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CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for MAC USERS # 72, 09/17/04
Contents Copyright 2004 by Christopher Plummer

I'll be teaching T'ai Chi Chuan at Yoga Central in Branchburg, NJ. Yes, the slow-motion martial art, moving meditation, and exercise reminiscent of Cain's Kung Fu, or much of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". Sorry, we won't cover flying in this class! It's an 8 week session on the Yang Style 13 posture 'short' form. Class starts Thursday Oct. 21 at 6 PM. Students of all ages and abilities welcome. Contact: <> 908-707-0759.

Your own UNPREDICTABLE Mac Consultant. :-) Ready to go
'wireless'? Want to share your Internet connection? Share your iTunes
Playlists with other computers on your LAN? Create professional
looking CDs? Or just get the inside info on how your Mac can "Play
Nice" with Windows users? HIRE ME! I can do this for you or show you
how. Read the details in the SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION section at the bottom. Or email me now: < chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com> Enjoy the
newsletter! :-)

This Issue
TWO THINGS: 1) If you ever change your email address and would like to keep receiving UNPREDICTABLE, please be sure to send me a note with your NEW address. 2) I MAKE MISTAKES - I know, it's hard to believe, but it has happened a couple times. I am keeping my distribution list in Apple's Address Book and sometimes I 'lose' people. So if it seems like it's been an UNREASONABLY—as opposed to UNPREDICTABLY—long time since you have received an issue, send me an email. I need to keep up my subscriber list to stay motivated (so by all means, ask your children, parents, friends, and enemies if they would like to subscribe!). What can you expect in coming issues?? Assuming I can extricate myself from the consulting work long enough to write: iChat Video, Microsoft Office, and Bluetooth Phone tricks!! Okay, so how about some more ®fascinating Mac trivia, insightful comments, and personal commentary of questionable merit! Remember it's (9) for NINE fading away, (X) for TEN, (W) for Windows, and double asterisks (**) precede links that help Support Unpredictable. :-)

Put me on your Buddy List in iChat! <>

Shameless Commerce - Service Plans for PowerBooks and iBooks
GEEK SPEAK REVIEW - EViP of DRAT, AFAICT, Snail-mail, Carbon, Cocoa, NDA
UPDATES - Apple, textSOAP, Quicken 2005, Now Up-To-Date & Contact
NEWS - Jobs' Successful Cancer Surgery, new iMac G5
WEIRD NEWS - The Suitors
EViP of DRAT - PowerBook battery recall
Tips - iCal & Safari
Special Bonus Keyboard Commands - A Few Excel Key Commands

Shameless Commerce
** BUY these OCCASIONALLY recommended items using the links below, and help support UNPREDICTABLE! Need anything else? Send me an email!
< chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com>

Do you have a Service Plan for your Apple laptop? I strongly recommend that you buy one if you plan to keep your laptop more than a year. Laptops take terrible abuse and if something fails, having it under a service plan is the best way to get it repaired quickly. Although I have occasionally had to 'push' Apple to get customer satisfaction, I have NEVER regretted buying a service contract on a PowerBook.

3 Year Applecare service plan for PowerBook - extends phone support from 90 days to 3 years, and hardware repair from 1 year to 3years. 349.99

3 Year Applecare service plan for iBook- extends phone support from 90 days to 3 years, and hardware repair from 1 year to 3years. 249.99

Geek Speak Alert! EViP of DRAT, NDA

Geek Speak Review (the ‘GSR’)
EViP of DRAT - Executive Vice-President in charge of Doing the Right Thing. An imaginary position at Apple Computer that I invented, charged with righting wrongs, recalling faulty products, and making Apple customers the most satisfied, loyal customers in the world (and need I say, selling TONS of Apple products in the process). I also offered to take the position, although I would of course have to continue to live in beautiful, Western, Central, New Jersey.

AFAICT - Internet abbreviation lingo for "as far as I can tell"

Snail-Mail - Everyone knows what this means now, right? Obviously a derisive term by the hipsters of the electron age for an ancient means of communication using dead organic matter instead of electrons.

COCOA - In the Mac world, the application development environment for Oh Ess Ten that does not include compatibility to run under NINE.

CARBON - In the Mac world, the application development environment designed to smooth the transition from NINE to Oh Ess Ten. "Carbon" applications will run under OS NINE and Ten both. They lack the features and stability of "Cocoa" apps. This is becoming irrelevant, as there are fewer and fewer Mac users stuck on NINE. Join us! TEN is great! Buy a new Mac! Upgrade to Panther! You'll be HAPPY! We're ALL happy!

NDA - I know, you business types are laughing, "Why is he defining this? Everyone knows what an NDA is!!" Well, cool your jets, I have plenty of readers who have never signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement. Generally you sign one when somebody shows you a new product that isn't released. It means you agree to keep the secret. In the case of the Mac, bizillions of media and sales people got to see the original Mac before Apple had manufactured enough of them for release. It was an exciting time to be in the secret club - even if the club was HUGE!!

APPLE. Lots of updates. Check Software Update System Preference.

textSOAP 4, ver. 4.0.3 - Another Panther compatible release, with fixes and interface improvements to this useful text manipulation utility.

Quicken Mac 2005 - Intuit is blanketing the planet with snail-mail flyers about their new release. Which, AFAICT, is pretty much just like the last release, except it sounds like it is a COCOA application for TEN only. I'll GET CURRENT, and let you know how it goes.


NOW Up-To-Date & Contact 4.5.3 - This is a free update for current owners of the NOW products. The release mainly fixes a bunch of 'issues' in the calendar server, but there are also a few stability improvements for the single user. In other words, GET CURRENT.

Check for more updates at <>.

Jobs Recovering from Cancer Surgery—Steve Jobs, the often controversial leader of both Apple Computer and PIXAR Animation Studios, underwent surgery for a rare and treatable form of Pancreatic cancer called 'islet cell neuroendocrine tumor'. Because the more common forms of Pancreatic cancer are rarely treatable, Jobs wrote a company-wide email to emphasize that the disease was discovered early, is treatable, and that he is likely to recover his health and return to work soon. The Mac 'faithful' (as the press likes to label us) have been bombarding Steve with 'get well' messages at blog and web sites, and at the address he uses in demos, <>.

New iMac G5 - Without much fanfare, the 'desk lamp', 'snowball', 'bicycle helmet' iMac has been retired. Why? It was beautiful, but let's face it, it never caught on. Certainly not the way the original iMac or even it's true successor, the eMac did. As of September 1, Apple has released the 'new, new' iMac G5. In fact, you may have seen one and mistaken it for an Apple Flat Panel display. Because as they say, "The display is the computer!" It has the same aluminum base as the display line, but at least for now, the rest of it is still white plastic, as opposed to the brushed aluminum that seems to be de rigueur for Jonathan Ives' design group at Apple and every window in the Mac OS. It's a G5 with competitive pricing. Starting at $1300. It will look great with a wireless keyboard and mouse, and a wireless network, but what about all the other wires? Are they going to hang off the display? Hmm...Check it out.

Weird News
The Suitors - Many of Penelope's suitors, eager for her hand and longing greedily for her desirable estate, themselves returned unscathed from, or in their shameful cowardice, having never participated in the war itself, and inclined to remain in the comfort of their homes, downplayed Oddyseus's role in the glory and tragedy that was Troy.

More News: <>

Unpredictable Reader Feedback
Elisa’s iBook meets the EViP of DRAT - The Whole Story - Apple finally replaced Unpredictable reader Elisa's crashing iBook laptop. Elisa writes, "I LOVE THIS iBook!! I've been using my graphic programs as well as the norm and it has been wonderful!!<snip> I thank you again and again for all your help!!!!!!"

So, you ask, if Apple replaced it, why is she thanking me??

After failing to fix her problem in several O&U Feedback columns and off-line emails, I spent some time on Apple's Discussion Boards and discovered that there were hundreds of messages from people with similar frustrations about their iBooks. It was clear to them, some of whom had their computers replaced under warranty - more than once - that Apple had yet to confront a serious quality-control problem with certain iBooks. There was even a petition web site with several THOUSAND signatures requesting that Apple come clean and DO THE RIGHT THING and take care of its many unhappy iBook owners.

I provided all this information to Elisa, suggesting she go to the Apple Store, present them with her situation and this new background material, and not leave until she had escalated her issue as far up the chain of command as possible. Then, realizing the situation would never be resolved out in the colonies in the distant arms of the Crab nebula but had to work its way back to the mother ship for a solution, I stepped into the fray. I warned Elisa that despite my history as an original NDA Mac User from November of 1983, and my blabbermouthing about Apple, truth is, I only have a passing acquaintance with a few actual Apple employees. But I'd see what I could do.

Some years ago, I helped a total stranger who found my name on a post SOMEWHERE on the Internet. Sean was a graphic artist, and when his PowerBook failed, Apple told him they couldn't get parts, and his business would have to just sit idle for a month or two. This seemed so ridiculous, and so counter to the usually customer-empowering philosophy of Apple, that I wrote to an old acquaintance who I knew worked inside the fortress in Cupertino. My friend, in turn, passed the email to someone in Customer Support. This happened on a Friday. By Monday, Sean emailed me that Apple was shipping him a new PowerBook! It's the back door method of customer service, and sometimes that's how things get fixed. Because customers shouldn't have to sneak in the back door to get decent service, I invented the EViP of DRAT position at Apple, (preferrably for myself).

And then, there is Steve Job's email address. Which I have. Not the one he gives away in demos, but another one. How did I get that? Is he an Unpredictable reader? It's not because Steve has a clue who I am or anything. It's because there was a time when the Internet was small enough that if you wanted to, you could write to just about anybody. And often, if they actually got your mail, they wrote back. Guy Kawasaki, Jerry Pournelle, John Dvorak, Ray Bradbury, Steve Jobs.

I hadn't written to Steve Jobs since I'd asked him to save eMailer from extinction back in 1998. And, although he responded by forwarding my email to iBook-tower-jumper and VP of Worldwide Product Marketing, Phil Schiller, obviously (if you know the fate of eMailer), I wasn't that persuasive. But heck. Here was an issue that Steve needed to hear about from a non-raving professional with Apple's best interests at heart. So I copied both Steve and my other friend at Apple when I sent the email to Elisa.

And to my surprise, things started to happen. Fast. Suddenly Elisa was being contacted by several people from Apple! There was someone at the TOP, and someone who had escalated the issue from the Apple Store, and maybe even someone else. It was hard to keep track of—I was only hearing about it third hand. Clearly they were all determined to make sure that Elisa was a happy Apple customer. There were lots of emails back and forth and phone calls. Eventually they all got in contact with each other and got it all figured out, and replaced her iBook. Hooray! And what? Her daughter's iPod was having problems? They replaced that too. Clearly, Elisa's difficult case was an instance of Apple DOING THE RIGHT THING. But there's more!

A few weeks after all this happened, Apple announced the recall and replacement program for defective iBooks. I can't claim credit for that (though I'd like to), after all, there were all those posts and the whole petition site. I just stumbled into the melee and tried to help. But it sure makes me wonder about that letter to Steve. Who is the mysterious person who called Elisa? Obviously someone who is close enough to Mr. Jobs to have read that email. It wasn't Phil Schiller. Let's say, I actually know, but I can't reveal all. Keep this in mind: there is an EvIP of DRAT at Apple, and she is on the job!



Trouble Shooting
Doing the Right Thing About PowerBook Batteries
It's Deja Vu all over again! And I don't mean the great new song by John Fogerty. No, only in the last issue we talked about battery failures and the bizarre battery overheating of the last millenium. Well, it's happening again. Apple issued a recall on batteries for PowerBook 15" Macs sold from Jan. 2004 to Aug. 2004. DON'T PANIC! Just go to the link, figure out if your Mac is one of these by checking the battery serial number, and if it is, Apple will send you a replacement. It's OKAY. The EVIP of DRAT is doing her job. She's doing the right thing!


(X) iCal & Safari
Planning to take that very special someone to see the David Sedaris reading in October, and want to put it on your iCal calendar? Go ahead and type the entry, but since you're already on the web site looking at all the information in Safari, why not drag the URL from Safari and drop it into the URL field of the INFO window in iCal?? This may sound complicated, but it's really easy. It works. Then, when you're ready to look up the info on ticket prices or show times, you just click the [URL] field name in iCal and select 'Go to Location' from the pop-up menu!

Occasional Favorite Web Site
Tired of FOX News? Want an alternative?
The BBC is a bit more "Fair and Balanced" and will give you a slightly more global perspective on world events.

Or, if you're someone who actually BELIEVES that the Geneva Convention might have been a good idea, try:
But before you do, heed my warning. This is not a sanitized news site. You will see pictures of burning Bradley's, blown-up Humvees, dead and wounded soldiers and civilians, and real numbers of the daily attacks in Baghdad.

Special Bonus Keyboard Commands
Microsoft Excel -
[Control + Tab] toggles between Workbooks
[Command] + Tab toggles between programs
[Tab] moves to the next cell
[Shift] + [Tab] moves to the Previous cell

And if you have a Scroll Wheel, be sure to check out what happens when you
[Shift] + Scroll and
[Control] + Scroll!!

Thanks for Stopping By!!

* Chris’s UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for Mac Users **
Oriented towards, but not exclusively for, Mac Users in Beautiful Western
Central New Jersey. Published Whenever - About Whatever!

Non-profit, non-commercial publications may reprint articles if full
credit is given. (Please provide UNPREDICTABLE with a copy or URL.) Others
please contact the editor. Accuracy of articles is UNPREDICTABLE and
not guaranteed. Caveat lector. Publication, product, and company names
may be registered trademarks of their companies.

SEND requests and feedback to < chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com>.

Sample Issue - email with "Sample Unpredictable" in the Subject.
Subscribe - email with "Start Unpredictable" in the Subject.
Unsubscribe - email with "Stop Unpredictable" in the Subject.

Back Issues are available at the Unpredictable Archive:
Keeping the archive current is a never-ending task. If you need to GET CURRENT, subscribe. If you need an issue that is not on the Unpredictable site, send me an email. If you'd like to help with the site for absolutely no compensation other than my gratitude, send me an email.

The Bottom
** MORE COMMERCE - BE sure to use the whole URL!

Apple iSight - REALLY OVERLOOKED! $150

iPod Mini's

PANTHER OSX for $109.99 - Get free shipping, and support UNPREDICTABLE!

PANTHER OSX Family Pack (for up to 5 Macs) $187.99: (The shipping is free!)

Shameless Self-Promotion
My accountant has advised me to come clean in every issue. Yes, I am a
consultant and am available to HELP YOU on a one-to-one basis.

Macintosh - Interested in help from a long time MAC Professional?
Macintosh Wireless Networking, Internet Connectivity, Desktop Support,
Training. As a rule, I DON'T DO WINDOWS, but I know a lot about
getting your Mac to work in PEACE and HARMONY with the Windows world.

Writing and Editing - I would love to write for your publication or
edit your work. I have plenty of samples of all kinds of writing—not
just this newsletter.

Lotus Notes and Domino Adminstration, Development, and

Reasonable fees. Satisfaction Guaranteed.

Send me an email:
< chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com>

TFSB :-)



Apple Logo Contact Me: AIM
All contents copyright 2000-2008 by Christopher Plummer, ZebraTale LLC, except where noted. Accuracy of articles is UNPREDICTABLE and not guaranteed. Unpredictable was published from 2001 to 2008. Although updated occasionally, this is a historical archive - expect dead links. Caveat lector.
Publication, product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their companies. TFSB :-)