Report about MD Apple meeting, Tuesday, June 12, 2007
A small group of loyal members gathered for this interesting meeting. Larry Carton handled the Q & A session with his usual good humor and his announcements were equally enjoyable.
The main topics for this meeting were elections of board members and Harris’ advice when traveling abroad. These items were actually presented in reverse order but the meeting began with Chris Yavelow’s comments about FIOS and Donelleschi.
“Verizon Broadband is available to your home
Verizon FiOS Internet service is not available for your home. However we wanted to let you know that you qualify for Verizon High Speed Internet. Enjoy the benefits of high speed Internet, plus get all the great features Verizon Online offers.”
I guess Verizon doesn’t want to lose a potentially interested customer so I can: ”Get on our Verizon FiOS Internet service future notification list, and consider Verizon High Speed Internet for your current broadband needs.”
There were other issues discussed concerning telephone service and electrical outages and their effect on phone service (a battery is supplied). One of the many reasons to come to our meetings is to learn about new technologies and services like FIOS.
Donelleschi (http://www.donelleschi.com/) is a website that features 5 Mac tools entitled: DockFun!; Filegazer; Sticky Windows; Cunning Fox and Ram Disk Creator. All of these tools are Shareware which you can download and try out. There are short videos that explain what the tool does. I was most impressed with Filegazer after seeing the short video but all of these tools look useful. Thanks to Chris for showing them.
Harris Silverstone’s presentation was entitled: “Computer and telephone trials and triumphs abroad: what worked, what didn’t, what you never imagined could go wrong, what you never imagined could go right – all the while talking for free (i.e., US domestic rates) on the telephone while in Japan and Taiwan”. Surely Harris gets the award for the longest title. His title accurately described his presentation, however not in the exact order.
Last month Harris told us about video podcasts of the network evening news (ABC, NBC, CBS). This evening he showed us how to access these podcasts. In brief –be sure iTunes is open on your desktop (presuming that you have it or you can download it from the Apple site). Go to the iTunes store – find the “Podcasts” tab on the “What’s Hot” window. Scroll through the available podcasts to the one(s) you want to see – or listen to. You can, for example, “subscribe” to “NPR: Talk of the Nation” as well as numerous other programs. Subscribe to whatever you like (most of these are free) and enjoy.
Harris next showed us two useful clocks. “VelaClock, (v.2.0)” a widget, available in two versions – regular and deluxe ($9.95 and $15.95) from http://www.veladg.com/velaclock.html. As the website best describes this: “More than a clock! Displays the current level of natural light (daylight, twilight, or night), sun and moon rise/set times, moon phase information, local times and country flags for cities throughout the world.” This is a very useful widget, especially if you would like to instantly see the correct time in various cities. Harris was in Japan and wanted to call various family members across the U.S. It was easy to instantly check the local time there.
“Meridian – the Super Clock for Mac.” Available (the day I wrote this) from MacZot: http://maczot.com/discuss/?p=429$12.95 instead of the normal price of $19.95. This analog, floating clock also displays the local times in cities around the world, as well as a stopwatch feature.
Next Harris showed us an enormous amount of equipment and information. For those fortunate few at this meeting he told us about: his Vonage phone account, that enabled him to call the U.S., Canada and several European cities for $30 per month (unlimited) – also to make calls in Japan at 7¢’s per minute (less than a local phone card); electrical adaptors (Japan uses 2-wire –vs. 3-wire grounded) sockets, similar to the U.S., except that both prongs are the same size as the narrower of the two U.S. prongs. (I.e., they do not have "polarized" sockets/plugs.) but has 100 V - rather than the U.S. - 120); his tri-band NEC n343i - a model not sold in the U.S. phone - It is a prepaid sim-card phone. In each country you buy a sim-card that provides a local phone number with a fixed (but expandable) number of pre-paid minutes. It is fine for Taiwan, Europe, U.S. (e.g., T-Mobile), and most countries. Unfortunately, Japan has a different mobile system from the rest of the world, so that this phone was not usable in Japan.; a card reader for down-loading digital pictures instead of a cable; colored cable wrappers; tiny USB speakers, bought in Japan, to listen to music; a small, light, color, Bluetooth Canon printer; and a Firewire hard drive for back-ups. All of this equipment was demonstrated and explained. Harris gave us a fascinating account of the complete replacement of the internal hard drive of his new laptop computer. Fortunately having a SuperDuper back-up hard drive was a great lesson to all about the importance of backing up and having a bootable external hard drive to restore the hard drive in case of catastrophic failure, as he had. Another accounting of Harris’ difficulty with blocked email, caused by the IP address of his building being blocked, led to more valuable information. If you want to find out what your IP is, go to: http://www.whatismyip.com. Another useful website is: http://cbl.abuseat.org/ which lists blocked IP’s. Another site that consolidates blocking lists is http://www.spamcop.net.
Besides this wealth of information – we needed to help Harris load his car after the meeting – Harris’ comments about his apartment and life in Japan gave us a marvelous short travelogue.
Thank you Harris, for this phenomenal amount of information and for bringing and demonstrating all of this equipment. For anyone traveling abroad for a while this is all extremely valuable.
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