view in plain text or web browser  
Kibbles & Bytes | News, commentary and tips & tricks for the Mac community | SmallDog.com | 800-511-MACS
 
#769: Preorder Hammerhead Cases for iPad, April Fool's Pranks, Drawing on the Mac

 
     
 

Dear Friends,

As I type this, I am at the office before everyone else so I can write Kibbles & Bytes without interruption and prepare for the day since Thursdays have become another very busy day for me. I have our weekly call with our retail managers, a meeting with our IT and Service staff and then Rebecca and I head to the WDEV studio in Waterbury for our weekly talk show, Small Dog Speaks.

This one hour call-in show has been a lot of fun and we are very proud to be on WDEV, Radio “Flea” Vermont, which is the premier locally owned and programmed radio station. We are still refining our presentation and developing a theme song, but so far, we have had lots of people call in to talk about their Macs, cell phones, iPads, PCs, their dogs and dog friends. This week we have two special guests, Roy Hadden, aka “Dr. Bark,” from the Valley Animal Hospital and Adam Frick from Charlotte Street Computers, here to talk about ticks and lyme disease and PC and PC repair, respectively.

Our Hammerhead division will be receiving the new cases for the iPad 3rd generation next week. We have three new iPad cases: the Capo Case, a versatile form-fitting polypropylene case in five colors, the Premium Leather Case, a simple folio-type case made of top grain leather, and our Bluetooth Keyboard Case, a leather case with a removable, compact Bluetooth keyboard and stylus. I will be taking my iPad with me to China when I go in about 10 days and my choice will be the Bluetooth Keyboard Case. I think you will like this new case selection.

If you are looking for an inexpensive laptop, we have some Small Dog refurbished MacBooks available now. These have been thoroughly inspected and reconditioned by our Apple Certified techs and have a 2.13GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive. These MacBooks have a 90-day Small Dog warranty and would be a great way to add a Mac to your digital toolbox.

Use coupon code KBsleeve to receive a free Hammerhead neoprene sleeve when you purchase one of these MacBooks here!

 
     
  Weekly Apple News Recap | 3/25-3/29  
   
 

Apple released some software updates this week, iTunes 10.6.1 and iPhoto 9.2.3 for the Mac and iMovie, GarageBand and iWork apps for iOS, and Tim Cook visited the Foxconn iPhone plant in China.

iTunes and iPhoto Updates Released
They provide a number of improvements, namely bug fixes and Apple TV compatibility updates.

Read more about iTunes 10.6.1 here.
Read more about iPhoto 9.2.3 here.
Read more about the iOS updates here.

Foxconn News
Apple is committed to resolving the issues at Foxconn, and part of the first step involved Tim Cook getting a firsthand look at the situation.

Read about what the audit found here.
Read the audit here.
Read more about how Apple’s plans for solving the problems here.

 
     
  Small Dog's South Burlington Store  
   
  Small Dog Apple Store

Last week, I mentioned that I was able to spend time at the Manchester, NH store. This week I was able to spend time at the South Burlington store and boy, did I have fun! I spent about two hours on the sales floor while I was waiting to head to Church Street to present an award.

Being on the sales floor reminded me how much I love to sell stuff—computers in particular. I really like getting to know the customers—how they use their computers and what they want to do with them. People who are shopping for a computer or an iPad are usually in what I’ll call “dream mode.” They are thinking about everything that is possible—like growing or starting their businesses, video chatting their grandchildren, or heading off to college. It’s my job then to make their dreams come true! That is a great feeling.

I was able to meet most of the South Burlington staff which meant that I can finally put their real-life image together with the bio image our website and their bios. Did you know that Liam’s life ambition is to climb K2, and that Lance loves The Clash and Nessie has a pet rat named Captain America?

Check out some specials below in honor of the SB gang at our flagship store!

 
     
  Great April Fool's Pranks  
   
 

Here’s an oldie but goodie by one of our favorite former Small Doggers, Ben B., with some great tips for how you can fool someone this Sunday…originally featured in Kibbles & Bytes issue #717.


Today is April Fool’s Day, and pranksters everywhere are most likely messing with their friends, family, and co-workers. While classics such as the toothpaste Oreo, rubber-banded dishes sprayer, and decaf switch out—seriously evil—consistently get the job done, this year we thought it would be fun to compile a short list of (mostly) harmless Mac-themed pranks.

Misbehaving Mice

Quickly becoming a classic itself, this prank has officially replaced unplugging the peripherals from your victim’s desktop Mac. As more mice become wireless, it’s the only way to ensure chaos. Simply place a small piece of tape, the more opaque the better, over the optical “eye” on the underside of your victim’s mouse. While most users will figure this prank out within a few moments, less tech-savvy users will take considerably longer.

Curse the Cursor

Though intended to make OS X accessible to everyone, the Universal Access preference pane in System Preferences can be a prankster’s paradise. A harmless prank that will bewilder many unsuspecting users is the super-sized cursor. Navigate to System Preferences > Universal Access > Mouse and drag the slider next to “Cursor Size” all the way to the right. Your target will have no idea what to do with his or her jumbo cursor.

A Negative View

Here’s a quick but powerful prank that requires only momentary access to your victim’s keyboard. To invert the colors of any Mac’s screen, simply press the following combination of keys: Control + Option + Command + 8. Suddenly things will get very negative—especially your target’s attitude—unless you eventually fill them in on the secret key combo, which can also be used to revert the screen’s appearance.

A New Home

Although it’s among the more basic pranks on the list, never underestimate the comedic value of changing an unsuspecting co-worker’s homepage to something silly. While the process of reassigning a homepage varies slightly among browsers, it can be accomplished by visiting “General” in the preference menus of Safari, Firefox, and Chrome. As Rickrolling has been a bit played out, may we suggest surprising your victim with a hearty dose of Billy Ocean? Remember to crank the speakers!

 
     
  What about MacDraw Pro?  
   
 

When I mentioned how much I loved Keynote in last week’s Kibbles, a reader (shout out to Steve!) wrote to ask about a decent replacement for MacDraw. I thought that might be a good starting point for an article. I’ll preface this by saying, “I do not have one iota of artistic talent no matter how many times I watch Bob Ross.” So please take my recommendations with a grain of salt. But I have taught kids using several drawing programs, so I have a decent idea of what makes a good piece of software (mainly intuitive use).

The big problem with drawing programs is that they become too complicated to just pick up and start using.

iDraw is a true vector drawing app but its price and interface is nowhere as intimidating as Adobe Illustrator!* It is a piece of software that a new user can pick up and start using. There is a Mac version that sells for $24.99 on the App Store.

I was introduced to SketchBook Pro by first using Autodesk’s free version (SketchBook Express) on my iPad when I was looking for something cool to add to my iPad. SketchBook Pro is produced by Autodesk and is recommended for anything you would use a pen and paper for such as storyboarding and illustrating. It combines both painting with drawing. There is a free trial, as well as a free version for Mac, Windows, iPhone and iPad SketchBook Pro sells for $59.99 from the App Store.

Paintbrush is similar to the long lost Mac Paint (and MS Paint). It is available at no charge here.

ArtRage 2 and ArtRage Studio Pro are more paint programs, but are easy to use and the only limitation is the limitation of the artist. I used ArtRage with the kids at The Warren School, and it is VERY easy to start using. ArtRage 2 has a free starter edition that is free to check out and will give you an idea of what the full version will be like. ArtRage Studio Pro sells for $59.99 (there are other less expensive versions as well). There are versions that don’t have all the features available for less here.

Check out a Kibbles exclusive special with a Wacom tablet and Hammerhead stylus below.

*For some up-to-date Adobe news about CS6, click here to read our blog, Barkings!

 
     
  SPECIAL: Marveling at S. Burlington  
   
 

We love our S. Burlington crew, and often marvel at their ability to juggle the sheer number of customers they see in the store. They do the best they can to provide great service to everyone who comes in.

Check out these specials, exclusively for Kibbles & Bytes readers through the next week:

 
   Captain America Case with PDO CarFM for iPhone 4 and 4S - $69.99 ($20 off)
69.99
View  
   Captain America Case with PDO CarFM for iPod touch - $69.99 ($20 off)
69.99
View  
   iPod touch 64GB + Captain America Case and PDO CarFM (Save $30!)
459.99
View  
   iPod touch 64GB + Captain America Case and PDO CarFM (Save $30!)
459.99
View  
     
  SPECIAL: Wacom + Stylus = Way Cool  
   
 

If you want to have a more art-like experience with any drawing or paint program, I highly recommend using a Wacom tablet with your Mac or a stylus with your iPad.

Get free shipping on Wacom Bamboo Connect Graphics Tablet and save $5 on Hammerhead Retractable Stylus!

 
   Free Shipping on Bamboo Connect Graphics Tablet - Black
79.99
View  
   Hammerhead Retractable Stylus - $7.99
7.99
View  
 

My granddaughter extraordinaire, became a teenager this week as we celebrated her 13th birthday. I got her one of the used MacBooks so she can continue her straight-A school work. This weekend she is starring as Betty Rizzo in her school’s presentation of Grease, so Grace and I will be beaming proudly as we watch her act and sing.

On Sunday, we hold our Apple Sales Pro dinner. This is an annual event where any of the Small Dog employees who achieve the highest level of Apple Sale training are treated to a dinner and event. I started this tradition about six years ago and we had four Apple Sales Pros. It has grown every year and this year, there are over 60 who have achieved that distinction!

The logistics have become more complex with so many stars and disperse locations, but we will be having dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, The Silver Palace, and we bought tickets for Trevor Hall at the Higher Ground right next door. I’m looking forward to toasting all of the Small Dog team for putting in the extra effort to achieve the highest level of Apple Sales Training!

Thank you so much for reading this issue of Kibbles & Bytes!

Your Kibbles & Bytes Team,
Don, Kali & Dawn