Monday, October 28, 2013

iWork Goes Backwards

I got this link from Andy Ihnatko via my Twitter feed (@Ihnatko.)

Upgrading to the new iWork may not be what people are expecting, so you may want to keep your old iWork handy.

Looks like to get the same functionality across all your devices in iCloud, the computer version needed to be "dumbed down."

I would like to think this is a temporary thing and all those lost features will be back soon.  On the other hand, maybe these aren't features you use and the new iWork is just what you need.

It would have been much more inspired to bring the iOS apps up to speed with OSX apps.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Mavericks. That was easy.

There are probably a zillion more people out there that are more qualified to write a review of Mavericks (The latest version of OS X.)

I just wanted to say that this was the easiest OS update I have ever done.

And there were some times in the project when I thought it would be derailed.  I had some worries about doing the update at all, but no one seemed to be complaining about the update breaking critical software or starting Armageddon.  So why not have an adventure?

I started with the kitchen computer.

This is the computer that the kids use for homework or browsing after school.  We use separate accounts for each family member on it and fast user switching to stay out of each others' business.  Most of the school work is done in Google Docs, so that is backed up.  There really isn't much on it for software, so if I "bricked" the Mac Mini, I wasn't going to be in big trouble.  Great place to start.  So when the kids were off the machine, I started the update download and walked away.

Off course, when I was expecting the download to be done, I found my son playing Minecraft on the Mini.  I thought I would be starting over.  "It's ok Dad, I saw the download going, so I switched to my account."  Well, he was right.  When I got my turn and got switched to my account, there was the download, ready to go to work.

I did the install and that took care of itself nicely too.  Just start it and put in the admin password and away it went.  After the install was over, the first login took some time, but it did open my account with everything working and my files right where I left them.  The only visible change that I noticed looking at Mavericks for the first time was the background photo... it had been changed to that big wave they are using.  Is it my imagination or is Safari faster?

Gaining confidence, I am starting to work on the other household computers.  The laptop was next in line and that went well too.  I did have to update FileMaker 12, but that is the only software on the laptop that need attention.  Developers must have heeded the Apple advice to get ready for this release.  I did get a notice from Parallels that you must upgrade if you expect to be able to use those other operating systems.  The basement tower has that and a number of other pieces of software on it.  So that may be where I find this upgrade an issue.  I am not sure that I am running the very latest of version of everything and support tends to be better for the newest version.   Hopefully everything is in place for the basement tower when I get to it.

I am looking forward to using some of the new features in Mavericks.  I am a bit of a book worm, so iBooks across the devices has my attention.

Mark me down as a happy customer.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Anybody Else Bothered By This?

Anybody else bothered by this?

I know I will miss it.  Oh, I have looked at a couple of replacements.  (Feedly looks like it will be the new choice... If you have other ideas let me know.)  

It just seems strange to let a perfectly good tool go.  

As a home page, it was a dream.  You could see what your favorite writers were doing and get a hint if it was going to be worth a trip to their space.

Google, it is ok with me if you change your mind about iGoogle.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

More FileMaker and the Band Director (Containers and Imports)

I love pictures, audio files and movies.

Pictures because they help me make documents warmer and more personalized.  They make it possible for a sub to take attendance quickly and report back to me more accurately if the class list I left has pictures.

Audio is what we use as an authentic product in band.  Probably a few other places in the building as well.

Ditto for movies of concert performances.

Before I learned FileMaker, it was very hard to keep track of these types of media and associate them with a student.  Using a FileMaker container field, tying a student and the work together is much easier.

Parent/Student/Teacher conferences are coming up soon, so I was updating my file of 250 or so students with their pictures.  There are some tricks that I would like to pass along that speed this process up a lot.  With a little imagination and some clever file naming this process will work with audio, video and anything else Quicktime can read.

First set up a field to receive the picture.  For FileMaker 12, go to File-Manage-Database and define a field.  Be sure the type of field selected is "Container."  You will also want student information on your layout as well... name and student id number.  Containers aren't searchable, but that isn't really a worry because this is a look at kid's work.  Find the kid and find the work.

Putting pictures into the container could be a go one record at a time and insert the picture and repeat 250 times process.  But that would take too long.  FileMaker will let you import a whole folder of records at a time and the picture files I was working with were identified with the student id number!  Follow the File- Import Records- Folder and follow the steps there.  Set the import up with the id number as the match field and point the picture to your container and 15 seconds later you are done.

There are some choices to make as you do this.  One is the store reference only option.  It takes up less disk space, but if the file ever gets moved to another directory there may be problems.

I bet you have already figured out that if you label other types of files with the student id you can pop them in a folder and do basically the same process.

If you have a media file that goes to several students (say a group project) find your group and insert the file into one container.  Then "command-equal sign" to insert it into the other student containers.

Using FileMaker for media files will save you from fumbling around at conferences.  Try it out!