Report about MD Apple meeting, Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Approximately 20 people gathered at our usual time (7:00 PM) for this meeting in our usual place (The Towson branch of the Baltimore County Library).
Larry Carton was back in fine form, hosting the pre-meeting Q&A session but there were few questions – mainly comments and discussions among those in attendance.
Joyce Hatto, Classical piano Hoax?
Chris Yavelow began the meeting by showing us several items of interest – the first about a classical pianist (Joyce Hatto), who had been praised in various musical circles as “the greatest living pianist that almost no one has ever heard of.” (www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/2005/08/21/after_recording_119_cds_a_hidden_jewel_comes_to_light/). Since I am a pianist and had never heard about this woman I was interested to learn that her vast collection of 119 CD’s were apparently a hoax. See: Gramophone article “Masterpieces Or Fakes? The Joyce Hatto Scandal” at:
Chris continued to show us various programs that he uses and which have helped him. The first was “SlimStat”, a Widget that displays statistics about your web site (if you have one). “SlimStat” is available for a free download (Paypal donations appreciated) from http://wettone.com/code/slimstat. The current version (0.9.4) is an improvement over Shaun Inman’s “ShortStat”, according to the author Stephen Wettone. This is a very useful and fun Widget.
“Spark – 3.0b1, another free program, developed by Jean-Daniel Dupas, is available from Versiontracker and other sites. “Spark is a powerful, and easy Shortcuts manager. With Spark you can create Hot Keys to launch applications and documents, execute AppleScript, command iTunes, and more... You can also export and import your Hot Keys library, or save it in HTML format to print it. Spark is free, so use it without moderation!” (quote from Versiontracker). By assigning all of his Fkeys to open various applications Chris has used “Spark” effectively for his computer.
Of course, all Mac users who are using Tiger can use “Automator” to do various things on the computer. Go to: http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/automator/
Peter Maurer created “Service Scrubber” as well as several other programs (http://www.petermaurer.de/nasi.php?thema=butler&sprache=english ). “With Service Scrubber, you can restructure the services menu, change service keyboard shortcuts, and disable services.” If you would like to tell Peter and the creative director, Alexander Schön, how much you like their products you could visit them in Innsbruck, Austria or send them an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Chris uses this program on his computer and commented on its usefulness.
“Belight software” has several products. Gerry Wiseman recently showed us “Business Card Composer.” “Art Text” is a new program used for creating “high quality headings, logos, icons, web banners and more.” Chris showed us the amazing transformations of text using this program, available from http://www.belightsoft.com/products/arttext/samples.php for $29.95. Chris also showed us “Image Tricks Pro.” A “box edition” of all of Belight’s products, called “Printfolio” and which includes, “Art Text,” “Disc Cover,” “Business Card Composer,” Swift Publisher,” “Mail Factory,” and “Image Tricks Pro,” costs $98.95 – much less than buying all of their programs individually. I am personally curious about their “Companion Products” that are available on their website. “EazyDraw,” Budget for Mac OS X” and “Dobry Backuper” look like interesting and not overly expensive programs.
Color Schemer Studio OSX
This program particularly interested one of our presenters, but it could well be used by anyone who deals with color layout and design. Version 5.2 is available from http://www.colorschemer.com/ for $49.99. Their web site describes the progam: “Color Schemer Studio is a professional color matching application for anyone from hobbyists to advanced professionals. Work with a dynamic visual color wheel, instantly explore harmony relationships and even let Color Schemer Studio intelligently suggest color schemes for you!” “Color Schemer Galleria” is a free Dashboard widget.
iSquint and VisualHub
iSquint 1.5 is a free program available from MacUpdate. According to their website: “iSquint is an iPod video conversion app for Mac OS X. It's many times faster than QuickTime Pro, works with almost all popular video formats, and it's infinitely free-er. It's also really easy. Just drag in your file, and click Start. You can also choose "TV" or "iPod" size, set your quality, or even go all-out by playing in the Advanced drawer.
VisualHub, based on “iSquint” is even more powerful but costs $23.32. You usually get what you pay for. If you are converting any video files this is the preferred program. Chris and other members are using this program and recommend it. According to “Digital Music Playlist” it is the “Best iPod Video Converter (for the Mac).” Go to: http://www.techspansion.com/visualhub/ for this terrific program.
Still another video program is “Tubesock.” “TubeSock 2.0 downloads YouTube or DailyMotion videos from the web and saves them to your video iPod, Mac, or PlayStation Portable. TubeSock knows how to convert the video using the codecs and bitrates best for each device. It can even add the video to iTunes for you.” Go to:
Thanks to Chris for demonstrating these programs but I was a bit overwhelmed with so many before the evening’s program began.
Program: “I Remember” presented by Jim White and Mandy McMahan.
This evening’s program was about digital scrapbooking. Both Jim and Mandy have used “I Remember” (http://www.macscrapbook.com/) which costs $39.95 in its present version (2.0). If you are a person who likes to make scrapbooks the old fashioned way, with photos, hand illustrated and embellished with ribbons, borders, etc. here is the digital way to do these things and more. Perhaps the most impressive aspects of the program are its 650 templates, 3,000 clipart images and over 15,000 backgrounds, patterns, borders, corners, etc. It is easy to drag photos from iPhoto directly into iRemember and manipulate them. You can crop, resize, rotate, arrange and personalize your pages. Of course printing is an option but you can share your scrapbook over the web or by email, as Mandy described. In fact there are many web sites where you can display your scrapbooks. According to our presenters, digital scrapbooking is already big business, and is “growing faster than golf” (in popularity?). Jim and Mandy showed us how they use “PulpMotion” a $29.95 program to create animations or movies with their scrapbooks and put them on the web. The website http://www.pulpmotion.com. Jim & Mandy also showed us another piece of software that they use, called "Photo to Movie" this software allows you to take photos and add the Ken Burns effect to them with much more control over each photo than iMovie gives you and outputs to a movie in many different formats. The website for this software is http://www.lqgraphics.com/phototomovie.php it sells for $49.95. Roxio software has a $10.00 discount coupon code for this software "ROXIO701".
The web site http://twopeasinabucket.kaboose.com/pg.asp has a motto: “Live life. Scrapbook it” Here you can see the latest posting by various members of their scrapbooks. There are also recent postings of, photos, stamps, etc. You can purchase designs as well as post messages on the Message Board. This particular site, Mandy told us, is especially geared towards children. This is apparently a very popular activity. A Google search of the word “scrapbook” yielded over 4,750,000 hits.
Thank you, Jim and Mandy, for an interesting presentation of a subject about which I knew very little. I highly recommend them and the program if you are interested in digital scrapbooking.
We also gave away a copy of iRemember software at the meeting. Our lucky winner was Larry Carton.
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