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Contents Copyright 2003 by Christopher Plummer

OCCASIONALLY our fascinating Mac trivia, insightful comments, and personal commentary of questionable merit gets overwhelmed with news. Then I STOP THE PRESSES to get some helpful material packed in the box too. So if you're not interested in our world, skip the news! Just be sure to check out the TIPs. Next issue, WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON WITH HARD DRIVES? IS IT THE SUN SPOTS? EVERYONE I KNOW IS HAVING HARD DISK TROUBLE!! :-)

UPDATES - PowerMail, Safari, QuickBooks Pro
Weird NEWS/Good NEWS - YOU decide which is which.
Digital Media News - Just for this issue
UNPREDICTABLE READER FEEDBACK- More feedback on the website!
Just for Fun - (X) CosmoSaver
Book Review - OSX Killer Tips
Tips - KNOW Your Mac, KNOW Your App
Know The Difference - Accounting Package Choices
Ed Corner - InterWrite Electronic Whiteboard
OCCASIONAL Favorite WEB SITE - MacPartisan
Special Bonus Keyboard Commands - Find Your Folder

Geek Speak Alert: CD, DVD, Progress, About Box

(9, X) PowerMail 4.1.2 - Before I could post this issue, PowerMail has had 2 updates. 4.1.2: "18 enhancements and fixes pertaining to Mac OS X, the Aqua user experience, AppleScript and general improvements." And 4.1.1: "offers improvements in importing of PowerMail 3 databases, scripting, compatibility with Mac OS 8.6 and the German language user interface. PowerMail 4.1.1 also includes inline spell-checking on Mac OS X 10.2 or later; integration of the Mac OS X 10.2 Address Book; unlimited undo in text fields; and more."

(X) Safari Beta .51 - If you downloaded Apple's Safari web browser when it was first available, be sure to get this update. The earlier version had a rare but destructive bug. How do you know which version you have? Check out the Tips!

(X) QuickBooks Pro for OSX - Yes, after freezing the OS9 version for years while they kept improving QuickBooks for Windows, those lunkheads at Intuit have released an OSX version of QuickBooks. Now they expect every dopey Mac user to just buy their product. (See "Know the Difference" below for more on accounting packages.)

Check for more updates at <>. :-)

Weird NEWS/Good NEWS
Delaware Township School replaces Macintosh Lab - With? SURPRISE!! New Macs! Hooray! I would be OCCASIONALLY embarrassed if the school in my neighborhood in beautiful Western Central New Jersey purged itself of Macs. The district sent out a survey and discovered that many more people liked Macintoshes than JUST ME!! I'm so proud of our School Board and our local Apple Rep (Thanks Margaret!!) for shunning the sheepish trend to buy Dells, and making a bold move into new and innovative technology from Apple. Yahoo!!


Infoworld Honors Apple - (I kid you not!) "2002 Technology of the Year: Apple platform" <snip> "There is more work to do, but the Apple platform is here to stay"

Microsoft Settles Suit with CA for 1.1 Billion in "vouchers" - "This seems to be a country where you can buy justice pretty easily these days, especially in these hard hit economic times when the price of justice goes down," said John Perry Barlow, co-founder and vice chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Consumers and businesses may use the refund to purchase desktop, laptop or tablet computers that run on Microsoft Windows or any other operating system, including rivals from Apple Computer or Linux. They may also purchase monitors, scanners, pointing devices, keyboards or other hardware, as well as software from any provider." Oh, PLEASE, PLEASE, California consumers, give MS the shaft and SWITCH to Macs!! (Why would I be so partisan? Read the next story.)

Microsoft loses showdown in Houston - Not pleased with audit threats, Houston pushes "SimDesk" software instead of MS Office. Excerpt: "Microsoft also sent letters to 500 school districts in 30 states giving them 60 days to produce receipts accounting for every copy of Microsoft software being used. Failure to do so could result in an audit and penalties, the letters warned. In the same envelope came a sales brochure about the new licenses. Microsoft says it prohibits audit threats and did not consider such letters threats. Sales reps are encouraged to make customers aware of options, the company says. But 6% of 1,400 worldwide corporations surveyed in 2002 said they had been threatened with an audit if they didn't sign up for a new license, says researchers Yankee and Sunbelt Software. Another 26% said Microsoft alluded to the possibility."

Rangel Introduces Bill to Re-instate a Military Draft - "I truly believe that those who make the decision and those who support the United States going into war would feel more readily the pain that's involved, the sacrifice that's involved," stated NY, Rep. Charles Rangel. Secretary of Defense Donald "Rummy" Rumsfeld responded, "We don't need the wealthy and the college boys to sacrifice! We've got the Reserves!" And to prove his point, called up an additional 62,000 troops for deployment in the "not-inevitable" "proposed" war with Iraq. Meanwhile, President "Curious" George W. Bush, who chose to serve his country as an aid in his Daddy's Whitehouse, stated, "I'd be proud to have my daughters serve in the military as drafts...but of course they'd have to work it out with their counselors because they endanger national security leak."

Digital Media News Update
Norwegian Teen Acquitted in DVD Case - Thank goodness.

The Alliance For Digital Progress - A group of 27 technology companies (including both Microsoft and Apple Computer) have joined others, including the RIAA, in calling for the meddlesome U.S. Government to NOT mandate anti-copying technology in digital devices. This, in response to Hollywood's frantic efforts to produce same through legislation. (See next story...)

Microsoft Licenses Copy-protection CD and DVD Tools to Music Industry - Just when you thought Microsoft was being altruistic and democratic about digital media (see previous story)... you didn't REALLY think that, did you? Guess what? They don't want the government to mandate the technology, THEY want to use their monopoly power to mandate it! "For example, content owners can limit the number of times a user can play the content on a PC and restrict copying of audio and video or transferring of songs to a portable device, Microsoft said. The protection is handled through Microsoft's Windows Media DRM (Digital Rights Management) technology." What? You have a Mac? Linux? Sorry!

Senate Stomps Bush Big Brother Plan - That would be, "Total Information Awareness" regarded by many as digital domestic spying, and raising the question, "Awareness of whom? By whom? And for whom?" Is the brainwashing fog of fear lifting in Washington? We can only hope... "The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted unanimously to slap restrictions on a controversial Pentagon data-mining program that critics say would amount to a domestic spying apparatus."

More News: <>.

Reader Roger Writes:
>I checked out the web site. I just love that this all seems to be coming
>together and taking off.<snip> Keep up the good work. I love reading each
>and every issue. Even if I do have to work in MS land I still have a MacHeart!
Thanks Rog! We know that SOME DAY you WILL buy another Mac!!

Welcome to new subscriber Ann!!

Just for Fun
(X) CosmoSaver - Matt Giger has done it again! Not one to sit still with the wonderful "Earth Browser", he has now introduced CosmoSaver. CosmoSaver is a screen saver (or in Oh Ess TEN parlance, a "Screen Effect") using much of the technology of EarthBrowser, but this time providing a view of our whole Solar System. Must be seen to be believed, and why not? The demo is a free download. There are helpful customizing options such as including the color coded orbits of the planets - much like the tactical grids you've seen on the Enterprise bridge on Star Trek. You can also choose to display planet names, and include the moons of the planets in your tour. The download is free and the registration is a very reasonable $9.95. I haven't registered a package this quick since I bought Watson!! Try it. How could you not like it??


Book Review - “Mac OS X Killer Tips”
Mac OS X Killer Tips, by Scott Kelby, List US $29.99 ($20.99 or less if you shop around), New Riders, 2002.
Ooooh, that Kelby!! He's another star in the Mac publishing constellation! The editor of "Mac Design" magazine, the author of the hilarious "The Naked Truth" (plus a ton of Photoshop books) and now this. This one is a beauty, and part of a series that he "developed" which so far includes "Photoshop" and "DreamweaverMX" Killer Tips. These are tip books inspired by the sidebar tips found in many other books, but that's all they are THE TIPS! It's kind of like skipping the whole dinner and jumping right to the Banana's Foster! Heck! Life is short! The tips are presented in a beautiful color format, one or two per page with a screen shot for each. A tip that's "killer" to me may not be "killer" to you, and frankly I found a few that were just plain dead. But not many. There is some intentional and unintentional repetition and if you have a sharp eye you might find a few with the wrong screenshot. As for the writing, Scott has a glib "over the edge" style that I can take in short doses, but about halfway through this book the jokes get really tiresome. I mean, how many times does he have to kid us about pot smoking and the iTunes screen show? Every tip, every time. JK. JK. Okay, Scott. I don't really care if you're making fun of people who smoke pot, or your own pot smoking, or both, just shut up already and give us the tip! But that's not a big complaint. This book is definitely and UNPREDICTABLY recommended.


Troubleshooting 101 - If you have any inclination to be Mac Savvy, much less a renowned Mac Geek, you MUST know the version of your OS and how much memory you have. Even if you don't have such high aspirations, when you need help, this is the first thing you'll be asked by your trusty consultant (wink!), or a vendor, or even a PC user. (PC users are so COMMON, you can hardly pivot on the sidewalk without bumping into some lout, babbling about his four gigaherz Intel box!). I know Mac users often turn to them for help. But face it, you're not going to get the aroma of a rose out of a dandelion. So when you actually talk to a Mac Person how do you know the basic info about your Mac? Easy, go to the Apple menu. 9 or X, it's pretty much the same. Under the Apple menu you select "About this Mac", "About this Macintosh", or "About this Computer" depending on what version of the OS your using.

This will bring up a window that includes the version of your OS. On my machine, that means: Mac OSX Version 10.2.3, Memory: 1024 MB, Processor: 800 Mhz PowerPC G4. If you're running OSX, there's also a button [More Info...], which will launch the Apple System Profiler and bring up more info about your Mac than you could want. You get a similar window on NINE, but without the button. Instead, for being a good NINE user, you get a little chart that tells you about the memory usage on your Mac!

There's also almost always an "info" screen about your application. Make the application active. (You know how to "bring it to the top" right?) Now, in Oh Ess Ten, you have an "Application Menu" that sits just to the right of the Apple menu. If PowerMail is active, the menu says "PowerMail". If "Safari" is active, it says "Safari". The first item under that menu is "About PowerMail" or "About Safari". Select it and you'll get a "splash screen" with the version number of your application, possibly a registration or serial number, maybe even the URL of the company that made the program. Good stuff to know. What about in NINE?

In NINE, the "Application Menu" is at the FAR RIGHT of the menu bar. It displays the name (or icon, or both) of the currently active application (the one "on top"). But if you select that, you just get a list of other applications. To get information on the active application you have to select the
Apple menu. Now, since you have made your application active, instead of "About this Mac", there should be an item called "About PowerMail" etc., which will give you the same kind of 'splash screen' described above. Just about every Mac OS NINE application on the planet has this "About Box" in this location. You might find on a rare few where you'll have to SEARCH the menus because some programmer thought it might be fun to put it somewhere different! Like under the Help menu, the way they do in Windows!


Know The Difference
If your accountant insists on using Quickbooks, THINK FIRST! We UNPREDICTABLY recommend one of these custom solutions:

"The Faust": Buy a PC with Windows and QuickBooks for Windows because that's what your accountant has. Why not sell your soul at the same time?

"The Remora": Buy Virtual PC and run Quickbooks for Windows on your Mac, because that's what your accountant has. Better yet...

"The Yes, Virginia": If you have OSX, you can now run QuickBooks Pro on your Macintosh! Intuit, reviled by many Mac users for abandoning Quickbooks for Macintosh YEARS ago, has finally released a new version, for OS X Jaguar only. If you don't want to support Intuit after their blatant negligence, you have more choices.

"The Ellen Feiss": Buy your accountant a Mac and one of the Mac-based accounting packages (below) and persuade her to become a "Switcher"!

"The SEC": Fire your accountant and find one who uses a Mac-based accounting package such as MYOB. [In fact, MYOB is making a special offer to Mac users who have not yet upgraded to Jaguar. Buy 'Account Edge' at full retail and get Jaguar for free!]

"The Trust Buster": Convince your accountant to use a package that embraces multiple platforms, for example, MultiLedger, which runs on Windows, and is now Carbonized to run on OS9 or OSX!

< >

And That's The Difference.

Ed Corner
**Most Promising Educational Device** -- We've noted electronic whiteboards in the past (such as Virtual Ink's Mimio), but newcomer GTCO deserves mention for its InterWrite School Suite. It has four components: a computer with software, a projector, a whiteboard, and a portable wireless drawing tablet. The computer constructs and holds the image, and the projector shows it to everyone on the whiteboard. "Drawing" (which really means communication with the computer, and includes control of the software) can be done at the whiteboard, at the computer, or at the tablet, and up to seven tablets can be used at once. Imagine the teacher lecturing and drawing from anywhere in the room, and saving and erasing screen-full after screen-full of diagrams, and handing out additional tablets so students can question and collaborate. The promised integration of computers and education has yet to be realized, mostly because computer companies don't listen to great teachers. These electronic whiteboards are probably too small and require too much high-tech setup for many venues; but when I was a college professor, the need to stand at the board, and the loss of the diagrams I created spontaneously, were serious problems that cried out for something like InterWrite. [MAN]

[From TidBITS #664, 27-JAN-03]


The Mac Partisan -
In the dark days of the mid-Nineties Mac users were assaulted by the forces of Darkness and had to rally and defend their platform at every turn. Sounds weird, huh? It's true though. And sometimes even TODAY those who oppose CHOICE and FREEDOM and CREATIVITY try to expunge the word "Macintosh" from their workplace or their school or place of worship. So, for your reference, here is the Mac Partisan web page provided by MacSpeedZone. Some of the links and info seem really dated. Fortunately, these days, Mac Users are UNDENIABLY COOL. We're the ones who actually LIKE our computers. We have fun! We're the PACESETTERS. We're the ELITE. The CREATIVE. The Different! Because we have MACS!! HA! HA! HA!


Special Bonus Keyboard Commands
(9, X)
In OS 9, [Command]+n creates a new folder.
To do the same thing in OSX, you have to use [Command]+[Shift]+n.

[If you use [Command]+n in TEN, you get a new Finder window, not a folder. Just one of those cute little "Think Different" things about TEN...]

Slow down, because unless you're sitting at your Mac you'll have to visualize what I'm about to describe. Inside an open folder or volume in Icon View, new folders are created left to right, top to bottom. In View by Name, it's simply top to bottom.

Things are different on the Desktop. In OSX, your new folders will appear starting in the first open slot to the upper right corner, top to bottom, right to left. What happens in NINE? You tell me and I'll give you a free subscription to this newsletter!!

A tip from John the Typesetter. [Thanks John!] Keep the upper left corner of your opened folder clear. Why? If you're in Icon view, any new folders you create inside it will appear in the upper left corner. And you'll always know where to find them!


** CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for Mac Users **
Not exclusively for, Mac Users in Beautiful Western Central New Jersey.
Published Unpredictably at least once a month!

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may be registered trademarks of their companies.

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All contents copyright 2000-2008 by Christopher Plummer, ZebraTale LLC, except where noted. Accuracy of articles is UNPREDICTABLE and not guaranteed. Unpredictable was published from 2001 to 2008. Although updated occasionally, this is a historical archive - expect dead links. Caveat lector.
Publication, product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their companies. TFSB :-)