User Group Network News for March 2002  


In this issue:   

01 MUG of the Month: The Rest of Us, Chicago IL  

02 Free downloadable "Custom" Photoshop plug-in, 16-bits/channel  

03 This Old Mouse: The old beige box gets a new Optical Mouse  

04 The MUG Help Files: Dealing with Difficult People  

05 Symantec Knows Good Security  

06 Put Spam in its place with Email Magician and FileMaker  

07 ConceptDraw boosts the juice  

08 InfoManager Update  

09 Association News: 2nd Annual Meeting   


The Designer's Bookshelf:     featuring Robin Williams, Kathleen Ziegler and "Designing Women" month  *  


01 MUG of the Month: The Rest of Us, Chicago IL     


The Rest of Us (TROU) is a long time standing Mac User Group  with it's feet on the ground and it's sites on the future!   They've won numerous awards, including the User Group Academy Award,  and continue as a strong service organization for Mac users in and  around Chicago.   If you haven't seen their newsletter "Mactropolis" you should --  it's newly renovated sporting an all new calligraphic logo, and new  typography treatment. Under the capable design hands of Editor Alejandro  Luis Molina, Manager Dianne Kinast and Design Director John Brandt, it  continues it's long standing tradition of solid writing and concise  reporting.   Tro means a lot of service for "The Rest Of Us."   *   


02 Free downloadable "Custom" Photoshop plug-in, 16-bits/channel   


Reindeer Graphics has written a very much enhanced version of  Photoshop's "custom" filter, which , like the Photoshop one has an  interactive preview, and is recordable in Actions. In addition, the  plug-in:  

1. supports both 8 and 16 bit per channel grey and RGB images  

2. works on the intensity channel leaving hue and saturation unchanged  

3. accepts up to a 7x7 array of floating point (real number)     values, for much greater precision  

4. can scale the results with a floating point number, or automatically     for maximum unclipped contrast  

5. reads Photoshop format files AND ALSO plain ascii text files  

6. works in Photoshop and all compatible programs on both Mac and Windows computers.   Encouraged by the recent response from readers of the UG TALK list,  Reindeer Graphics is offering this plug-in for free download and use. It  is one of nearly 200 plug-ins in the widely used Fovea Pro package, but  can be used without installing or owning that package.   The plug-in, along with instructions and some example filter files, can  be downloaded as a .sit file for Macintosh or a .zip file for Windows.  While you are there, please take a look at the full range of Fovea Pro  capabilities, which include comprehensive tools for image processing and  analysis. Also, check out some of the other free downloads that are  available.  Thanks to Cafe reader Chris Russ - for sending in this offer!  It's  always great to get new stuff for  Photoshop Image Processing: graphics,  illustration, photography  Download and enjoy...   *   _________________ Do you believe in Macintosh? _____________________  * Association of Apple Computer User Groups -  * Mac Users Against Spam -


      Updating your beige box to a fancy new optical mouse is as easy as  saying "cheese" with a little help from "This Old Mouse"   


03 This Old Mouse: The old beige box gets a new Optical Mouse   


It all started when I got totally fed up with the rubber roller ball in  my mouse giving me fits all the time. I use the optical mouse on the new  G4s in my computer lab at James Madison U, and have become quite fond of  it's quick, smooth and reliable accuracy.   


In the fall I had purchased a Kensington "Pocket Mouse" for my  daughter's new iBook, and briefly enjoyed it before she whisked it off  to college. I had to have one.   


Before I could use an optical mouse however, I need a USB slot for  this old box. I went to numerous web sites looking for USB  cards for my trusty beige monster.   


Everywhere I went there were conflicting reports. I asked around the  group, and my brother pointed me to Sonnett's Tango card. He had just  finished installing one in another member's machine, and his report was  all thumbs up.   


If you've read any of my Mug columns over the past dozen years,  you'll know I can talk a good thread, but when it comes time to actually  stick my hands into the machine, I'm a bit squeamish. The guy at  Sonnett said "it's a piece of cake, Fred, my kids can do it."   


What could I say?  Ship it.   


When the card came in, it looked like any other Mac PCI card, and  since I've upgraded memory several times, I already knew how to get the  box open. I located the four empty PCI slots, unscrewed one retainer  screw and removed its port cover. That was easy enough. I then nervously  but firmly rocked the business end of the card down into the matching  female pinned slot. There were no other wires or anything to hook up,  and the card doesn't take any specialized software. After replacing the  original screw into the card's holder (which fit perfectly,) I folded  the component racks back into their seats and closed the box.   


At this point I was feeling quite proud of myself until I realized I  had no USB devices to test the card with. The sweet thing about the  Sonnett Tango card is it also has two FireWire ports in addition to its  two USB ports. I had gotten all dressed up, but had no party to go to.   A quick call to MacWarehouse had a Kensington "Mouse In The Box" at  my doorstep the next morning. I plugged it in, and voila, nothing. I  unplugged it, then plugged it in again, and presto -- nothing.   


I picked up the phone and called Kensington. Once I got over the  shock of hearing a live human's voice at Kensington, the young lady gave  me the exact link into the Version Tracker web site where I downloaded  the latest Apple USB Card Support drivers. Within moments of unstuffing  the utilities, and installing them -- voila -- the red light came on,  and the optical mouse worked like a champ.   


I knew immediately it would be a great day for this old  (ahem, NEW) mouse!    


Fred Showker   Send your questions for "This Old Mouse"   Follow along the procedure with pictures:   ... including complete information, photos of the CPU, and  links to related  products and vendors.   Pictures:      Sonnett's USB/Firewire PCI card       Kensington's "Mouse in a Box"    MUG Talk .. <


04 The MUG Help Files: Dealing with Difficult People     


Dealing with difficult people takes a careful tact and a soft 'hand'  --  a difficult task for most of us. Sometimes you can't avoid hostile  and  aggressive people, particularly in a service oriented group.  They put us on the defensive, cause us anxiety, and frustrates our  efforts to provide a useful and enjoyable service to our membership.  Always remember the three "Cs" when dealing with difficult people.   


This month UGN presents a two-part essay originally published (by  yours truly) in the User Group Forum Help Files, and brought up to  date  with (Part II) comments from prominent MUG leaders  during an online discussion.   *   


Last month: Favorite MUG Meetings     


Favorite Mug Meetings A collection of meeting ideas as gathered from  more than 12 years of experience in working with groups, online chats,  and discussion lists. It's a five page library of great ideas:   *   


05 Symantec Knows Good Security   


Symantec has announced their new Norton Internet Security for Macintosh  2.0 includes Open Door Networks' acclaimed "Who's There? Firewall  Advisor".  Who's There? helps users understand,  analyze and react to  attacks detected by the Norton Personal Firewall  component of Norton  Internet Security.   


With an ever-growing number of computers connected to the Internet  through "always on" connections, there has been a significant increase  in the number of hackers attempting to infiltrate those  computers.  Norton Personal Firewall was developed to thwart and log  those  intrusion attempts. Who's There? Firewall Advisor works with  Norton  Personal Firewall to provide in-depth information that helps  users  determine the degree to which they should be concerned about particular  intrusion attempts, and what they can do in response.   


But you don't have to buy Norton in order to get this protection. Open  Door will also continue to distribute Who's There? independently.  Details of Who's There? and free evaluation versions  of the product for  both Mac OS 9 and X are available at Open Door web site. Information  about Symantec's  Internet security products is available at  Thanks to Alan Oppenheimer - for sending this info.  File it under  Home, Business, Personal Privacy, Security  Get all the details at:   


06 Put Spam in its place with Email Magician and FileMaker   


If you happen to use Eudora (like me) and FileMaker (like me) then YAV  Interactive Media has answered our prayers!  Email Magician, their  popular utility for Eudora Mac (new version 1.4) has added options to  export Eudora mailboxes to FileMaker Pro. Not only do you get the  "Spammer Address Collection" and four new types of spam filters -- but  now you get nearly 200 existing subject-based spam filters included with  Email Magician.   


Besides automatically creating filters, mailboxes, and address book  entries for Eudora, Email Magician automates many tasks related to  archiving mailboxes and messages, and optimizing your Eudora folder. The  program includes an intelligent Urgent Filter note-pad, where you jot  down phrases that tell Email Magician to override existing filters and,  for example, gather all your "to do" items together for quick  disposition.   


Never make filters, mailboxes, or nicknames in Eudora again! Put spam  in its proper place. Let Email Magician keep your inbox and outbox clean  -- or any other boxes that you tell it to monitor.  View screenshots,  and download a trial copy of Email Magician. The price remains at $35  and registered users can upgrade for no charge.  Thanks to Christopher Yavelow -  this is exactly what we've been looking  for. File this one under Online: email, networking, web, internet, html,  ftp  Download the evaluation copy, or purchase at:   


07 ConceptDraw boosts the juice   


ConceptDraw is a cross-platform flowcharting and diagramming software  package for Mac OS, Mac OS X and Windows --  ConceptDraw 1.7.5 adds a  variety of new and improved features and content to help users to fully  utilize the potential of their brain. Enhancements include export to  PDF, improved work of DXF and EPS. The current version also features  enhanced OS X compatibility, such as working with wheel mouse and  interface changes. More flexibility can be found in the Outline format  and the Stamp tool has been improved.  This update is free to the  current users of ConceptDraw Standard and Professional. Just download  the updater at the web site.  Thanks to Irina Nazarova - for sending this info in to our  graphic art,  design and CAD department.  You can see complete rundown on this new version at:  *   


08 InfoManager Update     


Each week the Info Manager digests the best and most interesting  stories from all around the world and brings it to you complete  with links.   


For UG Newsletter Editors it's a real pick-up because you can  utilize any part or all, and be assured you're getting the  latest thing for your members -- or pick and choose all  month long!   


* March 4, 2002 -  IBM, Civ III , Adobe, Paid StarOffice? Or will it still be free?,  

MWNY, About burning CD-ROMS and Desktop Files, OSX, MacRadio, Test  Drive Office v.X, UGN on Meeting Topics,  

Web Site #1 of the Week: Comics  

Web Site #2 of the Week: Reseller Ratings  

Web Site #3 of the Week: ISBN  User Group Site of the Week: AMug  

Quote of the week: Postman,  Favorite Sig: Stand Still...,  VOM (Vendor of the Month): Deneba Software. . .  Special Offers and Deals...   *   


09 Association News: 2nd Annual Meeting   


The Association of Apple Computer Users & Groups held their  second annual meeting last weekend at the Best Western BWI,  in Baltimore MD.   


Topics discussed among others were * local chapter dues and  requirements; * order slate for collateral materials; * nominations  of National Advisory Board members; * Regulations for starting  local chapters; * certification of existing MUGs as local  chapters, and an approval for the acquisition of online commerce  services for accepting membership dues and donations online.   


While Executive Director Dan Sailers was not at liberty to publish  the specifics of upcoming programs, he assured UGN that good  news would be forthcoming at the web site.   *