Monthly Archives: January 2016

My Favorite Instructional Manuals

These are the current crop of easy-to-read manuals that seem to be helping beginners the most, in my experience:
Apple Pay – For folks who want to understand and use the new, highly-secure way to pay for things using an iPhone or Apple Watch (and, it’s safer than the new credit cards!)

chronometer-faces-01The Apple Watch doesn’t arrive with a manual in the box – These fill the gap very nicely:

I guarantee that there will be SOMETHING new and useful for you here:
Siri For Dummies – I STRONGLY suggest this one – Siri is only going to make your life simpler and less stressful.

The Mac SHOULD have come with a manual, and red warning-stickers (“BACK UP with a hard drive!”  “Run DiskWarrior periodically!”  “Don’t leave your laptop permanently connected to power, or it will kill your battery!”) all over it.  These books will help you to become more of a Mac Jock.

It’s astonishing how powerful Photoshop can be, but learning it can be daunting.  This is written in a breezy fashion:

Learn all of there available commands!

Scanning Old Archival Photos on a Mac

On Jan 16, 2016, Carol wrote:

Hope your holidays were great and that the new year is treating you wonderfully so far!

I was wondering if you had any tips for me regarding purchasing a new scanner, and/or high speed photo stack scanner?

My dad passed away at home this week at the very ripe old age of 97… though he was still just a big kid! We enjoyed many years in good company since my mom passed.
And now, of course it’s photo time. I was doing side work for a company called PhotoBin in SD that did great, low cost scanning, but they recently closed and I didn’t finish our family scanning and I’d prefer to do the rest myself as the remainder are fragile and irregular with many WWII Dad and his Navy Black Cat PBY Seaplane in the South Pacific. Also my grandpa had a dark room at home so all our family pics are a huge variety of sizes too.

I so appreciate all your advice over the years! Every piece you’ve recommended has been terrific!

Believe it or not, this inexpensive scanner does what you want. I saw a review of the Epson Perfection V19 (which I can’t find right now) that really raved about it on a Mac, for archival photo-scanning in groups. They recommended:

  • using compressed air to shoo-away dust,
  • to keep the glass very clean, and
  • to scan at (at least) 600 DPI.

Cutting the TV Cable, and Hidden Rental Warning

We are THRILLED with our roof antennas:…

We use Cox Internet, nothing else. No HBO, no phone lines.

On our second story, we have the antennas set up so that one points toward Mount Soledad, and the other points toward Mount Helix. This gives us ALL local channels, in high-definition digital quality. We use a TiVo box to record the shows that we want and like. We use an AppleTV to stream video such as movies.


Beware if your cable modem looks like this:

1. You don’t want an old Motorola like this one. REPLACE IT. They are nasty… slow, buggy and have been obsolete for fifteen years. Cox wants you to use one, because it gives you slow Internet, when you are paying for fast Internet.

2. Check your Cox cable bill, very carefully. If the portion of your bill mentioning “High Speed Internet” includes the word “rental” anywhere, you are being screwed, badly. One of my clients paid $3606 renting this terrible modem since 1993. By law in California, you are allowed to own your own cable modem.


– Get a new Motorola cable modem at Costco (or anywhere online) for about seventy bucks. It’s using “DOCSIS 3.0”, which means that it will remain as fast as the cable company, no matter what (unlike AT&T). I am getting around 72Mb/s with mine. Cox very nicely and suddenly raised my Internet speed for free, because AT&T was starting to make a lot of converts in the area. Competition is good.

– Call Cox at (619) 262-1122, tell them that you have bought your own cable modem, and don’t let them off the phone until it is functioning sweetly.

– Before you hang up, if you ARE renting the old one, ask them for the address where you should drop off the old one. Until they get it back, they will keep charging you.