This week’s collection of updates and recommendations that don’t warrant a full article includes a status update on TidBITS delivery problems experienced by at least some iCloud users, a free NMUG membership through the end of the month, and a blog that all technically involved Mac users should be reading.
Last Week’s iCloud Delivery Problem Theoretically Resolved
Six months ago, we had a problem with iCloud rejecting TidBITS issues (see “Resetting Recent iCloud Bouncing Subscribers,” 30 August 2021), and with that fresh in her head, it took Lauri Reinhardt only a few days to realize that iCloud was up to its old tricks last week. She quickly replicated the problem by forwarding an issue to herself and sent me the SMTP headers to pass on to Apple. To the iCloud Mail team’s credit, they replied within a day, saying that they had resolved the issue. I reset all the affected icloud/me/mac.com addresses, and everything should be back to normal.
The upshot of this is that if you didn’t receive TidBITS last week at your iCloud account, that’s probably why. So if TidBITS #1595 doesn’t arrive normally (and you’re thus reading this on the Web), there may be something else going on. One possibility is that if you subscribe from a custom email address that forwards to iCloud, you may still be affected. Either way, contact Lauri for help.
Looking for a Mac User Group? Try the Naples MUG
When Tonya and I started TidBITS back in 1990, Mac user groups were powerhouse organizations. Seattle’s dBUG held meetings in a fancy downtown hotel (see “dBUGing,” 2 September 1991) thanks to sponsorship from companies like Microsoft (“Claris & Microsoft,” 23 September 1991) and Aldus (“Aldus Delivers,” 18 November 1991). The newsletter for the world’s largest Mac user group, Berkeley-based BMUG ran to hundreds of pages, thanks to articles by a veritable Who’s Who of Mac writers of the time, and it was also a major pre-Internet source of online Mac interaction (see “A Tale of Two Cities,” 29 March 1993).
Things have changed, with the Internet reducing the desire for in-person meetings of like-minded Apple geeks. Many of the Mac user groups that have survived now have meetings that draw 10–30 people, mostly long-time regulars who have known each other for years and enjoy the social and intellectual interaction. There’s nothing wrong with that, just what I’ve observed over years of presenting at user group meetings.
At least one Mac user group has bucked the trend: the Naples MacFriends User Group, or NMUG. Based in Naples, Florida, and run by a dedicated group of largely retired volunteers, the nonprofit NMUG has leveraged the pandemic-driven move to online Zoom meetings to increase its membership to over 600 people from countries around the world. NMUG offers weekly 75-minute meetings on Apple-related topics, an active Groups.io message board, and classes with expert instructors, extensive notes, moderators, and post-class access to the video recordings. Many of us from TidBITS have presented at NMUG meetings over the years, and Josh Centers will be teaching an iPad class on 5 February 2022.
I mention NMUG here because anyone who joins through the end of January 2022 will receive a temporary free membership through the end of March 2022 that provides access to the weekly meetings and message board, plus allows registration for their classes. After March, the annual membership fee is $30. So if you’re pining for some of that old-time user group feel, give the NMUG free membership a try.
Recommending Howard Oakley’s Eclectic Light Company Blog
There are a lot of people doing good work in the Apple community, but the person I’m currently most impressed by is Howard Oakley. As I learned in a MacObserver interview, he attended Oxford and worked in the British Royal Navy as a doctor, becoming heavily involved with computers and programming along the way. In his retirement on the Isle of Wight, he does vastly more than most people of any age, writing detailed articles about Mac topics for his Eclectic Light Company blog, developing a large stable of freeware Mac utility apps, and writing heavily illustrated articles about fine art. (Yes, I realize that last one is off-topic, but I knew next to nothing about painting before subscribing to his posts, and now I can easily differentiate Bonnard from Seurat.) A recent post summarizes what he’s done over the past seven years.
I’ve mentioned Howard Oakley’s articles on occasion in TidBITS, but a recent pair of them inspired me to recommend him more generally. First, his “Solutions for macOS Monterey and Big Sur” provides a quick recap of things you can try to resolve a generic problem on the Mac in today’s world of signed system volumes and M1-based Macs. Second, “Did someone forget their password? Getting access to a locked Mac” lays out all the possible ways to recover from a lost password. So if you’re interested in articles about Mac topics that range from highly practical to rather technical, try adding the Eclectic Light Company to your reading list or follow him on Twitter. For me, because I prefer to have things appear in email, that means subscribing to his RSS feed via Blogtrottr.