MacDirectory Magazine

Summer-Fall 2008 (#38)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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28 MacDirectory DEPARTMENT Q > I was digging through my utilities folder and found Audio MIDI setup. What is MIDI? Hanna Coone, GA A > MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) is a technology by which instruments, controllers, effects, devices and computers talk to one another. The messages involved can be everything from playing a note at a certain pitch, volume or velocity to changing synthesizer "patches," altering parameters as a song plays, or saving and recalling huge banks of sounds. A single MIDI connection can transmit data on 16 channels simultaneously, making it possible, for example, to play a sequence of notes on one device, upload a bank of synthesizer voices to another device, and make automated changes to stage lighting – all at the same time. The most fun I have had with MIDI was using a Behringer Fcb1010 foot controller to handle my synth patches while simultaneously triggering synchronized special effects in a Director-based movie that was rear- projected behind my band. While your Mac does not have a set of built-in MIDI ports, you can attach a MIDI interface via your USB or Firewire port, or you can buy an expansion card. MIDI may be thirty-year-old technology, but there are tons of MIDI-compatible hardware and software products out there and more are becoming available on a daily basis. Fun, fun, fun! Q > I bought a new MacBook, used the built-in software for transferring my files from my iMac to the new machine, but the MacBook is just as goofy as the iMac. What is going on? S. Essex, FL A > It's impossible to tell from here ("goofy" being such an imprecise term), but chances are that when you moved to the new machine you transferred your existing preferences along with your applications, rather than installing everything from scratch. If the original problem was due to corrupt preferences or even corrupt applications, you may have simply transferred the problem to your new machine. My advice is to use your OSX install disk to return the MacBook to the factory state, manually install everything, set your Finder and application prefs (palette positions, color settings, everything) and, before getting to work, use a utility such as Carbon Copy Cloner from to make a backup of your disk. (Use a cloner and not a simple file copier, or certain invisible files will not be copied.) If you ever encounter weird behavior in the future, restore your system, library and apps from the cloned copy. Q > I play an assortment of online games – not the big ones, but arcade stuff played within Safari. I have noticed a lot of files showing up on my machine with an .exe extension but I can't figure out what they do. Is this a problem? W. Moss, OR A > These are Windows executable files – applets that are designed to serve various purposes and which were most likely downloaded during the game setup process. As they only run in a Windows environment, they serve no purpose on your Mac and can be deleted, but there could be more going on here. My niece plays browser-based arcade games and has been experiencing some crashes with Google Maps and other browser-related things. I completely avoid those games. You never know what workarounds the author may have used or if there might be a bit of spyware hiding quietly among the downloads. Q > I recently encountered a pop-up for a virus protection service, clicked on the "no" button and was taken directly to the service's Web site. What is going on? I clicked "no" and ended up there anyway. Amy Willis, NJ A > There is nothing in the law that prohibits a bad guy from attaching a URL to a button. If these are the guys I think they are, by going to their site you automatically loaded a bunch of cookies, one of which is actually spyware that tells your computer to send the bad guys all sorts of data from your machine. The idea is that they infect your system and then offer a solution, in the meantime gaining access to all of your personal information. This is not good news. The first thing you should do is to either wipe out all your cookies and cache files or go through them and look for items with suspicious names that may be related to the suspicious company. Next, grab a utility such as Norton Internet Security from to protect yourself from future attacks. BEEBE > MACDIRECTORY'S TECH GODDESS

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