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ATPM 15.10
October 2009




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Macless Abroad

The day Apple lets us use the Mac’s Bluetooth keyboard with the iPhone is probably when I can just carry my iPhone around. Ironically, my ancient Palm PDAs using Documents To Go and foldable keyboards were more appropriate for editing (not just viewing) business documents on the road. I’m not sure if we really are going to see a tablet form factor from Cupertino anytime soon (despite rumors). But if so, maybe that would be the device Steve lets us use [i.e., feels is more appropriate] with the Bluetooth keyboard.

—Angus Wong

I’ve sometimes wondered whether I’d enjoy being able to use a Bluetooth keyboard on the phone, but I realize now that I wouldn’t have wanted to tote along a keyboard any more than I wanted to tote along my laptop.

—Lee Bennett

• • •

I’ve also thought about using my iPhone with a Bluetooth keyboard as an alternative computing device. I remarked only yesterday to a couple of colleagues that I used to do productive work on a Palm Pilot with an external keyboard.

If Apple would enable the keyboard profile in the Bluetooth stack, I think there are times I could forego carrying a larger computing device and get by with just my phone. I would like that.

—David Thompson


I feel for you. After much effort, I’ve been able to find a way of using my MacBook in the office for 90% of my tasks these days, and the employer’s Dell stays locked in a drawer until I absolutely need it for custom templates and so on. You’re right about the inherently unproductive nature of working in an office, especially the time-sucks like commuting, etc.


• • •

I agree with you. I have to use Windows XP at work, and it is just so awful.

I think the point about aesthetics making for better productivity is important. It seems to me that Macs work easy, and I work much faster.


• • •

I cannot agree more with Mark Tennent’s views on working with Windows in an office environment propounded in the last couple of issues of ATPM.

I use a Mac at home and never have a need for a computer at work (I’m a miner), but we have recently had a rush computing job to complete for our Technical Services department.

Seconded to Technical Services from Mining because I “can use a computer,” I have been given a team with the task of transferring 50+ years worth of mining records from paper to computer. 99% of the work is data entry on spreadsheets, and I wasn’t surprised to be issued with a Dell laptop running XP.

Familiar with MS Excel on Office 2008 for the Mac I thought I’d be able to cope with Excel on a PC.

OK, the basics of spreadsheet work is the same—converting pounds of Black Tin per imperial ton to percentages of Sn per metric tonne was no problem but using the programme itself is a nightmare. On the Mac Save is Command-S and Save As is Command-Shift-S. Neat and logical. On XP Save is Control-S and Save As is F12! What is the logic in that? I have been reduced to using the mouse to click on a variety of large and clunky icons in the huge and cluttered toolbar.

I honestly believe that I could knock 30% of the total time off the job if we had Macs.

XP is pretty, as is Mac OS X, but it is far from elegant. Logical just doesn’t come into it.

My colleagues must be getting sick of me grumbling away in the corner about how life would be so much easier if we had a better OS.

What is really sad is that here are millions of Windows users out there who think that using a computer saves them time and is making their productivity more efficient. To a certain extent it is, but they have no idea just how much easier their life could be with a Mac. They don’t know any better.

Oh well, at least I am at home now using my five-year-old Power Mac (which has better specs than the brand new Dell I was issued) so I am at peace for a few hours.


Cram 1.0.1

The name of the software says it all: Cram. A technique for jamming facts into your brain so you can regurgitate them during an exam and forget them immediately afterwards. There is no true learning, no understanding, no conceptualization, no integration with prior knowledge, no creation of new ideas. Just cramming facts.

I’m an educator at the top of the chain: I teach residents, medical students, and graduate students. You don’t become a good doctor or pharmacologist by cramming. Besides, there’s so much information that cramming it all in is impossible: you have to learn concepts and then learn how to integrate old and new facts into those concepts.

The medical school applicant pool continually gets worse. You can imagine how thrilled I am that parents are buying Cram to turn potential doctors (or scientists, engineers, lawyers, etc.) into non-thinking drones.

—Gregory Tetrault

Photoshop: Conjuring Speech/Thought Bubbles

I’m trying to do this, but once I create the shape it doesn’t allow me to edit it in the layers menu. In fact, it doesn’t even appear there. I just see the background picture. Am I doing something wrong?


As for not seeing it, I suspect that you simply have no color applied to either the stroke or the fill, so the entire shape is transparent. To select the shape so you can work with it, you’ll want to use the path selection tool, which is the black arrow cursor located a little ways down the tool palette. If you want to move specific anchor points rather than the entire path, click and hold that black arrow for a pop-up menu, then choose the white direct selection arrow instead. To change the color of either the fill or the stroke, access the Paths palette and use the buttons on the bottom—a hollow circle for the stroke and a solid circle for the fill.

—Lee Bennett

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