2012.11 History: October Feature: Sassing Websites
presented by Richard Russell, summarized by Holly McEntee

It used to be that humans were consumers of content. We read newspapers and listened to radio and watched TV shows and movies, all pretty much 1-way. You could write letters to the editor or phone in to talk shows, but there was a time lag, and editors could censor and control these.
But the internet is 2-way. Consumers can talk back practically immediately and unfettered. Some content sites controlled this tightly, but some found it a way to attract eyeballs and thus sell more ads. (Viewers of websites are not customers, we are products, which is why it looks free to us.) Some consumers enjoy this interactivity and some do not. To many, it's part of the vast, unknown new world of internet interactivity.
Richard used the comment feature on espn.com to demonstrate one type of interactivity. He showed us how to sign up for a free account to allow reading and posting, explaining that many sites require signing up. He then showed us not only how to post and edit your own comments, but also how to read them, quote from previous comments, flag them for potential abuse, and share them with others not commenting on that same post (such as emailing them externally to others).
We ran out of time before we could get to the many other topics that were planned for this demo, but will cover them at a future meeting.


Q: I use several different browsers. Some of them won't open PDFs automatically and I don't know why. I use Adobe Acrobat as my default reader, and am running Snow Leopard.
A: This sounds like a browser-specific problem. Each browser has a command for clearing the browser cache; search for that. (The commands are also version-specific, so it's not necessarily in the same place in different versions of Chrome or Safari.) Then clear the browser cache. This may fix the problem. Rest assured that clearing the browser cache is not the same as clearing the history.

Q: On my iPad I have doubled calendars. They are identical; it's like I've got two copies of the same calendars displaying on my iPad. It's terribly annoying! How do I get rid of the doubles?
A: You may be syncing to your iPad from iTunes on your main computer. Check and make sure. If so, then uncheck "Sync Calendars" in iTunes so you aren't sending two sets of calendars to the iPad (that is, so that your computer via iTunes and iCloud aren't both sending the same calendars to your iPad).

Q: Really, how secure is iCloud?
A: Storage of documents is very safe. Transferring of data is only as safe as you've made it setting the preferences for the type of connection between your machine and the internet, the level of file encryption you're using, and other "housekeeping" precautions. A free coffeehouse wi-fi network is simply not going to give you the same security as your firewalled home network, so you shouldn't plan on doing secure work like banking on a public network. It is highly recommended that you make a backup on your local machine. And evaluate how you feel about whatever document or data you're considering putting on iCloud. If you are truly paranoid, don't put it anywhere on the web.


2012.11 Preview: WALL•E

The December meeting will (a) not be divided into beginners' and regular sessions, (b) skip the Q&A, and (c) have no presentations about Apple products. Instead, we'll be watching the 2008 animated film WALL•E, so show up at 6:00 if you want to see it. (Running time is 1:38. And it's rated G, so feel free to bring the kidlets.)

The movie is about the last sentient denizen of a future Earth ravaged by environmental neglect. WALL•E is a mobile mechanical trash compactor who has no eyes, arms, or legs and doesn't speak a word of dialog thruout the entire film.

If you think that doesn't sound remotely like a promising premise for a movie, you're absolutely right. But this film is from Pixar, the geniuses who made us care about a rat in a Parisian restaurant and a grumpy old guy who flew away with his entire house in a cloud of balloons. On IMDb.com, it's tied with Toy Story 3 with 8.5 user stars out of 10, and it scores a whopping 96% on the Tomatometer at rottentomatoes.com.

So, yeah, people liked it.

It's of particular interest to Macintosh aficionados because, coming from a company that Steve Jobs was heading at the same time as Apple, it features a number of subtle visual and audio in-jokes. That's part of the reason why we picked it.

That, and also because, as far as we can tell, it's the only movie ever made that has a bullet (• = option-8) in its title.