Like an airline passenger, MacNexus had been “bumped” due to overbooking from a Tuesday meeting to a Thursday meeting. This is the annual MacNexus General Meeting held every year in October for the required club business and the election of officers. As fitting for the season there was Halloween candy in addition to the usual coffee and cookies. Also a special treat, a birthday cake for Macnexus, a special thanks to the volunteers that provide the snacks for the meetings. The raffle table was full with a variety of prizes: free tickets to the Sacramento Auto Show, three $25 iTune gift cards, an external hard drive and, as big prizes, an iPad Mini and a MacBook Air. As always, the ticket sellers were lively, getting everyone excited about buying tickets.
Ken Spencer noted as the meeting started that MacNexus started in 1984 and was 33 years old today. We didn’t have any of the original members attending tonight, but we did have several who had been members for 30 years. The club currently has 513 members.
MacNexus was collecting small electronics tonight for the victims of the wildfires in our area. Many people had had to leave quickly without chargers or other electronic devices and one of the members had, after some work, found someone to distribute what was collected.
Next on the agenda was the annual meeting. Ken read the old minutes, a motion was made to accept the minutes and they were approved. Proof of notice was offered and the yearly meeting was called to order. The treasurer’s report was read. The balance as of the end of 2016 was $49,548.52. You can request as a member a copy of the report by emailing the treasurer Karen Downs,. The treasurer’s report was approved, there no was old business, new business called for (there was none) and then the election results were read. Ken Spencer was reelected as President, Bob Ress was reelected as Secretary and the two directors elected were Cheryl Souza and Richard Applebaum. A motion was made and passed and the meeting was then adjourned. Not a record meeting time but still pretty quick.
Ken announced that there would be a raffle for a second MacBook Air in which all the members were entered. The club membership was listed and numbered and Ken would use Siri to generate a random number to determine the winner. Also volunteers would now be eligible to win a $25 iTunes gift card each month based on points earned for each volunteer activity. This month, after a random number from Siri, Dick Warner won the iTunes gift card.Ken noted that he had just sent out an email that iTunes gift cards were on sale on eBay, $85 for a $100 iTunes gift card, delivered electronically. There is a link on the MacNexus website to join Ken’s email list for these offers.
KRACK (Key Installation Attack) has been in the news. It is a exploit that could affect the security of WiFi connections using the WPA2 protocol for security. This is one of the most common types of security used on WiFi. Apple has a patch for iOS devices and may have one by now for the Airport base stations — check for a firmware update. If you use another brand of WiFi router/base station check the manufacturer website for an update. Tim Cook announced that the iMac mini, which has not been updated lately, will not be going away as was feared by some. Apple has made iTunes 12.6.3 available for those people who were adversely affected by the upgrade to iTunes 12.7. iTunes 12.7 took away the apps portion of iTunes, meaning you have to manage your apps o the iOS device itself. This was a problem for people like Ken who has over 1300 apps on his iPhone. If auto upgrade has switched you to 12.7, you can search for iTunes 12.6.3 to go back to the way it used to be.
At 12:01 AM on October 27th, the iPhone X (ten) will go on sale for preorders. You can try to order the phone that night, Ken has his iPhone open to the Apple Store (using the Apple Store App), his iPad open and his computer all checking to see when the store goes live for ordering.
Apple and most carriers offer a lease program, T-Mobile has one but you cannot sign up for it online. EmpowerMac will be offering classes on October 21st and 22nd.There are two sessions each day. On the 21st, it will be High Sierra and Photos for Mac; on the 22nd will be iOS 11 and Photos Files and more. If you have never attended a EmpowerMac class, your first class is free. See the website for pricing and registration. The classes are more like labs than lectures.
In Tech Q&A, there were no written questions for Ken but we had several questions from the audience. The first was how to check if your apps will work in iOS 11. To do that, go Settings > General > About > Applications. If you have a “>” at applications, you have apps that will not work in iOS 11. If you tap on Applications, it will open a list of applications that do not work in iOS 11 and will not work unless the developer updates them. Check the list for any apps that you use al lot. If there are a lot you use in the list, you will probably not want to upgrade to iOS 11 until the apps are updated. You can delete the expired apps by pressing down (lightly) on an app until all apps start wiggling. Each app will have a small circle with an X in it. Tap on the X and you will be asked if you want to delete the app. Many expired apps will be free apps. You can check the App Store for something equivalent but you may have to pay for them.
Another member noted that occasionally her iPhone didn’t recognize her fingerprint for unlocking the phone. She deleted the fingerprints and re-entered them a couple of times. Ken noted that moisture on your finger can affect the fingerprint reader. It may take multiple tries to get it to work. To fix this, go to Settings > Touch ID and Passcode. You will be asked to enter your passcode. Then go to the Touch ID section and touch the finger print reader with the finger that is not working. Each time you touch your finger, that finger in the list will turn grey. Each touch is adding information for that finger. You don’t necessarily have to delete the fingerprint that isn’t working. If you have a list of fingers, you can delete all but one, re-enter the other finger then delete to one you left in place and re-do it. That avoids having to go through the entire process of adding your fingerprint to unlock the iPhone/iPad.
Someone asked if you should back up your iPhone and how to do it. You can plug your iPhone into your computer and choose backup to this computer or you can backup using iCloud. There is a setting in Settings > iCloud (which is at the top of the list in iOS 11) which gives you the option to turn on iCloud Backup. Your phone will then backup automatically when it is plugged in and connected to WiFi.
There were no new members tonight. Remember to invite someone to come check us out, many people end up joining once they know what the club is like.
During the break, Ken showed part of the Keynote from Apples event last month, showing how the iPhone X will use facial recognition instead of the home button to unlock the phone. The keynote showed what was involved in making the facial recognition work.
After the break, Ken started his talk on Photos on the Mac and how you can use other programs within Photos to give you more options when editing. Photos can be your “shoebox” that you keep all your photos in, the storage place for them. iCloud Photo Library can be used to make all your photos available on all your devices. If you edit a photo on one device, it is updated on all your devices that have iCloud Photo Library turned on. Plugins are stand alone programs you can buy that you can use within Photos. Some that Ken likes are:Affinity Haze Removal which is part of Affinity Photo, Intensify CK from MacPhun Software), Snap Heal CK also from MacPhun, and Photolemur.
Ken used some photos from his trip to see the full eclipse as examples to show what the programs can do. Open your photo in Photos, click on Edit button on the upper right and the edit workspace of Photos opens up. On the right hand side are the Photos editing tools and a circle with three dots in it. Click on that to open the plugins. If you don’t see any and you have installed some or all of the apps mentioned, click on More in the list. That will open up a window where you can pick the plugins you want to use. Once you have selected a plugin, your photo will open in that program within Photos. You can then use the plugin to make the changes and save the photo. The modified version will now be in your Photos library.
Ken first demonstrated Photolemur, showing how you can use a sliding divider on the screen to see the before and after difference. Photolemur checks the white balance and colors in your photo to start correcting them. Sliding from side to side you see real time (depending on your computer) changes in the photo. He used retouch under Photolemur to try to remove a drain culvert from his example photo. The culvert was in the middle of a gravel parking lot. When he used Photolemur, the culvert was removed but the area that remained was blurry and didn’t look like the rest of the parking area. He then opened the same photo using SnapHeal. This time, when he removed the culvert, by drawing over the area with the tool, the area looked very much like the rest of the parking lot. Much closer to the texture of the lot. The Plugins do take some processing power so the speed at which they open and operate depends on the speed and computing power of your computer.
He then demonstrated Haze Removal on a hazy picture he had taken of a crow sitting on the edge of a wooden walk. Once the photo was open in Haze Removal, he again used the sliding divider to show the difference and it was quite noticeable. He showed a couple of other pictures comparing the changes with what Photolemur could do with the image. He also showed Haze Removal on a photo he had taken through the front windshield of his car. Haze removal did do a lot towards eliminating the glare from the windshield.
Markup now comes with Photos both on the computer and on the app. Markup lets you add notations including text to your photos. You can draw a circle around something in the photo and label it for example. It is a overlay on top of your image. You can modify the colors and line widths but right now you don’t have a lot of font choices. Several of the plugins offer batch processing. So if you have a bunch of scanned color slides that need some color corrections, you set it up for one you can use those settings on a batch of photos. This make s it a lot easier then trying to edit each photo individually.
Now it was raffle time! Ken explained that the iPad mini and MacBook Air were the grand prizes and the second MacBook Air would be raffled to the entire membership when the meeting raffle was done. The small prizes went quickly with a few members saying spin it more as they had numbers starting with a 7 and all the tickets drawn started with 8. But in the end, Janis Ong won the MacBook Air and the iPad mini found a happy home. Then it was time for Ken to tell Siri to select a random number from 1 to 513 (one number for each member of MacNexus) and number 469 was called out by Siri. Bob White came up with the list and announced the winner was Janis Ong. As she was already standing at the front of the room with her MacBook Air, she quietly said “you mean me?” Everyone was surprised and someone remarked that Janis should go by a lottery ticket as it was a lucky day for her. Congratulations!
I look forward to seeing you at the next meeting in November, hopefully on a Tuesday night as usual. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.