Past Meetings

2 - 10 - 2005

Despite the weather prediction for a foot of snow, the Hammondsport MUG had a nice turn out of eight people meeting at Walczak Signs in Bath. The snow didn't show but these people did: Dave W, Tom B, Ed K, Bob S, Rich M, Jack H, Jim P, and Bob G.

Dave gave a quick tour through his sign shop, including downstairs into the catacombs where he "weeds" the vinyl letters cut by his state-of-the-art sign machine. Several rooms filled with industrial equipment, contraptions, artist tools, sculptures and sketches created a wonderful ambience of creativity, artistry and mad science. Dave also gave us a brief demo on designing a sign on the Mac, cutting it into vinyl via an automated cutter and then transferring it to a smooth piece of glass.

Using an older Mac computer and a program called FlexiSign Pro by Amiable Technologies (now owned by an Israeli company), Dave demonstrated the advantages of a vector-based lettering program (compared to bit-mapped letters), the most obvious being the ease of enlarging to gigantic sizes without loss of clarity. Dave also showed us his personally-designed invoices and other business forms he had created himself using the Mac.

Most of us had little familiarity with the technical side of sign-making via computer but Dave skillfully put it into laymen's terms and helped us better understand some of the amazing things that can be done on a Mac. Some five-dollar words that came up in conversation were 'Bezier' (curves), 'tangential' (a swiveling blade), and 'Fibonacci' numbers (used in making spirals).The knuckle spacing in your finger represent Fibonacci ratios.

 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, ... (add the last two to get the next)

GraphicConverter, a shareware ($30) from a German guy named Lemke, is used by many graphic artists (including Dave) because of its ease of use, many format choices and low cost. You can download GC and try it for free. Dave showed us some of the features such as batch conversion and the long list of unique formats available. Most of us knew JPEG, GIF and TIFF. But who had heard of KISS CEL, X-Face, STAD, PSION5, RAW or MooV? Just to name a few. Also there is a slideshow feature in GC to allow full screen display of a folder of jpegs. (This feature is also available in the Appleworks program).

Dave shared a couple resources for cheap ink - eInk4U and FutureUSA. Dave recommended using the phone number for faster service.

Interest was expressed (again) in image-capturing keyboard shortcuts such as the famous 'Command-Shift-4' combo which allows you to select a part of an image. If there were no other reason to buy a Mac, this would be enough.

Tom brought a Lexar JumpDrive which he had recently bought for $29 at Target. It is a tiny drive about the size of a miniture Swiss army knife, holding a whopping 256mb of data. It is USB 2.0- so will work on both old & new Macs or PCs.Great for transferring a bunch of data and easier to keep in your pocket than 176 floppy disks. This compact storage device will work by simply inserting into a USB slot of a computer running Mac OS9, OSX, or Win2000/ME/XP. (For Mac OS 8.6 or Win 98, download drivers here.)

Use the new, easy-to-remember email address to contact the Hammondsport MUG if you have any questions:

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Hammondsport Mac Users Group - Hammondsport, NY 14840 -