Photos by Richard Sanderson
This month’s general meeting went very smoothly considering it was in a new location and in an untested facility. First, Lawrence Charters led a Q & A session, after which he and Travis Good provided specialized instruction in two separate training sessions. Concurrently, one-on-one tutorial help was provided. The main event was a great recap of Macworld 2007 by Pat Fauquet. Before holding the prize auction, the Pi president covered several business items that included budget status, last survey results and the impending annual election. The prize auction was again lively and the grand prize was, no joke, a real Washington Apple Pie — Mmm!
An informal count of eighty-six attendees confirmed the word had gotten out that our regular meeting spot had changed. We filled the school’s multipurpose lecture hall and later overfilled a classroom that hosted one of our mini-training sessions. The large number of attendees was nice to see and there were some new faces in the crowd; that too was nice. In short, Luther Jackson Middle School looks like the right place to host a Virginia meeting of the Washington Apple Pi. Now, we need to do something on the other side of the river.
A good, attentive crowd was on hand for the January 2007 General Meeting. Quite a few people took notes; it looked like a college seminar. (Photo by Lawrence I. Charters, taken with a Minolta 5D digital camera.)
During the opening Question and Answer session, there were a vast range of questions, from the surprisingly technical and "geeky," such as dealing with corrupted Photoshop preferences, to the more commonplace. One topic of considerable interest was the constantly rising tide of spam. Lawrence recommended Apple's Mac OS X 10.4 version of Mail, which has outstanding anti-spam tools that are constantly updated; it is considerably more advanced than the version included with Mac OS X 10.3. Microsoft's Entourage, in comparison, has had few updates, and Qualcomm's beloved Eudora has essentially been abandoned by the publisher and is well behind the times in terms of spam fighting. Several folks commented during and after the meeting that they really enjoyed having Q & A back, especially with Lawrence hosting. Great combination!
Following the opening event, the attending members and guests were offered three options. The first choice was a session on enhancing digital photos led by Lawrence Charters. This was offered to help prepare members for the upcoming Pi Photo Contest that will take place in March. A second option was a mini-training event hosted by Travis Good in which he covered Mac OS X Fundamentals. Finally, folks could also partake of one-on-one tutorials. Pat Fauquet and Dick Rucker were the two volunteers who provided the expertise for this service.
Enhancing Digital Photos - Lawrence Charters addressed a sitting-room-only crowd on the subject of photo editing, specifically with reference to the forthcoming Washington Apple Pi Photo Contest. It followed the usual Pi format: a mixture of expostulation, question and answer, heckling, mocking, irrelevant asides, laptops going to sleep, etc.
He started with a brief description of the two major types of digital cameras: the small, compact, easy-to-use, point-and-shoot cameras, and the larger, more flexible, more powerful, single lens reflex (SLR) cameras. He mentioned that the small, compact cameras, because they are small, can be carried everywhere, and that he shoots more shots with compact cameras than SLRs. For very challenging subjects, such as dimly lit cathedrals or fast-moving sporting events, a good SLR is the more appropriate tool. He made impassioned pitches for the Canon Digital Elph series of cameras (unlike most compact cameras, they still have an optical viewfinder, essential for steady shots) and for anti-shake technology in some of the newest cameras.
Vibration and flash are the two causes of "bad" digital photos, so he explained how to reduce vibration and encouraged the audience to take photos without a flash if at all possible. Roughly half the talk had nothing to do with Macs per se; he stressed the importance of capturing a good image before it reached your Mac.
For editing tools, Lawrence briefly covered Preview, included with Mac OS X and not normally considered a "photo-editing tool." Preview can be used for cropping photos and can convert between a wide variety of formats. iPhoto '06 is both inexpensive and capable of a wide variety of nondestructive editing, from reducing red-eye to straightening to adjusting exposure. Mentioned in passing but not demonstrated was Photoshop Elements, also inexpensive and with all the tools a photographer needs from the full Photoshop without the high price. At the high end, Adobe Lightroom (shown in beta form) and Apple Aperture were briefly mentioned as ideal tools for high-end cameras and people with very large photo collections.
Mac OS X Fundamentals – Travis Good led the second training session to cover some essentials of Mac OS X. A sizeable group of the attendees packed a smaller classroom where they reviewed the free learning resources on Apple.com and Mac.com (.Mac tab on Apple Web site). The four areas the group reviewed were 1) for a New Mac User, 2) for a Tiger OS X User, 3) for an iLife suite User and 4) for a .Mac Service Member.
Though the video projector's bulb was dim, peoples' spirits were bright, and they managed to have a good quality discussion while stuffed into the densely packed room. Included in the presentation, Travis provided the links to the Web pages he was using in his presentation. He came away with a sense that the session attendees appreciated walking away with a handout of useful URLs they could put to use back home. Some in the group advocated posting the URLs on the Pi Web site, because they were long and any keyboard error would not get them connected to the intended destination. [URLs listed below.]
Macworld 2007 Photos by Richard Sanderson
Pat Fauquet, just back from Macworld San Francisco and really jazzed about the experience, treated the entire group to a tour of this year’s Macworld. She enlightened us on Mac User Group activities, countless conference offerings and the show floor spectacle. She added depth to her talk by showing lots of pertinent pictures and related videos. Some of these were video and audio podcasts of vendor and developer products as well as the two new products from Apple Inc., AppleTV and the iPhone.
Pat had only good things to say about the trip and the experience. She advocated all enthusiastic Mac users consider making the journey to San Francisco to take in one of these spectacular conferences. With some time to spare at the end of her presentation, Pat recapped the content of the monthly disc. This month it ended up being a DVD due to the large amount of video and podcast selections.
Bob Jarecke, Pi President, took a couple of minutes to inform everyone about some of the Pi’s business activities. The first two items were Pi finances and the results of the first Pi survey.
Bob moved on to the status of the second Pi Survey. It was geared toward learning what the membership feels about topics related to the monthly General Meeting. He reported approximately one hundred members had responded so far, but that was not enough to get a true sense of what the majority of the membership thinks about the current General Meeting program. He urged everyone to take the survey soon because it was going to end in four short days.
The next topic covered was the Journal. Bob praised the new Publications Committee for the latest Journal editions and felt they were excellent publications. He stressed to the audience that more content was needed, and the next deadline was merely days away.
The last important topic was the impending annual elections. Bob pointed out the need for a strong effort by the Election Committee to find enough nominees to ensure we fill all seven Board positions that will be vacated on May 31, 2007. The meeting’s attendees were asked to carefully consider joining the Pi’s leadership. It was suggested that anyone wanting to know more about being on the Board of Directors should join the Election Committee members for lunch immediately after the meeting.
The second Pi Prize Auction then rounded out the day. Bob Jarecke presented the four primary prizes which were a copy of the iLife ’06 software application, two new books on digital imaging and a fifth generation iPod accessory. And a late addition to the prize list was a real Washington Apple Pie. Kitty Richardson donated this tasty treat. What a wonderful contribution!
Without Steve Roberson’s expert auctioneering, the crowd had to suffer through Bob’s stammering auction call, but that didn’t kill the enthusiastic bidding. The Pi Dollars offers were fast and furious and the bids kept going up and up. Invariably, someone maxed out their available funds and a winner was declared. (We need to get more Pi Dollars into the hands of the bidders — oops, that’s up to the members: participate and you’ll get more.)
One of the General Meeting prizes in January was this Washington Apple Pi apple pie. Bidding on the pie – in Pi Dollars – was fierce. (Photo by Richard Sanderson, taken with a Nikon D-200 digital camera.)
The first auction-prize winner was Cheryl Lavoie, who went home with a new copy of the iLife ’06 Application. Two digital imaging texts, entitled On Digital Photography and Ideal to Image in Photoshop CS2, were won by Kris Herzog and Tom Carlson, respectively. Len Adler outbid everyone to win the XtremeMac Airplay iPod FM radio tuner. And the grand prize Washington Apple Pie went to Nancy Little who had to fight off some furious bidding by Pat and Ron Fauquet. I have it from a very good source the pie was delicious. Sorry, Pat and Ron, maybe next month if Kitty is gracious enough to provide another WAPie.
With all the activities at an end, everyone was encouraged to travel across the street for lunch at one of the nearby restaurants. With no one piping up their druthers, Gene Haddon suggested pizza, so Italian it was — good choice it turned out! A group of over twenty members made the short trek, and we settled in for some good food and conversation. Three of the Election Committee members were there too, and some minor arm-twisting was going on to recruit nominees for the upcoming Pi elections.
Overall, this first meeting at our new “home“ proved to be an excellent one. The reviews and feedback are mostly positive. A few attendees brought up a problem or suggested an improvement, and each of these will be considered and adjustments made where possible to accommodate the matter presented. We thank everyone for attending and hope to see all of you at future meetings.
Washington Apple Pi's January 2007 General Meeting was in a new location: Luther Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church, Virginia. Directions below.
Fresh from the West Coast, highly trained MacWorld veterans covered the 2007 edition of MacWorld San Francisco. The large crowd heard about iPhone, Apple TV and other wonders. Meeting poster in JPEG or PDF. (MacWorld Expo 2007 is January 9-12, 2007.)
9:00 - Doors open and Q & A with Lawrence Charters starts as soon
as members arrive
9:30 - Formal Meeting begins at with initial announcements and notices
9:45 - Two Mini-training sessions begin, one titled "How to Enhance Your Digital Images" with Ed Miller and Lawrence Charters, and a second titled"Mac OS X Fundamentals" with Travis Good, a well qualified presenter, who will instruct and demonstrate some rudimentary features of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger.
10:40 - Reassemble in Multipurpose Room for the main presentation by Pat Fauquet on MacWorld 2007: highlights of Macworld beyond the keynote address.
12:00 - Closing Pi business and the auction for four prizes - Xtreme Mac Airplay (iPod FM radio tuner), two books about digital images and the iLife '06 application. Rumor has it there might be a fifth prize and it has to do with Apples!!
Bring your portable Macs if you want, the whole building is WiFi capable. You and your neighbor can use it to take the second Pi survey which is underway. We need your input!
Disclaimer: This is our first time meeting at this location so there may be a snag or two as we work out the logistics and procedures. Please, bear with us.
See everyone there!
All members should plan on parking in the front or on the north side since we will be entering via the front entrance of the school. Signs will direct you to the back area of the school where our meeting rooms are located. Please, check in with the Sign In table and get your Pi Dollars note which will be updated to include the Pi Dollars you earned for attending this meeting. Happy Bidding!
Questions: Contact the WAP office at (301) 984-0300.
The meeting, open to the public, starts at 9:00 a.m.