturation to a color, but the
more saturated it is, the less it gets changed.Avoiding the garish
results when using the older Saturation tool.
Spring Loaded Keys
Photoshop has always had several keys that can switch to
different tool functions while the key is held down. This feature
allows you to access a tool temporarily by holding down the
key for that tool, similar to using the spacebar for the hand tool
- only for many more tools now. After learning the letter for the
tools you use often, you can quickly invoke that tool temporarily,
by holding down that letter key. This can be a great time saver.
Improved Graphics Performance
Photoshop CS4 makes use of the power of good graphics card
to improve your screen display. Users with a graphics card with
256 Mb (or more) of card memory and a GPU can now do
smoother scrolling, zooming, and panning. The capabilities of
the “better” card in your system will now be recognized by
In Conclusion
The new features in CS4 that I’ve presented are only a
partial listing. I’ve concentrated mainly on those which I
feel are most important to me, in my tasks of retouching
and restoring images. Photoshop can of course do much
more than that. It has creative capabilities far beyond what
most people realize. The more I use it, the more things I
discover. It is a bottomless pit of wonderful tools and
To discover more of its wonders, sometimes I just open
Photoshop and start browsing around in the many menus
and command listings, and just “play”. And every time I
do this I come away with more knowledge of it what it can
achieve. It’s hard to imagine what CS5 will bring, but I can
be sure that it will be more and greater tools and capabilities.
Here’s a number that I find amazing. I did a search for
“Photoshop” on Barnes & Noble, probably the largest
book vendor on the Internet. There were 1080 items found.
That is a testament to the widespread popularity of
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2009, Page 13
Moving to a New Mac
By Richard Corzo, Director, Danbury Area Computer Society, CT,,
[email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s next time I plugged in my digital camera. I said Yes, and
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
continued on to verify that my photos were all showing up.
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
The next time I started iPhoto I got the same question, and
After work one evening, I tried hopping on it started to become apparent that something was amiss.
to my iMac G5. It was unresponsive, and Talking to our Mac guy at work the next day gave me the
several attempts to reboot it got it to idea that I needed to check the permissions on the
various stages. Sometimes no further Preferences folder, which is located inside the Library
than the familiar Mac boot folder of my home folder.
chime to a black screen,
Indeed, that folder showed a small no access symbol
sometimes all the way to a full
over the folder icon, as did several other
desktop before the machine
home folder Library. Doing a Get Info
froze. It was past the threeon
that there was No Access to Everyone,
year AppleCare period, and I’d
long since grown tired of the fan noise it had developed which explained why preferences were not sticking. In the
over time. I had figured on keeping the iMac until next Get Info window I changed permissions to give myself
fall, by which time I expected Snow Leopard to be out. read/write permission on the folders in question, and
But, this behavior seemed to press the issue and accelerate requested that the permission change be applied to any
my intended schedule. The Apple Store was just a few enclosed items. If I haven’t lost you yet, I’ll mention one
minutes away, and I’d already thought about what I more thing that may have been a factor in the wrong
permissions. On my iMac I had recently changed the
wanted for my next Mac.
numeric user ID to 501, which is the default for the first
I couldn’t resist the temptation for immediate account created, so I could access my own home folder
gratification, so I headed over to the Apple Store. Although when booted from the Mac installation on my external
I didn’t really need mobility within my own household, I drive. If you understand UNIX, this might make some
thought it would be convenient if I could have a laptop this sense to you. Otherwise just ignore the last few sentences
time that I could take with me to the Macintosh SIG. I’d and enjoy the rest of the article.
read about the sleek and solid aluminum unibody
That seemed to do the trick. iPhoto now remembered my
construction of the new MacBooks and MacBook Pros.
and I was on to iTunes to verify that my music was
The one thing that was holding me back a little was the
Things seemed to go well until I started setting up
smaller hard drive size of the laptop compared to my iMac.
syncing on my new machine, going into the
The 320 GB of the higher model 15.4" MacBook Pro is
MobileMe preferences to initiate my first
probably generous for most people, but I had ordered my
to start but then stopped immediately with
iMac with a 400 GB drive, and used more than 300 GB in
the Leopard partition. After a few questions and some the status still saying Never Synchronized. Checking the
hands-on time, I decided to go ahead with the MacBook Console available in the Application:Utilities folder, I
found no messages between the sync start and stop that
Pro and brought it home.
would give me a hint as to what was wrong. I expected to
The Apple Specialist had mentioned that when I first have to visit a Mac Genius at the
booted up, the Setup Assistant would offer me the Apple store, but a conversation with
option of transferring data and settings from a Time the Mac guy at work made me realize
Machine backup. Fortunately, I had one on an external that I was going to have to start with
drive, since my iMac wouldn’t stay up long enough to a fresh account and
expect a reliable direct transfer through the network or home folder. I canceled
FireWire. I plugged in the external drive and the Setup my Genius appointment.
Assistant recognized the available Time Machine
When I got home I backed up my
home folder
backups. It took about 2 hours and I had just 8 GB left
of my 320 GB. I had chosen to transfer the machine to my external drive. (If you don’t already have one, have
settings as well as the data and settings from my two I convinced you yet that you need an external drive for
home folders. (I find it useful to have an additional your Mac or PC?) Then logging into my other admin
account I deleted my main account and home folder, and
“admin” user in addition to my own normal logon.)
recreated a fresh account. I brought back my data one
The next evening I started to settle in to the new major folder at a time, Music, Pictures, Movies, etc. I did
machine. One of the first things I tried was starting iPhoto. not however copy back my Library folder, except for the
It asked me if I wanted to automatically start iPhoto the Mail and Mail Downloads folders. Folders inside the
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2009, Page 14
Library, such as Preferences and
Application Support are presumably
what were causing my sync problems.
So I didn’t want to bring back the
bad karma. This means that
preferences will have to
be reestablished for all
your applications, although you could
try copying back some individual preference files on a
case-by-case basis. My new home folder was a success,
because I could now sync with MobileMe. This allowed
me to bring down my Mail account definitions, and then
successfully start Mail.
I’d like to make a small plug here for the Mac OS design
over Windows. The Windows equivalent to the individual
Mac preference files is the monolithic Windows registry.
If you’ve ever had to pick through the registry to try to
eliminate traces of a failed application on Windows,
you’ll appreciate the ability to just delete a Mac preference
file without fearing that you’ll mess up some other
application or part of the OS.
One issue that you may run into by starting with a clean
home folder is that licensed software may require you to
reenter the license key. If you installed from physical
media, you’ll need to go find the sleeve it came in. Much
of my software was downloaded and a key was sent in an
e-mail. I have a mail folder called Software Licenses to
keep those important e-mails. I recommend that you use
an IMAP e-mail account such as that which MobileMe
offers. IMAP accounts keep mail on a server, so it doesn’t
matter if your hard drive crashes. You’ll still have a copy
of that e-mail. If you don’t want to pay for MobileMe, then
of course go for a free IMAP account such as AOL or AIM
Mail (, or second best, a
Web mail account.
One other thing I wanted to mention is that I migrated
from a PowerPC-based Mac to an Intel Mac, and one
might wonder if any issues might arise. Many of my
applications were already Universal, meaning they were
compiled to run on either PowerPC or Intel architecture.
On the other hand two PowerPC-only applications got
two different results. Happily my Macromedia
Dreamweaver (before they were bought by Adobe) runs
without a hitch. Yet Adobe Reader 8, a PowerPC application
from my old machine, gets an error message: You can’t
open the application because it is not supported on this
architecture. I’m sure downloading the Intel Mac version
of this will easily resolve this.
I’m still working through some issues with Spotlight
and getting my first complete Time Machine backup,
but so far I really like this new MacBook Pro. It’s a
beautiful machine. I may have an advantage over those
used to a trackpad with a separate button, but this being
my first Mac laptop, I’m having little trouble getting
used to the trackpad.
If you're looking for a new set of earbuds consider a
pair with sound-isolating capabilities. Sound-isolating
earbuds steer audio directly into the ear canal to
isolate audio from ambient noise rather than cancel it
out. Sound-isolating earbuds rely on creating a tight
seal in the ear canal with the earbuds. Sound-isolating
earbuds don't require a battery. They rely on using
tips, sleeves, cushions, and flanges to create a seal in
the ear canal, thus isolating audio and preventing
ambient noise from entering the ear canal.
Digital Camera Tip
If you're in the market for a new camera, get hands-on
time with it. Check the LCD to see how it performs in
bright and low light and whether the menu's text and
icons are easy to see and understand. If you take
pictures outside, where even the best LCD is difficult
to see, look for a camera with an optical viewfinder so
you can bypass the LCD. Make sure the camera is
comfortable to hold, carry, and operate. Can you reach
all of the buttons and dials?
Alter The View
If on-screen items are too large or too small, you can alter
your display resolution. From the dialog box you just
accessed for the previous tip, you also can adjust the
Screen Resolution, Screen Area, or Desktop Area slider
to change the resolution (higher numbers make things
smaller and fit more on-screen). Depending on the option
you select, Windows may reduce the number of available
colors. (Don’t forget to click OK to save your changes.)
Find Compatible Memory
Many memory manufacturers have an online database
where you can look for memory that’s compatible
with your system. Crucial Technology
( has an excellent database
that can provide you with all of the specifications you
need to find compatible memory. The interactive
guide asks you for your PC manufacturer and model
and supplies a list of compatible Crucial memory
modules. Although Crucial no doubt hopes you’ll buy
its memory, you can use the specifications next to each
module to locate compatible modules elsewhere.
Look For A Frame
Frames don’t just belong around your photo; they may
belong within it, too. Keep an eye out for something in
the environment you can use as an impromptu frame for
your subject: windows, doorways, branches, overhanging
rocks, or any other objects in the foreground or background
that will make for a more intriguing arrangement.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit to learn what Smart
Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2009, Page 15
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