 Apple fans since 1982

Minutes 4/3/2014

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The meeting began at 7:05pm at SLHS Room 507 Graphics Lab.

Bob opened the meeting by highlighting his only purchase from Macworld/iWorld 2014: a subscription to Backblaze, a cloud-based backup service mentioned at previous meetings whose booth featured prominently at the showroom entrance. The service provides unlimited storage space for backups at $5 per month. In particular, Bob appreciated the service’s file exclusion feature, which helped him discover files he didn’t remember having and helping him save space on his drive as well as on his backup. If full data recovery is needed at faster speeds than one’s Internet connection allows, they also offer to ship you a hard drive with all your data. The service excludes some filetypes by default (e.g. Windows executables, disk images, VMs), but these settings can be overridden in the Mac application’s preferences.

Bob then highlighted an iOS app featured in the Appalooza section of Macworld, Trunx. This app pulls your photos from multiple sources, including your iOS device’s Camera Roll, folders on your Mac, and even social media libraries (Facebook, Instagram, Echopix, etc.), and stores them in one convenient online location. You can then easily view and share these photos through the app interface or the website on a Mac. The service automatically organizes photos as “memories”, categorizing them by location, date, and even analyzing the photos for similar subject matter (such as outdoor photos). The service is currently free for all users; pricing plans will be announced that will take effect after April 30th, but any photos uploaded before then will be stored for free going forward.

Bev purchased an inexpensive LED lightbulb from one of the vendors, a great way to quickly replace old, less energy-efficient incandescent bulbs. Mario and Jenny briefly described the Philips Hue, a set of smart LED bulbs that can be controlled from an iPhone app and programmed with a variety of colors, as well as for automatic use based on proximity or timers. The setup is more expensive than other LED bulbs, requiring an initial purchase of $200 for the bridge and three bulbs, and $50 for additional bulbs, but as they are LEDs they will not wear out for many years, and make up for the additional expense with their smart functionality.

In addition to wandering the showroom floor, Bob also attended some sessions on Mail for Mac and Reminders for iOS. His biggest Mail takeaway was learning that the application may repeatedly synchronize with the server whenever a message is received or deleted, resulting in degraded system performance. Mail has no hard-coded limit on the number of messages, but runs noticeably slower when reaching around 40,000 messages. Gmail’s IMAP implementation is the cause of most Gmail-related issues in Mail. He recommends using Reminders for grocery lists, and demonstrated the convenience of using Siri to add grocery items to a pre-made list.

Another app Bob showed to the group was Tappd, a service for recommending other app purchases that uses trends and social network integration to make smarter suggestions than the App Store.

Bob concluded the meeting with a brief overview of the social networks Facebook, Foursquare, and Find My Friends. He finds Facebook most useful for keeping in touch with people, utilizing Facebook Messenger in a similar manner to the built-in Messenger app. Foursquare provides a more personal location-tracking service than Yelp, as it defaults to privately reporting only to approved friends. The Find My Friends app is an active location tracker, also viewable only by friends, that allows for temporary tracking and automatic messaging when arriving at locations (useful for coordinating with others when running late to an event).

No DVD this month, but Ed is always looking for suggestions to share with the group for next time.

The meeting ended at 8:30pm, no Board Meeting was held.

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