Past Meetings

June 22, 2009 - Hammondsport Mac Users Group


ATTENDING: Jack H, Tom B, Bill N, Bob S, Bob G, Don H and Jerry L.

Over lunch, we reminisced about our favorite childhood games (the kind that didn't require a computer or even electricity - games such as Kick The Can, Fox and Geese, Airplane, Annie Annie Over, Red Rover Come Over, Marbles, Mumbley Peg and Jack Knife Baseball.

Question: When should kids (or grandkids) be told about computers?
Answer: Never. Give them a pile of dirt in the backyard and let them play with that until they are old enough to go to work.

Silicon Snake Oil - an excellent book written by Berkley astronomer Clifford Stoll in 1995, but still relevant, in examining our digital transformation - what we're gaining and what we're losing. Read this book before you buy your kid a computer.

But ... sooner or later they will probably find out about computers, and if they ask politely to use your Mac, here are some suggestions. Most are educational but others are simply fun.

Games - downloadable

Custom Solutions of Maryland - great source of simple, free educational games
So You Know Capitals! - test your knowledge of our 50 state capitals (download 2.8mb)
SayApp - tiny free app for OSX which speaks what you type - hear a sample (download 53
Babel Fish - have fun translating phrases into other languages and back again
20 Questions - can a computer read your mind? Think of a word, then answer 20 questions.

Kids & Learning - Apple Downloads - Mac OSX most popular educational software

Bullfrog - how many bugs can you eat? Freeware (7.9mb)

Tux Paint is a free, award-winning drawing program for children ages 3 to 12. It combines an easy-to-use interface, fun sound effects, and an encouraging cartoon mascot who guides children as they use the program. Kids are presented with a blank canvas and a variety of drawing tools to help them be creative. Download latest version 0.9.21 (14mb) for OSX Tiger and Leopard on Mac G4s. Try an older version 0.9.14 for G3 Macs (3.5mb). Extra Rubber Stamps here (42.7mb)

Using a freeware called Pencil along with a stylus and USB Wacom tablet, Tom gave a demonstration of drawing on his PowerBook Titanium G4. The pressure-sensitive feature allows line thickness to accurately reflect subtle changes of pressure from the drawer's hand. A handy compatibility chart of Wacom Pens and Tablets can be found here. Tom has a couple Wacom tablets and pens for sale. If interested, e-mail him.

Games - play on line (Jerry's List)


PhotoBooth - Mac app for fun portraits - included on new Macs w/ iSight cams (see sample)

Brushes - $5 iPhone application available via iTunes > App Store > Entertainment > Brushes. Watch how a recent New Yorker cover was painted using free iPhone app called Brushes Viewer

Parental controls - how to set up user accounts for kids on OSX 10.4 (Tiger), OSX 10.5 (Leopard) - video tutorial

Komando Kids - tips for parents from Kim Komando who broadcasts a weekly radio show for computer users (mostly PC issues). Find out how to set limits within the operating system (OSX 10.5 Leopard) by clicking the Apple logo at the top of the screen > Select System Preferences. > Click on Parental Controls. There you can set daily time limits. And you can prevent access during specific hours of the day. See how to control your children's iTunes use as well.

Update 9/2010: When should we introduce social media (Facebook, Twitter) to Kids? - great article at TidBits about this tough issue.

Other News
Bing - Microsoft's new challenge to Google's search engine. Google worried - read article.
Twitter is playing a BIG role in Iran freedom revolution. Who would have thought?
Read about Kodachrome being taken away, mama, (after 74 years). Listen to Paul Simon's song.

Hidden messages in popular logos? (Amazon, FedEx, Baskin Robbins)


MacNotables - quick summary links to latest columns of many Mac experts (with downloadable MP3s)

Mac Apps and Utilities - brief description of all of Apple's on-board software you may have never used


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Hammondsport Mac Users Group - Hammondsport, NY 14840 -