September 7, 2014 Meeting Information

ByMUG Meeting, September (7th) 2014

Ideas for Future Meetings:

  • Oct: Review Apple Sept 9th announcements >> {Tom, Dave, John }
  • Oct: Review Delicious Library ($25)(Catalog your books, movies, music, software, toys, tools, electronics, & video games. Archive your life.)
  • Oct: Ripping DVD Workflow using Mac The Ripper or alternative {Marc S} (What is the official website of this software. It seems very out of date?)
  • Oct: iStat Menu {Tom, Dave} ($16)
  • Compare Parallels Desktop (C$80) / VMware Fusion US$70/ Oracle VirtualBox (free) / Bootcamp >>{?) {Is there anyone who uses these products and could demo or speak to user experience?}

Succession planning or the “Just-In-Case” file i.e. how to make it easy for your loved ones to get to your account info and passwords if something happens to you. >>{Marc, Tom}

Two Factor Authentication for Apple ID (by Tom)

In light of the recently leaked/hacked photos from celebrity iCloud accounts, we discussed the importance of secure passwords (ones that are hard to guess & unique for each account).  The celebrity accounts that were hacked used simple-to-guess passwords and security questions. For celebrities, a lot of their personal info is online i.e. pet names, places they grew up, relatives names. Tom says that for account security questions, he never answers the security questions with “correct” answers. Since we all have dozens or hundreds of logins, it  makes sense to use a secure password manager like 1Password (others have been discussed in previous meetings).

Tom showed us screenshots of the process and walked us through the 4 steps that he took to set up 2-step authentication on his Apple ID, Mark set it up on his Apple ID during the meeting, it only took a few minutes.

Two-step verification will require you to verify your identity using one of your devices before you can make changes to your account or make an iTunes or App Store purchase from a new device. Using this process, you won’t have to remember security questions.

  • With two-step verification enabled, you will always need two of the following to manage your Apple ID:
    • Your password
    • A trusted device
    • Your Recovery Key
  • If you forget your password, you will need your Recovery Key and a trusted device to reset it.
  • Apple will not be able to reset your password on your behalf.

What , Why, How >>  see:

How to set it up:

Go to

How do I set up two-step verification?

  1. Go to My Apple ID.
  2. Select Manage your Apple ID and sign in.
  3. Select Password and Security.
  4. Under Two-Step Verification, select Get Started and follow the onscreen instructions.

Step 1:

If you don’t have an Apple ID, go to

  • It is strongly recommended that you specify a second email account associated with your Apple ID.
  • It is strongly recommended that your Apple ID is not an email account that is tied to a service provider. i.e. your ISP or your employer (Sympatico, Rogers, Storm, Telus, Magma, etc.) If, for some reason you change providers or change employers, you will loose access to all the email accounts associated with that service provider (potentially without advance notice). Get yourself a gmail, hotmail. yahoo, etc. email or buy your own domain and setup email forwarding. (this was covered in a previous meeting).
  • Tom has had good service and support at but there are many other providers.

Q: Can it (2-factor authentication) be turned off temporarily? When traveling overseas it is expensive to receive text messages.

A: Yes it can turned off in a few minutes – go to Dave mentioned that the text might not require SMS, and would come over iMessage, avoiding SMS roaming charges.

Speculation: Maybe Apple will release a different kind of authentication… eye print?….

Step 2: Passwords & Security Questions.

  • Use 1 Password to generate and store a unique random password  (how many times have I typed this recommendation?)
  • Answering the security questions “truthfully” can expose you to hackers (maybe even family members) guessing the answers. Tom recommends letting 1Password generate random answers and store these in 1Password. (see:

Step 3: Agree to proceed.

  • When I set mine up while writing up these meeting notes, once I agreed to proceed, I encountered a 3 day waiting period to ensure my identity.
  • You will get a text.
  • Verify the device, enter the code.
  • Get the recovery key; PRINT IT, store it in 1Password, keep it safe, keep it in your Safety Deposit Box/ Just In Case file You will need it if you forget your password.

Step 4 : Verification.

  • You will need 2 items i.e. password and SMS phone

Beware of spam messages from Apple claiming to verify your Apple ID. (prediction following the celebrity scandal) DO NOT CLICK ON LINKS IN emails to reset account information. i.e. PayPal, Apple, Bank XYZ, Apple, your ISP, etc.

Adobe Photoshop-Lightroom Demo (by Michael)

Michael used this product extensively when he worked for walked for Ottawa Little Theatre.

Michael uses it to apply adjustments to multiple images.

Lightroom uses an Organizer module (similar to Photoshop Elements) to manage catalogs and settings. It is easy to have multiple catalogs open.

DxO is slow to load since it rebuilds library each time it launches vs Lightroom opens quickly

  • Lightroom main window modules include Map, Book, Slideshow, Print, Web.
  • Mike likes the Print templates, contact sheets.
  • Uses Main window to triage images, flag them, apply smart folders, publish to social media, can change size. Main window offers multiple ways to work with images, ratings, colours.

Develop Module: Copy adjustments and apply to multiple images. Can reset the adjustments if the desired result is not achieved. Changes are non-destructive. Changes are saved in a “side-car”. Must bring that with the image if moving the files.

Filmstrip: Show/hide easily to work on multiple monitors.


  • Only 1 catalog open at a time. Has 1 main catalog, others with limited content for teaching and demos.
  • 1st, put images into folder.
  • Put in global keywords like location, metadata, copyright info, capture date.
  • If moving folders, do it using Light room.
  • Combination of Adobe Bridge & Camera RAW. Imports JPG & RAW. pay attention wot what working on. – Defaults to RAW.
  • Sidecar can get bloated when many adjustments and presets are applied.
  • Create a virtual copy.
  • Apply keywords in Library Mode. Find images based on Lens used, etc.
  • Use Paint can / spray paint to apply keywords to multiple images.
  • In Filmstrip, can change the order of images.

Develop Module – Enable profile corrections: Some cameras i.e. Nikon have lens corrections and can manually control corrections like white balance, temperature, blacks, whites, clarity. Don’t usually mess with tint. Used Gradient to to apply correction to the sky of an image, bringing out the blues and clouds.

Q: Are there keyboard shortcuts?

A: Yes there are extensive keyboard shortcuts.

In Library, icons appear at the bottom of images to indicate  actions that have been performed. i.e. cropping, exposure, stacked images, etc.

Sharpening is done in 100% in Preview pane. Noise reduction can be done in Lightroom but Mike prefers using DxO which is accessed through Plugins in menu.

Mike prefers to keep all images – Hard drives are inexpensive and it avoids deleter’s remorse. It also preserves number sequences. Mike’s main catalog has > 20K images. Catalog can be optimized.

Uses Lightroom+DxO 90% of time. Uses Photoshop for burning in shadows and for localized enhancements like enhancing sharpness & contrast at a micro level.

At the end, we discussed the strengths of different photo-editing apps. Photoshop and Lightroom do very similar tasks. Which you prefer often depends on which product you started using first, and how you like working

  • (OpticsPro: USD$170, ViewPoint USD$80) A German image editing software excels at perspective and lens correction, restoring true proportions, smart lighting, increasing sharpness.
  • Adobe PhotoShop (excels for automation, exporting photos en-mass
  • Adobe Photoshop-Lightroom (v5 single license: approx. $180) (excels at applying preset global adjustments to multiple photos
  • Apple Aperture ($80)

Pixelmator full featured image editing app for the mac for a fraction of the cost (It isn’t in the same league as the others, but it’ll do in a pinch).

This fall Apple is releasing “Photos”, the combined replacement product of Aperture and iPhoto.

  • Aperture users are eagerly awaiting a conversion tool that will keep the adjustments and process along with the final photo produced. Tom is confident that this tool is being developed by 3rd party.


Aside: Tom got back from vacation to a nice surprise, Dropbox increased his account to 2TB of online storage. Tom is excited to see what else he can upload to Dropbox.

– Tom is working on a post about How to store data securely in Dropbox. (don’t have iPhoto open and running on more than 1 Mac at the same time on the same network – if storing your photos in Dropbox).


Backing up Blu-Ray discs for use in your personal digital library  (by Tom)

WARNING: this process is intensive on many levels. It will eat up HDD space; it takes a long time; it uses a lot of power (electricity); it will max out the CPU, and it will generate a lot of heat. It is something to do during off-peak Hydro rates. Marc ruined a Mac Mini that he had set up as a ripping station.

  • Speed things up by reading from an external drive —> write to Internal drive.

Setup: Using an external Blu-Ray Writer that connects via USB3 (available for approx. $100 at places like Make sure that it will read and write to Blu-Ray discs.

  • A ripped Blu-Ray will require approx. 40GB of space so plan accordingly.
  • Storage capacity: DVD-R: 7.4 GB or 8.5 GB vs Blu-Ray BD-R 25GB or 50GB.
  • Software MakeMKV  (Mac & Windows versions, 30 day free trial might be enough to do your whole collection).
  • Must have VLC installed. (free) VLC-VideoLAN Converter.  VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.
  • HandBrake (free) Takes many different video formats, and outputs different video formats i.e. iPod, AppleTV, Android (was covered in an earlier ByMUG meeting).
  • Mark uses MacDVD Ripper Pro ($25) (also useful to strip regional encoding to convert from PAL to/from NTSC.


Blu-Ray Player > MakeMKV > HandBrake>output file to be viewed in iTunes.

  • Plug B-Ray Drive into Mac.
  • Insert B-Ray Disc > in Finder, it will show lots of files.
  • Launch MakeMKV.
    • Make Disc Backup, check on Decrypt video files (very important).
    • Select path of Source. It finds the encrypted file, ends up with 1 giant decrypted video file + extras.
  • Launch HandBrake > Select Source > navigate to the file created by MakeMKV.
  • [in Finder, DVD titles will appear in all Caps, Blu-Ray titles appear mixed caps]
  • Select the Preset (on right side of window) based on how you will be viewing the resulting file). Handbrake scans and uses filter to decide which file contains the movie in the correct sequence.
    • Tom likes DVD Extras including Behind the scenes and Directors comments. He creates a hi-res copy of the movie for viewing and a separate low-res copy with Directors comments. This usually the last track listed in “Source”.
    • The other files may have the movie with the clips incorrectly ordered. (copy-protection).

At this point, the demo failed @ HandBrake.

{Mark explained that he has had problems with the latest versions of VLC/HandBrake decryption. HB stripped out the decoding – hence he uses DVD Ripper . He offered to demo his workflow at the October meeting}

Check the HandBrake forums to find workflows to automate processes.

Identify app to add artwork, “Tags your videos so you don’t have to!”


Reminders (by Tom and Dave) – an iCloud Apple app on desktop and mobile. Use Reminders to organize your life in to-do lists, complete with due dates and locations.

  • iCloud sync iOS & OS X
  • Above and beyond the standard Date based reminders, it now supports GPS location to remind you when you Leave a location or Arrive at a location. It allows you to set how close or far from the location. i.e. when you drive near a particular store, if you are driving, you need to set the distance further away than if walking.
  • On Left of app window, Lists of tasks for tracking & organizing.
  • Can add or edit the lists, show/hide calendar view, show/hide the list.
  • Can select and show all items due Today (includes overdue tasks).
  • Can select and show completed tasks.
  • Double clicking a list item will pop it out to a separate window so you can compare multiple lists side-by-side.
  • On Right, white pane with the tasks in the list that was selected on the left.
  • Red ones are overdue.
  • Setup tasks with reminders based on date or location due dates, Set Priority and repeats.
  • Tasks can have brief notes, not intended for extensive notes.


  • Siri can create new reminders.
  • Reminders are synced across iCloud connected devices.
  • You can share a reminder list.


Rumours and Wild Speculation re: Apple’s September 9th, 2014 Announcement (by Jon)

  • 2 new iPhones 4.7” & 5.5”, iWatch, tie-ins to Health-kit iOS 8, heart rate sensor, motion tracking, 3rd party app support, link disparate information and aggregate it.
  • all new apple devices will be phone enabled.
  • biometric authentication on all devices.
  • more mobile payments.


Q & A:

Q: When my mac is idle and I press on a key to login, Sometimes it takes a long time for the password box to appear. What influences that?

A: 1- It takes time to spin up the HDD – not an issue if you have an SDD or Fusion drive. Also, if you have USB devices or a USB bus attached, especially if you have iTunes library on an external USB drive.

Q: What is a Fusion Drive?

A: When Apple updated the iMac and Mac mini in late 2012, it introduced a new storage option called Fusion Drive. Despite the name, it’s actually two drives working in a special arrangement. It pairs 128GB of flash storage with either a 1TB or a 3TB hard drive.

Q: Sometimes the password box appears quickly – why does it sometimes appear fast, sometimes slow?

A: Your mac often wakes itself up to do maintenance tasks when the no user activity is detected. You may be logging in shortly after one of these events. Make adjustments in System Settings > Energy Saver.

Q: Does OS X 10.9 have better memory management (RAM) that 10.6?

A: Dave: Yes.

Q: How often do you shut down your computer?

A: Tom & Dave: Never unless moving it, rebuilding it. Restart occasionally, unlike PCs, you don’t need to “Shut Down”.

Q: Can you have too much RAM installed?

A: Yes. RAM “costs” energy – i.e. battery power. If you are just surfing the web and checking email, the factory defaults are usually sufficient. The computer can’t use only part of the RAM.

Q: Where did Tom buy his very cool T-Shirt?

A: offers different shirt every day. Original artist designs. Tom says he can get T-shirts for under $20 ea. and they support artists.

Q: Favorite podcast app?

A: Tom: Overcast iPhone app or for desktop. Must have good audio quality at 2x or greater speed. Apple’s iOS app is OK, many apps garble the audio when playing at high speed . Tom respects the developer’s track record with Instapaper. Must have the paid version ($5 in-app) to get the 2x feature. (in iOS app store, it appears as “iPhone only”. If you are looking on an iPad, the default search is for iPad only apps and it does not show up.\]

A: DownCast iOS & OSX.

Q: Favorite source of audiobooks?

A: Tom: Audible offers low cost ($10/yr) plan.

Q: Favorite source of audiobooks and Audiobook app?

A: Tom: Amazon, Audible. Tom has a $10/yr at Amazon which he apparently was offered only after canceling a regular membership.

Q: When formatting a drive, which format should I choose?

A: Stick with the default, Journaled JFS+. other formats only if you have specific needs.

Q: Where is a good place to buy SSDs

A: OWC Other World Computers at, they specialize in selling products to Mac users. Also, for parts and repair guides for apple products and more.

Q:  Trade-ins?

A:  Apple offers trade-ins/store credit on Macs, PCs. FutureShop also offers trade-ins/store credit.

Q: Stuart: How to speed up the playback of very large audio book files (180 hrs). iTunes on mac does not support 1.5 or 2x speed.

A: iOS podcast player plays at .5x, 1x, 1.5x, 2x. If your audiobooks don’t show up in the Audiobooks category of iTunes, They are probably in the Music category. To “convert” them to show as audiobooks, select the “Album” in Music, Get Info >  Options > Media Kind: Audiobook. Also on the Options tab, it helps to also select the Equalizer Preset: Spoken Word and Remember Position: Yes and Skip when shuffling: Yes.

  • To buy Audiobooks, Tom likes Audible app and Amazon
  • Ottawa Public Library offers audiobooks, and Books on CD.

Q: How to get Audio CDs to “not get separated”?

A: In iTunes, Select all Tracks > Join, Change to Audio Book (see above).

Q: Some Favorite podcasts (See previous ByMUG meeting notes for extensive list of favorite podcasts)

A: MacBreak Weekly, Accidental Tech, This Week in Tech, Systematic, 5by5.

August 3, 2014 Meeting Information

ByMUG Meeting Notes for August (3rd) 2014

Agenda: Cutting the Cord: canceling cable & telephone. Using Netflix, AppleTV, online TV, online radio, podcasts & more.

The meeting was very interactive. We covered a lot in the meeting, jumping around from topic to topic. I have tried to organize the notes into sections but they do reflect the dynamic nature of the meeting.

Pre-meeting miscellanea:

  • (Environment Canada) it’s free, and it is as good as most paid apps
    • scroll below map to turn on 14 colours (Intensity scale 8 vs 14 colours)
  • (data source: Environment Canada)
  • How to turn on/off the motion sensor – Accessibility settings to keep the HDD safe by parking the armature, turn HDD off as quickly as possible when it senses that the mac is falling. (this sensor is used by some games, allowing tilting

Digital Trends Cord-Cutting 101

Tom & Tracy cut the cable in 2006 – both self employed, they were maintaining 5 separate phone accounts (2 business, 2 personal, 1 fax). The result: removed a lot of distractions, read more books, bought DVDs @ Amazon Prime, now Netflix. On Amazon Prime, a lot of DVDs come with bundle, especially at holidays – DVD, Bluray & iTunes digital.

  • If you too feel that iTunes store prices are too high vs cost of DVDs, go to …
  • Modern Macs do not have internal DVD drives.
  • USB Blu-ray drives (read/write) are inexpensive (i.e. at

ACTION: Tom to talk about DVD & Blu-Ray ripping this fall

  • A lively discussion followed about LP ripping,
  • ACTION: Marc kindly offered to talk about it this fall.

Option?: Google How to get DVD from Amazon

  • Ultraviolet 2005-2007 digital locker – buy a movie, DVD, different services you can watch it on different devices.
  • publish digital downloads through their own website.
  • Anyone can make a movie now. If you have “rabid” fans, you can make $, if you get it on a streaming service like Netflix.
  • iTunes are all copy protected.

(Miscellaneous info: In every season of Castle, Nathan Fillion make reference to Firefly, a 2002 series in which he starred)


Tom recommends, if you are not locked in to a contract (and are  looking to sign up with a cell provider), walk into the Apple store, tell them your needs and they will help you find the best plan for you, across all the providers. They are not biased and will help you find the right one for your needs and budget.

  • Tom is now with Fido @ $65/mo unlimited local & canada, 2 GB data.
  • 1 iPhone 6 rumours: Sept: 4.7” & Oct, 5.5” (iPhone 5 family are 4” dia)

Landlines vs Cellular vs. VoIP

  • In the event of a physical disaster, if physical infrastructure is disabled, providers can get mobile cellular sites up faster than replacing wires.
  • i.e. cell providers set up portable cell sites for events like Bluesfest, Comic Con.
  • Both Landlines & Cell providers have backup generators.
  • often cellular or phone is down while internet is still up – try multiple modalities
  • If you don’t, you should have a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply/ battery backup). It will allow your computer to power-off gracefully.

ACTION Future Topic– UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply/ battery backup)

  • Text messaging may be the fastest way to communicate – message is embedded in the “I’m here” packet that cell phones send to the tower.
  • VoIP Voice over IP allows you to use a home phone handset and place calls via the internet. i.e. not using Bell home phone.
    • Good in business, saves on cost but calls often experience digital echo where you speak and hear your words so you are speaking over yourself.
  • FaceTime, Skype, VoIP all use the internet.
  • most providers offer family plans for data sharing.
  • 911 Canada supports enhanced-911 so cell phones provide very accurate location to 911 operators. You have your cell phone with you when away from home as well.
  • Providers phase out older cell technologies so old cell phones cease to work.
    • in Canada, CDMA -> GSM -> LTE (newest and fastest).
  • Panasonic & other home phone manufactures offer models that link to your cell phone so that when you come home, calls to your cell get routed to your home phone handsets via bluetooth (Link-2-cell) , gives access to your cell phone contacts, etc.


  • Either buy outright (unlocked) or on contract (locked).
  • Outright/unlocked : lower monthly fees, better for travel, can swap out SIM card, can sell used phone for 70-1005 of new phone cost (enough residual value in old phone to pay for your new one).
  • Contract =  Locked to a specific provider. Good if getting a new phone every 2-3 years.  Cost of phone is built in to monthly fee.
  • Q: Can all cell phones be unlocked? Yes/No
  • A: Must wait till end of contract or pay off balance of phone if switching phone, plan or provider. At end of contract phone can be unlocked.

Number Portability/Changing Providers 

  • Move landline to cell phone.
  • If you are sure that you are going to switch, don’t tell old provider that you are thinking of moving. Bell can’t charge you for a number that is not on their network. (? is this true?). Read your contract – are you paying month-in-advance?
  • Do your homework, know what you need (what plan will fit your requirements), know what it would cost you at the competitor.
    • Cable vs DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)vs FTTN (Fibre to the Node), satellite
    • How much (GB) do you download monthly / upload / month?
    • Speed Mbps (download & upload speeds)
    • Do/will you have a home phone?
    • Do/will you own/rent the modem/router ?
    • Do you need filters? probably if keeping home phone line.
    • connection fees
    • add-ons (extra IP address)
  • Understanding speed & FTTN: fastest (copper) DSL speed to the house is 7Mbps. More than 15Mbps is FTTN. Speed decreases the farther you are from the switch. Fibre-to-the-Node means that the internet signal comes via Fibre Optics to your local switch box (<=5km from house). Fibre Optics transmit signal much faster than copper.
  • Cable internet may be faster in off-peak hours but will slower in busy times.

So, for streaming video like iTunes or Netflix, 6 or 7 Mbps download speed is fine since Netflix caches 2 minutes or so & resumes if signal is interrupted. 6 or 7 Mbps download should be fine if you are watching 1 movie at a time. Big screens (TVs) use more bandwidth than small screens (iOS devices).

  • Once you have decided: Call and say: I’m moving to … i.e. TekSavvy / Storm / National Capital Freenet (NCF) / [your choice] – they may match the price or offer other incentives.
  • Internet upload speed (Mbps)&  Data (GB) are impacted by Internet Backups including BackBlaze & others, Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud docs, etc. Schedule major uploads like system updates  & Backup when data costs are low (i.e.  TekSavvy offers unlimited usage 2am-8am). For most people 1Mbps upload is fine.
  • When calling Bell/Rogers to switch, talk to Customer Retention agent. They will offer you incentives to stay. They also hope you will defer your decision to leave and hope that you will forget to call back.
  • BE CAREFUL that you don’t get locked into a multi-year plan as they offer you incentives.


  • Teksavvy has large tech support staff. Runs on Bell backbone/infrastructure.
  • Local provider, Tom is happy using Storm
  • National Capital Freenet: Local Provider (protected by Canadian internet privacy laws), less expensive, Not for profit, volunteer run, tech support may not respond as quickly (?). Runs on Bell backbone/infrastructure.
  •  provides good Q & A regarding DSL

Battery Drain solutions

  • Cell phones ramp up power when the signal is weak in an attempt to find and stay connected to cell towers. This can be because of too great a distance to the tower or lots of phones are competing for the limited number of connections available per cell antenna. i.e. If your are at a conference / event & lots of people (cell phones) are trying to connect / stay connected.
  • if phone shows 1 bar, it is using more power than when it shows 3 bars. It will be warmer as well.
  • SOLUTION: Airplane mode
  • Turning off LTE may help as 3G uses less power.
  • Schedule a time when you will connect to the network for calls and check texts/messages. i.e. hr + 5min.  Tell people to call at that time. Messages & mail will cue and come in when you connect to the network.

QUESTION: What is Bluetooth 4.0 LE – it is a new low energy standard for items like Nike Fuelband, fitbit. should be included in new iPhone & Android phones.

QUESTION: Does FibeTV (Bell) affect my bandwidth?  You need Bell internet to get FibeTV. TV is prioritized over Internet when required.

Bandwidth HOGs: Facebook app on iOS auto-loads and auto-plays videos which is a huge use of bandwidth.

  • Chrome – install Ghostery to block trackers
  • Browser plugin/extra –  Adblocker

DISCUSSION:   Netflix and other high bandwidth companies are paying to have their apps & bandwidth prioritized.

Watching live SPORTS online,,  ESPN, , many major league sports have their own channels on many platforms, i.e. MLB, ESPN, NFL, NHL, Front Row

Cost/Benefit Analysis:

What are you currently spending/yr on: TV, Tel, Phone?

How would you redistribute that $, what would you save, what more would you get for the same $?

QUESTION: how to improve my wifi reception. My router is near my appleTV but I still get drop-outs and no reception? Change the channel that your wifi network is on. Use a tool like iStumbler, a network discovery tool to detect wifi, bluetooth, bonjour, airport networks (may help detect improve wifi reception by choosing the channel with the least competition.

QUESTION: Anonymous surfing? Use the “Guest User” account on your mac OR most browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc) have a Private/Incognito browsing mode — everything gets deleted when you log out .

QUESTION:  how to digitize (ripping) Blueray disks? refer to Marc’s workflow in June 17, 2014 email

ACTION Future Topic – Handbrake for Blu-ray

Over the Air TV options include EyeTV