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shuffle November 2007 issue #13

middle east

monthly newsletter about all things apple

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard has Arrived In the Spotlight

Ummah Films


Contents A Word from the Editor

4

Comic corner

4

EmiratesMac on Campus

5

Web Sites for iPhone

5

SmorgasDashBord

5

Shuffle: One Year Old

7

QuickTime Pro

8

Letters to the Editor

8

Experinces of an Apple Fan: Apple’s Amazing Financial Results

9

In the Spotlight: Ummah Films

10

Apple’s iPhone Not So Green

13

All about Steve Jobs Part 5

14

Perian: Universal Video Codecs

17

Convert DVDs for Playback on the iPhone

17

Shuffle Reviews

20

Reflections from the Hayah Film Competition 22 Profile of a Mac Seller

23

Peel the Apple

24

Recipe: Buttery Apple Torte

25

Weaving the web

25

Photoshop tutorial

26

How to: create an Encrypted Disk Image

29

Join EMUG

30

About shuffle Shuffle is published by EmiratesMac Apple User Group (EMUG). It is an independent, non-profit, newsletter containing news, commentary, tips and tricks, reviews, tutorials, and more, covering the world of Mac, iPod, iPhone, AppleTV, and anything else Apple, with a focus on the Middle East. Shuffle is also the official publication of EMUG detailing information about the user group and its activities. Editor in Chief is Omran Al Owais (omran@emiratesmac.com), Contributing Editor is Magnus Nystedt (magnus@ emiratesmac.com). Contact There is a discussion forum dedicated to Shuffle at EMUG’s web site (www.emiratesmac.com/forums/newsletter). There you can leave comments and suggestions and discuss Shuffle with other users. You can contact EMUG at mailing address: PO Box 70263, Abu Dhabi, UAE; Phone +971508171164; Fax +97126664289; Email shuffle@emiratesmac.com; Web www.emiratesmac.com. Disclaimer While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the content of this publication, we accept no responsibility for errors, omissions or changes to information printed. Views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of EMUG. Articles are copyright their respective author, unless noted otherwise. Want to advertise in Shuffle? This newsletter is the only publication in the Middle East that is dedicated to Apple products. By advertising in Shuffle you reach a dedicated audience of Mac and iPod users. We strive to make Shuffle a high-quality newsletter that people will want to read because it’s so good. It’s written and produced by members of EMUG and other User Groups around the Middle East. Wouldn’t you want to be associated with that? If you’re interested in sponsoring Shuffle, or buying advertising space, contact Crystal at +971508171164 or crystal@emiratesmac.com to request our Media Kit. Want to write for Shuffle? If you’re reading this and you’re a member of the EMUG, or any other registered Apple User Group in the Middle East, we hope you will consider contributing. We’re looking for any type of articles you would be interested in writing, from something about the history of Apple and their products, reviews of hardware or software, essays, tutorials, or hints and tips. You can write in English or Arabic. The people who write for shuffle now are users just like yourself. If you would consider writing something for Shuffle, send us an email (shuffle@emiratesmac.com) or leave a message with your idea at the site (www.emiratesmac. com).

Shuffle is sponsored by:

www.appleme.ae

www.centimetercube.com


May I Have a Word Please

Comic Corner

Remembering Leopard’s Heritage

Since this is our anniversary issue you would probably expect me to write about this significant event in this column. However, instead I thought I would discuss with you the big news - that Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard has been released. We’ve lived with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger for almost three years. Tiger was released in April 2005 and back then it was a major step up from Mac OS X 10.3 Panther. Panther had followed on from Jaguar (10.2), Puma (10.1), and Cheetah (10.0). I don’t know how far back you go with Mac OS X but I first used Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah back in the summer of 2001, shortly before 10.1 Puma came out in September of the same year. Let’s be honest and recognize that those early versions were not really usable as production environments; they were incredibly buggy and unstable. It wasn’t really until 10.2 that Mac OS X became usable on a daily basis. But these early versions were so exciting for Mac users who had got tired of the OS 8 and 9 code base which was going nowhere fast, and also tired of Apple’s failed attempts at developing their own future OS in the Copland project. Remember that Mac OS X is based on NeXTSTEP (really OPENSTEP as it was called then) which Apple got as a part of their purchase of NeXT in 1997 (NeXT being the company Steve Jobs founded after he had left Apple in 1986). This means we have Mac OS X to thank for a lot of things. It’s at the core of why Apple is where it is today because it’s a critical part of what brought Steve Jobs back to Apple, which turned the company around after being close to going belly-up in the 1990s. Mac OS X is also at the core of some of Apple’s latest ventures; remember that Apple TV runs Mac OS X as does iPhone. It seems clear that Apple will be depending on Mac OS X in various products, not just Macs, for a long time to come.

Geekculture.com has generously given their permission for EMUG to reprint their comic strip in our newsletter. Go to www.geekculture.com/joyoftech/ to see a new comic strip every day. Make sure you also check out all the other features on the Geekculture.com web site.

4 EmiratesMac shuffle | www.emiratesmac.com | shuffle@emiratesmac.com


EmiratesMac on Campus by Magnus (EmiratesMac) There are many students who are members of the EmiratesMac Apple User Group, and we’re all about supporting them in various ways. We’re excited about education

EMUG. Send us an email at campus@ emiratesmac.com if you’re interested. You will have to be a member of EMUG yourself first. Your job as Campus Rep will entail getting information from EMUG out to students on the campus, recruiting new EMUG members, supporting Apple fans on campus, and assisting EMUG with organizing events on your campus.

The primary task is to be the main point of contact for students on the campus. All Campus Reps will be listed on the User Group page (www.emiratesmac.com/ index.php?page=usergroup). If you’re a student on any of the campuses with a Campus Rep, check there for who you should first contact with any questions.

Web Sites for iPhone

Really, the title should read “Web Sites for iPhone and iPod Touch” but it becomes too long to write so I settled on just iPhone. But these sites should also work fine on the iPod touch since it has the same version of Safari we find on the iPhone. I was almost finished with this article when Apple on October 10th launched a web site for iPhone web applications (www.apple.com/webapps). I’ve tried to keep this a fairly compact list of sites that I’ve used myself. In fact, most of them I use on a regular basis.

which I use a lot. It’s a bit simpler than Zoho (see below) and you can’t edit documents, but at least you can view them on the go.

and we want to be able to reach more students. So we’re starting a new initiative called EmiratesMac On Campus. If you’re a student at a school, college, or university, you could be the Campus Rep for

by Magnus (EmiratesMac)

GMail (m.gmail.com): The storage space with a GMail account has just increased which makes it even more attractive to use Google’s email service. Unfortunately, with the mobile version you don’t have access to all the features of the full version, but you can search through all your emails and get to all your contacts. All in all, it works very well. You can also set up GMail as an IMAP account with the Mail application on iPhone. Google Reader (www.google.com/ reader/m): If you’re heavily into following RSS feeds like me, then Google Reader is a must. This mobile version gives you all you need to keep up. What I do when I see a post I want to follow up on later is to add a star, then I check the list of starred posts when I’m back on my Mac. Since this is a web application, it keeps a record of what you have or have not read synchronized between devices and computers.

Meebo (www.meebo.com): If you’re really into Instant Messaging (IM) Meebo is a must. It’s a web site which lets you log into any number of IM services at on time. The iPhone version is really nice and the accounts are the same ones as in the full web client. Amazon (www.amazon.com): Amazon has also done a great job making their site iPhone compatible. You can search for products and also get access to your account. Zoho for iPhone (www.izoho.com): If you’ve tried Google Docs online and you’re not quite happy with the functionality of something, try Zoho. Zoho’s Writer, Sheet, Show, and Creator are available on iPhone. You don’t seem able to create new documents from the iPhone, but you can access existing documents. However, I’d stay away from Zoho on the iPhone if you’re on EDGE; it’s just too slow. Although on WiFi it’s perfectly usable. Digg (digg.com/iphone): Digg’s iPhone interface is, if you forgive me, delicious. It shows you the latest stories and lets you “Digg” them if you like what you see. It’s a simple but effective interface that’s really well adjusted to the iPhone.

Google Calendar (calendar.google.com): This is probably the least developed version of a Google application, but it still allows you to at least check your calendar on your iPhone. You can add events to the calendar from the iPhone, but the functionality is very limited.

FaceBook (iphone.facebook.com): We finish off this short list with the reigning king of iPhone sites, the one that all the others have to play catch up to. It makes perfect use of the iPhone’s characteristics and it’s easy to use by just touching the screen. It’s also fast, even on a slower connection.

Google Docs (docs.google.com/m): Just released is this mobile interface to Google Docs,

We invite you to share these sites with the rest of us at www.emiratesmac.com.

shuffle@emiratesmac.com | www.emiratesmac.com | EmiratesMac shuffle 5


Sm rgasDashB rd by Yasir (EmiratesMac)

Lightbulb I don’t know if this was a good idea, but a light bulb hanging down from your Dashboard? I think I’ll stick with the backlight buttons on my keyboard. RANKING: LINK: www.apple.com/downloads/

TomatoMeter Test your knowledge during a break, Apple fans (it’s starting to sound like an arcade corner). First, read the question - then go to the website, where you can compare your answer to those of other Apple fans. It would be nice if they made it look less like an RSS feed reader. RANKING: LINK: www.apple.com/downloads/dash-

board/games/areyouanapplegenius.html

dashboard/justforfun/lightbulb. html

Moody or Not Are you? Well you can cast your vote on moodyornot. com and then from your Dashboard you can know how the world is feeling today. It takes quite a while to load the percentage and trust me, it’s not that interesting to know really. RANKING: LINK: www.apple.com/

Missile Command It’s crazier than you think, but very addictive. Defend you cities by controlling three defense bases which launch missiles that destroy what is coming at you. Each base has its own launch button (z,x,c) and you move a target with the arrow buttons and aim for the head of the missile, which you can’t see. A small graphical improvement is needed, but otherwise it’s very cool. RANKING: LINK: www.apple.com/downloads/dash-

board/games/missilecommand_syueitsujimoto.html

downloads/dashboard/ justforfun/moodyornot. html For an explanation of “SmorgasDashBord” go to: www.

emiratesmac. com/forums/ newsletter/3424smorgasdashbordexplanation.html

WiiPoints This is pretty convenient if you have a Nintendo wii and would like to download a few old games of the wii. Of course this is not everyday information but I think you would need it every now and then. But seriously, does it really need to be that big? RANKING: LINK: www.apple.com/downloads/dashboard/calculate_con-

vert/wiipoints.html

6 EmiratesMac shuffle | www.emiratesmac.com | shuffle@emiratesmac.com


Shuffle: One Year Old by Magnus (EmiratesMac)

In some ways it feels like yesterday that we put the first issue of Shuffle online a year ago. Back then, and strangely enough still today, Shuffle is a dream. It was a dream back then to try to publish regularly something as a PDF. If you had asked me back then if I thought we’d ever print Shuffle, I would have said, “You’re crazy”. It’s still a dream because often I find it hard to believe that we’ve managed to produce and print a monthly issue on time for that many months. If you remember, for the first five issues Shuffle was only a PDF and it wasn’t until April we started printing the newsletter. Actually, the first printed issue came out on March 29, just in time for our Apple TV Event in Dubai. In that brief time Shuffle has gone through changes and we continually strive to create a good newsletter that our members can be proud of calling their own. And even though at the core of Shuffle there have been only a few people, many members have contributed and in most issues we’ve had articles from a new member who has not written for Shuffle before. That’s a great accomplishment and we hope the involvement of members increase as we now embark on the second year. Shuffle expanded Over the summer we faced a decision about Shuffle of which we still don’t know the full effect. We felt the time was right to discuss expansion of the newsletter, specifically to include Arabic and print more copies. So after a few months’ hard work, in September we printed the first Shuffle with a dedicated Arabic section and in 5000 copies. That was a monumental undertaking and one we still have to wait a while to evaluate fully. The Arabic is something our readers seem to really appreciate and I’m glad. I don’t speak or write Arabic but since I’m not a native-English speaker myself I understand fairly well the value of localization, which in a way Arabic in Shuffle represents. The main problem with Arabic has been to find content. We’ve ended up translating many of our own articles from English. Eventually we want to get to a point where most, if not all, Arabic content can be written originally in Arabic. That way we could even start looking at translating some Arabic articles into English. Concerning finances, we break even on most issues through sponsorship and ads. But going to 5000 copies has put a serious strain on finances, so we still need your help with finding ads. If you know someone who might consider buying an ad,

we’d certainly appreciate you telling him or her about us. With your help we can contemplate a bit on the past in order to improve the future. Going international From the October issue we should also see regular distribution of Shuffle in countries other than the UAE. So far we’re sending Shuffle to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar. We’ve had some early discussions with people in Kuwait and Oman about getting Shuffle to them, and we’re hopeful that we can set up distribution to those countries and more. You can see where we distribute Shuffle on our web site (www.emiratesmac.com/ index.php?page=newsletter). If you are anywhere in the Middle East and you want to get some copies of Shuffle to your business or organization, let us know. All that we ask in return is that you pay to have Shuffle shipped to you and that you help us get ads. If you want a considerable quantity of Shuffle we may also ask you to pay some of the printing cost. We know that Shuffle has made it as far as California, USA, where we heard rumors that some Apple employees regularly download and read Shuffle. We want to make Shuffle a truly Middle Eastern concern, with articles from all over the region and distribution as wide as possible as well. Digital edition In August we added functionality for keeping track of how many times the PDF version of Shuffle has been downloaded. To date, the statistics are encouraging (see Figure 1). In total, over 1500 copies of Shuffle have been downloaded. But note that this is only from August, and PDFs have been available since November last year. We’re very excited that so many people around the world want to download Shuffle, not just in the Middle East. And it has indeed been people from all over the world that have downloaded Shuffle. From memory I can remember US, Canada, UK, France, Australia, Japan, and Argentina as examples of countries where it’s been downloaded. Obviously we think it’s the printed version of

Shuffle that has garnered the most interest, so we hope to be able to bring that to you in the necessary volume. But right now the plan is to continue offering Shuffle as a download from our site. We also want to integrate Shuffle with the EmiratesMac.com web site more than we have so far. Looking back In preparation for this issue in general, and for this article in particular, I looked back at the issues we’ve published. I can look at some of our earlier issues and smile at how they were designed and smirk at what we wrote about. But the fact remains, I think, that Shuffle has been a pretty darn good publication from the start. In the very first issue I wrote, “As this is our first newsletter we’re still feeling our way through the whole process of producing something like this. We certainly appreciate your feedback, but please keep in mind that we’re new at this.” That still goes, I think. We are still new at this, and we do appreciate any feedback you have. In the second issue (December 2006) I wrote that we had passed 500 registered users on the site and that we were at almost 6000 posts. As I write this we’re just passing 1500 users and 16000 posts. In December we also had an interview with Ghassan Bendali at Apple IMC ME about gray market imports. Little did we realize the issues we would have almost a year later with iPhones. In January, February, and March we followed MJ’s trip to the Apple Inc. campus in California. Also in February 2007 we focused on MacWorld Expo and the announcement about the iPhone and the introduction of the AppleTV. March saw a bit of a deviation from the normal course, with

shuffle@emiratesmac.com | www.emiratesmac.com | EmiratesMac shuffle 7


Shuffle: One Year Old coverage of Windows Vista and a Windows versus Mac debate. For the geekier among us, March also included the first part of our MySQL on Mac article-series. In April we celebrated the one-year anniversary of our site, EmiratesMac.com. July saw Shuffle focus on podcasting in our first attempt to focus each issue on some topic of interest. For August the topic was going back to school with all the preparations that involves. And let’s not forget that in every issue from the start, we’ve had the privilege to enjoy a Photoshop tutorial by Zaid. Also with us from the start in every issue is a delicious Apple-based recipe, which I’m sure we all look forward to every time. We’ve

also enjoyed a couple of articles in Arabic by Abdullah Al Sulaiti. Something we’ve managed to keep fairly consistent is the design of Shuffle. I dare say we will not win any design awards but it seems our readers like the look and simplicity of Shuffle. Our covers have been very different. From March we’ve kept the cover clean and simple, with one major picture for each month’s cover. It is a struggle trying to keep the cover simple while at the same time making it striking and attention grabbing. We try to consider how it would look next to magazines on a supermarket shelf, and try to design it so people would want to

grab it to read. From September’s issue we relabeled Shuffle a bit. We took EmiratesMac off the cover and invited members of other user groups to send us articles. The attempt was made to see if Shuffle could be a newsletter for all groups in the Middle East. We’re still waiting to see how that goes. Looking forward Looking forward, the three main challenges we face are financing, content, and distribution. If we start with the last item, distribution, we have to make sure that we get Shuffle out to more people in the UAE as well as around the region. This means we have to find partners that can pay for shipping boxes to different countries. Concerning financing, we need to find advertisers and sponsors that can give us the necessary finances to carry the printing cost as well as the other things we need to produce Shuffle. All the work with Shuffle is voluntary, non-paid work, but there are considerable costs involved beyond that. Finally, when it comes to content we need authors to keep producing high-quality articles for Shuffle. This would include both Arabic and English articles on various topics of interest to our readers. If you’re considering writing for Shuffle, we’re open to pretty much any topic that may be of interest to readers. This may be tutorials, feature articles, news, interviews, reviews, and more. Articles can be of different lengths, from really short tidbits to longer features. We’ve got a long way to go to where I want us to be, and I’m sure many of you have dreams and hopes for Shuffle as well. Let’s hope that over the coming years we can achieve some of those dreams and hopes. Together I think we can make Shuffle even better and keep spreading some Apple-love around our region.

Letters to the Editor by Magnus (EmiratesMac) This is a new feature we’re offering in Shuffle, where our readers can send us their thoughts, suggestions, comments, complaints, or whatever else may be on their minds. As in most magazines and newspapers, just send an email to shuffle@emiratesmac.com and it may appear in future issues of Shuffle. We hope that you’ll consider writing in and we promise to take everything you have to say seriously and add it to our growing list of things we need to work on with Shuffle. So I am hoping that from next issue this space could be used up by letters sent to us. I should mention that you can write in either English or Arabic, either way is fine. English comments will be

published here and the Arabic comments will be in the Arabic section. That makes sense, right? So send in your Letters to the Editor to shuffle @emiratesmac.com. Please note that we will not accept any letters to the editor to be published here unless they are accompanied by the author’s full name, their email address and their mobile phone number. None of this personal information will be printed in Shuffle, but it may be used in trying to help us solve your problems. Letters will normally be published with the author’s name after it. If you don’t want your name published, please indicate this in your email.

QuickTime Pro by Magnus (EmiratesMac)

Until recently, the main reason for many to pay for QuickTime Pro (www.apple. com/quicktime/pro) was to be able to play videos at full screen, but this reason disappeared in version 7.2. Now that reason is gone why would you want to pay $29.99 for the Pro version? Here are a few of the main reasons: To edit movies: Ever wanted to take out a little piece from a video, edit out an embarrassing moment in a wedding video, or take out a mistake in a speech? QuickTime Pro to the rescue. Open the video, select the piece you want to cut out, and save the movie. More codecs: H.264 has emerged as one of the hottest codecs around, and in QuickTime Pro you get full support for it. You can open, edit, and export to H.264. These features, combined, make QuickTime Pro an important tool for anyone working with video. To record video: With QuickTime Pro you can capture video from any compatible video source, including iSight cameras. There aren’t many controls for adjustments but it works very well as a very basic recording device. To save movies: You know when you’ve watched a movie in QuickTime on a web page and you would like to save it? That’s when QuickTime Pro comes in handy because it will let you do just that. There you have it - a few reasons why you may want to pay for QuickTime Pro. If you want to learn more about QuickTime, Apple has a number of tutorials online (www.apple.com/ quicktime/pro/tutorials.html).

8 EmiratesMac shuffle | www.emiratesmac.com | shuffle@emiratesmac.com


Experiences of an Apple Fan

Apple’s Amazing Financial Result by Senthil (EmiratesMac)

Before I write anything about my experiences, it is great to note Apple’s quarter profits have beaten analysts estimates by a wide margin and that Apple is doing very well. Kudos to Steve for re-igniting the fire at Apple Inc. Profits grew by 67% and touched $904 million for the fourth quarter. Just to put this in perspective, Apple’s profit for a single quarter is more than the GDP of the bottom 20 countries in the world and another perspective is that if you had invested $1,000 on Apple stock just about 2 years back (Mar 2005, just after the 2:1 stock split), it would be worth a cool $ 3,437 today giving you returns of 172% per year. Icing on the cake – Not only do you get great products but also returns that are equal or better than the products that Apple rolls out. As far as products are concerned, iPhone continues to grow at a better than expected pace, so are the iPods, and the halo effect is helping Mac sales. For an Apple fan, it is because of his love for Mac that he buys the iPod and the iPhone but for the rest of the world it is the other way round; they buy Macs because they love the iPod or the iPhone. A recent report mentioned that Dell chief Michael Dell had to eat humble pie for stating that Apple should shut down and return the investors money back rather than losing all of it. If Apple had shut down then Vista would have only seen the light of day maybe in 2010, PC’s would continue to look like they did in the 1990’s, and Mr. Bill Gates would have become the world’s first trillionnaire - by fleecing Windows users. Not to mention that the world would not have experienced the thrill of using a iPod or a iPhone. From the perspective of an Apple fan, life has been exciting and will continue to look exciting; the launching of Leopard and second-generation iPhones and Apple TVs, new Macs and

the continuing roll out of the iPhone in the world markets. With so much to look forward to, there is no dearth of excitement in the coming months for an Apple Fan. The product launches are not like anything that you see in the Windows world - How many of you have seen the other (Windows) Steve jumping and screaming on the stage ostensibly pepping up his troops? If you’ve seen the video I’m talking about of Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, you know it looked funny and completely out of style for a company such as Microsoft. Not only are the Apple products great, but also the product launches are a treat to watch and be involved in. I have written about my experiences with various Apple stores across countries I have visited, but nothing compares to being part of the Apple users group here. There is so much more to the user group then just discussing about Apple stuff. One gets to meet some great people and also make some good friends. Last, but not least, is the launch of Leopard, which is a product that I have been waiting eagerly for. In fact, I had postponed the purchase of my MacBook for almost six months, hoping to get it along with Leopard. Now that I have bought it, I have no regrets and am waiting for the upgrade. With so many new features and so much to discover, my next month will be completely absorbed by exploring the Leopard. I am sure most of you will be doing the same as soon as Leopard is launched. Now what for Mac OS X after Leopard? Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, could it be Cougar or simply the big cat? On a serious note, Apple is planning an upgrade of its OS every 12-18 months, which means we could see ‘Cougar’s’ birth in 2009 or 2010. Let’s see what happens.

Other than product launches, there is so much more happening in the Apple world to keep a fan excited. Already most of us licking at the prospects of new product launches at Mac World ’08 or at WWDC. If I were to put together my wish list for Apple in 2008, it would go like this, first and foremost is to get my hands on an unlocked second generation iPhone, second is for me to buy songs, movies and TV shows on iTunes straight from UAE or it would be even better if iTunes could morph into something like a iMedia where I can go and spend time browsing not only for music but also rent out movies, TV shows, Mac Games which can then be streamed through a higher capacity Apple TV, finally a 24” iMac with an option to watch TV shows and record them. Hmm. Fantasy stuff, but with Apple you never know when Steve is going to surprise us. As far software is concerned, there is so much amazing stuff to keep one excited. I recently came across an application called Delicious Library (www.delicious-monster.com). This is a wonderful piece of software, which catalogues and neatly organizes all your books, DVDs, CD’s into a virtual shelf. All you need to do is scan the barcode using your iSight and the software picks up the title and other details and arranges it in your virtual library. Similarly there are tons of applications for home users, which you won’t find in the Windows world. Even if you find them it would never be as easy as it is on the Mac. Another favorite hang out spot for me is the QuickTime section at Apple. com. Great place to keep browsing and checking out what’s happening in the Apple world and also get to see previews of all Hollywood releases on iTunes. Catch all the action on Emiratesmac.com.

shuffle@emiratesmac.com | www.emiratesmac.com | EmiratesMac shuffle 9


IN THE SPOTLIGHT

UMMAH FILMS by Magnus (EmiratesMac)

10 EmiratesMac shuffle | www.emiratesmac.com | shuffle@emiratesmac.com


In the Spotlight: Ummah Films We have been following Ummah Films short clips on YouTube for quite some time (www.ummahfilms.com). When we asked the guy behind the films, Ali, about how he put them together and how he got started, we found out that he’s a Mac user. Since we also know that many of you watch his films and enjoy them, we wanted to be able to bring you closer to Ali and what he does.

course, I try to use my sense of humor so the medicine doesn’t taste bad, but for those who get past the comedy flavor, there is a message behind it and that is what is most important.

Q: Tell us about Ummah Films. Who’s involved? How did it get started? Where are you based? A: The CEO of Bridges TV invited me to do a 1/2 show on cable about my game, Mecca to Medina. During my stay there I notice they were using simple Macs to make television content for their shows. I figured if they could do it, then anyone could do it. So when it came down to doing the Reminder, I figured to keep it simple and focus on content and, Alhamdulillah (all praise belongs to God), the rest is history. Q: Is this your full time job? If not, what do you do to pay the bills, so to speak? A: I’m actually in IT. Pretty much chained to a desk doing mostly uncreative work, so that is one reason I enjoy making these videos. It’s an outlet to be creative. Q: Many of us have seen your videos on YouTube and laughed hard as well as learned a lot. How did that series of videos get started, and what do you want to accomplish with them? A: My goal with the Reminder series is to remind others and of course myself about things that many of us already know. There are many situations where we want to say something, but because we don’t want to be an outcast or to be politically incorrect, we don’t say anything (i.e. show-off weddings). In other situations we can’t really say anything (e.g. telling people to stop talking about Jummah) so I decided to make a video series where some random guy on the internet says what’s on everyone else’s mind and no one can take it personally because I’m talking to everybody, starting with myself. Of

Q: As I said, many of us both laugh and really think hard about your videos. You seem to accomplish a rare balance between being funny and serious at the same time. Is this intentional, or something that just happened? A: What you see in the videos is not a character but rather it’s me. It’s my mind and how I think. Given the fact that I’m sitting in the room by myself and I edit my own videos, I have control to make sure things come out right. Many of friends are immune to me but once in a while they still laugh when I give them my two cents on a specific issue. Q: What has the response to the videos been around the world? A: Alhamdulillah, it has been really positive thus far. I’m actually surprised by the large number of non-Muslims who watch the videos and by messages I get from them. I get emails from a wide range of people from all around the world who enjoy the videos. Alhamdulillah. Q: Has there been any controversy over any of your videos? A: Some of the videos have issues that are sensitive to people. For example, the Hijab video is an issue that is rarely addressed by men since it deals with the improper versus the proper way of wearing Hijab, but I didn’t let that stop me from doing the video because I think its the way you present the ideas that makes the difference. Alhamdulillah, I think about 90% of the response from the sisters has been positive so it looks like that approach worked. Q: How do you produce the videos? What equipment do you shoot, edit with, etc? A: I film the videos using an Canon XL2 camera in a small room with a few softbox lights. I edit the videos using Final Cut Pro on a Mac. I’m a big Apple person and since I moved over to the Mac side, I have no ambition to ever move back to PC.

Q: How do you select what to cover in your videos? A: Since I’m not an actor or writer, I can only base it on what is going on with my reality. I can’t just take submissions and write about something and make it good unless I have experienced it or know someone close to me that has been through it. Often times, its based on what I have gone through and that is why I think people can relate. Many of us share similar experiences. Q: Do you write any script before shooting your videos? A: The first two videos were more outlined and that caused a little confusion from the viewers. I realized that what I say can be misunderstood so it’s best not to freestyle. So starting by the third video, I starting putting down my words so I can make sure things don’t get misunderstood. Q: In April 2007, you had “An Evening With Ali” at the Imperial College in London. What was that like? Is it something you’d like to do again, perhaps in the UAE? A: It was my first time doing a full show by myself so I was nervous. I’m not a comedian by any means so I wasn’t sure what people were expecting. I’m just Ali and that’s it. So I gave them Ali. I stood up and spoke my mind and showed some videos and, Alhamdulillah, the event went really well. I don’t deserve any credit though because that credit goes to the brothers and sisters who organized the event. Q: You publish your videos to the web. What special steps, if any, do you take to make your videos suitable for the web? A: I use Compressor for Final Cut Studio pro to export it in the high quality H.264 format for Quicktime 7. Q: If one of our members want to get into making movies, perhaps for the web, what advice do you have for them? A: I would recommend they would take advantage of the web. Web sites like www.izzyvideo. com will teach you how to film and other sites like www.vtc.com will teach you how to use

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In the Spotlight: Ummah Films

almost all software applications involved in making films, including both Adobe Premiere and Apple’s Final Cut Pro. The internet can be a great tool if its used properly. We recently launched a forum section where Muslim film makers can collaborate, share ideas and network, and it’s free (www. ummahfilms.com/forums). Q: Can you tell us something about your future plans? A: I hope to do one final Season of the Reminder series and then move on to my next project, Muslim Poetry. Words are very powerful and can cause people to think, so my goal is to make people think because that is the first step towards changing our situation for the better, InshAllah. Q: You write on your site that you provide provide “a Halaal (Islamically permissible) alternative form of entertainment with a positive message.” Could you tell us more what that means to you? A: I don’t believe that you should compromise your “deen” (principles of Islamic faith) for the sake of entertainment or making films. I think just like everything else in life, Muslims have rules and as long as we abide by those rules, then we can be creative and still get some very good work done. I didn’t want to work on a project for the sake of making a cool video but rather I was attracted to the ideas of film making because I think we can put out a positive message while still keeping our Islamic values. The goal is to raise the bar and to show other Muslim filmmakers that we can make a difference with our creativity and our cameras - but we must keep our intentions pure, InshAllah, because once our

Visit www. ummahfilms.com for more information.

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intentions go astray... so do we. Thus, the success of all things are only in the hands of our Creator, and without Him, there is no success. So if you want to be successful, then He has to will it. Q: Have you ever been a part of an Apple User Group? A: No I haven’t. Q: Do you have any advice for the EmiratesMac Apple User Group in terms of what we do for the Apple community in the Middle East? A: Apple products are top notch and very powerful. Take advantage of them and use them to benefit this Ummah InshAllah. Q: You have a lot of fans in the Middle East and around the world. What would you like to say to them? A: JazakAllah khair (May Allah reward you) for all your support and kind words. No matter how successful this project becomes, the success is in Allah (swt) hands and I deserve no credit. Many people may laugh at the idea of one person making a difference so I hope the evidence of the Reminder series (written, filmed and edited by one person with no film background) is proof that YOU can make a difference. Make du’ah and put in the effort InshAllah. Q: Finally, if anyone reading this is a big fan of yours, what can they do to support you? A: Make du’ah for us InshAllah. I would like to continue with going beyond the Reminder to my next project but unfortunately all these projects require funds so please support Ummah Films by buying our shirts and DVDs. JazakAllah khair.


Apple’s iPhone

Not So Green by Magnus (EmiratesMac) In the October Shuffle issue you could read about Greenpeace’s campaign “Green my Apple”, which is an attempt to make Apple and other big electronics companies produce their products and services in a more environmentally friendly way. In this article Zeina Al Hajj from Greenpeace International says, “Steve Jobs in his announcement [from May 2007] said this is a first step and more should be expected in the future. Apple has made a positive step by becoming more transparent about their environmental policies and their plans in the future, but Apple is still far away form being a green company. Their products still contains some of the worst hazardous chemicals like BFRS (brominated flame retardant) and they still use the plastic PVC. We still expect improvements, and hope that Apple soon will put on the market a green product.” Apparently, Apple didn’t deliver on that with the iPhone according to Greenpeace, because in October Greenpeace released another report (www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/ international/press/reports/iPhones-hazardous-chemicals.pdf), this time targeting Apple’s iPhone. The report states, “... half of the components analysed did test positive for bromine, in three cases at over 1% of the total surface chemical composition of the material, suggesting continued widespread use of either additive or reactive brominated flame retar-

dants.” Greenpeace continues, “The presence of antimony in four of the components raises additional concerns.” In the report they also state that a “high level of chlorine was detected” and they conclude, “The fact that a product brought newly to the US market in June 2007 still utilises PVC and brominated flame retardants (even if not those BFRs regulated under the RoHS Directive) suggests that Apple is not making early progress towards its 2008 commitment to phase out all uses of these materials, even in entirely new product lines.” Apple did give a brief statement to MacWorld (www.macworld.com/news/2007/10/15/appleiphone/index.php?lsrc=mwrss) following Greenpeace’s report on the iPhone. A spokesperson said, “Like all Apple products worldwide, iPhone complies with RoHS [Restriction of Hazardous Substances], the world’s toughest restrictions on toxic substances in electronics... As we have said, Apple will voluntarily eliminate the use of PVC and BFRs by the end of 2008.” In the UAE, 7Days noted (www.7days.ae/ showstory.php?id=60067) that another environmental group, the Centre for Environmental Health in Oakland, California, is threatening to sue Apple if they don’t clean up iPhone within 60 days. It seems the saga of Greenpeace versus Apple Inc. continues.

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A biography of the co-founder and CEO of Apple

All about Steve Jobs Part 5 Photograph by Graham Parker appears courtesy of Apple, Inc.

by Romain Moisescot

Pixar It is now time to talk about Steve’s other company, the one that would save him from his career’s nadir: Pixar Animation Studios, Inc. The story of Pixar began in 1985. At the time, it was a little group of almost 50 people, most of them with very advanced degrees, who had been working together for 15 years, moving from one multimillionaire’s lab to another. They all shared the same common ideal: computer animation. When Steve paid them his first visit, they were owned by Lucasfilm Ltd. When he saw the high-resolution graphics that were displayed on their computer displays, Steve was stunned. He even compared this to the reaction he had had a decade earlier at Xerox’s PARC. He agreed to purchase the fledging operation from George Lucas, who asked for $30 million. However, desperately needing money because of his divorce, Lucas continuously diminished his price and, after having tried other investors, finally signed a deal with Steve in February 1986, valuing Pixar at $10 million. At the time Steve bought Pixar, the little company (which at NeXT was referred to as “the hobby”) was headed by computer scientists Alvy Ray Smith and Ed Catmull, and former Disney animator John Lasseter. Steve dedicated little time to Pixar: graphics just wasn’t his expertise. Besides, Pixar’s offices were “geographically inconvenient” for him because

they were located north of the SF Bay. Steve visited Pixar’s facilities no more than five times between 1986 and 1992. Pixar’s leadership in C-G animation was never contested. As early as 1986, they sold their own computer, the Pixar Image Computer, which was a $135,000 graphics station, but could produce the most advanced 3D animation at the time. To show off its power, the Pixar team made the short film Luxo Jr. (see its page on Pixar’s website), which was first displayed at the Siggraph computer animation trade show, and got so popular that it was nominated for the 1986 Oscar of the best animated short film. Steve’s involvement with Pixar was limited to the monthly visits that Alvy Ray Smith and Ed Catmull made to NeXT’s headquarters in Palo Alto, then Redwood. He would concentrate on the company’s strategy, especially in marketing, an area the engineers knew almost nothing of. However the expensive Pixar computer never met success: only 120 of them were sold throughout 1986 and 1987. This wasn’t enough to fund the 120- employee company that cost more than $10 million a year. Steve was concerned about Pixar’s perpetual loss of money, and he threatened many times to shut down John Lasseter’s animation division which he considered useless. However he changed his mind after the team’s latest movie, Tin Toy (Pixar), won the Oscar for best

animated short film in early 1989. This success however didn’t make anyone willing to buy Pixar’s computer. So throughout the course of 1989, Steve decided to cut the hardware business, and fired almost half of Pixar’s workforce. The only people left were the animators and the software engineers. Pixar’s new goal would be to sell software, its award-winning 3D animation software, Renderman. In July 1989, John Lasseter’s new short film, Knick Knack (Pixar), was another great success at the Siggraph convention. Pixar started to gain more attention from animation colossus Disney, which tried to hire John Lasseter back. But he refused: he needed his engineer colleagues to do great work. So in Summer ’90, Pixar started talks with Disney about making a 3D-animated feature film. However the talks stalled and nothing happened. Steve saw no end to Pixar’s difficulties - including the departure of long-time president Alvy Ray Smith - until May 1991, when Disney contacted him again for the making of a fully animated feature film. He went to Los Angeles and met with Disney honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg, with which he signed a deal that saved Pixar: a three-picture deal, given that the first movie would be made for $15 million. Pixar could also keep 12.5% of the profits made from ticket sales. The work on Toy Story could begin.

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All about Steve Jobs

Toy Story In January 1995, after almost two years of retreat from the public scene when he spent most of his time with his 2-year-old son Reed, Steve finally saw what a crucial decision he had made when he had bought Pixar. The media attention that would soon be focused on what had always been his “other” company could give him a way to redeem his career. “That was the moment Steve realized the Disney deal would materialize into something much bigger than he had ever imagined, and that Pixar was the way out of his morass with NeXT” (Ralph Guggenheim quoted in Alan Deutschmann’s “The Second Coming Of Steve Jobs”) Steve started to get more and more involved with Pixar from that day on. However he could never fully exercise his power there the way he had previously done at Apple or NeXT, because all of Pixar’s employees were faithful to one man, John Lasseter, the creative genius behind Toy Story. It’s at this time that Steve started to build up a plan that would prove to be one of his most successful career moves. He planned to take Pixar public. But he didn’t want to do it on a random date: Pixar would enter the public market in late November, a couple of weeks only after the Thanksgiving release of Toy Story. This way he would take full advantage of the media hype and glamour that only Hollywood could produce. It was decided that 6.9 million shares would be sold to the public. John Lasseter was given 800,000 shares, and Steve kept 30 million shares, or 80% of the company, for himself given the original introductory price of $14 a share, it translated into respective wealths of $11.2 million and $420 million. Everything went as planned, and even better than that: Toy Story was a critical success and earned as much as $29 million in US box office receipts during its opening weekend. On November 29, the trading of Pixar’s shares was officially opened at Wall Street. The new introductory price had been set at a higher $22 a share. In 30 minutes, it raised to $49. Steve Jobs was suddenly worth $1.5 billion. After this tour de force, which gave Pixar a financial strength it had never before enjoyed, Steve came back to Disney to re-negotiate the

deal with the big chief Michael Eisner. With his remarkable salesmanship, he negotiated a landmark deal for his company: in exchange for five more movies for Disney, Pixar would get: 1) a 50-50 share of production costs and revenues 2) creative control over its movies 3) equal billing: the Pixar logo would appear as large as the Disney logo on any promotional item, and it would remain onscreen for the same amount of time. The following year, in 1996, Steve set up brand new facilities for Pixar in its home town of Emeryville, California. This was maybe the only field where he could exert influence on the company’s life, other than distributing pay checks. However he couldn’t make Pixar’s employees agree on his novel idea for encouraging interaction between coworkers: putting only one single bathroom in the complex. For 400 people. It would have to become the central place for meeting and mingling. That concept, however, never materialized.

allowed the creation of a brand new market, desktop publishing. For many years, only the Mac could provide the WYSIWYG experience. It became the standard choice for creative professionals (and is still today). However, as we know, the Mac’s success came only after Steve’s departure. The years that followed were the most profitable for Apple during Steve’s absence. Half of the $2,000 Macintosh’s price tag was pure profit. However John Sculley had not anticipated the emergence of a threatening rival: Bill Gates’ Microsoft. Remember, Steve had been increasingly suspicious of this software developer whose only product when he started to work for Apple’s Lisa and Macintosh projects was DOS, the operating system that was used on the IBM PC.

The return to Apple Before talking about Steve’s return to Apple, it is necessary to analyze how the company had been doing during its absence. Remember, when Steve left, Apple was having a hard time trying to sell its latest generations of machines, Macintosh and Lisa. Ironically, the Mac took off like a rocket a few months after Steve’s removal, and thanks to a project that almost only Steve had supported: the Laser printer. See, the GUI (graphical user interface) showed all of its power when it became possible to use WYSIWYG (standing for What You See Is What You Get) software. Combined with the Laser printer, such software would let you print exactly what you saw on the screen of your computer.

He was right: Gates used his privileged relationship with Apple to steal some of its latest technology and develop a GUI of its own, Windows, that would run on top of its archaic MS-DOS (which was actually derived from Tim Patterson’s QDOS, the Quick and Dirty Operating System). The problem was that IBM, unlike Apple, had chosen to allow cloners to compete with it on the hardware market. What Big Blue had not anticipated however was that cheaper clones would soon destroy the domination of its PC. New companies like Compaq and its portable PC, or Dell, started to appear and got a larger and larger share of the PC market. The deal between Microsoft and IBM allowed Microsoft to license DOS to this new competition. So, even though it wasn’t making any money from the IBM PC sales, Bill Gates actually became the richest man on the planet by selling DOS to all the other PC manufacturers.

Just like the GUI, the mouse, Ethernet networking, and object-oriented programming, the Laser printer was invented at... Xerox PARC. The scientist who developed it, John Warnock, left the PARC to create his own company, Adobe Systems Inc. 2 to 3 weeks after the creation of Adobe in 1983, Steve Jobs, against the vast majority of Apple’s executives, canceled Apple’s internal project of a Laser printer and bought 15.9% of the startup. This would turn out to be Apple’s salvation: it

As IBM watched his partner getting bigger and bigger and its market share diminish, it got frightened and started work on its own operating system, that wouldn’t be allowed to run on PC clones, called OS/2. In response, Microsoft started work on Windows. The OS/2 project and the big difficulty IBM experienced to develop it was actually the reason it had approached Steve Jobs’ NeXT to use NeXTSTEP, whose technology was decades ahead of the one used by Microsoft.

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All about Steve Jobs As for Apple, they sued Microsoft for copying the “look and feel” of its Macintosh operating system. This was a difficult issue, especially since Apple itself could have been blamed for copying the look and feel of Xerox’s SmallTalk system a decade earlier. Apple eventually lost the lawsuit, which allowed Microsoft to continue the work on Windows. In 1990, it released Windows 3.0 of which 30 million copies were sold in its first year. Then in August 1995 came the coup de grace for Apple. The release of Windows 95, which combined DOS and the user interface program, was a huge success for multibillionaire Bill Gates. 110 million copies were sold in just 2 years, setting it as the PC industry’s standard. Apple’s marketshare fell down to around 4%, making it an almost small player in the market it had created! Its annual sales had gone from $11 billion to $7 billion, and during calendar year 1996, it had lost $1 billion. In February 1996, Newsweek even made its cover with the headline “The fall of an American icon”. Everything seemed to be over. What had happened? In fact, it all seems to come down to the loss of its spirit, of its soul, which was incarnated by... Steve Jobs. Apple had forgotten what had made it successful: its innovative force and the bold aesthetics that came with it, the hip image of its leadership, and its public aura of nonconformity and creativity. It had all started with John Sculley: “What can I say, I hired the wrong guy. He destroyed everything I’d spent 10 years working for. Starting with me, but that wasn’t the saddest part. I would have gladly left Apple if Apple would have turned out like I wanted it to.” (Steve Jobs talking about John Sculley in “Triumph of the Nerds”) Sculley was forced out of the company in 1993. He was followed by two even more uncharismatic leaders, Michael Spindler and Gil Amelio. Gil’s plan to save Apple was to make it compete on the workstation market with Microsoft’s Windows NT. Failing to complete its own server system, Apple’s only choice was to buy it from another company. The first choice had been to buy BeOS, from Jean-Louis

Gassée’s Be. If you recall, Gassée was the Apple France manager who was picked by Sculley in 1985 to run the 32-bit division in place of Steve Jobs. Then it occurred to the Apple’s board that they had another option: buying the struggling NeXT Software, Inc. They understood the public relations value of having the founder go back to the company as well: “I’m not just buying the software. I’m buying Steve” (Gil Amelio quoted in Alan Deutschman’s “The Second Coming of Steve Jobs”) Negotiations started in December and then, on December 20, 1996, Apple officially bought NeXT for $430 million. Steve had become an informal adviser for the company. Apple’s CEO Gil Amelio with Steve Jobs on December, 20 1996 One week later, on January 3, 1997, Gil Amelio unveiled that Apple’s results for Q4 1996 were disastrous: their sales had fallen down 30% from Q4 1995. Things didn’t improve and a quarter later, they announced a loss of $708 million for

Q1 1997, making the total amount of losses under Gil’s presidency a whopping $1.6 billion. The board ousted Amelio on July 9, allowing Steve to undertake a palace coup. He purged the board of old ineffective members like the everlasting Mike Markkula and installed new people, most of them from the high tech industry, including one of his best friends, Larry Ellison from Oracle. And he of course joined the board as well, as the CEO of Pixar.

Credits This biography of Steve Jobs is published with the permission of Romain Moisescot. You can find the original online at www.

romain-moisescot.com/steve/biography/html/biographyFR.html. You will find the next part of the biography in the next issue of shuffle.

Please take our shuffle readership survey! Go to:

www.emiratesmac.com/forums/survey.php Click on “shuffle readership”. Thank you!

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Perian: Universal Video Codecs by Magnus (EmiratesMac) You know how sometimes when you’re trying to watch a movie on your Mac and QuickTime says it cannot play that movie for some reason? You get frustrated and upset because it’s not working. Chances are that it’s an issue of you not having the right codec installed. Movies can be saved in different formats, just like most other files on a Mac. These different formats require different codecs on the Mac so they play back correctly. A codec is a small piece of software that QuickTime or other players can use to play back movies so you can see them. You can download and install individual codecs from differ-

ent sites, but that’s a lot of work. Perian solves that problem for you because it’s a bunch of codecs for a long list of popular movie formats in one download. The list of supported formats is long: AVI, FLV, MKV, MS-MPEG4 v1 & v2, DivX, 3ivX, H.264, FLV1, FSV1, VP6, H263I, VP3, HuffYUV, FFVHuff, MPEG1 & MPEG2 Video, Fraps, Windows Media Audio v1 & v2, Flash ADPCM, Xiph Vorbis (in Matroska), MPEG Layer II Audio, and AVI support for: AAC, AC3 Audio, H.264, MPEG4, and for VBR MP3. Wow, that’s a lot! You can download Perian from www. perian.org. It’s open source and available

for free. You can even watch a couple of screencasts (www.perian.org/#watch) with instructions on how to install it. If you want to know more about codecs, go to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codec.

Convert DVDs for Playback on the iPhone by Christian Sullivan (EmiratesMac) Wouldn’t it be great if you could watch your purchased DVDs on your iPhone, iPod, or AppleTV? In this article I will show you how to extract the video from your DVDs, then compress and convert it to a format your Apple products understand. I will even show you how to turn your home network into a videoencoding super computer using Apple’s Xgrid. I’ve broken this down into four sections, each dealing with the particular tool for the job. If you already have the video on your computer, you can skip the DVD parts and go straight to Tool 2 - VisualHub. Links to all of the tools you need can be found at the end of this article. Tool 1 - HandBrake For ripping/encoding videos straight from DVD to computer, this is the one-stop shop. While it lacks some of the advanced features other tools provide (more on this later), it’s a fantastic tool nonetheless. Your first task, putting the DVD you want to encode in the computer. On most machines, this will cause the DVD Player to automatically open. Close DVD Player, and open HandBrake. Click “Browse” and you will see that your DVD has been chosen as the “Detected volume”. In the event that it was automatically chosen, select it now. Clicking “Open” will scan the DVD,

getting information about the data on the DVD. After it’s finished scanning, it will return you to the main screen. From the drop down box marked “Title” choose the longest track, this will be your movie. Next click “Presets” in the upper right corner. The developers have conveniently provided a few pre-configured settings for various devices. I recommend selecting the HB-AppleTV, regardless of your destination. The AppleTV preset will output a file that can be played on all of your devices at a high quality. The tradeoff is that the HB-iPod produces a smaller file, at a sacrifice to quality. Choose where you want your movie saved under “Destination” - Your desktop is fine for the time being. You may want to also select “Create Chapter Markers”, although this is a personal preference. It has no major impact on the movie itself, but it will make it easier to skip around the movie. Optional: If you want to change the subtitles or audio track, do so

from the “Audio & Subtitles” menu. All set? Press “Start”. On a reasonably fast computer it will rip and encode at a rate of about 1:1. This means for a 120 minute movie, it will take about 120 minutes to extract and encode the video. Tool 2 - VisualHub HandBrake might be the one stop shop for ripping/encoding DVDs, but VisualHub is the one stop shop for converting practically every-

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thing. Your first step in VisualHub is selecting the optimized format. Again, I recommend choosing the AppleTV preset. You can do this by selecting it from the drop down labeled “Optimize For”. In the “Quality Setting” I suggest setting the slider to “Standard”. While you may be tempted to move the slider further up to “Go Nuts”, you will discover that your files balloon in size with no appreciable difference in quality. Next place a check in the boxes labeled “H.264 Encoding” and “Add to iTunes”. Finally, drag your video file(s) into the main window and press “Start”. The time this process takes depends on a wide variety of factors, source file size, original format, quality settings, etc. When it’s done, it will automatically import it to iTunes, ready to copy to your device. Tool 3 - XGrid When you were using VisualHub, did you notice a checkbox labeled “Xgrid Encoding”? This is probably the most interesting feature of VisualHub, but it does take a bit of preparation. The first thing you will need are additional Apple computers on the local (wired) network running OS X 10.4. The more computers the better, although even a single Macbook can speed encoding times up significantly. So how does this work? Well, the short answer is it spreads the encoding

out to several machines, assigning each one a small piece of the work. More machines = more power = Faster encoding times. Let’s get started, shall we? Your first step is enabling the Xgrid controller on your “main” machine. This will be the computer with the video file and the installed copy of VisualHub. To do this you will need the XgridLite application. Go into “System Preferences”, under the XgridLite preference pane and click “Start”. Next, you will need to enable Xgrid on each computer you intend to use, including the main computer. To do this go into System Preferences, Sharing, and select Xgrid. Click “Configure”. For the Controller, select the name of your main computer (it should be the only Xgrid controller available). Under “Agent accepts tasks:” place

a check next to “Always”. For “Authentication method”, choose “None”. Press OK, and click “Start” to turn on Xgrid sharing. Repeat this for each computer. This next step is optional, but highly recommended. Download the Apple Server Admin Tools, install Xgrid Admin. Start your VisualHub encoding session again, but this time place a check in the box labeled “Xgrid Encoding”. If you installed Xgrid Admin (optional), open it up. It will ask you to

Links: Handbrake - handbrake.m0k.org VisualHub - www.techspansion.com/visualhub XgridLite - edbaskerville.com/software/xgridlite Apple Server Admin Tools www.apple.com/support/downloads/serveradmintools1047.html FFMpegX - www.ffmpegx.com Additional Resources: MacTheRipper (Alternative to HandBrake) - www.mactheripper.org Enable AppleTV as Xgrid node wiki.awkwardtv.org/wiki/How_to_enable_your_AppleTV_as_an_Xgrid_node

What is Xgrid? Xgrid is the name given to software developed by Apple’s Advanced Computation Group that will allow a group of networked Mac OS X computers to distribute computing workload. It was originally created to allow researches and scientists to perform intense calculations using a low-cost grouping of machines. What is H.264? H.264 is a standard for compressing videos in such a way that they are able to retain (near) DVD quality at very low bitrates. It has been adopted by Apple as the defacto standard for video on all of their devices. In addition to providing small file sizes in iTunes, H.264 (also known as Mpeg-4) is responsible for the super-clear iChat AV video conferences. Leopard Starting with Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) Apple has launched Xgrid 2. The new version of Xgrid will have a feature called “GridAnywhere”, allowing for ad hoc Xgrids to form without a specific controller, as well new features optimizing Xgrid computation and prioritization.

select the controller, which is your “main” machine. Click “OK”. You will see the total number of “agents” (each machine connected to the Xgrid) as well as the total Xgrid CPU power. Back in VisualHub, click “Start”. It will begin doling out the jobs, and if you are watching the Xgrid Admin, you will see the tasks being handed out to each computer. There is a down side to this, because of the nature of the Xgrid, the status bar in VisualHub doesn’t continually update, not providing you with an accurate estimate to the time remaining. A small price to pay for really fast encoding. And just how fast is it? Well that depends on a lot. I conducted an informal benchmark using the same file. On my iMac it took 27 minutes, my Macbook took 42 minutes, and then the XGrid encode took 11 minutes. Your mileage may vary, but if you have the resources it’s worth trying. Tool 4 - FFMpegX VisualHub is great and all, but if you have only one machine, it may not be worth the purchase price (An affordable $23.32 USD at the time of writing). So what is the alternative? FFMpegX. At the very heart, FFMpegX is just as versatile as VisualHub, but it’s lacking a lot of the polish. I won’t go into detail about using it, but once you’ve gotten it installed the interface is fairly intuitive so you should be up and running in no time.

18 EmiratesMac shuffle | www.emiratesmac.com | shuffle@emiratesmac.com


Grand Opening of the Festival City, Dubai, iStyle Store, on October 25, 2007.

EmiratesMac Training Courses EmiratesMac’s course offerings start off with Introduction to Mac OS X and iLife. In the Mac OS X course you will learn the basics of how to log in and get going with your Mac, find your way around the interface, open and save files, do some simple maintenance, get online, and more. In the iLife course we cover how to manage and edit photos, create movies, burn DVDs, create web pages, and put together a music masterpiece, all with the iLife applications.

For more information and to sign up: http://www.emiratesmac.com/index.php?page=training shuffle@emiratesmac.com | www.emiratesmac.com | EmiratesMac shuffle 19


Shuffle Reviews In this issue of Shuffle, we take a first look at Apple’s lates operating system Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. We also review a 22-inch widescreen LCD display, which makes Leopard look really good.

FIND MORE ONLINE. You can find more information online and share your views about the items we tested in this issue or anything else on our web site at www.emiratesmac.com.

BenQ FP222W Monitor by Magnus (EmiratesMac) Price Around AED1100 From BenQ Distributor BenQ Middle East FZE Web www.benq.com/products/ LCD/?product=838

Not long ago I was looking for a reasonably priced monitor at around 20 inches to use with my MacBook at home and after some searching I found the BenQ FP222W. Let’s get to the good stuff first. This is a very good

monitor at a very good price. It may not be for those who need absolutely correct colors, but for anyone else it’s a good choice. Among the particular details of interest we find pixel pitch: 0.282, brightness: 300 cd/m2, contrast ratio: 700:1, and response time: 5ms. It’s a 1680 x 1050 pixel resolution, wide-screen monitor, also referred to as WSXGA+. It’s a really nice monitor with no noticeable lag, and the colors appear very accurate. The monitor uses something BenQ calls “Senseye+Photo technology”, which according to their web site “enhances display performance”. What this technology does exactly is unclear, if indeed it does anything at all, but pictures look very good on the FP222W. It supports the traditional type of monitor connection (often referred to as D-Sub) but it also has DVI input. And now to the bad stuff. You set up the FP222W and control some of its settings with the On Screen Display (OSD) menu, which is a bit tricky to operate since the buttons sit on the side of the display. It makes the monitor look a bit sleeker but it also makes settings more difficult to make. Another complaint I have is that the monitor is not very stable, even if the stand looks like it should be. Even with small movement on the desk it wiggles a little bit. In comparison to an Apple Cinema Display, for example, the BenQ acts a bit like jello. The stand also doesn’t let you turn the monitor very easily. To sum up, there’s nothing particularly special or impressive about the BenQ FP222W, but overall it’s an attractive monitor at a good price.

20 EmiratesMac shuffle | www.emiratesmac.com | shuffle@emiratesmac.com


Shuffle Reviews

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard by Magnus (EmiratesMac) Price AED529 From Apple Inc. Distributor Apple IMC ME Web

www.apple.com/macosx

After months of anticipation Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard is finally here. Leopard will come preinstalled on all new Macs in the Middle East but if you want it right now you can buy it for AED529. If you’ve bought a Mac since October 1 you will be able to get an upgrade copy of Leopard for AED69. The requirements for Leopard means that it should run without problem on Macs that are newer than three years old and on high-end Macs as old as six years old. Installation was typically Applesmooth. I backed up my MacBook drive to an external disk, then did a clean install of Leopard, then installed applications and moved my data back. After trying all the main applications I use every day, I’m happy to report that I didn’t find a single one that had any problems with Leopard. We all know we should backup and do it regularly. Very few of us do. Apple’s solution to this is Time Machine, arguably the most hyped new feature in Leopard. And I can report it’s very nice. With a few clicks you set your Mac up to automatically and transparently back up everything you do to an external drive (or additional internal or network drive). If something happens you can then go back in time to any previous version of your files. Finder has been given a serious overhaul and it was about time. You can now browse through files with Cover Flow. Stacks is a new way of organizing files and folders in “piles” of information that is somehow related. There’s also Quick Look which makes it easier than ever before to have a quick peek at a document so you can decide if you want to open it or not. Spaces, another new feature in Leopard gives you virtual workspaces or desktops on which you can place different windows. It is a slick implementation of the virtual desktop idea.

Apple’s instant messaging and video conferencing application iChat has also grown up quite a bit. There are new Photo Booth special effects and you put a picture or video in the background of your video chat. More useful is that you can also display files during an iChat video conference with something called iChat Theater. Mac OS X’s Mail program now has support for stationery or templates. It comes with 30 templates that you can use to quickly create nice looking emails. Support for notes and to-do lists are very welcome additions. Leopard comes with a new remote control feature called “Back to my Mac”. It requires a Mac account ($100/year) and will let you remotely control a Mac over the internet. Apple has also enhanced the sharing of resources between computers - both Macs and PCs. In Leopard, computers on your network that are set up to be shared are displayed on the left in the normal Finder window, Sharing between computers on a network couldn’t be much easier. There’s little new with Boot Camp other than that it is included as a part of Leopard and that it automatically updates the Windows drivers. If you’re already running the beta version of Boot Camp that should continue to work without any problems, as it did on an iMac in which I also installed Leopard. The version of Safari that comes with Leopard is a finalized 3.0. Many of you have been using the beta, but now you’ll get access to the really cool feature: you can select a part of any web page and turn it into a Dashboard Widget. This is something I can see myself using a lot. To conclude, Leopard is not a musthave upgrade, but it is a substantial upgrade nonetheless. You can read a more complete review on our site www.emiratesmac.com/forums/ blog

shuffle@emiratesmac.com | www.emiratesmac.com | EmiratesMac shuffle 21


Reflections From the

Hayah Film Competition by Magnus and Omran (EmiratesMac)

From the Hayah Film Competition Press Conference Instead of a diary I decided to publish the two speeches given by Omran and myself at the press conference announcing the Hayah Film Competition (www.hayahfilm. com) winners. Magnus I would like to take this opportunity to give you some background information regarding the Hayah Film Competition and the EmiratesMac Apple User Group. This competition came up in discussions within our user group about activities that we could do that would support our members and the wider community. Since we are an Apple User Group, it seemed natural to focus on films in a small format, especially made for the iPod form factor. We have members ranging from professionals in advertising and media, to teachers, architects, photographers, and more. All of them have in common the elements of creativity and originality, which are also key elements for success in this competition.

EmiratesMac was started as a web site in 2005 and is the only registered Apple User Group in the United Arab Emirates. EmiratesMac arranges monthly meetings for its members, where we get together to share experience and knowledge. Creating films for iPod presents a number of challenges. The most obvious one is the small screen. Filmmakers have to consider that small details will not show very well. Color and contrast are also important to emphasize shapes and movement on the small screen. The length of the film matters since people will probably not want to look at very long movies on the small screen. These types of films, especially when put on an iPod, are more likely to be viewed in locations other than a family’s living room, or a movie theater, which presents further challenges when writing the script, shooting, and when editing films for this format. Finally, it’s important to consider sound; the viewer may not have headphones while watching, so it is important that the film’s story can be carried through regardless of sound. All these challenges, taken together, make for an interesting mix in terms of creating films for the iPod format.

Two of the winners in the Hayah Film Competition

We partnered up with Abu Dhabi Women’s College because their Center of Excellence in Applied Media made them a natural choice. Also, the High-

er Colleges of Technology system is the largest provider of higher education in the United Arab Emirates, potentially opening up this film competition to participation by many young talented students. When we heard about the Middle East International Film Festival we got in touch with them and gradually things developed into what we’ve experienced this week. We have been very excited about the response to the Hayah Film Competition. With entries from across the Middle East and in all categories, we’ve seen the abundant creativity that exists in this region. We have also experienced a wide range of subject matter. From the religious and profound, to the funny and lighthearted, each entry has made us think, made us laugh, or even moved us close to tears. This new format presents new challenges and opportunities for filmmakers. No longer have aspiring filmmakers to go through the traditional studio system. They can make technically advanced films with relatively modest equipment and distribute them for even less through web sites like YouTube, FaceBook, and others. Even setting up their own film studiolike business is conceivable with the latest technology and a strong vision. We hope that the Hayah Film Competition has contributed in some small measure to encourage budding filmmakers to start their career or to spur on those already in the industry. Omran When I first heard of this idea from Magnus I was a bit skeptic. Why would anyone want to watch a film on a small iPod screen, and why would anyone want to make a film for that format? After seeing this project progress, I was surprised to find myself becoming more and more intrigued. As a member of the EmiratesMac Apple User Group I started to see

22 EmiratesMac shuffle | www.emiratesmac.com | shuffle@emiratesmac.com


opportunities for our members and others to try out something new and exciting in combination with the latest in technology. My professional experience as an architect means I have a strong interest in design. I apply this every day in my work, and I have even made short films before, so when I was asked by EmiratesMac to be their judge in the Hayah Film Competition, it was something I accepted with honor. On behalf of the judges I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone that submitted a film to the Hayah Film Competition. The variety, quality, creativity, and dedication astounded all of us. We would also like to say congratulations to the finalists. In our mind you are all winners. It was very hard seeking out the finalists in general, and the winners in particular. From a very strong field of competitors you managed to stand out in various ways and you all deserve to win.

Profile of a

Mac Seller by Magnus (EmiratesMac)

Name: Samer Bsaw maii Title: Sales Executive Store: iStyle, Abu Dhabi Mall, Abu Dhabi

What we as judges were looking for were four main things: creativity, originality, technical proficiency, and suitability for the small format. And indeed all the finalists in various ways display aspects of life at the size of an iPod screen, as the tag line for the Hayah Film Competition says. If you allow me, I would like to add that I am very proud that so many entries came from Emirati filmmakers. Even though I didn’t know it at the time of screening and judging, it was very moving for me to find out that many films I had watched and enjoyed, were made by people from my country. The film industry in this region is booming and more and more Emiratis are making their mark on the world stage. Hopefully, by participating in the Hayah Film Competition, these filmmakers can start a successful career in their chosen field. It is also very moving to see so many students taking part in the competition. While I was a student I would have loved to be a part of something like this, so it’s comforting to see today’s students making the most of the opportunities afforded to them. We felt this was a perfect fit for students to display as well as develop their skills and knowledge. Winners of the Hayah Film Competition In the Student Category, the winner is Fatima Al Shamsi with “Ramadan”. In the Amateur Category, the winner is Kamil Roxas with “Celebrate Life”. And in the Professional Category, the winner is Ziad Oakes with “For No One”. The People’s Choice Award was won by Lolouwa Al Mehairbi with “Tourist”. You can watch all the finalists in the Hayah Film Competition at www.hayahfilm.com. Congratulations to all the winners!

Q: When did you start working for iStyle?

Q: What is the most challenging part of your job?

A: January 2007.

A: Sometimes when I have to tell customers they have to wait for a spare part or something. I don’t like to make them wait. It doesn’t happen often but I don’t like it.

Q: What did you do before working at iStyle? A: I studied information systems at Freddy Attalah College, Lebanon.

Q: When was the first time you used a Mac and what was your first impression? A: About three years ago, it was amazing, the resolution and the colors. Little things like Dock animations really blew me away. and it was so easy to use.

Q: What’s the best part of your job? A: I like interacting with customers, to help them with their problems. To make them happy. Q: What is your favorite Apple product and why?

Q: Do you have a funny story about something that has happened in your job? A: Once there was a customer coming to my store. He was from a small village in the mountains of Lebanon. He asked me “Do you have the iPhot?” Of course he meant the iPhone and he was joking but it was funny.

Q: Is there any particular product you wish Apple would release? A: Everything they have is so great, I can’t think of anything right now. They keep producing amazing products so I’m not sure what they could add.

A: It has to be Leopard because of all the new features. I’ve not seen them before in any operating system.

shuffle@emiratesmac.com | www.emiratesmac.com | EmiratesMac shuffle 23


Peel The Apple Get answers to your Apple tech support questions. Email techsupport@emiratesmac.com

Q: I forgot my password for my account? What can I do? A: First, try all the likely candidates for passwords that you normally use. Look around your wallet, office, desk, etc. for little Post-it notes on which you may have written the password down on. Yes we know we shouldn’t write our passwords down like that but the fact is many of us do anyway. Now, if you really can’t remember or find your password, dig out your Mac OS X installation DVD and put it in your Mac. You need to restart your Mac from the installation disk. You do this at restart by holding down the C key on the keyboard. Once the installation program has started up, select Reset Password in the Utilities menu. In the window that appears, select the volume, which has the user for which you want to change the password, and then type in the new password in the two text fields. Finally click Save, and restart the computer. Let me add a little word of warning from personal experience about this method: Only use this as a temporary way to get access to files. As soon as you’ve been able to access the account, copy files from it and do a new installation of Mac OS X. On several occasions, and especially on Macs with several user accounts, I’ve experienced permissionsrelated issues after resetting passwords using this method. Q: Recently my iPod Mini has started to act strangely. I took it to a shop and they told me I should get a new battery, but that they couldn’t help me. Do I need to buy a new iPod or can it be fixed? A: Apple has made it pretty clear that iPods are consumables and that they have a limited lifespan. They will die sooner or later and chances are your mini is at the end of its lifespan because the model was introduced in early 2004. But that’s not what you want to hear, I’m sure. You can try to buy a replacement battery. Sites like www.ipodbattery.com carry them for around $15-20. You will have

to open the iPod yourself and do the work, but it’s not that difficult. You can also try to take the iPod to an Apple Service Center, but that will obviously cost you a lot more. Q: I have a question regarding iMovie ‘08. I made a new project and I want to save it on a ash disk as a media file that can be played on any player. Is that possible? I made the movie for a friend and my friend doesn’t have a Mac. So what can I do? A: It’s probably easier than you realize. You actually don’t want to put the project on the flash disk, just the exported movie. In iMovie, basically what you need to do is go to the Share menu (Share > Export Movie, or Export Using Quicktime) and pick a format to export your movie into. Then put that resulting movie file on your flash disk and take it to your friend. If you’re taking it to a friend’s house and want to play it on their computer, select as good a quality as you can. If you want to put it on a mobile device like an iPhone or iPod select a lower quality setting to save space. You can of course also send the iMovie project to iDVD so you can put it on a movie DVD, which you can play back in any regular DVD player. Q: I know Leopard is coming and I’ve read many nice things about it. I’ve got an old desktop Mac and I was wondering if Leopard can run on my Mac? Also, could you tell me if Leopard would run better on this old desktop if I upgraded something? A: If we start from the end of your questions, the latest operating system from Apple always runs best on the latest hardware from Apple. Since they control both the operating system and the hardware the two often go hand in hand. According to Apple, the bare bones specification that can run Leopard is “Mac computer with an Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (867MHz or faster) processor”. You also need a DVD drive for installation, at least 512MB or RAM, and 9GB of available

disk space. In addition to that, some specific applications and features have different requirements. For example, Time Machine requires an additional hard drive, Boot Camp requires an Intel processor, Screen Sharing in iChat and Finder requires a 128-Kbps internet connection, etc. For those of you with older Macs I would recommend that you try Leopard first on some other, newer Mac and see if you like it. It may be that you actually don’t have to upgrade to the latest Mac OS X. For a very long time, I was running a server at home, which was Mac OS X 10.2 on a G3 PowerMac. This was when I was running 10.3 and 10.4 on my other Macs. It fulfilled its role perfectly fine even running an older version, and I had no need to upgrade. It may be that an older Mac can be used as some sort of server, for example, without upgrading it.

Send your Apple tech support questions to techsupport@emiratesmac.com. Your questions are answered by Magnus Nystedt, a Certified Apple Help Desk Specialist, with experience of Macs going back to the Mac Plus. Also with over ten years of teaching IT at college and university, he’s in a perfect position to help you sort out your problems. You can reach Magnus at magnus@ nystedt.org or at www.nystedt.org.

24 EmiratesMac shuffle | www.emiratesmac.com | shuffle@emiratesmac.com


Recipe:

Weaving The Web

Buttery Apple Torte by Crystal (EmiratesMac) Here is a good and simple recipe that you can whip up in a hurry. The only thing that I

found with this recipe is that after you make it the torte will not be around too long, as everyone will finish off this torte fast. Oh and also watch this recipe when baking, as it can brown fast, and once it’s brown it needs to taken out of the oven fast. Hope you enjoy this Buttery Apple Torte as much as my family and friends did. Recipe from Simply Recipes (www.simplyrecipes.com). It serves eight.

INGREDIENTS 1/2 cup (4 oz or 125 g) plus 1 Tbsp of unsalted butter 3 Renette or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut into slices 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick 2/3 cup (3 1/2 oz or 105 g) all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 whole eggs, plus 1 egg yolk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup (8 oz or 250 g) granulated sugar 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest confectioners’ sugar (optional) PREPARATION 1. Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C). Generously butter a 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pan with 2 inch (5 cm) sides. 2. In a microwave, melt the butter. Pour 6 Tbsp (3 fl oz or 90 ml) of it into a small bowl or cup and set

aside. Add the apple slices and the remaining butter to a large frying pan and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally until the apples are tender - for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. 3. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the whole eggs and egg yolk until blended. Add the 6 Tbsp of melted butter, the vanilla, the granulated sugar, and the lemon zest. Stir in the flour mixture and the apples. Spoon into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. 4. Bake until browned, 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Invert the cake onto a plate and lift off the pan, then invert the cake again onto the rack and let cool completely. 5. (Optional) Just before serving, place confectioners’ sugar in a small sieve and dust the top of the cake.

Crystal is the founder and editor of EmiratesBaby.com. She writes about various kinds of issues of interest to parents in the UAE. Crystal will be bringing us a new recipie based on apples in each edition of the newsletter. She promises it will be an exciting and mouth-watering mix of dessert, main courses, snacks, and more.

http://www.omnigroup.com Omni Group Inc.

http://www.hayahfilm.com Hayah Film Competition

http://slashdot.org Slashdot

http://www.macnightowl.com Mac Night Owl

shuffle@emiratesmac.com | www.emiratesmac.com | EmiratesMac shuffle 25


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Photoshop Tutorial



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How To:

Create an Encrypted Disk Image by Magnus (EmiratesMac)

A disk image is a file on your Mac’s hard drive that very much acts like if it was a regular disk that you can write to, read and delete things from, etc. Disk image files typically end with the “dmg” extension and are common in the Mac world, especially to distribute software on. But what we’re going to do in this brief “How to” is to create an encrypted disk image. This will be like a part of your hard drive that is password protected and which prevents access to what’s on the disk image.

STEP 1 Start Disk Utility (in the Applications > Utilities folder). STEP 7 Click the “Create” button.

STEP 5 In the “Encryption” drop down menu, select “AES-128 (recommended)”. In Mac OS X 10.5

STEP 2 Click on “New Image”.

STEP 3 Type in the name of your new encrypted disk image. STEP 4 Select the size of the disk image in the “Size” drop down menu. Select a predefined size or select “Custom” and enter your own size.

Leopard you will also be able to select 256-bit AES encryption, which is slower but more secure than 128-bit.

STEP 6 In the “Format” drop down menu, make sure “read/write disk image” is selected. A “read/ write” image will be of the size you select, whether it’s full of data or not. A “sparse image” will basically only take up the space of the data it holds. So if it’s largely empty it will not take up the full space. Personally I’ve had problems with sparse images in the past so out of habit I stay away from them and create only fixed-size disk images. Your experience may be different.

STEP 8 You will get asked for a password. Make sure it’s as long and random as possible. You may also want to take off the selection in the “Remember password” box so that others can’t just get into your new encrypted disk image if they get access to your computer. STEP 9 You’re now ready to use your new encrypted disk image. You only need to mount it when you want to read from or write to it. If you really have something sensitive stored in the image, make sure you eject it once it’s used. If you leave it mounted, other users on your machine may get access to it if you stay logged in.

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Shufflegazine November 2007