Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks.



Pick an apple! 
Record Online Meetings in Pear Note

While Pear Note is primarily geared toward recording notes in the physical world, it's possible to use it to record things in the virtual world as well. For instance, you can use it to record and take notes on Skype calls. To do this:

  1. Download Soundflower and install it (along with the Soundflowerbed app that comes with it).
  2. Download LineIn and install it.
  3. Start Soundflowerbed, and select Built-in Output (or whatever output you'd like to listen to the conversation on).
  4. Start LineIn, and select your microphone (e.g. Built-in Mic) as the input and Soundflower (2ch) as the output, then press Pass Thru.
  5. Open Pear Note Preferences, select Recording, and select Soundflower (2ch) as the audio device.
  6. Open Skype Preferences, select Audio, and select Soundflower (2ch) as the audio output and your microphone (e.g. Built-in Mic) as the audio input.
  7. Hit record in Pear Note and make your Skype call.

This will allow you to conduct your Skype call while Pear Note records both your audio and the other participant's.

Visit Useful Fruit Software


Caveat Emptor: Meeting Maker

Send Article to a Friend

The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) has been using Meeting Maker from On Technology <> for the last three years as its agency-wide scheduling system. Although we have a love/hate relationship with this product, it has clearly changed the way ARPA does business. These days, if a meeting doesn't exist on Meeting Maker, the meeting doesn't exist.

Unfortunately, Meeting Maker has a small problem with its database. The product was designed using a fairly unreliable database technology, which tends to occasionally "lose" the database links between elements. When this happens, the only action that the customer can take is to delete the account that owns the bad information.

At the beginning of January, we attempted to do our quarterly purge of the database and discovered we had several accounts that contained bad records. One of these accounts is the Director of ARPA, and we really wanted to avoid deleting his account.

Now we would have gone ahead and deleted his account, getting a lot of egg on our faces, except that On Technology knows how to "reattach" the data record. Kelly Martin, their lead technical person, knows how to go into the database and remove the offending record, without requiring the deletion of the entire account. We found it interesting that she is the only person at On Technology who knows how to perform this delicate task (she didn't respond to our inquiry of what happens to On Technology if she gets hit by a bus).

You would think, "Aha! There is a solution! We get the database fixed, and life goes on." No such luck. Since ARPA is a Department of Defense agency, and this service is used by everyone in the agency, the data in the database is sensitive information, and there are federal regulations governing it. The bottom line is that it can't leave the building. However, On Technology "provides phone and electronic support for their package only." They offered to fix the error if we would send the database to them electronically.

This put us in a real dilemma. We don't want to delete the Director's account, but the only way to avoid it is to send the database to the vendor, which we are not allowed to do, due to federal regulations. We spent all of January trying to find a way to resolve this situation. We offered to pay to fly Kelly Martin down and fix the database. We offered to fly one of our people up to learn how to fix it. We even considered hiring her. After a month of telephone tag, requests, cajoling, and pleading, On Technology gave us their official position, that they "provide phone and electronic support for their package only." We continued to try and get them to stand behind their product. In the latest attempt, our Director of MIS tried to contact the President of On Technology, Chris Risley. He refused to take the call, or to return the call.

Finally, on February 13th (poetic, eh?), our Meeting Maker servers themselves resolved the situation for us. They crashed and refused to come back up. Our only option was to delete the accounts, and restart the system. Meeting Maker did come back online, and we have had the distinct pleasure of explaining to the ARPA front office why the Director's account had to be deleted when it wasn't necessary. Needless to say, the search has begun for a replacement for Meeting Maker, and products from On Technology will not be considered.

For those of you considering Meeting Maker XP, it is our understanding that this problem has not been fixed in the new release, and unfortunately, On Technology's support policies have remained equally unchanged.


PDFpen for iPad & iPhone, version 2 — it’s your mobile office.
Experience pro-level features like iCloud Drive, palm protection,
a new easy-to-use iOS 8 interface and more! Get full-featured PDF
editing power in a mobile app today! <>