#145 New Macs for my In-laws, SecuritySpy, Twhirl, jpeg vs. tiff in HDR, GIMP for Leopard

I survived 3 days without internet access on a cruise, setting up my in-laws new iMac and how I did syncing between the iMac and their MacBook, SecuritySpy review by Paul Burns (securityspy.com), Honda Bob does a review of InfoSelect 9.0 by miclog.com, and Twhirl review by Elliott from twhirl.org/. In Chit Chat Across the Pond, Bart and I discuss one LAST time HDR with an analysis of jpeg vs. jpeg2000 vs. tiff because of some concerns Frank Jones brought up. Bart’s scientific experimental results are available at
bartbusschots.ie/blog/?p=744. Bart’s RDP instructions for Windows are at bartbusschots.ie/blog/?p=748 and Bart finds a full binary download of the GIMP for Leoapard at http://darwingimp.sourceforge.net/

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[tags]Macintosh, HDR, security, database, windows, RDP, jpeg, jpeg2000, tiff[/tags]
Today is Sunday April 13th, 2008, and this is show number 145. Well, I survived 3 entire days with no internet access, while suffering on a cruise to Mexico. Here’s the deal – I never wanted to go on a typical cruise – I don’t like being with a lot of people, I don’t like over eating, I don’t gamble, I don’t like party games, I don’t like loud noises, and I don’t like shows – which is pretty much the definition of cruising. However, this was a special trip – a bunch of parents of our track team kids graduating in 2009 decided to take the kids on a cruise – so there were 30 of us traveling as one continuous party for 3 days. We had a GREAT time, but of course I overate, gambled, and went to shows. I think it was fun because we could always go to the pool bar and find a party in progress, and the kids all had fun together and pretty much left us alone. But there was no internet access (for reasonable prices anyway) for three days. So no email, no chatting online with Bart or avoiding listener James, no Twittering or reading Tweets, no random sampling of fun freeware programs from the web – it was GRUESOME I tell you! I survived, but just barely.

My in-law’s 2nd Mac
You may recall about six months ago my father-in-law announced that he was ready to dump Windows and switch to the Mac. He’s an avid reader of the Wall Street Journal and he reads Walter Mossberg’s tech column (which is strange to think about because he’s not a tech guy at all). Well anyway, he and my mother-in-law have been using the MacBook we bought and loving it, but still using their 8 year old Dell running Windows ’98. He just called me a bit ago to announce that he’s ready to buy an iMac to replace the Dell completely. Off to the Apple store we went and bought him a shiny new 20″ iMac. Man, that is a beautiful piece of equipment there! I’ve played with them from time to time in the store, but it wasn’t until we brought it home to my house that I really got a feel for the elegance of the machine.

He left it with me for a couple of weeks so I could configure it with all his stuff, which was a mean thing to do because now I want to keep it! It’s like loaning someone a puppy – who’s going to want give it back??? Anyway, he wanted some tricky stuff done which I haven’t really figured a perfect solution for. He wants all of his documents to exist on both machines at the same time. That’s a bit tricky, but synching software is supposed to do the trick. I tried out Chronosynch which was recommended by David Sparks of macsparky.com during Episode 37 of the MacRoundtable, but it seemed clunky and geeky enough to me that I think he’d get lost if anything didn’t go perfectly with it. I think it might be a good solution for me personally, but remote support of it with so little time to explain it to him seemed a recipe for disaster. I thought about using .mac to sync his files, but they’re mostly financial in nature so I’m not sure having his stuff out in the cloud was a great idea, and I also don’t think he’d be wild about spending another $100.

I finally settled on a solution that’s kind of obvious – he bought Leopard for the MacBook, so I just used the sharing function to put a folder on the MacBook desktop that points to the iMac folders where he keeps his data. the iMac will have to be on, and the MacBook will have to be in the house for this to work, so it’s not a perfect solution, but I kind of think not having his financial records floating around on a laptop would be a good thing anyway.

Next is my mother-in-law’s photos, and again thanks to the MacRoundtable discussion, I learned that iPhoto now has photo sharing. The photos will live on the MacBook, which will be my mother-in-law’s primary machine. then if she wants to play on the big machine, she will have to leave iPhoto up on the MacBook and waltz to the next table where the iMac is and she’ll have access to all her photos. Maybe some day I’ll have them set up with some fancy network attached storage, but for now I think this will be a simple and inexpensive solution for them.

As you may recall, some of the comedy that came from the initial migration of my father-in-law from the Dell to the MacBook came when we had to figure out how to move all of the files he’d created in the last 8 years. He had a zip drive on the Dell, which was useless. He didn’t have USB because it wasn’t invented yet, so a thumb drive was out. I suppose I could have spent a week or two trying to figure out how to do network sharing on Windows ’98 but that wasn’t too appealing. Finally Steve suggested we just email the files from the Dell to the MacBook. I scoffed at this suggestion because of how long it would take and some of the files would probably be too big to fit in an email, when Steve took me off into another room so we could speak confidentially – where he explained that my father-in-law only had 12 FILES!!! Can you believe that? 8 years, 12 files. Well, emailing worked just dandy.

Finally the subject of backups came up. We got my father-in-law a 1GB thumb drive which is more than enough, and since he has so few files, it goes quite quickly to just drag them all over every time. But now my mother-in-law has a new digital camera, so she has photos to think about. I mentioned this to my father-in-law and he said, “oh, those aren’t important!” I love my father-in-law for so many things, including his single minded focus on serious matters like finances. I gently suggested to him that the photos might not be important to HIM, but they very well might be to his wife.

I got him to buy a small 160GB external drive (very cool looking, red and shiny, forget who makes it) and I set up Time Machine on the MacBook so my mother-in-law will be covered. You know how much trouble I’ve had with Time Machine so far, but I’m giving it yet ANOTHER try. I think I may know why it doesn’t work for me. When I was setting it up for my mother-in-law I noticed the backup schedule. It does backups daily, and keeps those for 24 hours, daily backups are kept for a week, and then weekly’s until your drive gets full (Or something along those lines). Steve and I make pretty big files – him with video and me with audio. Imagine he’s working on a 50GB iMovie file. He plays with it for four hours on a Saturday. during that time, time Machine will have made FOUR copies of it, or 200GB in backups! If he does it for two days of the weekend, in less than two weeks he has completely filled his 500GB backup drive. so, it fails. again. Now it takes a wee bit longer for me to have Time Machine fill up and then fail, but I get there pretty rapidly too with my GarageBand files and AIFFs and all that. If anyone has any suggestions – maybe a hack where we can tell it to back up once a day instead of every hour, I’d sure love to hear about it.

Ok, when we left our in-laws they were deleriously happy – we even set them up on iChat so we can do screen sharing with them when they get stuck. My father-in-law is so cute – he makes labels for EVERYTHING, and I found the most adorable label in one of his drawers of his desk. It said, “Allison available 7-9pm weeknights and all day on weekends”! It’s like my posted office hours! Isn’t that adorable? I loved it.

On the way home, I had another fun Mac surprise, my sister-in-law (my brother’s wife) called to tell me that my niece’s PC just died and that she had decided to buy her an iMac! i got to be on the phone while we picked one out (a refurb from Apple, saving her $200). I told her that she’d better watch out, now two of her daughters have Macs, it could happen to her! she said, “I KNOW! I’m envious when I play on my daughter’s macbook, I’m jealous on my brother’s Mac, and then I went into the STORE!” I had an epiphany when she said that – you know about Steve Jobs’ reality distortion field, right? that’s where when you hear him talk in person you can’t help but run to the store and buy whatever he just talked about because it’s clearly the coolest thing EVER! If you manage to resist because, say your credit card is in your other pants, and you wait a few hours, you realize that he had convinced you that a display-less chewing gum pack-sized mp3 player would change your life. anyway, my epiphany came when I realized that I think he has reality field distortion TRANSMITTERS in the Apple stores! Doesn’t that make sense? You know how it is, you go in the store and your palms start to sweat, you get shortness of breath as you walk buy the 30″ Cinema display? I think I’m onto something. Anyway, I had a great weekend spending OTHER peoples’ money at Apple!

SecuritySpy Review
Paul Burns sent in a great review of SecuritySpy a couple of weeks ago, so I saved it up for this week when i figured I wouldn’t have enough time to create a lot of my own content! I hope you enjoy his review:

==========INSERT AUDIO===============

Gosh Paul – what a great review! I’ll go in reverse here – I can never hear often enough that someone loves the podcast! Praise like that will keep me going for weeks. People are so kind in their remarks, it’s really a joy to do this. I remember one guy once commenting in the forums complaining about the show, so I wrote back and suggested some other shows he might like better, and he wrote back, “no! I never miss an episode!” Go figure.

Back on topic, this was a great review (your audio was fantastic), sounds like an excellent product. i went out to securityspy.com and found that SecuritySpy costs $58.80 for single camera use, with options for multiple cameras.

Honda Bob
Honda Bob is my mechanic and my friend. You’ve heard me regale you with what a wonderful mechanic he is, but this week he decided it would be more fun if he sent in a software review! Yes, Honda Bob is a geek, and proud of it! My tag line is an “ever so slight Macintosh bias, so it’s good to have a Windows software review from time to time, and since Honda Bob is a Windows user, this will fit the bill. He’s got future plans for reviews so this is the first in a series! Here’s this week’s review:

“The first program I would like to discuss is called InfoSelect 9.0 by miclog.com. This is the database program that I have been using for about 15 years. I started out with version 3.0 and have subscribed to upgraded versions whenever they were available. Subscription rates are about $20 a year.

It’s an information storage program used to store everything from business cards, to pictures, to calendars and spreadsheets to just about any other information you wish to enter and store.
There is even a hot button next to the clock in lower right. Hit the transport button and the highlighted item is saved to a note in InfoSelect. This makes it very easy to save just about anything.

The opening interface is pretty straightforward. It has the usual menu items to navigate the program options. Speaking of options, this program has an extensive option list. Just about any facet of the program is capable of being modified. There are a number of examples that come in handy when trying to input some information that you are not sure where it should go.
Also included in the program is a calendar function. You can insert things like birthdays and anniversary’s, as well as repeating items you wish to keep track of.

The database function is my favorite. It is very easily created or modified to suit your particular needs. I have three databases right now that I access daily. One is the customer database where I keep all my customer information, such as address, vehicle description, phone numbers and even credit card information. Don’t worry, it’s also encrypted with DES encryption method. It can be upgraded to PGP encryption by downloading the encryption program at pgp1.com. No one sees my information unless I allow it. I am in the process of putting all the customer invoices on this database also. I will set it up to add, subtract, multiply or divide any set of figures. I will use it to total the customer invoice when I work on the car, before I print out the maintenance record for that particular vehicle.

Another database I use often is the paint color database for Honda powered cars. Each car has a unique paint code for the color of the paint. It’s very useful when purchasing touch up paint or for body shops to get the color just right. I didn’t realize that Honda has 50 different shades of RED.

The third database is one I use for trouble codes on Honda and Acura cars. There are about 150 different codes describing problems with cars. This database lets me quickly find the trouble code and what it means. The repair is then a matter of verifying the defect and replacing the defective part.

Speaking if finding things…this is by far the fastest search engine I have ever seen. When you bring up the search window, all the items are represented by a red dot. Just by typing characters in the search window, the red dots are eliminated until you find the particular items you are looking for. It will find any string of characters you type in if it is anywhere in the program.
The program also includes an E-mail server, but I am very satisfied with AOL, so I don’t use it.”

Well thanks Bob for sending that in, I had no idea you had such extensive database experience! and to the listeners, if you drive a Honda or an Acura, wish you had a geek for a mechanic so you’d be able to communicate with him, AND you live in the LA or Orange County areas, give Honda Bob a call at (562)531-2321 or shoot him an email at hdabob@aol.com.

Twhirl review by Elliott
Listener Elliott was intrigued enough by the Twitter client Twhirl to send in an audio review for us. Let’s listen in:

===========insert review===================

this is fantastic – I really appreciate you taking the time to do this Elliott. I really like your style of explaining what Twitter actually is for and why you like it. It’s really hard to explain Twitter to people – the way I describe it is that it’s like doing chat, but not to anyone in particular. People mostly look at me like I have two heads when I say that, and when i tell them that I follow other people, they say I’m just a stalker! There’s something oddly compelling about Twittering, and it’s very difficult to explain to people who haven’t ever tried it. You have a terrific voice and you have a great ability to explain things. I learned one really interesting thing from your review – I did not know you could search in Twhirl! I’m very honored to be considered a role model for you. (Twhirl is available at from twhirl.org/

By the way, there is some confusion on whether Twitterific costs $14.95 or not. The website definitely says you can buy it for $14.95, but people told me it was free, so I wrote to the developers and they explained that their e-commerce software doesn’t have the flexibility to explain that it’s $14.95 without ads but free with ads. makes them imply it costs money but if you want to use it without paying you get ads. After listening to your review, I started following you on Twitter! Thanks again, and any time you want to do another review I’d be glad to have it.

Chit Chat Across the Pond
HDR – promise this is the LAST episode of This Week in HDR”
* Frank Jonen wrote in challenging Bart’s move to compress the TIFF image down to a JPEG before processing
** Bart being an experimental physicist had to run some experiments – he determined that JPEG2000 is the sweet spot. read it here:
bartbusschots.ie/blog/?p=744

Accessing Windows with RDP:
Bart wrote up some simple instructions on how to RDP from a Mac into Windows:
bartbusschots.ie/blog/?p=748

GIMP For Leopard – the Easy Way (at last)
* Used to have to use Darwin Ports
* Binary distribution is now available for GIMP for Leopard
** “Wilber Loves Apple” – http://darwingimp.sourceforge.net/

That’s enough for this week – thanks for all your kind wishes about our vacation, it helped me survive living in meat space for 3 days without you! Last week I actually used ustream.tv to broadcast video live as I created the show. I did it kind of spur of the moment, so I Twittered about it right before hand, and a whole bunch of people came on to watch and chat live with me while I worked! It was really fun, and I got some requests to redo it this week, but I was a icky and sweaty because it was over 90 degrees in LA this week, so I decided not to do it. If you’re doing nothing around 5pm PST on Sunday nights, go over to ustream.tv and look up nosillacast and I might just be broadcasting. I also will Twitter about it right before I go live – you can follow me on Twitter as podfeet – just go to twitter.com/podfeet and click the follow button!

Please keep sending on all your emails with questions, suggestions, comments – even telling me when I’m wrong is a great way for me to learn. Send those emails to allison@podfeet.com. Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.

16 thoughts on “#145 New Macs for my In-laws, SecuritySpy, Twhirl, jpeg vs. tiff in HDR, GIMP for Leopard

  1. Max - April 14, 2008

    Were your audio settings different for this ep? I have to crank the Nano higher than usual. Of course, my earbuds could just be failing… 😉

  2. Max - April 14, 2008

    OK listening to you guys agonise over the new Preview (its always been one of the most useful small bundled app IMO) here’s a really good practical how-to from MacWorld – Preview’s hidden powers – http://www.macworld.com/article/132468/2008/04/workingmac2504.html

    HTH

  3. podfeet - April 14, 2008

    Max – audio is SO hard! I have been fighting some hiss, so i eliminated the iMic in my setup and I didn’t crank the gain on my voice as much, so when I mixed in all the audio files I had to bring them down a bit. That said though, I was very aware of the levels and thought it was REALLY loud at half volume. I’d love to hear from more people to see if they thought it was too quiet?

    and thanks for the article, I’ll have to check that out!
    Allison

  4. Jeff Miller - April 14, 2008

    The Mac Synergy GUI client is at
    http://www.altuit.com/webs/altuit2/SynergyOSX/default.htm

    Works great with a Mac/PC setup.

    This free software lets you manually set the backup schedule

    http://timesoftware.free.fr/timemachineeditor/

    Another idea when working with large files you are editing you can exclude that folder from being backed up by time machine. So if you create a working folder for some files you can avoid this problem.

  5. Daniel - April 14, 2008

    Something you might want to buy. Recently In Popular Mechanics, they had an article about Macs vs. Windows (they called it PC’s. I could write a long letter complaining about it to them that A Mac is a PC). They came to a conclusion that Macs have better performance. I just like Windows because I think Macs look ugly.

  6. podfeet - April 14, 2008

    I’ll have to pick up a copy of Popular Mechanics – interesting that they would be talking about PCs. PC magazine a while ago did some tests that showed the fastest PC out there was a Mac running windows! I think though that what makes the world go around is we each get to pick what we like best! thanks for letting me know about that article. the people who will really win are those who learn everything so they can play with it all. thanks for writing!

  7. podfeet - April 14, 2008

    Hey jeff – thanks also for the link to the Mac synergy GUI client, glad they finally came up with that. I’ll also be trying out TimeMachineEditor for sure. On the large file issue though, those are the ones i desperately WANT backed up – just not copy after copy of it hour after hour! Daily would be lovely, or even pushing “back up now” would be ok, but adding all these copies was killing the back up algorithm. i think Apple needs to do a couple of things here: a) let you set the schedule, b) make it get rid of the hourly and daily backups when the drive gets full, not just the weeklies so it doesn’t fail altogether. c) make it a bit more obvious what it IS backing up – I put TM on my mother-in-law’s machine with maybe 300 photos and 20 word/excel files, and TM says it’s backing up 30GB!!! I excluded apps and it went down to 20GB. No idea what the heck it’s backing up. Hey, this would have made a good blog post!

  8. chin - April 15, 2008

    Take a look at it. These are two good alternative to change time machine schedule.

    TimeMachine Scheduler: http://www.klieme.com/TimeMachineScheduler.html

    TimeMachineEditor: http://timesoftware.free.fr/timemachineeditor

  9. podfeet - April 15, 2008

    Cool Chin – looks like those are two that could work for me! I’ll be talking about these on the next show.

  10. Max - April 16, 2008

    I understand entirely what you say about audio being hard – I have often just wanted to edit out a small section and I haven’t found any Mac software that makes it as easy as it was back on XP with MP3DirectCut. Audacity? Garageband? far too complicated.

  11. podfeet - April 16, 2008

    you might want to try Quicktime Pro actually – it’s really easy to clip out sections, add two files together (even video). it’s $30 and as soon as you buy it they’ll come out with a new version you have to buy again. the only downside is you can’t see the waveform.

    I’ve been writing up an Audacity tutorial (for about a year!) to make it easier to understand, bug me to finish that!

  12. Max - April 16, 2008

    No sooner do we… than I find that VisualHub has a sibling just released – AudialHub. Aside from conversions it also has some editing capabilities and another wacky price $18.81. Given that VH is so good maybe this is the one for me – go review it Alison 😉

    http://techspansion.com/audialhub/

  13. Max - April 16, 2008

    OK apologies for the follow-up follow-up but those Techspansion guys are so funny – check out the reg codes on this page

    http://techspansion.com/audialhub/crossgrade.php

    Oh and for us VH owners the crossgrade price is just $14.41 ….

  14. podfeet - April 16, 2008

    I totally WILL review this! Just last week i said to Steve “you know what we need? Visual Hub but for audio!” I’m not kidding, we really talked about it!

  15. Adam - April 18, 2008

    Hey Allison, just want to thank you on the follow on Twitter and your and Bart’s recommendation of Teleport, I was looking for something exactly to control my iMac G4 and MacBook with one keyboard and mouse, and I have to say, this is a godsend! Before I had my MacBook keyboard, a keyboard plugged into my MacBook, and the iMac keyboard, and it was really crowded, now I just move my mouse upwards or downwards and I’m controlling the other one.

    Thanks Allison and Bart for the heads up!

    Adam
    http://aussiemacaone.com

  16. Adam - April 18, 2008

    Hey Allison, just want to thank you on the follow on Twitter and your and Bart’s recommendation of Teleport, I was looking for something exactly to control my iMac G4 and MacBook with one keyboard and mouse, and I have to say, this is a godsend! Before I had my MacBook keyboard, a keyboard plugged into my MacBook, and the iMac keyboard, and it was really crowded, now I just move my mouse upwards or downwards and I’m controlling the other one.

    Thanks Allison and Bart for the heads up!

    Adam
    http://aussiemaczone.com

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