I make computing clear!

Computer Coaching for Individuals, Home Offices and Small Businesses

Douglas E. Welch, The WelchWrite Company, Inc.
818-781-6955 | douglas@welchwrite.com | www.welchwrite.com

May 2005

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.4

Apple released their newest version of Mac OS X on Friday, April 29, 2005.

Per my usual policy, I will not be upgrading until the first sub-version is released, i.e. 10.4.x and this usually happens very soon after the inital release. I prefer to let others suffer the slings and arrows of a new release before I dive in.

That said, I might not be able to upgrade at all given my current Mac is a G4/450. I am afraid that "Tiger" might be a little too intensive for my machine and result in a much slower experience over all. I don't have another Mac here to run a test on, so I have to be quite sure when I upgrade that things are going to operate normally.

More than likely, I will probably end up foregoing the upgrade entirely until such time as I can purchase a new machine which has Tiger bundled with it. I am in the market for a new Apple Powerbook. I tend to travel around town quite a bit and free WiFi networking is becoming quite available in Los Angeles, so I can get on the net from a wide variety of places.

What the Mac news sites (some linked below) for further information about "Tiger" and wait a bit before upgrading, especially if you have an older machine like myself.

In other news...

My podcast, Career Opportunities: The High-Tech Career Handbook, an audio verison of my weekly career column has become a member of the Tech Podcast Network.

This is a great and growing collection of podcasts for high-tech people and cover a wide variety of topics. we hope to be the clearing house for all the best tech-oriented podcasts. . -- "If it's tech, it's here!"

Additionally, we have also been added to a list of podcasts over at Family Friendly Podcasts.


Douglas Recommends...

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In the news...

Mac OS X 10.3.9 Update available via Software Update

According to the notes provide by Apple: The 10.3.9 Update delivers overall improved compatibility and reliability for Mac OS X v10.3 "Panther" and is recommended for all users. Improvements include: file sharing and directory services reliability for mixed Mac and PC networks Mail, Safari and Stickies application reliability compatibility for third party applications and devices previous standalone security updates More information on specific fixes is available from the link provided above. [MacMerc]

iLife Updates

Apple has updated iDVD to v5.0.1, iMovie HD to v5.0.2, and iPhoto to v5.0.2. These updates are bug-fix releases, recommended for all users, and currently available through Software Update.[MacMerc]

Special Report: Tiger Review

We have an in-depth review of Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" for you... [MacInTouch: Mac news, information and analysis]

One-Third Of Companies Monitoring Email

dotpavan writes "While studies have shown that spying on workers tends to make them less productive, that hasn't stopped approximately 1/3 of all U.S. companies from employing email monitoring tools. 43% of those companies employ staff to check outgoing emails. This seems like quite a waste. While there are some times when it makes sense to monitor emails (or it's required by law), most of the time, this seems like a complete waste of money. Not only are you upsetting workers and decreasing productivity, the benefits are pretty hard to spot. The number of "problem" emails tends to be incredibly low. If someone really wants to send out inappropriate emails, they're going to figure out some other way to do so, such as via a free webmail account somewhere. Yet, the companies are buying up expensive tools and hiring staff to watch just in case they catch the one or two problematic emails that go over the corporate network."[Slashdot]

LeVitus: Apple's Tiger a good OS, but wait a few weeks before buying

Real Audio | How to Listen The latest major update of Apple Computer's Macintosh operating system, named Tiger, hit the market last Friday. It includes 200 new features. Guest: Bob LeVitus, author of several Macintosh-themed books, and author of... [Future Tense]

Kensington's Notebook Dock with Adjustable Base

Kensington Notebook Dock with Adjustable Base

Kensington busted out their new Notebook Dock with Adjustable Base the other day, which is more or less a successor to that Laptop Desktop USB 2.0 laptop dock they introduced late last year.  This time around they’ve included a detachable port replicator that gives you 5.1-channel audio, Ethernet, parallel, serial, and USB 2.0 ports all through a single USB 2.0 connection from your PC (the Laptop Desktop USB 2.0 only offered a USB hub). [engadget.com]

AOL Treats Florida Emergency Alerts Mail As Spam

ScentCone writes "Florida's Indian River County has 4,200 subscribers to their e-mailed emergency alerts, which provide a heads-up on hurricanes, tornados, and other weather events. Subscribers like it, but if they're using AOL mailboxes, those alerts are being treated as spam. All of the subscribers get the mail blast as weather events unfold, and spam pattern detectors are being set off. The county emergency coordinator laments the resulting unreliability of the communication channel, and while few of us at this point think of cross-domain e-mail as reliably mission critical, the AOL-bound portion of a 4200-address blast doesn't seem like much in the spam scheme of things. My experience is that it doesn't take many receivers to mark mail as spam before the domain-wide filters lower some scoring threshold, and the pattern detectors kick in. How many of us run systems that include explicitly voluntary, opt-in e-mail subscription mechanisms which are then reported as spam by the subscribing recipients? This seems increasingly common, and even the whitelisting by smarter recipients doesn't fix it." [Slashdot]

Internet Explorer no longer bundled with OS X

It's official -- Internet Explorer is no longer bundled with OS X. The browser is completely absent from fresh installations of 10.4. But the good news gets better -- according to a coworker of mine who freshly installed Tiger (I chose the 'Archive and Install' method) the ubiquitous Microsoft web fonts -- Verdana and Georgia -- are included. For those... [What Do I Know]


Remember to update operating systems, anti-spyware and anti-virus programs

Operating System Updates

For Windows (98, 2000, XP), there should be an icon labeled Windows Update in your Start Menu, or visit http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com

For Macintosh OS 9 systems, check Apple Menu, Control Panels, Software Update
For Macintosh OS X systems, check System Preferences, Software Update


The beginning of each month is the perfect time to ensure that your operating system (Windows/Macintosh OS) and anti-virus software are up-to-date. Your anti-virus software cannot protect your computer from the latest viruses without these updates. Updates are released at least once a month, unless a new virus is dangerous enough to justify an immediate update.


Download, install and update a Spyware prevention program such as Spybot or Ad-Aware. These Trojan Horse programs can slow down your computer dramatically and eventually make it unusable.

Most systems can be set to automatically check for updates directly from the Internet, as well. If you want to learn how to set up automatic updates for these programs, drop me an email or give me a call.


People are listening...

The next time you wonder if anyone is reading your blog, consider this.

Today Rosanne and I stopped by the Sherman Oaks Fashion Square for lunch after our morning calls. I like the new Crepe Express place there and I have written as much in my blog.

As my credit card reciept rolled out of the printer, Nadine, one of the owners, looked up and said "Oh, I know you!" I thought perhaps we had a mutual friend or neighbor, but then she pointed down the counter to a sliver frame that held a printout of something. As I wandered down to look, I quickly noticed it was a print out of my earlier blog entry where I had said some nice words about the place.

I must say that this is the first time anything like this has ever happened to me. I hadn't emailed the owners or otherwise told them about the post, but they said another customer had pointed it out to them.

So, you can see that what you say on the Internet, especially about your local community, can and does have an effect, even if you don't notice it right away.

I will say again, too, if you have a chance to try out Crepe Express, please do. The food is excellent and the owners are nice. What more could you ask?! [My Word with Douglas E. Welch]


WelchWrite @ Amazon.com

If you are shopping through Amazon.com, you can use the WelchWrite Bookstore.

Simply click on the link below to start your shopping and WelchWrite receives a small portion of each sale.


Free Library Question and Answer returns June 2, 2005

If your friends or co-workers would like an example of how I teach and coach computer users through large and small issues, I recommend they stop by some evening. This is probably the best way to get to know me and my methods.

Each class starts with a a short presentation on some interesting technology, web site or software, but then quickly becomes an energetic question and answer session, where I answer the questions that are most pressing in the minds of the attendees.


June 2
June 16
June 30

The Sherman Oaks Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library is located at:

14245 Moorpark Street
Sherman Oaks, CA

Software Downloads and Updates



About the security content of the Mac OS X 10.3.9 Update

Release date: Fri, 15 Apr 2005 18:18:16 -0500 [Apple Support - Most Recent Articles]

If you loved our Comic Art Effect tutorial, check out Comic Life

Last year we brought you the Comic Art Effect tutorial and inspired a new breed of photo-comic artists.

New on the scene is Plasq's Comic Life application which will aid you in turning your comic themed pictures into comic book pages--complete with dialog balloons, "sound" effects and captions. Very cool--very impressed. [MacMerc]

300 Free Truetype Fonts

Looking for more fonts? Here's a great selection of 300 free truetype fonts to add to your collection. Enjoy!

"I've collected 300 of my favorite truetype fonts that can be used for design works. Here they are free to download in .ttf format (works on both MacOSX and Windows machines)."[MacMerc]




Software Updates of all sorts



Interesting Web Sites

How-To: Build A Cheap Media Player In 20 Minutes

Like it or not, being a gadget geek implies certain responsibilities.  Removing adware from your relatives’ PCs, hooking your friends up with wireless access, creating robot life — you never seem to get a break. So when a buddy calls and invites you over for an impromptu bar-b-q, the thought of a Saturday afternoon doing nothing but eating free food and discussing the intricacies of the nice weather cannot be dismissed.

“Oh, I forgot to ask,” your friend says. You begin to register that, yes, tasty burger happiness is going to come at a cost. “Is there a way we can watch the new Doctor Who over here?” You are compelled to respond, “sure thing, I’ll figure something out,” because deep down you know that yesterday you leeched the first two episodes off of your friend Jake, the file trading addict, torrent-master, hell’s angel, network administrator. The fact that he is a dirty biker does not diminish your ‘pay-it-forward’ debt.

Huddling around a 15-inch laptop screen is definitely going to be a bummer, so you need to get these AVIs to display on a TV. What you need is a media player, and fast. You’ve got 20 minutes, an empty wallet, and nothing in your stomach. What do you do? [engadget.com]

Free sound

The Free Sound Project is a huge, collaborative database of sound clips licensed for free sampling and remixing.

Search for sounds or browse the tag list, which includes "water," "tick," "toilet," "children," "screaming," "kitchen," "subway" and "sweep" - all sounds released under a Creative Commons license. Great resource for musicians or filmmakers needing non-copyrighted audio to spice up their multimedia creations.

The Free Sound Project [via del.icio.us] [Lifehacker]

Making Oatmeal Box Pinhole Cameras [del.icio.us/makemagazine]

Build-It-Yourself toys, robots, puppets, contraptions.... [del.icio.us/makemagazine]

MAKE: Blog: DIY Dirkon Paper Camera [del.icio.us/tag/photography]

Where To Find Great Free Photographs And...

Where To Find Great Free Photographs And Visuals For Your Own Online Articles - Robin Good's Latest News [del.icio.us/tag/photography]

More web sites of all sorts

WelchWrite Merchandise

Photos by Douglas E. Welch, Products from Cafepress

You can browse and order by visiting my CafePress Shop

Additional products are also available at:





Career-Op, now in its 9th year, is my weekly column on high-tech careers. In Career-Op, I address some of the particular issues of working in high-tech and also general issues that we all face in our careers. You can find the latest column, and a complete archive of past columns complete archive of past columns.

Latest Column

Career-Op Extra: "In The Trenches with Kevin Devin"
I always like to tell people about the good sites I find in my Internet travels and here is a podcast that I have really come to enjoy. Below is the text of a Career-Op Extra Podcast I released today. Check out the In The Trenches podcast!

This is a Career Opportunities Extra for Sunday, April 17th, 2005. The High-Tech Career Handbook. I’m Douglas Welch.

I listen to a wide variety of podcasts, technology-related and otherwise. In The Trenches, hosted by Kevin Devin, has caught my ear over the last several weeks. Regular readers and listeners already know that I have a large bias towards experience over classroom learning. This is perhaps due to my own computer upbringing, but I also see the great effects of “on the job” training in many of my peers. Classroom training is good, as far as it goes, but it is through application of classroom content that we all become better high-tech careerists. Learn as much as you can, but apply all that you learn.

In his podcast, Kevin recounts his own trails and tribulations of a high-tech career and also hosts Admin-to-Admin discussion sessions and regular Tech Chats with other IT workers. He has a pleasant friendly style to his podcasts and I learn something new nearly every time I listen. Sometimes it is just nice to know that there are other people in the world who are dealing with the same issues, both technological and business-related, that you face every day.

I highly recommend you check out the In The Trenches web site and podcast to give your thinking and career a boost today. It can be found at http://www.kevindevin.com/ Links are also provided on the Career Opportunities web site at welchwrite.com/career/ and in the comments section of this MP3 file

An In The Trenches promo is coming right up.

This has been a Career Opportunities Extra with Douglas E. Welch

(Recorded promo immediately follows)

My weblog, My Word with Douglas E. Welch, is a daily gathering spot for all the information I come across in my travels. There I announce new software updates, post photos, highlight interesting news stories, book recommendations and LA Events. You can check it out at: http://www.welchwrite.com /blog/

A Recent Entry:

Book: The Intrinsic Exerciser: Discovering the Joy of Exercise
Hmm...this certainly sounds like a book for me. I have a great disinclination to exercise merely for exercise sake. If I am engaged in an activity, I will extend myself much more than when I am simply walking to get some exercise. I know from my past that I can effectively reduce my weight with only a moderate increase in my activity level, yet, I still fail to do it. The Intrinsic Exerciser is focused on developing internal reasons for exercise rather than relying on external reasons.

I put in a hold request at the LAPL and look forward to checking it out.

Self-induced passion

...I recently read a great little book called The Intrinsic Exerciser: Discovering the Joy of Exercise by Jay C. Kimiecik. This book is all about how to change your mindset so that you exercise for intrinsic reasons instead of extrinsic reasons. The idea is that if you can do this, then you will want to exercise, you might even be passionate about it. After reading it, it struck me that this should work for anything you want to do in a more passionate way, but are having a hard time figuring out how to get there. [Click link above for more.]

(Via Creating Passionate Users.)


A Gardener's Notebook is a daily weblog of the trials and tribulations of a part-time gardener. It includes notes on what is blooming, what I am planting and what is struggling. It also contains links to new (or newly found) gardening books and more. Spend some time in my garden! http://welchwrite.com/agn/blog/

A Recent Entry:

A little rain...
We got a refreshing bit of rain early this morning. It must have been coming down fairly hard as it woke me at one point. Just a little refresher for the garden before we settle into "the long dry."

Most of my transplants from last week are doing ok, although the miniature rose I had to un-pot, unwind from the passion vine and repot is looking a bit sickly. Probably not enough roots to bring in the water as it was pretty entangled with the vine. Oh well, 2 out of 3 isn't bad. (SMILE)

Lots of yard clenaup to do but not a lot of motivation. Rosanne couldn't stand to look at the leaves on the patio any more so, in fit of nesting, they were swept and sent to the garden bin. Time is a bit of a factor, as well as laziness, but I sense a garden workday coming on. I need to prune the azaleas in the front garden and do some weeding up there as well.


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Contact Information

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The fee for assistance via these methods is my basic hourly rate, pro-rated by the minute.

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