Class Notes from Computer Basics for the Casual User

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Please find PDF files attaced for your review.

Computer Basics – Class 1

Computer Basics – Class 2

Computer Basics – Class 3

Computer Basics – Class 5

Classes 4, 6, 7, and 8 had no slides as we did demonstrations during those classes.

Once again, thanks to those who attended and helped support the Sheridan Adult Education program.

Ebay Basics – Final Class Tomorrow

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Tomorrow evening will be the final class of this season’s Computer Basics for the Casual User class under the Adult Education program in Sheridan. After evaluating things, we feel it will be best to give an overview of how Ebay works, instead of having everyone auction something off in class. No need to bring your own computer’s will have a demonstration evening, providing we can access Ebay from the school. Class will be from 6:30PM to about 8:00PM. Hope to see you there!

iBooks Author Released

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iBooks Author, the new app from Apple that lets anyone publish their own books to iBooks, is now available for free in the AppStore. This app is touted to let you:

  • Create iBooks with interactive content, like presentations, videos, and reader interactions.
  • Publish the books directly to iBooks with the click of a mouse.
  • Maintain your publications with updates, errata fixes, etc.
While Apple is initially focussing on having this as a tool for Textbook publishers to bring textbooks to the iBook store, it is no doubt a huge step forward for independent writers and publishers, allowing them to publish a book at little or no out-of-pocket expense.
In our office we will most likely be using this tool for Genealogical Publications, while I can see it being used for a huge variety of purposes for local companies here in the Ruby Valley.

iPhone 4S – AntennaGate Continues …

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Well, it looks like there are still issues surrounding the controversial iPhone 4 antenna design that is also implemented in the new 4S model. Even though the new 4S has an updated antenna design, it still suffers from signal loss if you touch just the right spots. There are various products available that claim to fix this issue but applying a film over the sensitive area on the phone; the thinking being that it will prevent you from bridging the gap with your skin, and thus preventing signal loss.

I will report back after applying some Ghost Armor to the phone — hopefully that will do the trick.

Steve Jobs – Thank You.

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Steve Jobs: 1955 – 2011. Gadgets. Design. Inspiration. And so much more.

Thank you for your contributions to this world. May you rest in peace, knowing that you succeeded in denting the universe.

Monitor Give-A-Way!

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It’s been a while since we posted anything here. But today we have 2 CRT monitors to give away to the first person(s) to call or stop by to pick them up:

  1. Sylvania F74 15.5″ Monitor (right)
  2. Dell M990 17.5″ Monitor (left)
Both monitors are used, but in good condition and work perfectly. They each come with a standard VGA connection, as well as a power cord. We are giving them away to make room for 2 flat-panel monitors. The first person to pick them up gets them. We’ll even help you load them!
Call us at (406)842-5680 or stop by at
117 North Main Street Unit B
Sheridan, Montana 59749

Mac OS/X.7 Lion Developer Preview 4 (build 11A480b) – Versions Not Included?

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I was wondering if others have come to the same finding that Versions have not been included in the latest developer preview? Neither has iCloud for that matter (other than in iTunes and iOS5).

Mac 10.5 Leopard Server Apache VirtualHosts Bug

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Has anyone noticed that Named Virtual Hosts do not function properly in Leopard Server? This appears to be a bug in the way the Server Admin GUI creates the conf files in /etc/apache2/sites:

  1. Each site has a configuration file preceded by a numerical index, i.e. 0000_default.conf.
  2. The virtual host config file is named virtual_host_global.conf.

Due to the way these conf files are included by httpd.conf, they are loaded in alphabetical order. This causes the virtual hosts file to be loaded last, when indeed it needs to be loaded first. The effect is that all sites after the first one are ignored.

To work around this issue we have implemented the following in both httpd.conf and httpd.conf.default:

The New Mac App Store … Problems Abound!

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I was excited to see the Mac App store be unveiled this week. The first thing I was looking for was iWork ’11. That’s when I realized that the Mac App store has its problems:

  1. Apps you have already bought aren’t listed as installed. This has caused many users to buy duplicates of their existing software. Just look at the comments for iPages.
  2. You can only comment on software that you have bought. This for me was a problem, since I realized right away the iPages was the ’09 version, but couldn’t comment to warn others.
  3. The App store is turning out to be a huge marketing gimmick for Apple. Just two days into it they announced that they have received over 1 million downloads from the App store. Why is that information important? How is it relevant to the end-user? It isn’t. They are trying to make themselves relevant and prove to the world that the App store is relevant, when it really isn’t.

Always check the software version that you are buying in the App store, if you already purchased the software in the past through normal channels. You can find the App store software version listed at the right in the “Information” box. You can find the software version of your installed software by running it, clicking on its namesake in the menu, and click on “About xxxxx …”.

However, some publishers have recognized this and are promoting App store sales (like Pixelmator) to get their current users transitioned over, by bundling the next major release in a reduced sale price. Way to go! (If only Apple would do that with iWork – any iWork products you purchase now in the App store should receive a free upgrade to the next major release.)

Update: I just noticed that while iWork ’09 programs aren’t showing as installed, when in fact they are (through a previous purchase), other software like Aperture, iPhoto, etc. are indeed showing as installed, even though I didn’t buy them through the Mac App store. Come on Apple, fix these silly bugs!

FTM2010 for Mac – Downloading Trees From Ancestry.com

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One thing I wanted to check was if downloaded family trees included media files. Well … there’s good news and there’s bad news.

The bad news is, that as with FTM2010 (when it was first released), the source media files were not attached. A later update to the software then added a download link to the citation editing window under the media tab.

Unfortunately it looks like we’ll be needing to wait for a patch for the Mac as well. This is disappointing. I would have hoped that Ancestry.com would have implemented functional fixes already applied to the Windows version prior to release. And the heightened price-point makes it all that much more disappointing.

The good news is that any media files you attached to your tree do get downloaded and are available in your offline tree.

Overall the “Import from Ancestry.com Tree” went smoothly, although there are some snags I would like to point out:

  • In order to download your tree, you need to close out of the current tree you are editing. Unlike with the Windows version, you will need to select “Close Window” from the file menu, then re-open the program by clicking on its icon in the dock. Only at that point can you select the option to download a tree from Ancestry.com.
  • After the tree is downloaded, you get the option to merge the tree with an existing offline tree, or create a new tree. It will then process all the records in the downloaded file and generate a result. I found it a bit disconcerting that my online tree generated an error. I would expect the Ancestry.com tree to be fully GEDCOM compliant, as any GEDCOM errors will result in lost data during the import (FTM throws them out, and won’t provide you an option to correct them). This is a huge flaw, in my opinion, both on the side of Ancestry.com allowing for bad data in their online trees, as well as on the part of FTM just throwing out any mistakes it finds.

Below are some screenshots of the entire process, along with the error log of the problematic GEDCOM import.

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