4 - 8 - 2005
Four people attended the April meeting on a beautiful sunny spring day (Tom B, Ed K, Jim P and Bob S). Why would anyone want to sit in a dark, chilly church basement, other than to discuss Macs? We are indeed a strange people. And fatter, too, since we had to eat the extra donuts.
So why does the desktop date reset to August 27th, 1956 when your PRAM battery dies? (in case you were wondering). As it turns out, this is the birthdate of one of the designers, Ray Montagne, who apparently designed the CUDA microcontroller. This chip controls the PRAM and ADB on many models. (By the way, Steve Jobs was born in 1955, so the date is not his birthday.) Other Macs reset to the default date - the date that the clock shows when the clock registers are filled with zeros. What is the default date if the clock contains all zeros? The answer: It's midnight, Jan 1, 1904. This date was selected because the original Mac's clock (which counts in seconds) can encompass a period of about 136 years. Selecting 1904 as the start date means that the 136-year period covered by the clock (1904-2040) includes the birthdate of nearly every Mac user, and extends well past the expected lifetime of the Mac OS. It also means that the simplest rule for leap-years can be used (every fourth year has an extra day), which simplifies day and date calculations. They didn't choose the year 1900 because it was not a leap year, and so would have complicated matters.
Using a folder of jpeg photos shot with a digital camera at the beginning of the meeting, Tom demonstrated how to easily convert them into a viewable html slideshow with thumbnails and navigation tools using a freeware called JAlbum. This software will work only with OSX. A slideshow can be created by JAlbum in a few seconds, producing file folders of tiny thumbnails (4k), smaller but clear slides, html pages for each picture, as well as links to original photos. The resulting html files may be uploaded directly to a website for easy viewing by others. Another possibility is to burn these files to a CD for easy viewing on any computer with any browser. Captions can be easily added to each picture. A variety of background 'skins' and formats are availble to select. (See steps for how to create a JAlbum slideshow.) The final slideshow and all files were burned to a CD for each person to take home, along with a folder of interesting freeware.
A neat photo-doctoring application called PixelNhance was demonstrated. One nice feature of this freeware was a movable divider in the view area which instantly let you see the changes affected. (See Tom's example)
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