See inside for NASA contact in- formation!

mewlingtincupSoftware and s/w Development

Nov 9, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)


GRAppl e Page 1
The NASA Glenn Research Center
Macintosh User Group
Melissa McGuire, President
Mark Hickman, VP
Debbie Sedlak, VP
Lisa Madden, Secretary/Editor
NASA Apple Reps
Michael Mills,
Russ Pond,
Volume 12, Issue 1 February 2011
Table of Contents
Editorial ............................1
President’s Corner ...........2
Switch to Mac ...................3
Zaggmate .........................4
iPhone Programming .......5
Handbrake ........................6
Step by Step Network ......8
Dreamweaver CS4 .........10
Web Mapping .................12
—Lisa Madden, Editor
Happy February. Is that an oxymoron or what? But, hey,
spring is not that far off, and being stuck indoors does have
its advantages. Right? Like more time to play on your
macs, iPhones, iPads, and review books and applications
for this newsletter!!
iPads are coming, iPads are coming! Yes, it’s true. Very
soon the iPad will be supported by ODIN at GRC. Other
NASA centers have been supporting them for a while now,
but hey, we’re getting there!!
The big project right now is retrofitting those with ODIN
XP VMs to Win 7 VMs. Not difficult, but it takes about 2
hours, so you must be patient. You should have received
information on how to prepare for this retrofit from COA. If
not, send an email to to get on the list.
As many already know, Verizon is now able to sell you
an iPhone. Depending where you are, this may be a good
thing. NASA contact information for both AT&T and Verizon
is inside this newsletter.
Hope you are staying warm. Enjoy the newsletter, and
don’t forget: it is never too early to send me articles for the
next issue!!
See inside for
NASA contact in-
Page 2 GRApple
I feel as though I’ve started the last
few columns by saying that it is a great time to
be a Mac user. Every time I say it, I mean it.
This time is no different. It is a great time to
be a Mac user. The iPhone has finally come to
Verizon, a new iPhone and iPad will be com-
ing out in just a few months. Mac sales have
grown by some estimated 30% last year over
the year before, the highest growth of any PC
manufacturer in the industry. iPads practically
flew off the shelves last year, beating all pro-
fessional analysts’ expectations (although most
of the amateur bloggers were spot on with their
At NASA, the Mac is a full-fledged
desktop (or laptop) choice for most scientists
and engineers. Hopefully, long gone are the
days we would have to justify our use of the
Macintosh to our Windows-leaning IT depart-
ments. About the only Apple “War” currently
ongoing is that between the upstart Android
fans and the well-entrenched iPhone fans. I
won’t go into my own personal opinions there, but
I am going to say that each and every one of you
reading this can probably guess.
I look forward to what magic the wonder
folks in Cupertino have in store for us. Myself,
I am waiting for the new iPhone this summer to
finally upgrade from my first generation iPhone. At
over 3 years old, it’s starting to show its age just a
little bit. In spite of the fact that I dropped it a few
times, and it’s a pre-3G machine (meaning all my
data comes over the slower edge network) the only
performance issues I have are limited by the disk
space. I have only 8GB and believe me, I’ve more
than filled it up.
The only dark spot in the year is the depar-
ture of Steve Jobs from the top spot at Apple for
health reasons. I appreciate him taking the time to
look after his own health, and his family. I send
along my wishes of support to him and his family
and wish for him a speedy recovery to full health
and return to Apple.
Best of luck to all of you other Mac fans
out there. Now is the time to be a Mac fan, if ever
there was one.
Melissa McGuire
President GMUG
The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
—Melissa McGuire
GRAppl e Page 3
Switching to the Mac
Review by Kumud Ajmani
As a long time Mac user, who considers
himself a dangerous expert on the Mac, I thought
this book would be too basic for my needs. Howev-
er, I wanted to review it because I have recommend-
ed a lot of folks to move to the Mac and wanted to
see if this would be a good starter book for “switch-
I was not disappointed.
I should have known that this would be
a stellar product as it is written by the very well
known NYT tech columnist, David Pogue. His
“Missing Manual” series is a bestseller in many
categories. Weighing in at 600+ pages, this is the
one book that any new (or even old) Mac user will
want to keep at arm’s reach. New users may want to
first go to Appendix C which lists all the ‘keyboard
shortcuts’ for MacOS. I often hear new “switchers”
complain about the lack of keyboard operations
available in MacOS — well, they should be happy
with six pages of shortcuts — don’t you think?
The first part of the book lays out the red
carpet by discussing what’s different about the Mac,
how to get around in the Finder, how to use Ex-
posé, Spaces, and other MacOS-native programs.
The discussion on ‘Smart Folders’ and ‘Web Clips’
inspired me to play with these seldom used features
of MacOS!
Now that the “switcher” has been introduced
to their new environment, the second part of the
book dives into “making the move” or moving your
data to the Mac. There is an entire chapter devoted
to issues that one may encounter when using the
Mac version of a particular piece of software. It also
discusses replacements for some software which
does not have a Mac equivalent. If all else fails,
there is a chapter describing ‘Windows on Macin-
tosh’ — just in case the “switcher” feels homesick
or needs to run a specific program with no Mac
Most new users will like part three of the
book because it discusses the how-to of getting
online and using email and the Web. These chapters
are full of productivity hints and will help the
“switcher” make good use of his new Mac
almost immediately. Part four of the book is
titled “putting down roots” and is perhaps
most useful to the “switchers” who would
like to go “under the hood” with in-depth
discussion of topics like parental controls,
security, system preferences, networking and
all those freebies hidden in that “Utilities”
I would be remiss not to mention the
brilliant “where did it go” Appendix C which
lists all the MacOS equivalents of Windows
Control Panels and other sundry stuff. Sorry
“switchers,” there are no IRQs on the Mac.
Say goodbye to them!
In summary, this book is a must buy
for those switching to the Mac. I think the
Apple store should give these out for free
to anyone who says they are a “switcher.”
Maybe ODIN should include it as standard
issue for all new Mac users. It is sure to
reduce frustration (and Genius Bar visits) for
new users, in addition to reducing support
calls for you, particularly if you are ‘tech
support’ for a friend or relative!
Page 4 GRApple
This is a review of the zaggmate keyboard and
its functionality with the ipad. typing is definitely much
faster than the ipad on-screen keyboard although the
keys feel a little cramped at best. Of course there is no
backlighting but the light from the ipad is enough to be
able to see the keys and if you are touch-typing anyway,
why do you need to look at the keys?
Actually, the hinge is probably the weakest link of the entire setup and it feels like it may
break off at any time. However, this concern may be unfounded because the hinge is currently sup-
porting my ipad WITH the Griffin Standle just fine!
This is not a lay in bed typing kind of keyboard unless you keep your legs absolutely
stretched out straight :-) Of course, once you find the correct position while lying down, there is no
heat coming down to your lap via the keyboard either ;-) If anything, the keyboard feels a little cool
due to the metallic base.
I was concerned that the metal edges of the frame would be painful to the palms but there is a
nice rubber ‘gasket’ which cushions the palms fairly well. There is no space to rest the palms but that
is to be expected because it would make the keyboard much bigger, no?
My biggest challenge is that I have large hands and the keyboard feels a little bit cramped.
but, this is not meant for all-day typing so I can safely live with it for short periods! Now if they
would have put a trackball or something in the device (with mouse support for the iOS of course),
then life would be really good!
Typing in portrait mode is a little more challenging because of the awkward positioning of
the ipad and the apparent unbalanced, top-heavy feeling. But, how many times are you going to be
typing in portrait mode anyway?
Is it worth $100 to me? I am not sure. I think it would be a “keeper” at $50 but at $100, prob-
ably not. Unless of course you are
an iPad only road-warrior and need
a robust keyboard, this is one good-
looking, functional accessory.
Zaggmate Keyboard
—Review by Kumud Ajmani
The opinions expressed in this review are those of the author and do not imply the endorsement of NASA.
Ed. Note: Check out Zaggmate online:
GRAppl e Page 5
When Melissa put out the call for book reviews, I have to admit that
I went to the O’Reilly catalog and immediately looked at the iPhone selec-
tion. I have been enamored with my iPhone, since I received my first one
about 18 months ago. It serves as my phone, camera, music player, to do
list keeper, calendar, etc. My curious nature is always to learn the “how do
they do it” part – heck, if a 14 year old can write Bubble Ball... So, I did
the natural thing and went to the catalog and looked for the book that would
tell me everything from networking to data to sensors to geolocation and
selected “iPhone Programming – From XCode to App Store” by Alasdir Allan. When Melissa sent me
an email to say the book arrived, I was expecting a 900+ page tome, but instead, this book is only 350
pages long. So, the good and the bad is that either it provides a nice overview of each of the topics or
it is too brief to get a good handle on how to program the iPhone. That was my mission to find out and
one that I chose to accept.
I need to caveat this review with a couple of points. First, my programming background is on
UNIX doing C/C++ with emacs as my IDE. So, the first time that I launched XCode, my eyes glazed
over and a little bit of IDE-itis came through. But, after a couple of hours, it was a decent environ-
ment to work within. Also, since iPhone is a limited device, some of the boilerplate code for memory
management is necessary (Alasdair told me this). Also, I don’t have any experience in Objective-C or
the Cocoa Framework, which is a real handicap in reading this book. But, Alasdair provides a nice,
but brief, chapter into the Objective-C language (he told me this too).
Overall, this is really a nice introduction to iPhone programming. IMO, I would consider this to
be a brief introduction to “get your feet wet” and understand what the framework has to offer rather than
a reference for the experienced programmer. The introduction chapters are basic – but for me that was
great – and there is an introductory chapter in Objective-C programming. Alasdair (I wonder if there
is a shorter version of that name) informs the reader on the different version of the iPhone Developer
Program and how you can give Apple more money to have your app run on your iPhone; for some
apps, such as using sensors, this is a must to adequately test your app. He covers the design patterns
(Model-View-Controller) and how they are used. The example programs are complete and he points
to lines of code with numbers to point out specific information. In addition, he provides tips through
each of the chapters that are very helpful. In the advanced chapters, he covers networking, hardware
sensors, and distributing the app.
So, where would I recommend improvements? Well, a couple of places, but then I have to
remember that this is a short book. The number of example programs could be increased especially in
the Objective-C programming chapter.
So, if you are interested in a crash course into iPhone programming before you dig into it with
a more detailed book, this is the one to get. But, it will leave you with the thirst to learn more. Me?
I am heading to the O’Reilly catalog to look for an Objective-C book and waiting for the next call for
book reviews.
The opinions expressed in this review are those of the author and do not imply the endorsement of NASA.
iPhone Programming – From XCode to App Store
by Alasdir Allan
—Review by Richard Slywczak
Page 6 GRApple
Handbrake Review
(open source video encoding/conversion software)
– Jerri Ling
When I happened upon Handbrake I was looking for an app that
would convert my favorite purchased DVD movies into formats that
could be imported to my iPhone and iPad. When one is stuck waiting
in airports and one does not like the in-flight entertainment, it’s great to
be able to have your favorite movies available at your finger tips. Hand-
brake is an easy to use conversion program that imports a broad range
of audio and video formats from DVDs (VIDEO_TS files), Iso (digital
video camera) images from hard disk drives and optical disks, and exports to a variety of the devices
we’ve come to depend on like iPod, iPhone, iPad, video cameras, etc. Handbrake can also convert
from standard Blueray (video_ts) disks. It even converts PAL sources.
There are some occasions where encryption levels may cause Handbrake to botch the conver-
sion. If this is the case, it is suggested that additional apps VLC (both 32 bit and 64 bit versions) or
the AnyDVD app be installed that rips encrypted disks producing an unencrypted version of your
video first. Then convert using Handbrake. It is suggested that you only use this method for disks
you have purchased, as it is illegal to do otherwise.
Note: The Help menu for this app is actually helpful, as is the on-line user guide for Handbrake.
The basic steps are summarized below.
Step 1: Install the version of Handbrake appropriate for your system (64 bit for Intel Core
2, or Intel Core 1x processors, and 32 bit for Intel Core Duo). However, PowerPC based machines
(PPC) are no longer supported.
Step 2: Navigate to the item/file you want to convert using the “Source” button. If it is a
DVD you should see a folder named VIDEO_TS. This folder contains all the audio, video and chap-
ter info from the disk. This is the one you want to select.
Step 3: The activity window (to the left of the main window) in the first figure below, will
let you know that Handbrake is doing its thing during the initial read.
GRAppl e Page 7
Step 4: Select the format you want to convert to using the “Preset” window on the right of
the main window. Then select the green “Start” button, to begin conversion.
Step 5: If you did not designate a destination folder for the finished conversion, Handbrake
will select one by default and commence conversion.
Step 6: If you are converting directly from a DVD, (shown in the second figure) the process
will take an hour or so, as indicated by the hr-min-sec display near the progress bar (I usually mini-
mize the app and go on with something else while it is converting). A message will be displayed
when Handbrake is done converting. You may then import this file into iTunes using the iTunes File/
Add To Library function.
That about says it all!
Page 8 GRApple
Step by Step Network Your Computers & Devices
by Ciprian Adrian Rusen and 7 Tutorials

—Reviewed by Ward Souders

First and foremost, this is most certainly a book published by Microsoft Press for Windows 7 users wanting to
set up networking at home. As this is being written for a Macintosh User Group newsletter, be warned that there really
is only 1 chapter in the book that even goes into any depth on networking Macs running OSX (chapter 11). This chapter
is mostly limited to adding OSX machines to an existing Windows workgroup and then sharing files and printers to and
from Windows 7 computers.
If you are still reading, then you must have a Windows 7 computer that you are trying to set up networking on.
As you are the target audience of this book, I must say that it is clearly written and has many relevant screen shots that
will help you in setting up your new Win7 box and getting it going on a network. The first chapter in the book is all about
installing and configuring a router, including step by step instructions on how to set up a Belkin N+ Wireless and D-Link
DIR-615 router. These 2 routers are used as examples showing how a “normal” router install and set-up “should” go. I
must admit, while the instructions are in depth with screen shots of each step in setting these routers up, I really do ap-
preciate more now how easy the Apple Airport wireless routers are to setup and configure. No, this book does not cover
any of the Apple routers nor how to configure them, but suffice it to say, run the Apple Airport Admin from your Mac
and thank God that there are companies out there such as Apple willing to take the extra time to make installing this type
of hardware and getting it running painless.
The next few chapters are all Win7 centric, focusing on setting up accounts and libraries on your Win7 boxes,
creating the windows network, customizing sharing settings, creating a “Homegroup,” sharing libraries, folders, and
devices (including printers). For those wanting to use a Win7 machine for a media center, there is a complete chapter on
streaming media over the network and internet, using Windows Media Player.
There are also a few chapters dedicated to sharing between Windows 7 and Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac
OSX, and Ubuntu Linux. As stated earlier, these chapters are more or less, how to get your non Windows 7 computer
to work with a Windows 7 network and workgroup. It does go into detail on how to share folders and printers between
platforms including screenshots from the non Win7 computers to detail their explanations.
The final three chapters are probably the most important for someone setting up a Win7 network. They are:
Keeping the Network Secure, Setting Up Parental Controls, and Troubleshooting Network and Internet Problems. Each
of these topics are gone over in enough detail to keep both your
network and your family from having unwanted intrusions. The
troubleshooting chapter also has a great flow chart to help work
through different steps that can be taken to resolve any issues
that may arise in either getting or keeping your computers on
the network.
In review, this is a great book for someone wanting to
setup a Windows 7 network, or convert their old home network
to Windows 7. For everyone else, there are a few choice items
that can be used as general knowledge on networking, even if
not completely relevant. As a technical person I will undoubt-
edly keep the troubleshooting flowchart close at hand when go-
ing through any network issues that I may experience at home. I
would rate it 1 ½ stars for our Mac user group, but 4 ½ stars for
a Windows 7 user wanting to set up a home network.
The opinions expressed in this review are those of the author
and do not imply the endorsement of NASA.
GRAppl e Page 9
Apple Employee Purchase (EPP)
Below is the link to the NASA Apple EPP.
It’s nice to use the NASA link because
Apple tracks how often NASA folks use
the discount. The more we use it, the
more Apple is inclined to keep giving us
the discount.
Transition: From the MUG Store to
...................., the engine behind The Apple MUG Store, is pleased to announce a new process for
Apple user group members. Instead of going to to view a limited selec-
tion of items, members can now go directly to to peruse and purchase almost
50,000 products. By identifying the user group you belong to (either on an online order or over the
phone), PowerMax will continue to accumulate points for your user group to use.
A user group may earn 1% of the total purchase. So if a user group member buys a $2,000 (US)
computer, $20 (US) will be added to your user group’s account, good toward anything PowerMax
sells. In addition to great deals, free UPS shipping is offered on any order over $50 (US)!
Be sure to take advantage of this win/win deal!

This worldwide offer is ongoing.
Page 10 GRApple
Dreamweaver CS4 - The Missing Manual
—Reviewed By Debbi Sedlak
After a long hiatus from Dreamweaver (last time I used it was with the CS3 version), I
opened the application and could not figure out how to do some fairly simple things. As it is with all
Adobe products, there are many menus, palettes, floating toolboxes, etc. and they are not what you
would call “intuitive.” I tried to use Adobe’s “Help” text website, forums, etc., but found it was as
daunting as the Microsoft website (i.e., “helpless” text)! It appears that Adobe has “gone to the dark
side of the Force,” and does not provide the quality of help text or documentation that they did years
Being a fan of all “Missing Manual” books by O’Reilly, this was the main book I used to
relearn what I used to know about Dreamweaver, plus learn the new CS4 functions.
This book is excellent for both beginners and pros and is very well organized. The following
is a summary of the pros and cons:
- Well organized
- Easy to find topics via table of contents or index
- Can be used as a training manual and/or a reference guide
- Don’t need to read it cover-to-cover; can skip to a specific section to look up info
- Written well and understandable for both novice and advanced users
- A website is provided that has additional information, including tutorials and a freebie pro-
gram that allows you to import Go Live websites, so you don’t have to start completely all
over. (I just have to say it, Go Live was such a better product than Dreamweaver - didn’t
need a giant manual for that software and the help text was actually helpful, but that’s a topic
for another article.)
- Lots of good tips and info about what is good and bad about Dreamweaver
- Cons:
- For a novice, the size of the book could be scary (over 1,000 pages)
- Would have liked more info on using Dreamweaver with PHP, AJAX, and Joomla
Dreamweaver CS4 - The Missing Manual is divided into six major sections:
1. Part One - Building a Web Page: Includes a guided tour of CS4 that was good for overall
training for all basic functions in building a website. It included highlights about changes from the
CS3 version. This entire section is a must read for the novice and has excellent tutorials.
2. Part Two - Building a Better Web Page: Describes advanced CSS layouts and navigation
functions, including the div tag, which is something I was really interested in as compared to using
tables. Had great information about cleaning up code and troubleshooting code. This was probably
the most useful part of the book for me.
3. Part Three - Bringing Your Pages to Life: This section showed how to create web forms
in HTML and other interactive functions like spry, Flash, events, etc. This was the second most use-
ful part of the book for me personally.
GRAppl e Page 11
The opinions expressed in this review are those of the author and do not imply the endorsement of NASA.
4. Part Four - Building a Web Site: Great for a novice to learn how to structure, test, and
configuration manage your site and files, especially if you are involved in workgroup design and
development. It also had information on how to upload your site to a server. I just glossed over this
section because this was not an area I needed help with (which shows how well the book is orga-
nized - didn’t need to spend a lot of time reading info that was not relevant).
5. Dreamweaver CS4 Power: Describes templates and libraries for storing code that you use
over and over. Also has a section on how to automate and customize Dreamweaver tasks.
6. Part Six - Dynamic Dreamweaver: Provides a good general description on how to code/
program/link to databases (e.g., MySQL, MS Access, Cold Fusion). Also describes Dreamweaver’s
wizards that can be used to create dynamic database-driven websites. I was hoping to learn more
about PHP, AJAX, and Joomla and create hidden email addresses for contact and survey forms and
unfortunately, this was not covered - that’s my only negative. However, the author does provide in-
formation on where to get that information - I just would have liked to see it in the book, but I guess
that probably would have made it a 1,500-page book! ;)
The book also had some great appendices, especially Appendix B, which had all of the
menus. This was fantastic because my biggest hurdle was trying to find where specific toolboxes/
menus/palettes were at any given time.
All in all, this was a great book and the author, David Sawyer McFarland, should be com-
mended for a job well done. I only wish Adobe would hire him to write the Adobe help website
Page 12 GRApple
The opinions expressed in this review are those of the
author and do not imply the endorsement of NASA.
Web Mapping Illustrated
by Tyler Mitchell
O’Reilly Media Inc. 2005
—Reviewed by David J. Chato
I thought this book was a good introduction to the subject of web
based mapping. I liked the fact that the software packages they used were
open source. I was a bit disappointed that the example mapping exercises in
the book were a bit basic, often working with an outline of Canada, like the outline maps they hand
out in primary school.
The introductory material explains the concepts of web based mapping, talking about the
geospatial (geographical data linked to spatial coordinates) information systems that make web
based mapping possible, the advantages of web based mapping over the old hand drawn approach,
and how client server based software allows you to set you web site to provide interactive maps
without having to store gobs of data on your web site, shows a few examples mostly tourist informa-
tion sites and gives some links to the more common source of geospatial information
The next chapters introduce the main open source software including OpenEV, a desktop
map viewer, MapServer, the client-server software for manipulating GIS information, Gespatial Data
Abrstraction Library (GDAL), a programming library, OGR, another programming library (for vec-
tor graphic), and PostGIS, a geospatial database system using the SQL database languge.
The book then goes through each of the packages showing how to import data into it and how
to manipulate the data to produce the maps you want. I liked the chapters on working with Satellite
data. I was not as impressed with the chapters working with country outlines. I was disappointed
that, although the introductory material featured tourist information, restaurant guides and road
maps, few examples of how the software could be used for this were given. There were enough hints
to suggest it was possible, but a walk-through based on one of these types of applications seemed
I did enjoy the book although I think it will be a tough read for those without a background
in client server systems, or programming. I must also give the caveat that since I have only had the
book for a couple weeks, I have not yet tried out most of the software for myself.
[From book] Figure 2-3A map from multiple
remote servers using a OWS specification
GRAppl e Page 13
AT&T NASA Contact:
Amanda Rosen
Mobile: 216.258.4526
Office: 216-382-0825
Verizon NASA Contact:
Susan Cliffel
Verizon Wireless
NASA Contact Information for iPhones