NCMUG Blog

Author Archive

Huge shout out to Cher Traendly and Mark Felling

Congratulations to two Photography SIG members Mark Felling and Cher Traendly who won major prizes at this year’s Sonoma County Fair Photography Competition. Mark Felling won first prize with the photo of his rescue cat Pumpkin which caught and released a dive-bombing Blue Jay.

Cher Traendly won three prizes - a 3rd prize for a Oak Titmouse with lunch for babies, a 2nd prize for a story board of a humming bird enjoying a ice cool bath, and a 1st prize for a Gray Whale stranded on a sand bar.

Come to our next Photo SIG meeting on Wednesday, September 25, from 7 to 9 pm to see the photos on display. We meet at the Carriage House of First United Methodist Church at 1515 Montgomery Drive in Santa Rosa.

Posted in: Announcements, HomePost, Special Interest Groups

Leave a Comment (0) →

September 17th: Unveiling The Mysteries of Dropbox with David Van Nuys

Unveiling The Mysteries of Dropbox with David Van Nuys

Dropbox is an incredible free app that should be on all your computing devices (i.e. all your Macs, iPads, iPhones, etc., as well as any Windows or Android devices you may have). It’s both the fact that you get free storage space in “the cloud,” as well as the fact that it is OS-agnositic that makes it such a necessary and compelling tool. Need a place to store your docs? Need a free way to send someone a document that’s too large for email? Have documents that you need to make certain you can access from any computing device anytime, anywhere? These are some of the reasons Dropbox is such an indispensable, must-have app! In this presentation, David Van Nuys will give you all the info you need to get started.

David Van Nuys is a long-time member of NCMUG, as well as an Apple/Mac user going back to the Apple II. In addition, he is psychology professor emeritus at Sonoma State University. Beyond this, his market research business, e-FocusGroups (www.e-FocusGroups.com), has served such distinguished clients as The New York Times and Apple Computer. A University of Michigan trained clinical psychologist, he leads workshops across the U.S. and Europe. A prolific author and speaker, he collaborated on a book about the infamous Zodiac serial killer. He also produces two popular interview-based podcasts: Shrink Rap Radio (www.Shrink RapRadio.com) and Wise Counsel (www.WiseCounselPodcast.com). Shrink Rap Radio often appears in the iTunes list of Top 10 podcasts in Higher Education.

NCMUG General meeting:

Tuesday September 17th

7-9 pm

Rohnert Park Senior Center

6800 Hunter Dr.  Rohnert Park CA 94928

Posted in: Announcements, General Meetings, HomePost

Leave a Comment (0) →

Product review: PDFpenPro for Mac version 6.0.4

Product: PDFpenPro for Mac version 6.0.4
Creator:  Smile Software, http://smilesoftware.com/PDFpenPro/index.html
Price: $99.95
Operating system: Mac OS X 10.7 or later
Reviewed by Amanda Lee Pearson, Graphic Designer of Okini Design and NCMUG Board Director
Rating: Awesome, 4.75 out of 5 Macs
PDFpenPro for Mac version 6.0.4
(special NOTE:  NCMUG members receive a 20% special discount. Valid until August 30, 2013). This offer is available only through the NCMUG announcement list, not on this public site.
As technology grows and provides us with more and more options to organize or work more efficiently, I often feel overwhelmed by too many options that don’t quite have everything I want in one program.
As a designer, I strive to customize even the simplest of forms such as QuickBooks invoices.  Yes, though Intuit has done a great job providing better templates, the things I cannot do is mark PAID with custom payment details for clients who have submitted deposits, for example, or add a signature or written note of thanks.  My workaround for this has been to 1) enter all financial details into QuickBooks for record keeping, and then 2) recreate the invoices in InDesign for those customized details.  I realized I was doubling my work, but willing to sacrifice time for a better client experience with my documents.
Well, no more!
Solution?  PDFpenPro by Smile Software.
Can I say that I love this program more than some of my relatives?  (shhh…)
With PDFpenPro’s library of graphics, I can now save my signature in my favorite purple color as well as my branded Okini graphics to tag onto any PDF document.  I can also save groups of text boxes to update payment or deposit details for each project.
And shall we start dancing down the path of other things PDFpenPro can do?
1.    Customize those W2 forms that clients inevitably need during tax season
2.    Replace text in original PDF with editable text blocks
3.    Move, resize, copy and delete images in original PDF
4.    Perform Optical Character Recognition (OCR) on scanned documents
5.    Converts websites into multi-page PDF documents (an option with Pro version only)
6.    Insert and remove pages; re-order pages in a PDF by drag-and-drop
7.    Markup documents with highlighting, underscoring and strike-through
8.    Available in English, Spanish, Japanese, German, French and Italian.
9.    If you sign up on their email list, they will provide FREE wonderful tips to make it even easier to use their program

PDFpenPro_addQBgraphics_9x9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bottom Line:

PDFpenPro by Smile Software is amazing.  For such a powerful program, it is so easy to use and makes me feel like “I finally know what I’m doing.”   Stop wasting your time with cutting and pasting or other workarounds.  This is a no-brainer and total win.  You won’t be disappointed!

NCMUG Board Director Amanda Lee Pearson has owned and operated Okini Design for 17 years, offering distinctive graphic design for marketing communication.  She also serves as Co-Vice Chairman for the Windsor Chamber of Commerce.

Posted in: HomePost, Reviews

Leave a Comment (0) →

Congratulations to Mark Felling

Congratulations to Mark Felling, NCMUG member, for winning a blue ribbon at the 2013 Sonoma County Fair.

Sonoma County Fair 2013
Computer Manipulated Photos -Amateur Adult
Animals - domestic, pet
“Catch & Release”
Description: Pumpkin is a Rescue Cat who lost patience with a divebombing Blue Jay, after he caught it, he released the bird who flew away. Image made and edited with an Apple iPhone 5 and mobile Application “PS express”.
~ Mark Felling

Mark Felling

 

 

 

Posted in: Announcements

Leave a Comment (0) →

Review: NuGuard KX Protective Case for iPhone 5 & 4/4s

NuGuard KX Protective Case for iPhone 5 & 4/4s
Manufactured by: Newer Technology

http://www.newertech.com/kx/

Reviewed by Lorene Romero
Price $35

I love my iPhone; it’s sexy, fun, easy to use and I carry it with me at all times. The only downfall of the iPhone  is that it has glass and is fragile. Let’s be honest, I tend to be a little rough on all my equipment and I had a crack on the screen the first week I got it.

When I was down at Macworld I visited the OWC booth and discovered a case that was perfect for me. It’s called the NuGuard KX by Newer Technology and is mil-spec drop certified.

NuGuard KX is lightweight, comes in eight colors (I chose red so it is easy to find), and is easy to install and remove. What I’m most impressed by is the case, which is soft, flexible and has the “X-Orbiting” gel technology which evenly distributes impact energy, which protects your iPhone if dropped.

If you’re looking for a great case for your iPhone, I would highly recommend the NuGuard KX Protective Case for iPhone.

You can purchase the NuGuard RX from OWC at: http://bit.ly/16Ai3D2Lorene Romero

Posted in: Reviews

Leave a Comment (0) →

Book Review: Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 4 By Stephen Laskevitch

Review by Joan O’Brien

Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 4
By
Stephen Laskevitch

Rocky Nook Inc. Distributed by O’Reilly Media

List Price: $44.95

With the advent of the digital camera, we have all become, in our own minds, photo journalists, family archivists, nature and portrait photographers and recorders of history but we have a DAM (digital asset management) problem. Since we have no film and negatives any more, all of our digital images are kept on computers or separate disc drives and, hopefully, backed up on more or in the cloud. Now we spend time looking all over when we try to remember where we put the picture of Uncle Herbert’s 90th birthday, the great Hawaiian sunset, a sister’s new house or the grandchild with cake batter all over as well as editing and enhancing those images.

Stephen Laskevitch’s book Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 4 can be a big help to devise a plan to organize and edit photos. Photoshop, of course, is Adobe’s gold standard for image editing and Lightroom is its data base program that keeps track of photos. Together they make a powerful pair, along with their cousin Bridge, a photo viewer, there is no end to your photographic capabilities.

On page 2 the author says the book is for those who want to learn the basic tools and image editing steps with the two programs to create professional looking images. A beginner or a professional photographer will be equally at home using the book. He takes a very conversational tone as he provides some good background on basic terms and concepts of photography and then moves on to help configure your system for the programs and then gives a hands-on tour of the programs. Each page of the book has a visible color coded margin tab so you can find relevant information about that program. He gives you his reasons for his suggested plan as well as alternatives here and there that might also work. Then he moves on to workflow steps. He uses Photoshop CS6, the latest version from Adobe but his information is applicable to earlier versions. You don’t have to be an expert in either program when you start but when you finish you will feel very confident with your photo editing skills and the organization of your digital assets.

The key to keeping track of digital images is to use Lightroom and the author takes you through the learning curve. Once you understand the terminology, how the program works and what it can do, you are on your way. The first step is importing all of your photos into the catalog in the library module in a way that suits your personal organization or workflow. If you don’t have one, you will need one to get started. Your choice might be chronological or by subject, then you can drop down a notch to months or subtopics and on with more specifics that fit your particular choices. It may take some time to gather your photos from all the places they have been filed, but once you make that effort, each time you download additions to your library it will be much easier and much better organized.

The other trick is learning the value of key words, ratings and metadata so that you can retrieve photos from the catalog in the library module. A picture of the Golden Gate Bridge might include key words, water, San Francisco, boats, bridges, landmarks, etc. Enter any of those key words and you will be able to retrieve that picture, along with any others that fit that parameter without looking through a lot of files and folders. The authors also describes the use of folders and collections.

Lightroom has double value. Along with the organization of your images in its data base, it has powerful photo editing features. Your digital assets can be retrieved and then edited in the development module non destructively. A small file is added to the photo indicating the changes and their history but the original is not changed, ever. Lightroom has photo editing capabilities similar to Photoshop and Adobe Camera Raw so you can organize and edit your work with one stop shopping. Photoshop then is the place to go for more editing and creativity with its powerful features and filters.

The author is very helpful as he describes the concepts and features of the programs and gives step by step directions for using them. It is like having a coach or mentor by your side. The book is well illustrated with screen shots for a clearer understanding of the concepts and directions. If you haven’t used Bridge, you will learn the value of it and it’s photo viewing capabilities. If you don’t know Photoshop well or have forgotten a lot you did know, nearly half the book focuses on Photoshop so the book works well as a primer or as a refresher and with its Lightroom component the book gives you more than enough information in a clear and easy manner to improve or expand your photographic world.

Joan O’Brien
joan

Posted in: Reviews

Leave a Comment (0) →

Elgato EyeTV review

Review by Maria Arguello

EyeTV Mobile

Elgato http://www.elgato.com

$99.95

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd, 4th, and 5th generations) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.1 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Three out of five stars.

The Elgato EyeTV Mobile is a TV tuner that lets you watch live streaming TV on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch over the air without Internet access.

Packaging is quite beautiful. It comes in a black box. The tuner is located and visible on the upper deck, the rest of the accessories are cradled within a compartment underneath.  It has a built-in antenna and a larger external one for better reception. The QuickStart Guide is printed on the box flap itself. You’ll need excellent vision or a magnifying lens to read the tiny white on black print. My EyeTV Mobile needed charging which took about 4 hours to fully charge. You get a USB cable to connect to a power source when not connected to the iPad or iPhone like a computer. A red light indicates low power and green a full charge. Once fully charged it can last beyond 12 hours. New dock connectors may need a Lighting-to-30 pin adapter.

Elgato’s EyeTV Mobile plugs into your dock connector to provide over the air access to TV stations. The moment you connect the EyeTV Mobile to your iPad or iPhone it connects to the App Store to download the free app. Once the app installation is finished, position the antenna, open the app, and follow the instructions.

The scanned channels in Bala Cynwyd, PA were WCAU and WTFX Fox. The picture came in very clearly. Adjustments are available for pause and resume live TV, close captioning, and small screen to large screen view.

The second time I scanned for channels, I got three; the same two mentioned already plus ei qubo but the resolution was blurry and the sound choppy. It was more of a kid’s channel.

I had a cable black out for a day and the EyeTV Mobile came in handy at least to watch the news on the limited two scanned channels.

I have been a fan of Elgato products for many years.  I can’t justify the price of this product for just three channels of TV viewing however.

Pros: You don’t need the Internet.

Cons:  It eats your battery and your data allowance quite rapidly. Needs PIP. Limited scanned TV channels.

Maria O. Arguello has been a long-time member of NCMUG and an Apple evangelista. She enjoys teaching new technology, swimming, fine dining, family, friends, and her Mac addiction.

Posted in: Reviews

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 1 of 2 12