March 4, 2012 Meeting

Notes for the March 4th,  2012 ByMUG Meeting

Covering Mountain Lion by Thomas “Tom” Leroux

First off, for those of you who don’t know, Apple announced that it will be releasing a new version of its operating system once per year, and most likely around the end of the summer.

Tom went through the new announced key features of Mountain Lon.  Many of which are current iOS features.

iCloud: Hard drive space over the Internet, accessible via any of your iOS and MacOS devices, as long as you have access to the Internet.  It now includes the ability to back up and store your video library, as long as it can be loaded and played via iTunes, then streamed to any of your Mac devices.  Expect better integration with the operating system.

Messages: The cell phone’s capabilities to “text” with others in your address book on your Mac.  A beta version can already be downloaded for Lion, but it’s expected that the full version will be released in Mountain Lion.

Reminders:  Allows you to enter and sync your reminders between your devices.

Notes: Brings the iOS Notes to the Mac in a nice looking application.

Notification Centre: If you’ve never heard of Growl, imagine a means of being notified whenever a message or e-mail arrives, or a file is done downloading or unarchiving, and more.

Share Sheets: If you’ve used the option on your iOS device, it now comes to Mountain Lion.  You will be able to share anything from any app location, providing it supports this feature.

Twitter: Full Twitter integration for those of you who love using Twitter.

Game Center: A gaming network where you sign up, others find you (or you find others) and play games with/against them.  Instead of it only working on iOS devices, it’ll now includes Macs as well.

AirPlay Mirroring: The ability to stream your computer screen onto a High Definition Television via an Apple TV.

Gatekeeper: Turns your Mac into Fort Knox.  The problem is, you might not appreciate how secure your computer may become.  The idea is that Apple would rather you download items from their Mac App Store, where there is almost no chance of getting malicious software.

Quickly Previewing the March 7th Apple Event by Jonathan Fingas

Days before the March 7th Apple Event, Jonathan was asked what he thought would be covered at the upcoming event.  While a new iPad was obvious, Jon added that he wouldn’t be surprised to see an update to the Apple TV, and with the ever-increasing word of an Apple Television, he said he wouldn’t be surprised to have one announced.

[Edit: Since then, indeed a new iPad has been announced.  The new iPad is simply a 3rd generation iPad.  There is no “3” or “HD” at the end.  A new 1080p Apple TV was also announced.  Updates to the iLife and iWork groups of software to run on the new iOS 5.1, iPhoto for iOS, and some nifty games that will take advantage of the new iPad’s enhancements.]

To view the March 7th Apple Event, look up and subscribe to the Apple Keynotes/Apple Keynotes HD podcasts.  The non-HD version is about 900 megabytes in size.

Covering Equinux’s SongGenie and CoverScout 3 by Mark Bell

SongGenie: Helps you identify unknown titles, fill in empty fields, and even help you find a song’s lyrics.  It works in sync with iTunes and iTunes Match.  You can try it for free, or you can buy it for $29.99 US

CoverScout: Helps you to add album covers to your music albums in iTunes.  If the database does not have it, you can look the album up on a site like Amazon’s and drag and drop the album image to CoverScout.  Mark claims an 80% accuracy rate.  It works in sync with iTunes and iTunes Match.  You can try it for free, or you can buy it for $29.99.

You can also get both SongGenie and CoverScout for $49.99 US.

Covering Hotspot Shield by Mark Bell

Hotspot Shield has a lot of uses.  The main one covered at the meeting by Mark was its ability to mask your country of origin to allow you to view videos in other countries.

Hotspot Shield also protects you against malware, secures your web sessions, protects you from ID theft online, hides your IP address, bypasses firewalls, and protects you from snoopers.

There is a free edition, as well as a paid elite edition for MacOS, and it’s also available for your iOS devices.  The free edition comes with ad support.  The elite edition costs $36.92 CDN. [Edit: Price varies based on CDN vs. US Dollar]

You can find out more about Hotspot Shield at http://www.hotspotshield.com

We closed off the meeting with a few questions from the group.

January 8, 2012 Meeting

ByMUG Meeting Notes for January 8th, 2012

For the first meeting of the year 2012, we had several demonstrations, including Pixelmator, and several input/output musical accessories. Also included were some preferred iOS apps by members of the group.

ByMUG invested in a new dongle which allows for a computer to project an iPhone or iPad’s screen onto a projection screen. Unfortunately, this device only works perfectly with the current versions of said technology. Going backwards to even the iPhone 4 resulted in limited use.

With the help of this dongle, we went through several members’ iPhone 4S’s to show off some of their favourite apps, including FlipBoard and classic video games.

For those who don’t know, FlipBoard is an amazing app that gathers news and information from various web sites, RSS feeds, etc., and collects these stories together for easier viewing on your iOS devices. It is available for both iPhone and iPad, and is free.

Tom then showed off his new iPod Nano which he converted into a wrist watch, thanks to an Apple recall on the 1st generation Nanos due to a possible battery leak.

You can find out more on this recall here.

Tom demonstrated Pixelmator

For those who are looking for an excellent Photoshop alternative, who can’t afford the $900 price tag associated with Photoshop, Pixelmator will do the trick for just about anything Photoshop can do. The site comes with plenty of tutorials, and Pixelmator itself is currently going for $30 on the Mac App Store.

Mark demonstrated the iO Dock by Alesis

This is one of the most powerful devices for your iPad, turning it into a home music studio. You can connect microphones, headphones, speakers, and even musical instruments to allow for the creation of songs. It can even be used for podcasts.

Mark said that while the sound is not as good as that of a professional studio’s it remains close enough that some won’t be able to tell the difference.

One of the perks of this device is that it does charge your iPad while it’s in the cradle, and it does come with a tray to allow for slimmer iPad 2’s to also be used.

Mark picked up the iO Dock for about $260 at Steve’s Music Store, located on Rideau Street, in Ottawa. However, a quick perusal of the store’s web site did not reveal the device as being sold.

On a side-note, Macworld Magazine’s July 2011 review has it priced at $399 US.

Mark also showed us a Yamaha MIDI Interface which connects to iPads, and goes for $34. Unfortunately, at the time of writing these notes, more information was not available, and a search on the Internet revealed this device by Yamaha: The Yamaha i-MX1.

After this, Mark showed us the iKlip for iPads. Created by IK Multimedia, the device allows you to clip your iPad to a microphone stand. Its only negative being that you need to take a hand off your instrument to use your iPad. Unless you’re one of the lucky ones who was born with a third arm.

Afterwards, we culminated the meeting with a few questions, and more of our favourite apps.

Week Cal by UtiliTap goes for $1.99 and makes for a good iCal alternative, all the while syncing with iCal. It’s currently available for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The iPad edition is indicated as being “available soon again” on their web site, and goes by the name of Week Calendar HD. The iPhone edition is compatible with iPads, but something tells me iPad owners would rather wait for the native iPad edition.

Pastebot by Tapbots goes for $3.99 and makes for a great copy/paste clipboard. Designed with the iPhone and iPod Touch in mind, it will work on an iPad as well. If you download the free Pastebot sync tool for your Mac, you can then sync the iOS and MacOS versions for an even more powerful copy/paste tool.

Dialvetica by Mysterious Trousers goes for $2.99 and makes for a wonderful address book for those who don’t like Apple’s default selection. It’s available for iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads.

In closing, the group quickly discussed the idea of adding an ICE entry into your portable address books. For those who don’t know, ICE stands for In Case of Emergency, and it’s a program that allows first responders, such as paramedics, to reach your next of kin if something were to happen to you. Wikipedia has a thorough entry on the ICE program. ICE entries could include medical information such as medicine you’re taking, phone numbers of people to reach, etc.

Of course, if the reason you need help is because someone beat you, rendered you unconscious, stole your wallet and iPhone, and left you for dead, well, that’s another can of worms.

The ByMUG Team would like to thank everyone who was in attendance. Onward to the February 5th meeting.