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John Bowdler

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Posts posted by John Bowdler

  1. Hi folks

    I use a program called Texpad to copy-edit academic papers in LaTex.
    A critical part of such documents is the References section (or Bibliography), which authors sometimes send as a .bib file.
    However, Texpad is unable to convert the .bib file into the necessary .blb file.
    If any of you guys know how I can generate .blb files on a Mac I’d greatly appreciate your help.
    iMac; OS 10.8.5
    • Like 1

  2. I’d appreciate advice on using multiple desktops.

    I’m an editor, so my iMac tends to look like this:

    Desktop 1

    – MS Word (I have to use this as Word is the default program in the editing community)

    Desktop 2

    – Stickies (To Do lists; daily activities)

    – TextEdit (writing text, especially emails which I then cut and paste into Mail; tallying the work done on the project of the moment)

    – Pages (landscape view, two columns. I use this to create a Style Sheet – a list of words and styles required for the project I’m working on)

    – Dictionary (easy to three-finger swipe from desktop 1 to use this: using MS Word’s dictionary is a pain)

    I arrange these in a way that allows me to use them fairly efficiently.

    Desktop 3 – Mail, Address Book

    Desktop 4 – Safari

    Desktop 5 – Preview

    Desktop 6 – Excel

    Sometimes I open up a full screen, which means the program creates its own desktop. Of course, if I log off all these screens disappear and I have to start all over again.

    It’s a mess, but my strategy is to use different programs for different activities as it’s easy to switch between programs using command–tab. I also try to use native Apple programs as they should work better.

    I’d welcome suggestions from the sages of the Maccast community on how I can work the system more effectively. For example, is it possible to freeze desktops (my understanding is that it isn’t)?

    Finally, I haven’t upgraded to Mountain Lion as I’m worried my ageing iMac may go belly up. I am going to get a new iMac, although my finances are a bit dodgy. ):

    Thanks in advance for your help, folks.


    iMac mid-2007, 10.7.5, magic trackpad

    • Like 1

  3. Great response, John. :)


    Does this imply internal storage, external – or both! I was thinking of getting a smaller internal drive and then building up a series of external drives, buying a new one every year or so. So, when the oldest one dies I’ve newer ones to take over.


    Does this sound a good way to go?

  4. I need to upgrade my mid-2007 iMac.


    Should I get, say, the one terabit iMac and a 2TB external drive for backup – or a 3TB iMac? Which is better, internal or external? (I already have an (ageing) 1TB time capsule).



    • Like 14

  5. I agree.


    I remembering listening to my first Maccast about the same time, while going for a pleasant country walk on a hot summer's day.


    Admittedly, it might be the 'hot summer's day' bit that makes the occasion particularly memorable, since they're as common round

    here as hen's teeth, but I do remember thinking 'Wow, this is great!' - and I haven't missed a Maccast since.

  6. My new iPod Touch (OS 5.0.1) beeps whenever i pick it up if the USB cable is

    connected and various dialogue boxes are displayed on iTunes on my iMac,

    the most popular being: 'iTunes could not connect this iPhone because an

    unknown error occurred (OxE80000001).'


    I've restored the iPod a couple of times. At first it works fine, then the beeping



    It's beeping at me now, for no apparent reason and with no dialogue box

    in iTunes.


    Is this simply a case of a dodgy cable and I should send it back to Apple, or

    could there be a software solution?




    All beeped out!

  7. I find the optimal view for reading emails (or anything) is

    about newspaper-column width – maybe a bit wider.


    However, when Mail is in fullscreen mode (on a 24" iMac)

    the only way to get this width is to stretch the left-hand

    column ridiculously, so that the bit I'm trying to read is

    squeezed into the right-hand side of the screen. 


    Is there an easier way to present emails in a readable

    format while at the same time not losing the extra screen

    real estate which fullscreen mode provides?



  8. Lyrical invective from MusicIsTheBest!


    On the whole, I like Lion - I find it 'business-like'. But, for the first time I find myself in PC world: stuff that used to work just fine no longer works and the new stuff is buggy. The experience of using my Mac is no longer always enjoyable.


    Apple's change of direction seems clear: if it isn't a portable gizmo Apple are not really interested in it. That's a shame, because I like my iMac and I want to continue doing so.

  9. To answer a completely 'nother question … I use a mouse and the keyboard.


    I've turned Universal Access on so that I can use the numeric keypad. I use the

    mouse to move the cursor and then jab '5' on the keypad to 'click'. Somehow

    that seems more comfortable.

  10. I used to use Spaces a lot and really like Mission Control, particularly being able to switch from desktop to desktop quickly by using the arrow keys with the control key held down (though you could do that before).


    Odd, though, that the desktops re-arrange themselves in Mission Control. So, instead of being arranged 1, 2, 3 … left to right, desktop number 2 is currently on the far right of the Mission Control screen, next to number 4! Also, the desktops lose their number when full screen mode is used; so desktop number 1, which has iTunes in full screen mode, is now called desktop 'iTunes' and I have no idea where it was before.


    The only way I can find to launch Launchpad, using the keyboard, is control-F3, which selects the dock.

  11. Apparently, there is a new "scareware" virus which is targeted at the Mac, called MACDefender.


    It tries to scare you into installing fake Mac anti-virus software, saying there are security problems on your Mac.


    Presumably, this is just another case of 'don't install anything that looks dodgy'?