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Tech Tails | Apple news straight from the Tech Room | SmallDog.com | 800-511-MACS
 
#935: Retro Gaming, iOS Accessibility, Learning Tech

 
     
 

Hello Fellow Tech Enthusiasts,

Frequent readers of the various Small Dog newsletters will be familiar with this announcement: I have a new position! Over the years, I have written articles for you as a phone/web associate, Hammerhead/Chill Pill rep, marketing assistant, business sales guru, and as a Macintosh consultant. This has given me a wide depth of knowledge and I am frequently referred to as SDE’s utility infielder. For all of you nerds (like me!) that read this, ask a jock to explain what that means.

Today I am coming to you as Small Dog’s Service Manager. I will be here every week introducing Tech Tails, so please write to me at the email address below with any suggestions, Mac tips, comments, praise, corrections, or spam offers for quick weight loss solutions. Actually, thanks to the fantastic Google Apps spam filters, that last one probably won’t make it to my inbox, but good luck trying!

Thanks for shopping with Small Dog Electronics! We are sincerely and truly always by your side!

Michael Scott Duplessis
michaeld@smalldog.com

 
   
     
  Retro Gaming on Your MacBook  
   
 

Want to turn your Mac into a retro gaming machine? Of course you do!

OpenEmu is a software emulator which allows you to play old games from your favorite systems of the past on your Mac. With the same philosophy of “it just works,” OpenEmu is easy to use with a wide range of options from systems to controllers. You can play old handhelds like GameBoy, Super NES and Sega consoles, and even the very rare Nintendo Virtual boy. For controllers you can use Wiimote, or PS3 or 4 controllers (bluetooth required), plus many more options.

In OpenEmu, systems are called “Cores” and games are called “Roms.” There is a rom out there for just about every game that has ever existed. One caveat, however, is that you can only legally acquire the roms of games that you own. One of the coolest features is that OpenEmu organizes your games in the “Library” as OpenEmu calls it. This makes it really easy to find the game your want when you want it.

Now think about this…you can now have all the systems you wanted or had as a kid on a device that is fully mobile. Need a break from work? Play some Sonic the Hedgehog! Need to take out some aggression? Try Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

Check it out at OpenEmu.org.

 
   
     
  Zoom and Voiceover in iOS  
   
 

Working at the Service Check-in Counter, I often have customers asking me how to get out of Zoom and/or Voiceover on their iOS devices. While most people have Zoom and Voiceover disabled, it still shows up now and again.

If you have used Zoom, the image to the right may seem familiar. If this happens, you can try to enter your passcode and navigate to Settings to turn off Zoom but this can be difficult. An easier way out is a simple 3 finger tap twice which will Zoom you back out.

If you have seen the image above, then you also must have experienced Voiceover. Instead of using your finger to select individual apps, the screen is sectioned into rectangles, and you select that shape as whole. It is very hard to navigate, and the whole time a voice is instructing your movement. Voiceover is helpful for the visually impaired, but can be a hinderance if turned on. You must navigate back to Settings > Accessibility and turn Voiceover off if you do not wish to use it. If you have the shortcut enabled, you can try triple clicking the home button. This will turn off Voiceover. I would recommend turning off both Zoom and Voiceover, unless of course you need them and are familiar with their commands.

 
   
     
  The Learning Curve of Technology  
   
 

A question I frequently get from customers is: “How did I learn all this stuff?” It’s not a hard question, but it’s one that’s caused me to reflect a lot. The short answer is that I’ve been doing this for a very long time, and I’m completely obsessed very passionate about this stuff. There are a lot of resources I frequent that are very helpful.

Some of my favorite websites for Mac-specific information are:

Apple – I make a point to read the marketing materials and learn about all the new features. If that’s what they’re using to sell their product and it’s a feature I’m not aware of or using, this will educate me, and sometimes even convince me to explore. The keynotes are very helpful as well. These are streaming videos of Apple executives on stage publicly announcing what they’ve been pouring their hearts and souls into since the last announcement. They’re easily every bit as excited about their products as anyone else and I feel that in every one of these streaming announcements. The next announcement is on the ninth of September. I honestly don’t know what it’s about. I’ve got my suspicions and hopes, but I don’t really know for sure. That day is marked on my calendar and might as well be a holiday.

Macworld – This is a flashy website that can bring my computer to a slow grind with everything that’s going on, but there’s a ton of great content on there. I started reading their magazine on a friend’s coffee table before I was totally convinced that an iPod touch would be a good gizmo to have.

Take Control Books – They write books on technology topics, almost all entirely Apple/Mac-centric. There’s some good stuff in there, and though there’s a paywall, they frequently have sales, and to me, the investment in their books has been well worth it.

There are many more resources on the web (like TechTails, of course!) that have been helpful, but frequently a printed book is just as good, and there aren’t any load times or internet related complications. David Pogue’s Missing Manual Series has been absolutely wonderful. The books are frequently enormous, but they’re wonderful and comprehensive. Sometimes they’ll even decide not to print a chapter and instead give a web address to visit it online. There’s a lot of content in them and I’ve found that just reading the table of contents can give me a wishlist of skills/knowledge.

Another thing that’s been really helpful in learning all this is friends and the people I meet. They’re often doing things differently, or working on very different projects. These discussions I’ll have really help to broaden my understanding and interests. It’s always been an ongoing process and the excitement of the future and “world of tomorrow” helps me chase this dynamic world that changes faster than I can learn about it.

 
   
     
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