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Get 13 free iTunes songs and other news (Lucky Vol #13)

Inside: Free music, ebooks, Lion survey results

I’ve got a bunch of news, but if you’re itching to watch videos, here are the ones mentioned in this newsletter:

How to get 13 free iTunes songs at Starbucks

How to take a screen shot

How to add icons to your Dock

Thanks to those of you like Jac and Pam who wrote to make sure all was well in Mac Help For Mom land. No problems, I’ve just been busy with two projects that are taking longer than I first imagined. I’m painting the inside of my parents’ vacation condo, where my speed is hindered by being too much of a perfectionist. I’m also helping my tennis buddy by converting his first novel to various ebook formats, where my speed is hindered by, uh, the same “issue”.

The ebook isn’t ready just yet, but you can learn more about it and read the first chapter free on the I2 The Novel website. I’m probably biased since the author usually “lets” me beat him at tennis, but I think it’s quite a thriller, yet with surprisingly touching parts. I still choke up thinking about the scene where the kid mentions how his dad taught him a special soccer move, not realizing that he’s (oh, don’t want to give away too much of the plot).

Mac Help For Mom Website Improvements

I have been improving the look of more than just walls and ebooks. I recently made some changes to make the Mac Help For Mom website easier to navigate. All pages now have two new tabs:

Recent Posts | Newsletter Archives

Yes, that right tab means I finally have all past newsletters archived on the site. So if you missed any, they’re all there.

And if you want to see what all the cool kids are doing, the home page now features the five most popular articles during the previous month, and the five most popular of all-time. Just look under my Mom’s welcome video.

One of the most popular articles so far this month is “How to check if your software can run on OS X Lion“. That’s not surprisingly given the…

Lion Survey Results

In the previous newsletter, I asked when you would be upgrading to Lion in this survey:

When will you upgrade to Lion?

The results were split roughly down the middle. Some of you forged ahead and already upgraded, while slightly more of you are what on Boy Scout hikes we used to call “trail sweeps” (a valuable role, but the last to see the new scenery). The majority are either waiting until after the first or second bug fix, or (here’s where I blush a bit) are waiting for yours truly to review it first. Which brings me to my plan for Lion…

Keeping everyone happy

As the survey results were coming in, it quickly became obvious that I was going to have to start making both Lion videos for the trendsetters and Snow Leopard videos for those in no hurry to upgrade (which would have otherwise included me). I didn’t want the hassle or cost of maintaining two Macs so instead I chose the challenge of giving my Mac two personalities. I’m going to set it up to dual-boot into either Snow Leopard or Lion.

But first I need a bigger hard disk so I’d have enough room for both operating systems. I bought a can’t-believe-how-cheap-they-are-now 1TB replacement disk and since I was already paying shipping for that, I couldn’t resist buying a memory upgrade too! Why am I telling you this? Well, of course I’ll be recording video every step along the journey, so expect to see videos soon of me ripping apart my Mac. While I don’t expect to inspire you to immediately get out your screwdriver, hopefully you’ll see that some upgrades (hardware and software) aren’t as scary as you may think. Of course, along the way I may find that some are hairier than I thought. Stay tuned.

If this all sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry (which I’ve been doing a lot of lately), don’t worry, I’ll still be making more Mac OS X, iPhoto, iTunes, Safari, email, etc. videos as before. Like these two classics that you may have missed since I made them before I started this newsletter.

How to take a screen shot
(Especially handy if you want to ask me a question and need to show me something on your screen.)

How to add icons to your Dock
(Great for those applications you use most.)

Free music at Starbucks

I admit it, I usually visit Starbucks once a day. At least. I’m usually in and out and rarely sit down. But my MacBook Pro and I spent an hour in one the other day while my car was getting a smog check. I connected to their free WiFi and that’s when I made a wonderful discovery–free music. I recorded a Mac Help For Mom video right there in the comfy chair in the corner. (Please excuse the background noise, it was a really hoppin’ Starbucks.)

How to get 13 free iTunes songs at Starbucks

Word of the Week

The word is “ebook”.

I couldn’t mention my work on my buddy’s ebook and not make sure you knew what I was talking about. The word “ebook” covers a wide range of electronic documents. It makes some people think of the short reports (often as a PDF file) that you might see for free or for sale on websites covering topics spanning from self improvement to home improvement. On the other end of the scale are electronic versions of full-length books, like my tennis buddy’s new novel.

This latter category includes numerous formats and ebook reader devices, some of which you may have heard of or even seen at your local cafe: Kindle (from Amazon), Nook (from Barnes and Noble), Sony Reader, iBooks (which runs on iPads and iPhones) and more. The Kindle is the most popular and Amazon has done a great job of both producing a great reading device and also not forcing you to use it. I have a Kindle but I also have the free Kindle application on my Mac and the free Kindle app on my iPhone. I can read the same book using all three devices and they magically synchronize so that they all remember the last page I read for every book. And these devices can often hold thousands of books.

If you can’t imagine why anyone would prefer a screen to a real honest-to-goodness paper book, you’ll probably be shocked to learn that since May 2011, Amazon has been selling more Kindle books than all other formats (hardcover and paperback) combined! That doesn’t even include “sales” of free Kindle books, of which there are many to choose from. This report has more shocking statistics:


So next time you see someone engrossed in a plastic device roughly the size of a book (but thinner), strike up a conversation. Ebook reader owners usually love showing off their “toys” and are often very willing to share their experiences and the pros and cons of ebooks and paper books.

Mac Help For Mom on Facebook

Do you use Facebook? It’s another way to learn about new Mac Help For Mom videos and interact with other people who like Mac Help For Mom. If you click the “Like” button on the Mac Help For Mom Facebook page then you’ll see the Mac Help For Mom Facebook posts in your Facebook News Feed, be able to comment on them, and join in the discussions.

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