Leaking memories, fixed in minutes!

Friday, 5th June, 2009 – 22:40 by Toby Oldham

Everyone can remember bad experiences with software, or software developers. I think its generally accepted that, biologically speaking, we remember bad stuff more often than good stuff so we don’t get our left arm eaten by a saber-tooth tiger (having already lost our right-arm at the last cross-species pub crawl).

The great thing about the printed (or electronically recorded) word is that we can store away the good stuff we’d otherwise hurriedly leave by the side of the forest path as we made room for important concepts like ‘don’t poke big cats in the eye.’

My contribution then to this world-wide phenomenon, is a paragraph (or three) about a cool developer:

Read the rest of this entry »

June Meeting Notes

Friday, 13th June, 2008 – 08:03 by Peter Hinchliffe

The meeting notes for the May 6 WAMUG General Meeting are now up on the Meetings page, again courtesy of Ian Conaghan. Click on the Meetings Page and click the link 3rd June – Monthly Meeting at the bottom of the page.

May Meeting Notes

Thursday, 22nd May, 2008 – 08:56 by Peter Hinchliffe

The meeting notes for the May 6 WAMUG General Meeting are now up on the Meetings page, courtesy of Ian Conaghan. You can check them out here, or swing over to the Meetings Page and click the link 6th May – Monthly Meeting at the bottom of the page.

Keyboard shortcuts..including that pesky Print Screen

Friday, 28th March, 2008 – 08:00 by Rosemary Horton

Are you like me? Do you have to use Windows at work and prefer an Apple at home? I find mostly this causes no problem, except with keyboard shortcuts. My mind sometimes just glitches. Read the rest of this entry »


Tuesday, 25th March, 2008 – 11:14 by Toby Oldham

Until 2 weeks ago, I was the proud owner of a Dual 1.8 G5 tower. Not anymore. I decided to rationalise my computing experience, as I’ve realised something:

Relative silence is golden.

Read the rest of this entry »

Join the Mailing List

Saturday, 8th March, 2008 – 13:53 by Administrator

Hi Everyone,

The WAMUG Committee would like to extend a formal invitation to everyone to join the email mailing list. There are currently about 500 people subscribed from all walks of life. Join the discussion, ask questions that’s what it’s there for.  Click here to Join for free.

Annual General Meeting 2008

Tuesday, 4th March, 2008 – 19:30 by Ian Conaghan

The 2008 AGM opened with the existing Committee standing down to allow for the election of new office bearers. The following were elected unopposed:

President: Peter Hinchliffe

Treasurer: Peter Botman

Members: Daniel Kerr, Ian Conaghan and a new Committee member, Daniel Forsdyke, was welcomed.

The Financial Report, although not tabled, shows $1777.96 in the bank with no outstanding debts. If any Member wishes to view the detailed report, this is available from the Treasurer.

Individual responsibilities will be allocated at the first Executive Meeting on 18 Mar.

The incoming President expressed a vote of thanks, enthusiastically supported by all present, to the outgoing President, Matt Healey who has done an outstanding job over ten years. Matt will remain involved with WAMUG and we look forward to his advice and input in the future.

With the Committee stuff out of the way, a couple of new Members were welcomed and Peter Hinchliffe conducted the usual Q and A session which discussed problems indexing Spotlight, lost links in iPhoto, printing to PDF, locked files in Safari and losing track of messages in Mail.

Following Q and A, Peter demonstrated YummySoup, a recipe management application which fully supports importing recipes, with pictures, from any website and allows you to export your favourite recipe to an online recipe library. It’s a great little application for all budding chefs. About US$20.

Aperture 2, Apple’s latest version of its popular photo editing and management application was next to be demonstrated by Peter. It handles RAW files with ease and has similar tools to iPhoto but is much more powerful and extensive. Apple’s familiar interface and ease of use is evident and at about A$270, it is an excellent application for the serious amateur.

Wallet, a small database designed to store personal data away from prying eyes, eg passwords, addresses, credit card numbers etc was then discussed.

Matt Healey then introduced the new WAMUG website. It is linked to iCal, allows posts to approved Members and supports membership fee payments through PayPal or credit card. No doubt a welcome tool to many Members. It includes pages and links to the Constitution, Meetings, Committee, Archives and sites of interest to WAMUG Members. The site is still a work in progress and Matt will keep us posted.

Matt then demonstrated the website specific browser Fluid which is a free download. This browser creates a specific application to directly access your favourite web pages without the usual clutter of tabs etc associated with conventional browsers. The page can then be stored in the dock. Very Handy.

An interesting snippet of information was then contributed by Neil Botterill concerning battery charging. For about A$230, a device that does a deep discharge and revitalization of batteries is available from www.battery-charger.com.au

The Meeting then concluded at about 9PM

Monthly Meeting Notes 0408

Saturday, 1st March, 2008 – 19:30 by Administrator

Date – April 1st 2008
Time – 7:30pm
Duration – 1 hour, 30 minutes
Location – Room 2.22, Building 312 (Geology), Curtin University Bentley

As the Committee have not let me know what will be shown at the next meeting, I am going to assume that they will be giving a free MacBook Air to the first 1024 people that show up. Additionally a fully decked out Mercedes S-Class will be presented to the first person to bring in an Argentinian hedgehog with an Apple logo painted on its spikes.

Finally, the Committee will be demonstrating the latest and greatest version of Windows Vista and how it makes your life better than anything else on the planet.

Update: Well it appears we won’t be getting our free MacBook Air’s, although we will get to see one. Daniel Kerr has happily informed us of the coming events.

  • Daniel Kerr will be showing us a MacBook Air. (Ooooo “Airy”)
  • Martin Hill will be demoing a rather cool little HD Sanyo video camera. (Sanyo Sanyo Sanyo… A cleaning we will go!)
  • Peter Hinchliffe will be demoing… something. (Some….thhhiiinggg… over the rainbow)
  • Fun and Games will be supplied.

Meeting Notes

Howdy Folks,

We had a great turn up for the April meeting. I’m not sure if Matt’s post of 1 Apr, a significant date, caused the multitude. Perhaps it was the lure of the Mercedes S-class or maybe the latest, greatest version of Vista?

The evening got underway with Peter Hinchliffe conducting the usual Q & A. A printing problem in Pages which couldn’t be resolved, an email client not remembering passwords, possibly a Keychain problem and how to set up an external HDD.

Peter then handed over to Martin Hill for his excellent presentation on QuickTime Pro. At a A$45 download from the Apple Store, this has to be the best value for money for the non professional video enthusiast ever. It has very cool editing tools including video export, combining clips, picture in picture, conversion of many video formats as well as cut, copy, paste etc. It is h.264 capable and can playback in stereo at full screen mode. Highly recommended for anyone interested in video editing.

Martin then introduced us to the latest camcorder offering from Sanyo, the Xacti HD1000. This diminutive camera has a 10x optical zoom, 4 megapixel resolution and is capable of recording video at 1080i on a 16GB flash card. At below A$700, if you shop around, it appears to be an ideal consumer level video camera and the size will make it attractive to the traveller.

Susan Hastings then kindly allowed Daniel Kerr to demonstrate her MacBook Air. As the name implies, this machine at 1.35KG and less that 2cm thickness is ideal for the traveller. The backlit screen is very bright and it has a full size illuminated keyboard. USB, DVI and audio ports are accessible via a neat little drop down port array. On the downside, it has no optical drive but this can be overcome by Remote Disk, a feature that allows you to use the optical drive on an adjacent computer. The 80GB HDD machine comes in at A$2499 but an extra A$1839 gives you a 64GB solid state drive. The future of HDDs??

This was followed by Peter Hinchliffe demonstrating NeoOffice, a free suite of office applications as an alternative to MS Office. Naturally it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the MS suite but it is ideal for students or anyone who only needs the basics, which is probably most of us. It incorporates a word processor, a spreadsheet, a database, a presentation and a drawing program. Free download from


To finish off the evening, Daniel Forsyth demonstrated several online office suites. These included Telstra’s BigPond Office, (must be a BigPond customer) MS Live Workspace (need an MS ID eg Hotmail) and Google Docs (need a Google account) Most had limitations apart from those already mentioned, eg not Safari friendly, advertising, file size limitations, sluggishness or difficulty formatting as PDF.

I will conclude with a reminder that if you want a particular product or software demonstrated at a Meeting, please contact a Committee Member and we will see what we can come up with.


Monthly Meeting Notes 0208

Tuesday, 5th February, 2008 – 19:30 by Ian Conaghan

As Matt Healey was overseas, the February Meeting was conducted by Peter Hinchliffe who opened by mentioning that word (not the MS version) has it that OS 10.5.2 is just around the corner and rumour has it that the changes are substantial.

Editors Note: Mac OS X 10.5.2 is now available for download via Software Update or the Apple Downloads site.

Peter also reminded the assembled multitude that next month’s Meeting is the AGM and we need as many members as possible to attend. The AGM is when your Committee Members are elected and Matt Healey, after ten years as President, is standing down and all members are urged to consider serving on the Committee. (not an onerous task) The future of WAMUG is in your hands.

The usual Q & A then followed which confirmed the unwelcome news that Filemaker Pro v8.5 will not run on Leopard (but v6 will) and it is unlikely that a patch will be forthcoming. If you are running v8.5 you will need to upgrade to v9 which will set you back A$271 plus GST.

Editors Note: Since our meeting, FileMaker has released a Leopard compatibility patch for v8.5. It can be download from the FileMaker Support site.

We were then introduced to “Bento“, Filemaker’s little brother. Peter informed us that Bento is Japanese for “lunchbox” which I thought was rather strange but the program has some extremely powerful features as well as a few on the downside. The layout is attractive, functional and fully searchable with an easy drag and drop capability. It relates well to Address Book and iCal and the user interaction is very similar to the modules in iWork and other Mac applications such as iTunes. One of the major downside limitations is its inability to handle a range of fonts and font control in general is poor. Peter demonstrated a very good example of Bento in action with his own collection of recordings from vinyl in iTunes with the music playing from within Bento.
At A$79, Bento is quite cheap as databases go, but be aware of its limitations.

The next demo was on Microsoft Office 2008 which retails at A$229 for the student and home editions.
There is not a lot to shout about in this version as Entourage is very similar to that in 2004. The most changes appear to be in Word although apart from the new Publisher function, they also seem to be fairly cosmetic. Files are now compatible with docx in Office 2007 for Windows.
Excel has a new method of creating and handling sheets and as with the other modules, employs Smart Art graphics. (try saying that quickly) Word and Excel now have a photo button which interacts with both iPhoto and Filemaker. There is little change in Power Point.

After some discussion, the Meeting was wrapped up with a further reminder about the first Tuesday in March. Hope to see you there.


Monthly Meeting Notes 0608

Saturday, 19th January, 2008 – 12:43 by Ian Conaghan

Date – June 3rd 2008Time – 7:30pmDuration – 1 hour, 30 minutesLocation – Room 2.22, Building 312 (Geology), Curtin University Bentley


Although a presentation of new Mac Point of Sale software by Matt Healey had been promoted on our website, Matt, due to a last minute work commitment couldn’t make it.  He hopes to do it in the near future.

The evening was launched by Peter Hinchliffe introducing a new member, Jane.   This was followed by the usual Q & A, which unlike the previous month only resulted in one question, a colour sync problem with a plasma TV.

Peter then demonstrated Sandvox, a template based website authoring application.   It is easy to use and creates very clean and well constructed HTML but there is no requirement for the user to know HTML. It interacts with DreamWeaver and supports drag and drop media files.   Sandvox retails for US$49 for the standard version and US$79 for the pro model.   See Version Tracker.

This bought us to the highlight of the evening, a presentation on GarageBand by Ron Kerr.   As most Mac users would be aware, GarageBand is the music creation module in the iLife suite. Although plagued by a couple of minor technical glitches beyond his control, Ron gave a very entertaining and informative demonstration of this very powerful application in action, tossing around terms such as tempo, beat, rhythm, modulation and pitch.   The demo included use of the keyboard in addition to other software instruments and showed the visual interpretation of the music and tracks.   It was a sad coincidence that we had music as a theme on the date that Bo Diddley, one of the great fathers of rock and roll, passed away. We look forward to Ron’s return to take us further down the GarageBand journey.

The evening was rounded off with Colyn Healey’s presentation of coffee, tea and biccies.   We tend to forget that folks such as Colyn working in the background help make these evenings a success.

And “now a word from our sponsor” – keep the first Tuesday night in September free for what promises to be a rather special WAMUG night.

A live recording can be seen at http://dbs.ilectures.curtin.edu.au/ilectures/ilectures.lasso?ut=692