November 15, 2022: macOS Ventura and a bit of accessibility

In November 2022, we gave a brief overview of macOS Ventura, which had just been released. The focus was on some new goodies, some redesigned elements, and accessibility.

Several members had asked that the meeting, held via Zoom, be recorded, and it was — but not until the presenter remembered to turn on recording. Thus, the video, below, is incomplete. It covers most of the meeting, but not the Question and Answer session.

Also, after the recording was started, the presenter remembered that Zoom offered real-time captioning, and turned it on. The captions do not appear in the video, but Zoom provided a transcript of what was recorded. That has been pasted below the video.

Some things about the transcript: the times shown are the local time (in 24 hour format) during the presentation. The transcription started at 19:5o:33, which is at 7:50:33 p.m. There is a note in the video showing when the closed captioning (and transcript) started. The transcription was done via software, and there are errors. For example, it states that Lawrence used to work for Noah, the patriarch of all humanity. In reality, Lawrence worked for NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and that happened a few thousand years after the deluge. The transcript is provided both because it is sometimes funny but also possibly useful.

If you want a larger version of the video, click on the YouTube logo. That will take you to the YouTube site, where you can select something much larger.

The transcript of the Zoom session (once it was turned on) follows. This was automatically generated by Zoom during the live captioning.

19:50:33 as i'm talking. it'll actually put down below what it is I'm saying it'll put it down at the bottom of the screen, and it got very very very good Well, Google had see a closed captioning and it
19:50:49 was terrible. We had a scientific presentation. we could agency.
19:50:55 I work for Noah. we had. We produce a lot of videos to tell people about climate change and title waves and currents, and whatever is a rip type.
19:51:05 All this sort of stuff, and we wanted to use closed captioning and we wanted to use Google's glows captioning.
19:51:13 Well, Google's closed captioning at the time was crowdsourced, and we soon found out that that when people contribute crowdsource transcripts to things, it was usually there were an awful lot of sexual terms and
19:51:25 obscenities and other things that we really didn't want being inserted into in a government webcast. so we painstakingly had to put in our own captions.
19:51:34 And it might cost us sometimes $10,000 to make a video and another $10,000 to have the transcription embedded in the video.
19:51:44 It was very expensive. Google has vastly improved their closed captioning.
19:51:51 They're built in closed captioning I was watching I was trying to diagnose a problem.
19:51:56 I put video up for my church and I was trying to diagnose a problem, and I turned on closed captioning because I didn't want to hear what i'd already heard 30 times.
19:52:06 So I turned on close captioning. It was very, very accurate.
19:52:13 So not only has zoom up the bar for Zoom, it's also up to bar for
19:52:20 Google. So Google's close captioning is much better and apples closed.
19:52:25 Captioning is much better. You can actually be in a conversation with someone over facetime and turn on close captioning to get a transcript of what you people are saying.
19:52:34 So it Accessibility is not just for handicap people it's for people who are trying to learn English.
19:52:42 It's for people who they don't fit whatever mold a particular event is set for as an example.
19:52:52 We had an accessibility feature in our home in Columbia.
19:52:56 When we moved into the home. Our daughter was Columbia, Maryland.
19:53:00 When we moved in. our daughter was 6, and when she went into the bathroom she said she couldn't see see the mirror, and we thought about putting a steps duel, but then she might fall off the steps. duel.
19:53:10 So what we did is we got a mirror and We placed it down just above the level of the sink, so she could see herself in that lower mayor, and then, when she was like 12, she said, You can take that other mirror
19:53:23 down. I don't need it anymore. so accessibility is to make it something more accessible to you in the context.
19:53:32 That's not the norm for a particular event or subject or our context, so it has.
19:53:37 It's not age-related it's not it's, not illness related.
19:53:41 It's just has to do with with the context in which you are in, and there are all kinds of accessibility controls build into the Mac, including this live captioning for things with facetime So it's it's
19:54:00 It's well worth the effort to find out about these things.
19:54:04 Now I want to show you something that's not an accessibility feature, and that is something that is well where the heck, is it?
19:54:12 I don't remember stage manager so I click on stage manager, and it's under doc and desktop and Doc.
19:54:23 So now if I just go out here and I look at desktop and Doc, it says stage manager someplace and I just made it go away.
19:54:32 Okay, stage manager i'm gonna turn on stage manager and now that stage manager is going to turn on I'm gonna launch dictionary again.
19:54:39 So here's dictionary and you notice that the controls zipped off to the side.
19:54:48 What stage manager allows you to do is have multiple things open on the screen at one time and rapidly move back and forth between them without being distracted by the others.
19:54:58 So I can switch between the preferences and Bb.
19:55:03 Edit, which is a text editor and dictionary.
19:55:11 Look up something that dictionary and I can switch back and forth between them, and I can copy something out of
19:55:21 Huh! I can copy something out of a dictionary and go to my text editor and say, I want a new document
19:55:39 And paste way in what I had in dictionary.
19:55:42 Bye found in dictionary all while leaving all these programs open, but I'm not distracted by having them all open.
19:55:52 You've also. probably all of you have also run into the situation where you bring up a web browser, and you've got a web browser.
19:56:01 I've go open, and you've got like a zillion wind windows open in your web browser, and then you go to something else, and then you can't find your web browser because it's buried behind all
19:56:11 the other windows. Well, with stage manager you can just go back and forth, and one of the neat things about stage manager is you can customize it so.
19:56:24 Among other things, you can have it as a desktop items.
19:56:30 You can have it for that. You can show all. All the windows at ones are one at a time.
19:56:36 You can customize how it is that you use it and it'll appear up here in the top menu, bar so you can turn on and off without going to the preferences.
19:56:47 So I got to turn it off. Everything stacks up the way they were before.
19:56:51 Turn it back on, and I only have one thing in front, so it's a apple talked about nuts, and I thought this was really cool.
19:56:59 You can have virtual screens on your Mac already. but I found out from experience that a lot of people, if they only have one monitor, and they have 3 or 4 virtual screens.
19:57:08 They tended to forget what we're in the screens that they couldn't see, because they were off screen and with this way.
19:57:15 This is, I I think this is a a really useful way to do it.
19:57:19 You can also minimize things and put it down on the dock.
19:57:22 But again, when you minimize things and put them down in the Doc, it's not as useful because people would forget that they were down there.
19:57:30 I had this one person they've been writing a novel for oh, months and months and months!
19:57:36 And they were real proud, because the previous day they had written a new entire new chapter.
19:57:41 3,000 words, but then they couldn't find their document well, they had minimized it in the dock, and they just couldn't find it.
19:57:48 But it was. it was just hiding down on the dock.
19:57:53 And this is a a much more elegant way of of
19:57:57 Keeping track of that, and I gotta stop sharing and ask if there are questions.
19:58:04 There are lots of things about Ventura that I could talk about for a long time.
19:58:10 But yeah, I have a question. So I have Monterey or whatever.
19:58:15 So do I just go into software, update press the button, or do I have to worry about it and agonizing
19:58:22 I I would not worry or agonize about it. I will.
19:58:26 There are some things that I I went to encourage people to always use the latest and greatest, because it's it's safest way to use your Mac.
19:58:36 But some things that could be an issue I had a friend who she's an artist lives in Indiana.
19:58:42 She had this ancient scanner and when she updated when I say ancient it they stacked like 2,006, and how she managed to even get it to work with Macos 10 I don't know ventura she couldn't
19:58:58 see it anymore, and if I had been in indiana and and actually could physically play with it, I might have been able to get it to work.
19:59:09 But she decided that after right, almost 18 years, that it was time to get a new scanner.
19:59:15 And and and she said she said, You know I just hate to waste it last year.
19:59:21 How much did you pay for it? $400 it's difficult to even find a scanner that costs $400 anymore.
19:59:29 So it's been a while since she had it but If you have a if have an old piece of equipment like an old printer and old scanner that might be an issue.
19:59:39 If you have adobe programs, adobe, acrobat photoshop, So on and so forth.
19:59:48 You might want to make sure that they are compatible with with ventura!
19:59:55 Adobe's usually a little slow on updating these things
20:00:01 And I have a whole bunch of adobe software and I didn't have any problem at all.
20:00:07 But I have another artist friend who was very upset that this one feature in photoshop wasn't working correctly, and I asked her what it was she did, and she told me in my eyes laced over and I
20:00:18 said, i'm sorry that doesn't work. but I have no idea even what she was talking about. just talking to foreign language for me.
20:00:25 I had no trouble at all but you can have if you have a if you have an old version of office, it may not work with ventura but if it wouldn't work with Monterey, either.
20:00:37 So if your Microsoft Office works with monterey it'll work with Ventura most of the pretty much.
20:00:45 Everything was transparent. A couple of things to note when you upgrade an operating system.
20:00:51 Apple rebuilds your email database.
20:00:54 So just plan on email, taking possibly hours and maybe days depending upon your Internet connection for the for it to rebuild it.
20:01:04 You can still use it. but it'll just seem slow it'll rebuild your new it'll rebuild your photos database, because I among other things that's offering this new duplicates
20:01:14 feature. So just expect some of that stuff to take longer I really didn't pay any attention, because I upgraded it late at night, and I forgot that i'd updated and went to use my machine the next morning and I
20:01:28 thought Wow, this is different. but I really didn't I really didn't have any problems at all great thank you.
20:01:41 I think the only computer we have that hasn't been updated is Kathleen's and that's not because I was avoiding It's just because she forgot to tell me to upgrade it it's my job to
20:01:53 update computers around here
20:01:59 She said, damn skipping She has a PHD.
20:02:05 In this, and she decides that you know she'll do the complicated stuff, the simple stuff I do any other questions.
20:02:15 How do you blur your screen? Oh, with then
20:02:22 I can actually Sh! I think right be able to do that.
20:02:26 If I go into I just lost you again. Oh, you just lost me again I just lost my
20:02:35 My zoom Well, I can hear you so it's there
20:02:46 If you go to zoom preferences. good!
20:02:52 What is it called backgrounds, backgrounds, and effects. One of the effects is blur, and if you click on blur, then you have blur, you can have no background draw, in which case it shows you all the junk behind me blur
20:03:06 blur, is it or I can go with San Francisco or whatever that is, or that's what it looks outside my house right now.
20:03:19 Okay, Good. thanks. it's so weird soon by the way this doesn't work.
20:03:31 If you're using zoom via browser you actually have to have the zoom app so if you're using it with a browser, it doesn't do that I I forgot to answer one of the questions anything
20:03:42 you want to do to prepare to move to Ventura?
20:03:46 Several things I would do. I would implement out your junk mail from email, because there's no point in upgrading your junk mail.
20:03:55 Why waste your computer's time with that I would empty your trash?
20:03:57 Because there's no point in indexing the trash and you trash can. if you have old applications that you haven't used in like 20 years, I would think about getting rid of them and i'll show you a way to do
20:04:11 that i'm gonna share my screen again. if I go into my applications.
20:04:20 I I need my where's my distract Oh, there you are, if I go into applications, these are all the applications on my computer.
20:04:31 If you say date modified the date modified means it's the last time that piece of software was updated. And this Actually, my stuff is fairly up recent.
20:04:43 But a lot of people. They might have things that were they downloaded from some place in 2,014.
20:04:49 Do you really need that thing that you downloaded in 2,014?
20:04:53 The oldest thing I have on my computer apparently dates to October 20, first, 2021.
20:04:59 So my stuff is fairly hurt recent. but a lot of people.
20:05:04 They have just stuff that they've been carrying around on their machine for decades.
20:05:08 When I upgraded kathleen's laptop 3 or 4 years ago, she was switching out a to a new laptop.
20:05:21 I found that she was still using She still had a copy of Norton Utilities on her machine from 1,994.
20:05:26 It wasn't useful. it hadn't been activated it was just taking up space, but it was still on a computer from 1994.
20:05:33 So I, you know, got rid of a bunch of that and she had said she wanted a larger, hard drive, and she ended up with about 200 gigs worth of empty space that she didn't have prior to that so she thought if
20:05:47 she was almost full, and she ended up with a computer was more than half empty by the time I got rid of the things like that.
20:05:58 But empty out your junk mail empty out to your trash.
20:06:05 Get rid of old apples and and the reason Why, It'll you can upgrade with all this stuff there.
20:06:13 But the Mac will index all of that and indexing trash and indexing jumped mail is not a good use of your computer's time.
20:06:22 So use it as a kind of spring house cleaning, please, spring house cleaning and November.
20:06:30 One more thing I wanted, I should mention Ventura is like 5Β GB in size.
20:06:37 If you have a slow Internet connection, just plan on. do this.
20:06:44 Before you go to bed. just set it up to download and install it, and then go to bed.
20:06:51 Because once it went. it's starting to download the rest of It's pretty much automatic it's not gonna ask for your attention.
20:06:57 It's not like windows where you thought you updated windows, and then you go by the next morning.
20:07:04 You say now? are you ready to download it? And you think you already told it to do that?
20:07:08 And then I've got another update now apple doesn't do That Any other questions can I ask you.
20:07:17 Yeah, an iphone question. I just got a new I an iphone 13 a couple of weeks, and as soon as I got that I was no longer able to connect to carplay on my car and apparently it's a big problem for
20:07:36 a lot of people. I b our phone 13 or 1413 I have an iphone 13.
20:07:43 I'd have haven't had any trouble at all But if it's a new phone, you do have to go into Carb, you have to go into your not carplay you have to go into the the cars software, and you have
20:07:56 to say that. Yes, this is a new bluetooth phone that it needs to talk to because it's a new phone.
20:08:06 It's not the old phone. So you have to actually tell the cars software, not carpet the cars, software. hey?
20:08:13 This is a new device. Talk to it yeah i've done that. But you know, normally, when you go into car, play on the phone, and you can go in there and pick the car.
20:08:23 It just it just it doesn't load anything doesn't load anything like there's no car to pick and I just spent hours already trying to Yeah, do you have multiple cars no I have one car
20:08:44 And it just will not recognize you Go to car play and it'll go, you know.
20:08:50 Select. These are the cars, you know. It was super reuforcer, I mean, it worked fine on my old iphone. 7.
20:08:56 No problem. And then I suddenly get an iphone 13. I cannot connect.
20:09:02 How old is the super room? 2,015, Huh! You might see if Superu had to update their software.
20:09:11 I know that with with Toyota. I had to update my Toyota software before it would work.
20:09:20 It was working with carplay, but it would just suddenly just forget that it was talking to it.
20:09:27 And I had to update the toyota software In other words, I don't think it's a problem with carpet.
20:09:30 This sounds like It's more an issue with supers software So then so then I go to my dealer and talk to them or something I would. I would first go on to Google and I type. in the you know car, play and the name and the model your car.
20:09:56 And see what what you see it's you do not have the capability of updating software yourself.
20:09:59 Because that's something that the dealers hold quite dear but this sounds more like a issue with the cars software.
20:10:07 I had to a friend who had a Mazda who had a similar problem.
20:10:10 He had a 2,014 Mazda, and that we, it actually came out before car play existed and his solutions.
20:10:22 The problem is that he have bought a honda, but
20:10:27 But it was the software on the car itself. Other questions. Yeah.
20:10:35 If I tried to download venture on my old ipad or my old Mac that's still got an intel chip.
20:10:44 I think it's too old. the Internet says this tool but if I can.
20:10:46 I try it, anyway. I mean it won't Mr.
20:10:53 Lockwood, who's a member of our group that I don't see him.
20:10:58 I didn't see him in here today. He came he showed me something that somebody has a software patch.
20:11:03 Oh, there you are, Mr. Lockwood. He somebody has a software patch that allows you to run more modern software on older machines.
20:11:13 I'm definitely not a fan of this because a it violates apple's license agreement, which is one issue, but the more important one is in order to install the new software you have to disable the security on
20:11:25 your old machine. so updating your computer with a more secure operating system by disabling all the security, not some of the security.
20:11:38 All the security on your existing machine is not a great idea.
20:11:40 And the other problem is that the your older machine? it is gonna have a slower processor, slower video card, so on, so forth.
20:11:48 So I just if it's not compatible with that machine I wouldn't try.
20:11:52 So I just need to buy a new laptop. yes, I will tell you that.
20:12:02 If you have an existing flat screen, monitor and keyboard.
20:12:08 The Mac Mini is less expensive than a laptop.
20:12:11 A lot of people buy Laptops because they say they don't take a much rich space, but a Mac Mini is about the size of a stack of Dvds.
20:12:18 They take up very little space they've really quite powerful. but you have to supply your own mouse your own keyboard.
20:12:26 You're a monitor, and if you want a webcam you have to have a webcam.
20:12:30 So it's it's not necessarily a huge savings and money.
20:12:36 But a Mac mini is a very powerful machine, and a lot of people overlook it as a as a possibility.
20:12:42 Laptops You're paying extra because it's got all that stuff built in, and also to make it light.
20:12:50 The engineering to do that is is expensive.
20:13:02 And then use your old, and use your old keyboard and mouse
20:13:16 A lot of people say. Well, it's only a 24 inch screen, and I need something bigger.
20:13:20 It's a really bright very dense 24 inch screen.
20:13:25 So don't I don't just because it's not physically large, doesn't mean you don't like it.
20:13:30 It's very fascinating just amazingly crisp display, and it's also cheaper than a laptop.
20:13:39 So it's worth looking at. the at the imac, one that one slight downer for the imac that the cell at Costco they sell the low end costco one as low in model which means it has a small amount of
20:13:53 storage, and it doesn't have as much ram if you want more ram and more storage.
20:13:58 You have to buy it from apple but I would definitely look at you know, if you have a laptop that you're replacing, ask yourself if you really need a laptop because a Mac mini, or on imac are really very
20:14:12 nice machines. Good. thanks. I have a question I just tried to go, and de delete an app that I haven't used for a lot of years, and it asks for the password and I don't know what the
20:14:32 password is it's the password you use to log into your machine.
20:14:36 It's not a password to the to the app log into the machine.
20:14:41 You are the admin user and it's asking for the admin password perfect.
20:14:45 Thank you. One last thing I want to share with you before we go because it, if you're talking about moving old apps, something that you might want to look into, and that is and application that is, free.
20:15:06 And it's called app cleaner and with app cleaner you drag the application here's your list of applications.
20:15:15 You drag one of them onto app cleaner like a bit defended, which is an anti virus thing.
20:15:21 You drag it onto. Yeah, because i'm using stage manager it doesn't want me to drag it on there, so i'll turn it off.
20:15:32 And I need to close some of this stuff
20:15:40 Don't say this is why stage manager is handy Because you've got all this stuff cluttering up your desktop when I drag this bit cleaner onto my app cleaner?
20:15:56 It looks where everything is stored on, where all of the stuff from bit cleaner stored on my drive.
20:16:03 So, instead of just getting rid of it out of the applications folder, it looks inside of other.
20:16:07 The directories where parts of bit cleaner are stored, and it offers to get rid of that too.
20:16:14 I really highly recommend app cleaner it's a free program and in order to find it.
20:16:20 You go into Google and you type app cleaner and then say, Mac, because there might be other applicators out there, and you come here.
20:16:34 It says it's available at free soft and you say that you want to download version 6 for mohammed right? Actually, it's not it's not updated for ventura but does make the difference.
20:16:51 We're gonna download this, anyway. you click on it says do you want to allow downloads, you say allow?
20:16:57 And you download app theater but it doesn't cost you anything at all.
20:17:00 It doesn't leave any leftovers when it Deletes programs, which is why I like it, and it's also got a really good price.
20:17:09 Nothing for next month, if kathleen and I We've been really busy, and it's Kathleen's clergy, and it's that time of year when clergy get really busy but if we have
20:17:25 time. We want to do a presentation on health applications for your phone, for your ipad, for your Mac for your watch.
20:17:37 Do a presentation on that, because you might decide for the holidays that you might want to get an apple watch, or something. that, among other things, will help you with your health.
20:17:48 We'll We'll plan on doing that in December, and she's going to be doing most of that because she's Dr.
20:17:57 Kathleen, and i'm not any questions Yes, yes, this is off the subject a little bit.
20:18:08 But what do you think about hide my app and what's?
20:18:12 What's the pros and cons of hide my app hi my ?
20:18:17 I had my email let me. Oh, hi! my email apple.
20:18:21 Does that? Because if you, when you register with a lot of sites, you have to give them your name.
20:18:27 Address phone number blood type with Mexican and I actually have email addresses for that, so that when I go to some place that I really don't care about through stuff, I have a Google address that I use with to track down hackers But it's
20:18:39 not my name. it's not my information and I use that address when somebody wants to have my name for to allow me to see their catalog prices.
20:18:51 Something like that. What hide my app does is it makes that part of apple mail so that you don't have to have multiple email addresses.
20:19:00 You just use your own, and when you go to this place and it wants to know your email address, the Mac will generate an email address to be used just with that site and it keeps track of it.
20:19:14 It still comes into your regular mailbox. but in their records your email addresses X, Y. Z.
20:19:20 L Kw: it's it's some piece of nonsense and it it. It hides your identity so that if they have a data breach and they get your email address and phone number the email address and the phone number and and your local
20:19:35 address that all of that could be garbage just stuff that you use.
20:19:39 Use the post office, you know. 240 south sunny side swim, Washington.
20:19:44 That's your address and this phony email address and give it information as your phone number and that way.
20:19:52 If they have a data breach it doesn't hurt you this isn't for things where you actually spend money.
20:19:56 So you know Sears is gonna want your to see your still exist.
20:20:01 But vendors that you actually deal business with your.
20:20:04 You want to give him a legit things but for things like my mother subscribed to all of these clothing catalogs.
20:20:11 They didn't really need all that they just wanted stuff that they could market things to her.
20:20:16 So you say, hide my email address and that way they'll spare this fake email address, and you can just say everything from this address.
20:20:23 Just send it directly to junk and that way you don't have to deal with it. And if they have a data breach, they get nothing useful.
20:20:33 Okay, I I did that with the I signed up for a webinar, and I thought, oh, I'll do that.
20:20:38 Well, then it screwed everything up and they didn't recognize me, and I couldn't get for things where your identity is important.
20:20:49 You know you want to use a a real account name with the Irs and with your bank and things like that.
20:20:54 But but for things like Etsy is running a free contest to get a boat that has a crochet cover.
20:21:04 Why anyone would want that. I don't know but say you want to sign up for that.
20:21:08 But you don't want to get the rest of the etsy advertising.
20:21:10 Then you use one of these, hide my email and it signs up.
20:21:14 And if you win the contest great, and if you don't then you can just delete that fake email address, and you won't get any more.
20:21:21 Email. Okay, Thank you. Any questions. Okay, Thank you so much. Thank you.

Revised books on Ventura, iOS 16, and more

This is a short reminder that SMUG members can buy books at a 30% discount using the SMUG discount code, posted on the News discussion board, https://strait-mac.org/discussion-topics/take-control-books-discount-for-smug-members/

I mention this because Take Control Books has just released revised versions of four books,

Apple TV

New version of book on Apple TV.

iOS 16 and iPadOS 16

New version of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 book

macOS 13 Ventura

and a rather complex subject involving many apps across several devices,

macOS Media Apps

If you have purchased an earlier version of any of these books, you can log into the Take Control site and download the update, for free. If you don’t have a previous version, you can go to the site, buy the book or books at a discount, and start reading the books immediately.

A note on format: Take Control offers books in PDF, ePub, and Kindle (Mobi) formats. I recommend ePub, as this is the format used by Apple for iBooks on the Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Recent versions of Amazon Kindle also accept ePub.

Amazon, for reasons unknown to mere mortals, is dropping support for Mobi on Kindle. This is somewhat nuanced and difficult to explain, but generally speaking, ePub seems to be the way to go.

PDF documents are not recommended. They tend to be larger, and have fixed page dimensions, which make them almost impossible to read on an iPhone, and difficult even on an iPad. Stick to ePub.

Questions and Answers

For our October meeting, we had no planned program, but instead an extended Question and Answer (Q&A) session on almost anything concerning Macs, iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, etc. And we recorded it:

For a larger view, click on the YouTube logo.

URLs of items mentioned in the meeting:

Take Control Books: https://www.takecontrolbooks.com/

A discount code for Take Control Books is posted on the Discussion Boards.

Google begs Apple to change Messages: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2022/08/new-google-site-begs-apple-for-mercy-in-messaging-war/

Good luck with that.

Guide to Apple TV+: https://9to5mac.com/2022/10/14/apple-tv-plus-tv-shows-movies-guide/

This is exceptional: short, capsule summaries of the series or movies, complete with a video clip or trailer.

Use your iPhone as a white noise generator: https://www.theverge.com/23131327/how-to-iphone-white-noise-background-sounds-ios-15

Hidden in plain sight.

Notes from the meeting will follow.

Generic Apple Event

Apple has announced they are having an Apple Event on September 7, starting at 10 a.m. PT. Unlike previous streamed events, there is no special phrase or graphic to hint at what is to come. Instead, you get this sparkling star cluster,

Apple event star cluster
An apple-shaped star cluster, or possibly a black hole. Hard to tell.

Presumably, the event will be the usual quarterly announcement of Apple iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches. But the lack of graphical and textual hints is something of a mystery. Maybe this is an unreleased photo of some section of the universe, captured with the James Webb space telescope. Maybe it is the patterned formed by throwing darts at an Apple sticker. Maybe it is a time-lapse aerial photo of an autonomously driven Apple car driving around the Cupertino campus.

You can stream the event on September 7 and find out.

Apple WWDC22 announced

WWDC is short for World Wide Developer Conference, and the 2022 edition will be virtual, starting with a keynote at 10 a.m. Pacific Time on June 6.

While the Developer Conference is aimed at programmers for the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Macintosh, HomePod, etc., the opening keynote usually generates quite a bit of news with short presentations on where Apple is in the marketplace and some announcements of new and different things. Plus: there are demos of new technologies, with a random game or two thrown in.

It is free: https://developer.apple.com/wwdc22/

WWDC22 logo

California Streaming, September 14

Apple will have a live, virtual event on September 14 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time. You can read about it on Apple’s site, which says nothing at all:

https://www.apple.com/apple-events/?cid=CDM-USA-DM-P0021399-484205

Slightly more was released on Apple’s Twitter account,

It isn’t a very useful or informative tweet, but it is pretty.

What people think Apple will talk about are new iPhones and possibly Apple Watch models, plus new versions of iOS, iPadOS, WatchOS, and probably tvOS (for the Apple TV). Some commentators are speculating the event may also announce more Macs, but traditionally that has followed at a separate event in late September or early October.

Whatever they announce, we will probably talk about it at the SMUG meeting on September 21.

Apple event: Spring Loaded

Apple has sent out an invitation to attend, virtually, an event on April 20, at 10 a.m. PT. The only thing they’ve released is this logo,

Apple event: Spring loaded
Apple event: April 20, 2021

which is obviously designed to look like a spring coiled into something similar to the Apple logo.

There is also a link to a page on Apple’s website,

https://www.apple.com/apple-events/

which says nothing at all, other than inviting you to stop by on April 20 at 10 a.m.

Speculation

  • A new iPad Pro. The current iPad Pro has face recognition, several cameras, a nifty pen (that they call a Pencil and you have to pay extra to get it, but it is nifty), speech synthesis, lots of storage and RAM, etc. There isn’t much left to add except possibly: it hovers in the air! it floats in the water! you can play 3D games on it, just like in the first Star Wars movie! (Wookie not included.)
  • A new iPad mini. The iPad mini falls in a useful space between the size of an iPhone and the size of an iPad. The mini is just about the size and weight of a paperback book, and I used one of the earlier iPad minis as my reading library of choice for years.
  • Air Tags. The Find My app included on the Mac, iPhone and iPad was recently modified with a new option to find “Items.” This is sort of spelled out on an Apple documentation page, https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT211331 — except that Apple (so far) has no tags or widgets that use this capability. Presumably, third-party suppliers will make such tags or widgets, but Apple might, too.
  • A new Apple TV. While the Apple TV is quite spiffy, the Year of COVID has revealed that it could be more. Maybe.
  • New Macs. So far, three computers with Apple Silicon CPUs have been released, the new Mac mini, one MacBook Pro, and a new MacBook Air. But it would make sense to add some larger MacBook Pros and iMacs and whatnot.
  • Apple Aircar. For years, industry pundits have been talking about a forthcoming Apple Car. But this is Apple; I’ve been predicting an Apple Aircar. It will fly through the air with the greatest of ease, and park in a standard driveway, no airport required. It will run on batteries, and can be recharged using a USB-C charging cable. True, it takes about a day to recharge unless you get the optional charging station. For some reason, it also offers the Apple Pencil as an option.

The Strait Macintosh User Group will meet that evening, and we will probably gossip about what was presented.

March 2021: TextEdit and Preview

Notes by Kathleen Charters

The March 2021 focused on two essential but overlooked utilities on the Mac, TextEdit and Preview. But before we got to that, we had β€”

Q&A

Q: Why do I get an error message that my drive is disconnected when it is still connected?

A: I’m guessing you have a USB drive that you bought from Costco or off Amazon or Best Buy or something. These drives are great as Time Machine backup drives, but they are not top-of-the-line drives; they usually have a one-year warranty rather than a multi-year warranty, and were not burned-in at the factory to make sure they work properly. Essentially, the consumer does the manufacturer’s quality control: if the drive works, great! If it doesn’t, they’ll replace it.

These drives are not designed to be left on all the time. If the computer goes to sleep, the drive goes to sleep, without any hardware or software support to wake it up again when the computer wakes up. From the computer’s point of view, the drive was disconnected, and your Mac puts up a scary message. This isn’t really a problem if the drive is used as a Time Machine backup drive.

In contrast, I have three RAIDS with a total of 12 drives in them. These are “enterprise” drives, designed to be left on all the time, and they come with five-year warranties. They are mounted in cases designed for the purpose, and the cases tell the drive when the computer goes to sleep, and when it wakes up.

Q: If Time Machine backs up everything, continuously, won’t the backup drive fill up quickly?

A: Time Machine backs up every hour, and while it does back up everything, it does a “differential” backup, backing up things that are changed or new. When you do the first Time Machine backup, it takes a long time, because everything is new, but after that, only new or changed files are added, and backups are quite quick.

Q: Should I have Time Machine backup to two different drives and alternate them?

A: That sounds like you are trying to do an archive rather than a backup. A backup is just that: a backup of everything, including things you forgot to backup. An archive is a snapshot of everything that is then removed from proximity to the computer and stored somewhere else. The whole point of an archive is to have something stored elsewhere β€” a relative’s house, a bank safe deposit box β€” so that if something happens, you will have a copy of whatever was stored on the archive.

A backup drive should be connected to your computer at all times. An archive should be disconnected and stored apart from your computer.

It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of having backups or archives. A recent poll asked 18-to-30-year-olds which would be more traumatic: getting dumped by a significant other or losing their phone? Most people said: losing their phone. The phone has contacts for everyone they care about, it has photos of vacations and momentous events, it has apps for banking and dating and games to play in boring meetings. One of my relatives lost a phone, and with it, all their photos of their children. They’d never backed them up, and suddenly, they were gone.

A backup is to rescue you from an unanticipated event, such as a hard drive crash or, if you have a laptop, the theft or loss of your laptop. An archive is a place where you store 13 years of photos of your children.

Do not put your Time Machine backup and your archive on the same drive. Not only should these be on separate media, but ideally the media should be kept in different locations. I, for example, save my Time Machine backups to a drive on an Apple Time Capsule, but I save archives on bare hard drives I insert into a “drive toaster,” such as the NewerTech Voyager drive dock.

Q: Do you need to “refresh” your drives to prevent them from freezing up?

A: Older drives from a decade or more ago had “stiction” problems caused by the lubricant in the drives, but that really isn’t an issue today. What is a problem is changing formats. For example, the original Macintosh image format was PICT, which cannot be used by modern Macs. You need to find a utility (there are several) to convert older PICT images into modern JPEG images. Similarly, older drives were formatted using HFS; Apple’s current drive format is APFS. There will come a day when future Macs probably will not be able to read HFS-formatted drives.

An extreme example: the 1890 census of the United States was stored on Hollerith cards, the precursor to computer cards. Various codes were punched on the cards, which could then be tabulated on mechanical tabulators. In later years, when computers had been invented, there was a problem: how do you get this old, paper-card data into a modern computer? Special card readers were developed, and special programs developed, to read in and reformat the data on the cards so they could be stored in modern computer databases.

Q: Why would you convert PICT images to JPEG? Why not TIFF?

A: TIFF files are much larger. If your iPhone took photos and stored them in TIFF, you’d run out of storage much faster. JPEG was specifically developed specifically for photographs. TIFF was developed by Aldus Corporation (later purchased by Adobe) for storing images scanned by image scanners, for use in desktop publishing.

Q: What do you think of BackBlaze?

A: Backblaze is an excellent service. For a monthly subscription fee, Backblaze will continuously back up your computer to their cloud service. The backup process is encrypted, as is the backup itself. Since the cloud service is not in your home or office, it also is essentially an offsite archive, too. When we [Kathleen and Lawrence] moved cross-country, we first backed up our data to Backblaze, so that even if our computers didn’t survive the move, our data would still be available.

Club business

President Sabrina Davis asked if there were any new people; no one indicated they were new.

Sabrina asked members, who haven’t paid their annual membership dues, to please send in dues to Treasurer Annalis Schutzmann. The address is on the Contact page.

Vice President Lawrence Charters purged 185 inactive contacts from the club database (out of over 400 contacts). Most of those purged were “inherited” from older club records, and consisted of individuals who have not attended meetings since October 2018. Purging the list will help with notifications to the group, as Google tends to limit accounts to no more than 300 messages a day as an anti-spam measure.

Presentation: Preview

For the March meeting, Vice President Lawrence Charters demonstrated Preview and TextEdit on an Apple Silicon-based Mac mini. Preview and TextEdit have been on every Mac since Mac OS X was introduced, and date back to even before then, as they were developed for the NeXT computer. (NeXT was purchased by Apple and the NeXT operating system is the foundation of macOS). Since these are utilities that everyone already has, it is worth knowing what they can do.

To start, Lawrence used Preview to scan something on a printer. The printer – an inexpensive Hewlett-Packard all-in-one printer with scanner, fax, and printer – has a flatbed scanner built into the top of the printer. Lawrence made a point of never installing the software supplied by Hewlett-Packard. Instead, the printer was “installed” by using the macOS System Preferences “Printers&Scanners” pane to “see” the printer on the network, and configure drivers for the printer using settings already bundled with macOS Big Sur.

When Preview was launched, it requested a file to open. The request was canceled. Lawrence then went to Preview’s File menu, selected Import from Scanner, selected the printer (scanner), and scanned an old photograph, taken by his grandmother, of the original Tacoma Narrows bridge during construction.

An 82 year old small (2 inches across) snapshot of the original Tacoma Narrows bridge during its construction. Photo by Viola Lemley.
An 82 year old small (2 inches across) snapshot of the original Tacoma Narrows bridge during its construction. This was taken from Tacoma, looking across the Narrows to Kitsap. Photo by Viola Lemley. The photograph was scanned on an HP All-In-One printer/scanner/fax purchased at Office Depot. The only software used to scan it into macOS was Preview.

When used to scan things, Preview is quite flexible. It can scan in color or black and white, can save the scanned image as a TIFF, JPEG, JPEG 2000 [don’t use this], PNG, or PDF. If the scanner supports it, you can select the resolution of the scan, and the size of the scanned object. If the scanner has a document feeder, you can scan multiple items and combine them in a single document, or save them as separate files. You can draw a selection box around what you want scanned. A preview of the scan shows up in Preview, which is perfectly fine for a program called Preview.

Why not use the printing and scanning software that comes with the printer (or scanner)? With rare exceptions, whatever ships with the printer is immediately out of date, and the manufacturers are not inclined to update the software. Manufacturers make their money selling printers and scanners, not in updating the software for them. Some scanners, such as the Fujitsu document scanners, do have special features worth using, but for most users, Preview provides what users need, and Apple updates Preview (and the print drivers) on a regular basis.

Once scanned, Preview has a range of tools to edit and enhance the scanned image. Preview allows you to crop the image, rotate the image, add labels to the image, adjust color and contrast, add text, and a number of other functions. Is it equivalent to Adobe’s Photoshop? No. But it comes with your Mac, and Photoshop users rarely do things that can’t be done with Preview.

Preview is also handy for converting images between formats. Load an image, and you can export it as: TIFF, PNG, PDF, OpenEXR (used for high end motion picture purposes), JPEG-2000 (don’t use), JPEG, and HEIC. HEIC was developed by Apple, and is short for High Efficiency Image File Format. HEIC files take up only half as much room as JPEG images, with better image fidelity, but β€” and this is an important but β€” if you send an HEIC image to a Windows user or a user with an older Mac, they probably won’t be able to see it.

In addition to image conversion, another good use for Preview is cropping and shrinking images that you send via email. Most users don’t really want a 20 MB image file to show up unexpectedly in email. Using Preview, you can reduce it down to under a megabyte β€” or less. Just open the image, go to the Tools menu, select Adjust Size, reduce the height and width to less than a thousand pixels, and then email the image.

Another absolutely vital use for Preview: rotating images. It can rotate photographs, and also PDFs, which comes in handy far more often than you might imagine.

Q: Where do you find Preview?

A: Preview is in your Applications folder. Just list everything alphabetically, and it is easy to find. It is highly recommended that you put it in your Dock for easy access.

Q: Do you need to use Preview if you have Photos?

A: Photos has much more extensive image editing tools, but it is also more complicated. When you launch it, it also opens up a database of all your photos, which may be more distraction than help. For simple tasks, Preview is more than adequate, and fast.

Q: Isn’t Photos somewhat limited?

A: When Photos came out, I didn’t pay much attention to it; I was using Aperture, which was Apple’s high-end photo management and editing program. But Apple abandoned Aperture, and at the same time expanded what Photos can do. Photos has the ability, among other things, to convert Aperture databases to Photos databases. As a result, I no longer use Aperture. (Aperture is also 32-bit, and won’t work on any Mac operating system after Mojave, macOS 10.14.

Q: Do you use Photos?

A: Not much. I tend to use Adobe Lightroom, which costs money, mostly because I have well over 100,000 photos.

Q: What about Adobe Photoshop Elements?

A: Haven’t used Photoshop Elements in possibly 20 years. But it does support 85-90% of the functions that most people use in Photoshop. It lacks the sophisticated image management of Apple’s Photos.

Q: Do you use a photo editor on your iPhone?

A: Not really. If I do, it is to make small cartoons, and I use a program from an Australian company called Comic Life 3. Most of my “serious” editing I do on my Mac using Adobe Lightroom. Or photoshop.

For more information on management of images (which is beyond the scope of the meeting), check out these two books:

[Photos may be the subject of a future meeting, since it is on every Mac, iPhone and iPad.]

Presentation: TextEdit

For the next often-overlooked utility, we looked at TextEdit. Available on every Mac since macOS was introduced in 2001 (and earlier on NeXT), TextEdit is a surprisingly powerful and versatile text editor. A “text editor” differs from a “word processor” in that a word processor can do almost anything when it comes to writing: you can change margins, page sizes, fonts, writing in multiple languages, add images and photos, and — pretty much anything. But a text editor is good for: text.

Since programming code is text-based, TextEdit started out life as a code editor. But not that many people write programs. On the other hand, almost everyone needs to read text at some point, and if you click on a text document on your Mac, such as the “Read Me” files included with almost every program or system update, macOS will launch TextEdit. You’ve probably used TextEdit thousands of times, and not noticed.

TextEdit, like Preview, is located in your Applications folder. You can drag it down to your Dock for ease of access.

If you launch TextEdit, it will open up a prompt to open a file. Cancel that, and you can create a new, text document. Once upon a time, TextEdit documents had to be fairly simple, but today you can go to the Format menu and select Make Rich Text, and TextEdit will put up a menu bar that allows you to change fonts, margins, tabs, and a host of other things that look a lot like a word processor.

When you save a TextEdit file, you are given a choice of formats, and it is here that you begin to see TextEdit’s power as a text Swiss Army knife: it can open and save a wide variety of formats.

TextEdit can save in Rich Text Format (RTF), Rich Text Format with embedded images (attachments), in HTML (formatted web pages), Web Archive documents (essentially stand-alone web pages), OpenDocument Text (used by some open-source word processing programs), and three different versions of Microsoft Word files, dating back more than 20 years.

Because it is included in every copy of macOS, TextEdit is a powerful, worthwhile tool. You can use it to open up Word documents, even if you don’t own Microsoft Word. You can use it to write programming code, or create a web page.

A separate menu option also allows you to export a document as a PDF file. TextEdit doesn’t read PDFs, however; for that, use Preview, as mentioned above.

Because TextEdit is a text editor and not a word processor, don’t expect to be able to do fancy text formatting. When you open a Word document in TextEdit, the formatting may often look quite strange.

Like many other programs on the Mac, TextEdit allows your Mac to turn the text in your document into speech. Open a document, go to the Edit menu, scroll down to Speech, and select Start Speaking. You use the same menu item to stop speaking.

TextEdit (or Safari, or Apple Mail, or almost any other Apple program) can convert text to speech, and read your document, or email, or shopping list, aloud. This is an often overlooked capability.

A brief aside

While the presentation was on Preview and TextEdit, speech is an important capability on the Mac. The very first Mac, during its introduction in 1984, spoke to the assembled reporters. Speech synthesis has advanced tremendously since that time (think of what you can do with Siri, on your Mac or iPhone or iPad or HomePod), but it is still overlooked as a tool.

If you are busy and want to read something, but your hands are busy doing something else, having TextEdit (or Apple Mail, or Safari, or almost any Apple program) speak whatever is showing on the screen can come in handy. You can change the default voice by going to System Preferences > Accessibility > Spoken Content and select a different voice from the menu, or even download additional voices to meet your needs. You can also change the speaking rate, have your Mac speak announcements, or a number of other options.

This is a demo of the speech capabilities shown at the meeting. Because Lawrence couldn’t figure out how to send the synthesized voice over Zoom, meeting participants couldn’t hear it at the time:

This video not only has the Mac speak a short page of text in a Scottish accent, it also tells you how the video was created.

You can also use the Mac’s Accessibility settings for zooming windows (enlarging or shrinking what is on the screen), and for dictation. Almost every Apple program that accepts text will also take dictation.

Back to TextEdit

While not demonstrated at the meeting, TextEdit can also import things from your iPhone or iPad, including images and scanned text.

Q: What is the equivalent of TextEdit on an iPhone or iPad?

A: There is no direct equivalent, though I use Notes for writing text. Notes has the added capability of automatically syncing Notes to iCloud, making them easy to pull up on your Mac.

Q: Can’t you do many of these things with Pages?

A: Pages comes with your Mac, which is nice (it used to cost money). And it is certainly more feature-rich, since it is a full-blown word processor, and it also comes on versions for your iPhone or iPad. But Pages documents can’t be read by anything except Pages, and the very flexibility of Pages makes it more complex to learn and use, and it takes longer to launch. TextEdit documents can be read by almost anything.

Next Month

When asked what to do next month, there were a number of suggestions:

  • Ways to have more advanced security on your Mac, such as two-factor authentication, different passwords for every purpose, password managers, etc.
  • A tour of the various System Preferences and what you can and should do with them.
  • Setting up a home network and showing how to get different devices to work together.
  • Demonstrate screen sharing.
  • Demonstrate how to use a VPN. (Lawrence isn’t keen on that, as setting up a Virtual Private Network is the antithesis of broadcasting your computer screen over Zoom).

The consensus was we would talk about some more advanced security measures that you can take with your Mac, on April 20.

One more thing…

Back when Steve Jobs was CEO of Apple, he was famous for adding a “One more thing…” to his keynote addresses. Often, these were new products or services that took people completely by surprise, leading to the birth of a new industry: see if you could “predict” what Jobs was going to announce by tracking contracts for electronic components, or manufacturing and shipping contracts.

In the Year of the Pandemic 2020, Apple is reviving this tradition with One more thing, scheduled for Tuesday, November 10, at 10 a.m. Pacific Time. (Note to Apple publicists: just call it Pacific Time. Assume your recipients have electronics that can adjust automatically between Daylight Savings Time and Standard Time, and just call it: Pacific Time.)

Exactly what Apple will announce is not known at this time. However β€” everyone will be shocked, stunned, and amazed if Apple doesn’t introduce one or more computers based on their Apple Silicon processors, a break from the Intel processors they’ve been using since 2006.

Speculation is leaning toward the introduction of one or more laptops, as the low-power, low-heat processors would bring obvious benefits to battery-powered laptops. But a few of us, at least, would like to see an 🍎Si-powered Mac mini that would allow you to conduct low-cost evil software experiments with the new macOS 11, Big Sur.

Oh, yeah: Apple will probably announce the release of macOS 11 Big Sur.

Free book on Zoom

Take Control Books, a highly recommended vendor of electronic books on “things computer,” and “things Macintosh” in particular, has a free new book: Take Control of Zoom Essentials. Given how much of life this year is spent in Zoom conferencing, this book is highly recommended.

It is essentially a condensed version of their longer, more comprehensive (and not free) book, Take Control of Zoom. The longer book is far more detailed, and recommended for those who want to host Zoom meetings, or use Zoom for teaching, consulting, or business.

Some of the topics covered in Take Control of Zoom Essentials:

  • What Zoom Can Do
  • Get Set Up with Zoom
  • Upgrade Audio and Video
  • Improve Your Video
  • Look Sharp
  • Identify Yourself
  • Join a Meeting
  • Adjust the View
  • View a Shared Screen
  • Interact in a Meeting
  • Stay Safe in a Meeting
  • Share Your Screen

The book is available in PDF (Acrobat), ePub (Apple Books), and Mobi (Kindle) formats. And — free.