Monday, October 5, 2015

El Capitan Arrives

My last post on Mac was to announce OS X Lion. Much has happened since then. Apple has dropped charges for OS X, as of Lion, new versions and incremental versions of OS X are all downloaded and installed, alternate upgrades focus on system  internals to improve system speed. Efforts have been made to more closely align iOS and OSX UIs.

My iMac, bought back in August 2007, is noticing the effect of newer OS X versions. The previous  release, Yosemite, was clearly slower until a few incremental versions later fixed the memory issues so smaller systems with only 4 Gb memory could work comfortably. El Capitan, which is the internals tune-up for Yosemite, is definitely slower on older pre-2012 systems that cannot use Metal, the sub-system intended to offer a speedier computer.

There are some things that don't work correctly with this version of OS X, but I do like the disappearing menu bar at the top of the screen and the split screen option to set up and view two apps or files. Once loaded, the apps do run at the speed I have seen before, but the spinning beach ball does occur a bit more often.Maybe its time to buy a new system...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Nifty Slide Show HTML5 program for iMac

For our fall auction in 2013 we had over 100 lot images from many estate sales. To post so many online was a big job so I searched for an application to simplify things. In the Apple store I found a handful. I already had Keynote and iPhoto and Lightroom which can do slideshows, but none seems easy to use.

Exhibeo on the other hand had a selection of templates, could load a whole folder at once and seemed simple. The app used HTML5 like Hype and worked like a charm. The rudimentary instructions meant you needed a basic understanding of HTML. I created a page called "index.html" within the main folder I created by exporting Exhibeo as html. I uploaded the folder and sub folders and files via Dreamweaver. The result as you can see on my Sep 15 2013 Estate Auction page worked perfectly. And it is fast to display ALL the lots shown in thumbnail form on the screen. Clicking on a lot enlarges the image. You can use the options to limit the file size. I elected to use a maximum size of 800 pixels length or width and allow the program to show an image slightly larger. Turned out to be $20 well spent!  

Monday, July 23, 2012

UPS Battery

When I opened my MAC on July 12, 2012, the power suddenly flickered and the MAC powered down and up again. And my UPS decided to give a couple of beeps every few seconds. After a mad scramble I found the APC UPS manual. It told me that the battery was bad. I moved all the connected power cords to alternative sockets and pulled the battery. It was stuck. Eventually I pried the battery out of the UPS case to discover it was a pair of 12v batteries joined together.

One of the pair had a cracked case and lost its charge in no time at all. I decided to do an online search for APC RBC109. To my delight Canada Post popped up with suggested sources ranging in cost from  $90 to $68 plus shipping. at $81 including shipping (regular $106, it said) looked good since I had an account with them and found them fast and reliable.

After the weekend, I received a note from Amazon saying that shipping was delayed a couple of days. This went on for a week with a message about a delay every couple of days. Finally I sent a note asking how I could help expedite the order. I received a Whoops! response within a couple of hours. My battery was deemed hazardous material and as such could not be shipped from the USA (even though I had ordered via Amazon Canada who listed the battery as available in Canada. Amazon apologized and said the battery would be removed from their Canadian site (still there 3 days later).

I decided to browse outside Canada Post and came up with a list of sites. Most were "Canadian" in name only and shipped in "5 to 8 days plus weekends and holidays" by Courier, not Canada Post. The physical address was omitted and the 800 number gave no indication of location. One company, UPS for LESS offered an alternative to the APC replacement battery for $42.32. And they had a physical address in the GTA. I called this morning and the batteries were in stock. The $42.32 covered both batteries and the defective cells could be returned to them at no charge.

I drove over this afternoon and found them tucked away in an industrial plaza on Bentley Street in Markham. Sure enough, they had the new set. The replacement cartridge consisted of two 12 volt batteries. The representative pulled off the APC sticker on my old battery. The old and new batteries were identical in make and model (Noisia Vision CP1290 12v 9.0 AH, by Center Power Tech, Ltd., and Made in China)!

So for about double the price before shipping, APC or its agents offered 1. An APC label stuck over the maker's name, 2. a replacement cable for the perfectly usable cable connecting the original two batteries, and 3. a piece of thin foam with double sided sticky stuff to join the two separate batteries into a cartridge. I bought from UPC for LESS and I am a happy camper.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Google Doc Embedder

When I moved to Wordpress v3, I broke the code for the imbedded pdf files in various Wordpress pages. Since the hard links worked and the page threw an error "plug-in needed", I thought it was Safari and/or Adobe pdf reader that was at fault.

Not so. Tonight I switched to "Google Doc Embedder" and this code works. The related pdf file must be accessible via a URL, not simply stored in the Wordpress media database. Now all the forms show once again.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Lion Roars...

Well I was one of a million plus who downloaded Lion (OS X 10.7) the latest version of the Mac OS the first day it was offered. It was a first in many ways. The first OS to be downloaded from the new App Store. The OS installs itself and reboots your system for you. It has many refinements. It is a closer match to iOS with the use of gestures on the trackpad.

This version won’t run on hardware older than my August 2008 iMac. It will not run old PowerPC apps that once ran under Rosetta. While it has a number of modern UI features, you can change some back to the old style - like the scroll direction, whether you use full screen or not, etc. It took me just two hours to download and install.

Very few problems so far. Magic Prefs tangled with my touchpad. My dot mac email wouldn’t work until I reset its password. My MobileMe remote disk disappeared from the desktop until I changed the prefs to add a local disk - the content of the local disk I had before was saved for me in a folder on my desktop. And Safari dropped my ClickToFlash plug-in. The replacement was an updated version which I tracked down. The old Quicken doesn’t work but Quicken Express, which I use, is fine. The Adobe programs work (CS5) as far as I have tested. I am pleased with how smooth it installed and once again it scoots along fast on this 3 year old system of mine.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hype Animation Program

Hype is a new app for web design animations. It uses the “HTML5” tags, CSS3 tags, and a generous dollop of javascript as an alternative to Flash which is presently in Apple’s bad books. Compared to Adobe Flash, it is much cheaper, has a very user friendly UI, and apparently a lower overhead. It is currently the top grossing app in the Apple OS X App Store.

And I can see why after making my first simple slideshow with it this week. And the resulting file runs on any platform including my iPod Touch. Look for my post on Amanda Rataj at to view the slideshow which was my first use of Hype. If you use a Mac and need an animation tool that is less daunting than Flash, give it a whirl - its well worth the few dollars.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A New Printer - Kodak ESP7250

I was shocked when I went to buy ink for my Canon MP510 printer this week. It cost $82.79 for the four inks - $93.55 with HST. The US price was $63.90 - $18.89 less. I guess no one told Staples/Canon that our dollar has been at or above par the past couple of years...

By coincidence, my MP510 committed hari-kari the next day. It sounded like something broke off inside. This is the second Canon printer to die on me, although the i5000 did last longer. My two previous HP printers became obsolete long before they suffered mechanical failure (old parallel port machines).

I looked at a number of alternatives. Still smarting from the high price of ink for Canon, and their indifference to the dollar parity, I ruled them out. Of the others, I chose Kodak. The ink was the least expensive and according to industry tests the best of the current 3 colour lot. And for me the difference in price here vs the States was miniscule. The printer, an ESP7250, was not perfect - it was slower and MUCH noisier than some competitors and with the 180 degree paper path, prone to paper jams. But for me the image quality and economy of materials won out.

Yes, I am now using a KODAK printer - who would have thought it possible?