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ATPM 15.06
June 2009


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Transcriva 2.0

I just finished a massive editorial project in which I’d conducted something like 30 lengthy taped interviews. Some I sent off to a professional transcription service, but most I transcribed myself with Transcriva. You’re right that it isn’t perfect, but it comes about as close as anything else I’ve seen and for me, anyway, it’s better than some of the free options I tried first. (I don’t recall the names because I’d deleted them after trying Transcriva.)

Anyway, for a pretty low-priced program intended for very tedious work, no complaints here. And updates are reasonably frequent to fix oddball bugs and incorporate improvements.

—Laura Belgrave

Spending Time in the Front Row

One unofficial way of configuring Front Row 2.0 to show on the second display is adding the FrontRowUsePreferredDisplayID entry to the preferences.

Before doing that you need to know the ID of your external display. You can determine the ID of the second display using the displaysInfo utility.

Run the displaysInfo utility from the command line and look for the number labelled d2_ID in displayInfos output. Add this number (69681665 in the example below) as parameter to the defaults write command as shown below:

defaults write FrontRowUsePreferredDisplayID 69681665

—Tom Wyrick

• • •

Try TV Row 2.0.1. It allows you to select any screen.

—Jantje Beton

On the Road Again

When I am away from home and wish to access my stuff on my Mac from my friends’ computer, how can I get there?

I did it so many years ago, and now I’ve forgotten. Please remind me.

—Sylvan Bluestein

The quickest free way of doing so is:

  1. Go to the Sharing section of System Preferences on your Mac and enable file sharing.

  2. If you are using a network router in your home, be sure to open port 548 and direct it to the local/internal IP address of the Mac you wish to reach while away.

  3. Make note of your public IP address (the one assigned to you by your Internet provider) or, even better, utilize a dynamic DNS service (I’m personally fond of to assign a named address to which you can connect. Many even have a small application you can run which will check your public IP at regular intervals and update the dynamic DNS name to point to the correct IP.

  4. Connect to your IP address or the dynamic DNS name using the “Connect to Server” command in the Finder’s Go menu.

—Lee Bennett

Time Travel: Introduction to Time Machine

I just lost a 500 GB backup drive from a power surge of lightning. It is a lot of work getting your documents off the second backup, a pile of CDs and DVDs. I’m glad I did that. I invested in one of those battery backups that give you time to shut down when the power goes out instead of the Power Bar I’ve been using for years. Now I’m recreating some documents with iWork ’09 and backing up regularly with Time Machine. Time Machine is the best backup program yet. I learned a lot from this great article. Thanks.

—Heather Isaacson

Pogo Sketch for iPhone 3G

I purchased a Pogo stylus specifically made for the iPod touch 2G that came with a clip that snaps right onto the Touch. I use a rubberized case, however, and always put my iPod into a small cloth bag (the one from my Flip camera, actually) and just pop the stylus in there.

It works great, keeps the unit so much cleaner than fingers, and cuts way down on the amount of buffing I was doing with a cloth. Even with multiple hand washes a day, the Touch still gets easily dirty without the stylus.

Another neat thing about the stylus is that it works fantastic for many games. A great example is Flight Control. The stylus (what I’ve come to call a pogo stick) makes the flight lines very precise and allows much closer control. I’ve found many times that work better with a stylus.

Alas, with or without the stylus, I’m amazed that my Touch (a.k.a. miTouch) has replaced about 85% or more of my need for a laptop. Pretty amazing for a $229 device to have such incredible utility.

Last but not least, I was able to buy the stylus, with shipping, for $12.88 from Amazon, and I thought that was a bargain because it would have been about $22 to get direct from TenOne Design’s Web site.

—Stephen Taylor

iWeb ’09: Review From the Edge

Interesting. One big miss I don’t think you mentioned is the inability to change text size on the fly. I use OmniWeb for most browsing, and I’m accustomed to bumping up text on Web pages with the standard Command-+. Nada. No change. That means, for instance, that on my MacBook Pro with its 1440 by 900 resolution, I have to squint at the iWeb text. Not worth it for me. I have MobileMe, but I believe I’ll stick to Freeway for any Web work I do.

—Laura Belgrave

• • •

Greetings from El Paso.

I have been using iWeb for some time on my Educational Technology Site: Intended Consequences.

Although I think the blogging feature is lacking on some of the things you mention, it has forced me to become a much more careful writer. My blog entries, for the most part, are pretty long, and I have now passed over 200 entries.

I think you also failed to mention the ability to embed podcasts into your site. I now have over 150 podcasts as well, and iWeb automatically sends them to iTunes as well.

—Tim Holt

MacMuser: Hedging and Ditching

Yeah (sigh)…get used to it. As an HP sales rep. once told someone I knew, “HP isn’t in the business of selling printers. We’re in the business of selling ink and toner! The printers are just expensive ink-delivery mechanisms.”

I suspect many of the inkjet printers on the market are actually sold at a small loss, simply because their supplies are expensive enough that they know they’ll make the money back with just one ink cartridge purchase.

By the same token, I’ve often suspected that some manufacturers maximize their profits by designing the printers to fail just outside of a basic one-year warranty. Most people “stock up” on supplies, buying several color and several black cartridges for a given printer. When it fails, they usually throw away unused supplies when they discover they don’t fit any of the currently produced replacement models of printers. (Even if they try to give them to someone else who can use them—they’re faced with an “expiration date” on the ink, too.)

Any time this happens, and said customer buys another printer from the same manufacturer, they just accelerated that manufacturer’s sales. (Think how long they’d go without making another ink purchase if their printer kept working, and they actually waited to use up all those spare cartridges they bought.)

—Tom Wyrick

• • •

I nurture a similar suspicion—that consumer printers (in particular) are sold at or below cost as efficient ink-delivery systems intended solely to serve the purveyors of said ink with significant profits on supplies. For that reason I bought one of the small Brother laser printers which operates on the network (my network) and appears to be plenty reliable. Both of my printers are still working well after about four years of service (and only a couple of toner cartridges).

I despise inkjet printers, although if you must have color they’re the only (affordable) game in town. I don’t really want many photo-prints and send those of to be processed on “real” photographic paper rather than that slick stuff that sells for 5× what it’s worth.

My oh my the cynic in me is running hard this morning.

—Dave Thompson

Core Case for iPhone 3G

I’ve used a Core Case for my iPod classic for several years and love it. I’ve bought several for myself, and for my sons’ iPods. My iPod’s survived several drops without a scratch. Corey, the guy who owns the company, has always been very receptive to my queries, too.

—Matt Perl

MacMuser: Cisco Kids (Us)

Four days is nothing. Try being stuck in the purgatory known as satellite Internet. Not as agonizing as dialup, yet not quite fast enough to keep up with modern broadband. Secure sites, particularly banks, often time out, Flash-based sites, which are nearly all of them these days, never quite finish loading, and video is only a stalling, jerky, buffering tease. Forget saving money with Internet phone service. All that for a mere $80 a month.

Our new President promised that he would get the US caught up with the rest of the first-world countries when it comes to broadband service. I just hope he can hold to that.


Hard Drives as Floppies

We bought one of the NewerTech Voyager units from Other World Computing in December. It has been completely reliable so far. We are using it with two different SATA drives (one of them partitioned) to back up three computers.

—Doug Hogg

I have had mixed results with the Voyager Q. On the plus side, it is very fast. However, there are problems with connecting multiple Voyagers at once via FireWire, and several times it has caused my Mac to freeze.

—Michael Tsai

AlphaSmart Dana

I’m a teacher and a student. I have a crippled right hand and can’t take notes. The Dana sounds wonderful. However, I have to hand in class assignments within 10 minutes after they are assigned. If I type them on the Dana, how would I turn them in? The professor has a computer at his desk. Will this unit ever have e-mail?

—Steve Corry

There’s a version of the Dana that has built-in wireless; I haven’t tried it, but if your school is equipped with WiFi, I imagine you could e-mail from that kind of Dana.

Or you could get a regular Dana and print a hard copy for your professor as needed. (If there’s a printer in the classroom you could use? Or you could buy a portable printer.) Dana’s Printer Compatibility page looks pretty out-of-date though; you might want to check with AlphaSmart to make sure the printer’s compatible with the Dana before making a purchase.

—Paul Fatula

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