Appleworks vs Numbers Spreadsheet Functions

In my last post about converting AppleWorks documents, I mentioned that I hadn’t found a comparison of AW and Numbers spreadsheet functions and how they differed. Well, I decided to take on the task myself. It turned out to be one of those been there, done that, and won’t ever do it again projects, but it will help me convert the rest of my collection of AW spreadsheets, and a few other CompuNerds may also find it useful.

read more

Beware the Fruit-Eating Lion

If you are about to switch to OS 7 Lion, you probably are aware that the old PowerPC applications will no longer run. One of the most important is Quicken 2007 or earlier. There has been lots of discussion about this on the web, and a quick Google search will bring up many suggestions for dealing with this problem.

Another problem for those of us who have been with the Mac since before about 2007 is AppleWorks. This was a great word processor, database, drawing, painting and spreadsheet application which will also no longer run under Lion (it even had some problems with Snow Leopard). Here are some tips for converting AppleWorks documents you want to keep. Do it before updating to Lion, because you will need to use AppleWorks for some of the conversions, and it will take some time.

read more

Sound in the Round

We have a very pleasant patio on the banks of Ashland creek about 80 feet from the house, and I’ve often thought I would like to have music down there. I have some wired speakers on the back deck through which I can play iTunes music, but if I cranked these up so they could be heard down by the creek I’m sure I would hear about it from the neighbors.

There are lots of wireless speaker systems on the market, but most are pretty expensive and many also need 110V power. While browsing on Amazon a while back, I came across this odd speaker (Avtek NXG Wireless Indoor/Outdoor Speaker System) that looks like a cross between a Shop-Vac and a stubby rocket. Classic American Kitsch school of design, complete with blue LED “ambience lighting” which thankfully doesn’t pulse with the music. The speaker is only about a foot high, and the speaker and/or the transmitting unit can be powered either by 110V or by batteries, making it extremely portable. At less than $50, I couldn’t resist.

read more

The Elephant in the Traveling Circus

Most of the stuff in the digital traveling circus that accompanies us on trips is quite small. Maybe not Flea Circus size, but pretty portable; a MacBook Air, iPhone, iPod and iPad2. The exception is the circus elephant, the printer.

So why keep the elephant in the act? Well, for carrying around information, and especially for sharing it, the printed page is great. You can get a lot of information on a 0.013 oz sheet of paper. It’s eminently portable and the battery life is stupendous.

read more

Coping with Oregonophilia

I know what some of you are thinking, and it’s not that kind of disease. It’s also not an inordinate fondness for a particular Mediterranean herb. That’s Oreganophila.

I was first afflicted upon moving from the frozen tundra of Upper Michigan to go to grad school at OSU in Corvallis in the early 1960s. Within a short time I fell in love with Oregon. The mountains, forests, deserts, coast, wildlife and people. Even the politicians: socially liberal and enlightened, fiscally conservative. A species which is apparently now extinct. I intended to spend the rest of my life here, but took a short career path detour of 30 years through south Texas. Retirement brought me back.

read more

Defiled in Cupertino

No, this isn’t the title of some steamy romance novel set in silicon valley.

What I am talking about is the notion of literally De-Filing the Mac operating system. Doing away with the File System, the familiar folders and sub folders and Finder that are the users window into the Hierarchical File System that Apple developed and introduced with the Mac.

read more

iPhone Mail Sync Styncs

I know this is Heresy. They are probably getting the pitchforks and torches out in Cupertino as we speak, but I’m going to turn my curmudgeonly focus on two annoying iDevice (iPhone, iPad, Ipod Touch) Mail Sync problems.

First problem. Sent messages not synced. We are in the midst of a real estate transaction. I had sent an email to the mortgage broker with our homeowner’s insurance information from my iPhone. The next day, at my iMac, I received an email request from the title company for the same information. OK, I’ll just go to the Sent folder, find the previous message and re-send it to the title company. Except that it’s not there. The only place it is is in the Sent folder in the .Mac account on the iPhone, which isn’t synced back to any other devices. I had to go hunt down my iPhone and re-send it from there.

read more

MacAlzheimers and the Magic Memory Pill

On Tuesday one of my LaCie external hard drives died. I noticed there were fewer hard drive icons on my desktop (I have 4 external drives and a total of 7 partitions among them) but for the life of me, I couldn’t even remember what the two missing partitions were called, much less what data were on them. I know I have all the important stuff backed up, but it bugged me that I didn’t have the faintest idea of what was gone and what I needed to restore from my backups when I replaced the hard drive.

After repairing and rebooting my personal CPU (Cranial Processing Unit) using the tried and true Take-A-Nap app, I finally remembered what the partitions were and what was on them.

read more

I’ve Scaled Mt. Everest (and it wasn’t easy)

I’ve scaled the printout of an image of it, that is. The reason it wasn’t easy is that there are a couple of annoying problems in the Print Dialog if you are trying to print something scaled to a certain size.

The first is that some applications simply will not allow you to scale the material to be printed there. No Scale option appears in Print Dialog. Pages, Numbers and TextEdit are examples of such applications. At least with Pages and Numbers you can scale the content within the application before printing it. With TextEdit, you are out of luck. Here’s how to pre-scale Pages and Numbers documents.

read more

Wine, Whine, Wine


First I’ll get the Apple-related part of this post out of the way so I can get on with the whining.

Wine Ratings Guide

I’m a wine aficionado, somewhere towards the middle of the scale


and I find the iPhone app Wine Ratings Guide very helpful in shopping for wine, ordering wine in restaurants (there are suggested food pairings) and finding new wines to try.

read more

The Medium is the Message

And the message is “Macs are way cooler than PCs”. Of course most AshMUGgers are already aware of this, but if you aren’t already convinced, pay attention to movies or TV programs. If a computer is shown, chances are it’s a Mac. In my highly unscientific survey one evening in front of the tube, Macs outnumbered PCs by 7 to 2.

read more

Save $ – Refurbished Macs from Apple

If you want to save some money on your next Mac, consider a certified refurbished unit from Apple. Discounts are typically around 15% but can be over 30% on some items. There is a selection of iMacs, MacBooks, iPods, iPads, Apple TVs, nearly every product that Apple makes except the iPhone, and most are the current model or the one immediately preceding it. These are units that have been returned under warranty and refurbished, both electronically and cosmetically. They are thoroughly tested, and in the case of battery-powered devices, they have a new battery installed. They come with the same one-year warranty as a new product, have the same eligibility for the AppleCare extended warranty and are shipped free.

read more

Bento Database may finally “be there”.

Bento, the “inexpensive” and “user friendly” database app is now up to version 4.  I recently downloaded a trial version to compare to my current V 3. The good news is that some long-standing bugs have finally been fixed, and two features that users have been requesting from the beginning are finally implemented: label printing (built-in Avery label templates) and the ability to do simple spreadsheet-like calculations on numerical data in the records.

read more