April 3, 2011 Meeting

Meeting Notes

Greetings and welcome to the special 5th Anniversary ByMUG meeting. It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since our first meeting which took place on the 1st of April, 2006.

This month’s meeting included three demonstrations.  Glenda demonstrated some quick runarounds in Microsoft Excel, Rock demonstrated how he used his Apple devices to learn French, and Jonathan talked about his new iPad 2.

Glenda’s Excel-lent Adventure

Glenda walked us through some quick Excel runarounds which she uses to create and generate forms in Excel.

Context, Locked Cells, Protected Sheets, Freezing Panes, Conditional Formatting, and Formulas, to name a few.

Question asked: Can Conditional Formatting be done in Apple Numbers?

Answer: Yes.

Rock Learns French

Rock recently learned French and he wanted to share his tips and tricks to go beyond the course.

Hint #1: On the devices you use, be it a computer or a mobile device, switch your operating system’s language to the desired language you wish to learn.  Warning: Realize that the further away from your own known languages you go, the greater the chance of you getting lost.  (i.e. English to Japanese.)

Hint #2: Change the date and time on your device accordingly.

Rock explained various items he used to learn French.

  • Oxford-Hachette Dictionary for iPad and iPhone goes for $24.99;
  • Bescherelle – Le dictionnaire des synonymes for iPad and iPhone goes for $3.99;
  • Dictionnaire Littré for iPhone is free;
  • French Gender for iPad and iPhone goes for $4.99. There is a free version available for both devices.  Shows you the gender of the word you’re using and which article to use with it;
  • La Radio de Radio-Canada for iPhone is free.  Allows you to listen to French radio;
  • Flashcards Deluxe for iPad and iPhone goes for $3.99;
  • Google Translate for iPad and iPhone is free [Editor: also available at http://translate.google.ca);
  • iTranslate for iPad is free;
  • Word Lens for iPad and iPhone is free.

Various web sites and podcasts are also available and recommended.

  • Quizlet on the web contains flash cards, vocabulary memorization, and study games.  It’s free;
  • Radio Lingua’s Coffee Break French;
  • Annenberg Learner;
  • Check out the Ottawa Public Library;
  • Les verbes is a wonderful place for French verb conjugations as well.

iPad: The Sequel

On the 25th of March, 2011, the iPad 2 came to Canada.  Fellow ByMUG member Jonathan Fingas and I got in line to get ours at the Rideau Centre.  Getting in line at 10:30 a.m., we were numbers 60 and 61.  Water and cookies were handed out for free several times by the Apple Store staff.  Morale was mostly pretty good.  Except for those who were standing further down the line, located outside in -15 Celsius temperatures.  Ever hear someone say “I don’t want to stand in line outside in these temperatures, only to find out at 5:00 p.m. that they’ve run out of iPads.”  The line-up, by the time it began to move around 4:45 p.m., spanned to Daly Street and then veered right a bit.  5:00 p.m. came and we got our iPads.

At the ByMUG meeting, Jonathan talked about his iPad 2 experience for about half an hour before the meeting came to an end. Having owned the previous version of the iPad, Jonathan was able to compare them to each other.

And that was it for the April 2011 meeting.

February 6th, 2011 Meeting

djay for iPad demonstration by Jonathan Fingas

djay is by a company named Algoriddim.  djay is an iPod app and Mac application that puts you in control of a virtual set of deejaying turntables.  Scratching a record, auto-mixing, pre-cueing, and a lot more can be accomplished with djay.  If you’re a deejay, or even a hobbyist, djay will surprise you with what it can do.  (editor: providing the price doesn’t – see below)

Jonathan showed off the user interface, including the multi-touch dual-turntables, the audio waveforms display, and the visual cue points.

Auto-mixing and automatic transitions are possible.  So that means you can transition from one song to another without doing anything but letting it be.

Music can be accessed in your iPod music library, but like Jonathan says, prepare your songs in advance so you don’t accidentally mix classical with dance music.  But djay does support playlists.

He warns that the iPad’s 256 megabyte memory limit does cause issues at times when several songs are loaded where the system will warn you of low memory. This should be rectified once the iPad 2 comes out as it gains more memory.  So it will be interesting to find out what it will be like on the new device.

AirPlay is supported for broadcasting to Apple TV, AirPort Express stations, or any AirPlay-supported speaker dock, AV receiver, and stereo system.  But Jonathan warned that it’s best for auto-mixes.

You can record your performances and save them in high quality sound (AIFF for those interested) in an included organizer, then export them to your Mac via iTunes file sharing.

Split Output Mode: With the use of a stereo/mono split cable and a binaural signal, you will be able to play a song through your speakers while you prepare and preview the next song through your headphones.

For the low price of $19.99 CAN and a slew of video tutorials on YouTube, you too can scratch a record and become a deejay.  (editor: Just don’t quit your day job right away.)

As mentioned above, there is also a Mac version of djay , but Jonathan said it’s better on the iPad due to the ability to use hand gestures on the screen for things such as scratches.  There is a demo for the Mac that is available from the web site, and if you like it, the going price for the Mac is $49.99 US.

The Mac App Store, demonstrated by Thomas Leroux

With the success of the iOS App Store, it’s no surprise that Apple decided to come out with the free Mac App Store for your computer. It requires MacOS X 10.6.6.

While it’s only a few thousand applications right now, the Mac App Store is the current way of the future for Macs. The idea is, instead of leaving your house to purchase a piece of software at the store, you can stay at your computer and purchase your piece of software through the Mac App Store. No more software boxes. No more CD- or DVD-ROMs. You buy, download, install, and run, all in a few minutes.

This is also great for software packages like iLife and iWork where you may only want one item from the package as opposed to the rest. Why pay the full price for all three applications in iWork when you only want Pages?

Due to the lack of a physical package, many pieces of software available on the Mac
App Store are cheaper than if you were to walk into a store to buy the same item.

Another nice thing about the Mac App Store is, if you find yourself needing to reinstall a purchased piece of software, you need only go back to the Store and download it once more. The negative being if you don’t have Internet access when you need to do an update, you won’t be able to do it.

It should be noted that you do need an active Apple ID to access the Mac App Store, so once you’ve bought something from the Store, it’ll be remembered, and will be installable on all your machines that use the same Apple ID. There is no limit to how many times you can download and install your purchases. (editor: The Mac App Store Product Usage Rules state as long as you have no commercial plans, you can download it to as many computers as you own or control, as long as they’re using the same Apple ID. For commercial use, you can only install and run the application on your machines and used by yourself, or on one machine, and used by many.)

Insert a brief segue of Pixelmator where Tom suggested it for a future demonstration before returning to the Mac App Store demonstration.

Tom went through the process of installing the Fireplace (free) application from the Mac App Store onto his Mac, showing the ease of use of the process.

Q: How do updates work?
A: Once you’ve bought the application, the small updates are free. The next full update won’t be free unless otherwise specified.

Q: Will the update overwrite the version you have on your computer?
A: Yes, it will. Unless otherwise specified.

As Tom pointed out, the Mac App Store is a good idea for smaller applications. However, bigger applications, such as Final Cut Pro, would currently not be fun to download as some of these applications are over 10 gigabytes in size.

Warning: Always make a back-up of your application’s preferences and other related data before installing an update. Imagine losing your entire iPhoto collection. Permanently. With no back-ups.

Michael was supposed to demonstrate the Boxee by Boxee, Inc., but Michael was not available, and at the time of typing this, there’s no news on whether this demonstration will be rescheduled.

Jeffrey and Tom demonstrated some of their recent projects. Jeffrey’s was a slideshow of his trip to Spain. Tom’s was a video of the Flux and Fire at Winterlude and the opening fireworks.

And that’s all for the February 2011 meeting.

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