MVCUG Meeting Notes
January 11, 2020
Happy New Year! Again, I apologize for being tardy getting these notes out to the group—the new year has brought some new demands on my time.
We had a crowd of 16 or so brave souls come out to the Cochise County Service Center for the first membership meeting of 2020. Here are some notes and links for the rest of you who couldn’t make it.
Before the 9:00 a.m. start time, as we were gathering, John shared a couple of security tips and a new favorite. First security tip: there’s currently a rash of counterfeit $20 bills being circulated in Sierra Vista—be on the lookout. Second security tip: when you are dating checks or any important document this year, use all four digits of the year, i.e. “2020.” Don’t abbreviate the year to just the last two digits. Nefarious characters could append two more digits to change the year to be earlier or later, which could cause you loss of funds or other problems. New favorite: John showed us his iPhone wallet stand stick on.
- Q: While moving files from PC to disc (or flash drive?), an alert pops up saying, “waiting to write files” or “waiting to burn.” What’s going on?
- A: This has do do with the process of copying files or burning files onto a writeable CD or DVD using Windows 8 or Windows 10. “Waiting to write files” seems to indicate that the process isn’t finished. “Waiting to burn” indicates there is one more step; the user needs to give the command to the OS to actually initiate the burn process. A writeable optical disc is usually only writeable once, so once burned, it’s static from then on. What the OS does is create a temporary folder for the user to drag files onto before burning. That way you can keep adding them as long as the disc hasn’t been burned yet. Once you have the files there, you need to give the OS the command to actually burn the files to the optical disc. Until that command is given, the system is “waiting to burn.”
- Q: Is there an analog book for beginning Mac users?
- A: Mike and Carolyn recommend iMac for Dummies by Mark L. Chambers, available at Amazon. That book will of course cover a lot of information applicable for any Macintosh, but it is focussed specifically on Apple’s all-in-one iMac line of personal computers. For a more general “dummies” book, look to Bob Levitus’ line of macOS for Dummies books focussed on your specific version of the operating system. For instance, there are editions for Catalina, Mojave, and High Sierra. In fact, Bob’s been writing Dummies books for the Mac operating systems since before Mac OS X. And if you are open to an ebook, there’s a concise tome from Take Control Books titled, appropriately, Take Control of Mac Basics by Tonya Engst.
John shared the basic information about the user group. You can find most of it at our website. But I would like to remind you that John and I do provide consultation discounts to members for in-home tech support, training, and troubleshooting. Phone, text, and email support is provided free (on our schedules). On-site support is subject to a travel fee if outside the greater Sierra Vista area. If we come to your place and can’t solve the problem when troubleshooting, there’s no cost. See the Officers page of the MVCUG website for email links for both John and me.
Term of the Month
- HEIF & HEVC
- These two new-ish initializations stand for High Efficiency Image Format and High Efficiency Video Codec, respectively. These are the “next generation” compression algorithms from the Joint Picture Experts Group (JPEG—yes, that’s where the file format and extension we’ve all been using for years comes from). HEIF is the still image format compression algorithm derived from the HEVC H.265 video format. They are both used on newer iPhones for image and video capture and supported on all of Apple’s newer devices. You may have been using them and not even known it. In a nutshell, HEIF provides many advantages over JPEG with virtually no disadvantages. A short list includes the ability to capture multiple images and merge them into one better image, the ability to capture depth information and focus the image after the fact, and better image quality at a smaller file size. Read more at Wikipedia.
Tips o’ the Month
- More Cable Cutting
- Watching TV on Windows 10: Windows no longer supports the Windows Media Center, and it was removed in Windows 10. In order to use your Windows 10 PC as a media center to watch TV and other media you will need software. Mike recommends the open source Kodi, formerly XBMC. It is provided at no cost by the non-profit XBMC Foundation, is customizable, and can be used to watch pretty much any media. In order to watch TV on your Windows 10 computer you will need to install a TV tuner card. This is very similar to installing a graphics card on a computer and can be easily done by a local computer shop if you are not comfortable opening your computer. This provides a cable connection for your cable television or over the air antenna.
- Tile or move Catalina windows to the left or right of the screen
- Open saved websites in Notes: If you’re iOS device syncs through iCloud with your Mac, you can open that screen shot web page PDF in Notes on on the Mac to read it on a larger screen. You can also open that PDF file in any PDF reader (such as Preview or Adobe Reader), select the text from the web page, copy it, and paste it into another document.
- Save websites to Notes
- Not just a link that’s copied and pasted into a note, but the actual content. Here’s how: 1) Open the website you want to capture in mobile Safari on your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 13). 2) Capture the screen of your device—take a screen shot. 3) A thumbnail of your screen image will appear in the lower left corner of the display; tap on it to enter Mark Up mode. 4) In Mark Up, there will be two buttons above the screen shot image; tap on Full Page. 5) The view will change to show the upper portion of the web page and a navigation rectangle will appear on the right side; move the navigation rectangle down to see the rest of the web page that wasn’t fully visible on screen at the time of the screen shot. 6) Tap the Share Sheet icon (looks like a box with an arrow pointing up out of it). 7) Choose Notes, if available. If not tap on Copy. 8) If Notes was available, you won’t need to do this step, but if you copied, tap Done—you can delete the screen shot when prompted. 9) Then, switch to Notes, create a new note, and paste the website screenshot. The entire web page will be saved as a PDF in that note.
- That’s it.
Share a Favorite
- Blender If you are at all interested in creating 3D computer generated images, John suggests you try this open source application. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, video editing and 2D animation pipeline. For an example of what can be done with Blender, watch the animated short, Spring. Blender is available to download for macOS, Windows, and Linux from the Blender website.
Cutting the Cable
This will be a brief summary of main points John brought to us in his excellent presentation. If you want to know more detail, then you should have been there. But I’m sure John will be glad to advise and inform you if you email him with questions.
Is it time to cut the cable/satellite subscription and move to streaming video entertainment? Frankly, no. But it really depends on your personal viewing habits and tastes. John has cut the cable anyway—he’s taken one for our team so we can learn from his experience. Thanks, John!
What can you gain by cutting the cable?
- Saving money (in theory)
- Freedom of choice
- Watch what you want, when you want
This all depends on what you like/want to watch.
- What do you lose?
- You may not get all the channels you want or are used to. Researching you viewing habits and determining what your priorities are in terms of content will be vital before making a decision on what streaming services you subscribe to when replacing your cable or satellite TV service.
- What’s the danger?
- Going to all streaming video for your TV entertainment will use lots of data over your Internet connection. How much time do you watch TV (i.e. streaming video data) daily, weekly, monthly? Depending on your ISP’s service contract, you could end up paying more for data than you were for cable or satellite TV.
- 5G cellular data, coming over the next couple of years, may provide an option for streaming data as an alternate Internet service provider for some people, depending on location. Large metro areas will be first and the rural 5G service may not be that much faster than our current 4G LTE.
- Alternatives to cable TV
- If you do an Internet search for “cable alternatives,” two results you may get are:
- At this point John proceeded to demo, as well as was possible using Cochise County’s flakey Wi-Fi, a number of the services that he subscribes to. Here’s a list of subscription services to check out:
And with that, John brought the presentation to a close.
Schedule Change Notice
Next month we have a schedule change as John has been called out of town. So please join us on Saturday, February 14 for an episode of The Mike & Barry Show. The topic will be “Backup Strategies.” Are online backups now realistic? Come find out the answer. See ya then!
Barry “Bazza” Midgorden
Vice President (macOS)
Mountain View Computer Users Group
Sierra Vista, Arizona