[Completely unrelated: CompUSA had an amazing sale in July.]
The Pi’s General Meeting was held July 23 at the Annandale location of Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC), and if the number of questions about Mac OS X 10.4 were any indication, the event was a hit! Despite some initial facility set backs, including no audiovisual support, the program began on time. A goodly number of members showed up to take in the latest and greatest about Apple’s latest Mac OS X iteration - Tiger. Pat Fauquet hosted the event with Dick Rucker and John Barnes assisting in separate portions of the presentation. The crowd was attentive and involved as each presenter’s talk was politely interrupted with questions or comments. But, this was a good thing as this is just what our meetings should be about - “...helping users to help themselves.” We closed the event out with the usual Door and Raffle Prizes and, for the second meeting in a row, Dick Sanderson won a copy of Photoshop Elements 3! What is going on?
When the initial cadre of Pi volunteers arrived, the Forum area was not set up for our meeting and the air conditioning was not working. Nevertheless, the meeting volunteers and others pitched in to arrange the chairs, track down the NVCC support person, and start to set up an alternate venue for viewing the Keynote presentation Pat had prepared. A short while later the support person appeared and we had a projector and microphone up and running. Despite the warm temperature, I personally heard no complaints. Good recovery!
Pi President John Barnes announced the Pi’s intent to help host an Internet Cafe at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair. As he explained, the event is a great opportunity to meet potential Pi members and promote our club. John listed the dates of the fair and the hours of operation of the Internet Cafe. He solicited help from the audience to fill thirty four-hour blocks with two volunteers each. Some members had already offered to fill more than one time slot and when you read this, the results will be in.
Before her formal presentation, Pat spoke a bit about MacWorld Boston, which had just concluded. She was enthusiastic about the opportunities this event, and others like, it offers to attendees. From book authors hocking their latest Mac publications, to offerings of tons of accessories for your Mac, iPod or iPod Shuffle, to wonderful presentations and enlightening workshops, this type of event provides a remarkable opportunity to learn more about the Mac and associated items. In Pat’s case, her goal was to learn as much about Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger as she could. From the depth of, and details in, her presentation, she was off to a good start to understanding Tiger. Many members took notes furiously and we learned a lot.
Some of the highlights of Pat’s talk included an introduction to Podcasting in iTunes which was a feature just added by the latest update. She ably demonstrated it by playing a novel podcast entitled “The One Minute Tip,” a collection of short tips on how to do things on your Mac. She instructed us on upgrading and loading Tiger - a “fantastic” update. It was here that she explained the rationale for, and gave tips on, backing up all your hard drive files and applications before you update. Her step-by-step review of Tiger installation was thorough. She mentioned a “gotcha” after installing Tiger: it might break any third party utilities and some applications. This would be a good time to check what updates are available for these broken files and then update them immediately.
Two other Pi members went on stage briefly to cover two additional aspects of Tiger. Dick Rucker told us about his experience installing Mac OS X 10.4 using the Archive and Install procedure. After waiting a prudent period of time, he made the transition because, as the Pi’s treasurer, he needs Tiger to operate the newest copy of our club’s new bookkeeping software. The process went “swimmingly” and he had few problems afterward.
Next, John Barnes took the stage and gave us a real good idea of what Spotlight is and what it can do. Spotlight is a dynamite search tool, and it will dig to the depths of all files and documents to instantly retrieve whatever matches the text typed in the Spotlight window. This application is used within other applications; to demonstrate, John initiated a search within Apple’s Mail application. Not only will Spotlight search From, Subject and To criteria but it can also find matching text from within the body of all your emails - powerful, indeed!
Our program ended with a crowd favorite - the raffle and door prize giveaways. July’s big winners were Len Adler and Dick Sanderson. Len won a copy of The Mac OS X 10.4 Pocket Guide, while Dick walked off with the Adobe application Photoshop Elements 3. Next, each door prize winner came forward to select a giveaway of their choice. They were Charles Reintzel, Ross Hatch, Edward Maeder, Herb Block, John Dibella and Helen Barsalou.
And so we concluded another successful Pi General Meeting. The crowd was a little larger than normal and that tells us we need to keep coming up with interesting topics. Also we are searching for other locations to host this meeting as the cost of the NVCC facilities are high, also we don’t get nearly enough Maryland members to this location. With that in mind, next month’s meeting will be held again in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center.Check our web site (www.wap.org) for details on the meeting and how to get to it.
In conclusion, John thanked everyone for coming and restated our need for volunteers in many of our Pi activities. At last, we were off for lunch at the Pizza Hut. Mmmmmm, pizza - good!