Welcome to SEAL

South Essex Apple Link is an Apple user group run by enthusiasts with a collective deep understanding of the Apple technologies and it’s user community. SEAL welcomes Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad and Apple TV users across the whole of Essex and surrounding areas.

We meet monthly in Wickford, Essex. Visitors are welcome (there is a small entrance fee), for more details see our About page and follow @sealusergroup on Twitter for meeting reminders and updates.

Next meeting: Friday 24th July 2020 (Online)

In-person meetings are cancelled until further notice due to the coronavirus rules.

Tips & Tricks: Default Save Location

When you save a document for the very first time, Mountain Lion insists the default save location is iCloud. If you would like to have it as was pre Mountain Lion then copy the command from the next line…

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSDocumentSaveNewDocumentsToCloud -bool false

Then open the Terminal application, paste the copied text in at the Terminal Command prompt and press Enter.

Should you want to put it back to the default save location of iCloud, do the same with the command below.

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSDocumentSaveNewDocumentsToCloud -bool true

Quit the application and then reopen for the changes to take effect.

Q&A February 2013

We run a Q&A section in our monthly meetings where anyone can ask a question and there is always someone around to answer it. As of this month we will be repeating those questions and answers to those questions, on this website.

Four questions this month:

  • How do you create templates in Microsoft Word for Mac?
  • How do you add names to people in photos in iPhoto?
  • Are iPads unlocked for use with any SIM?
  • I’m running Microsoft Office for Mac 2008 under Snow Leopard. if I upgrade to Mountain Lion will it still work?

Q. How do you create templates in Microsoft Word for Mac?

A. Here are some step by step instructions for versions 2004, 2008 and 2011

  1. Create a new document or open the document you want to use as a template. Format it as required.
  2. Click File -> Save As then enter a name for your template and choose Document/Word Template from the Format drop-down menu.
  3. The file is saved with a .dot/.dotx extension and will appear in the Project Gallery under the My Templates section.


Q. How do you add names to people in photos in iPhoto?

A. Tested on iPhoto 11 Version 9.4.2 (710.42):

  1. Open the photo
  2. At bottom right of the window click Info, then Top Right click Faces and then Click Add a Face
  3. Click the centre of the grid
  4. Drag the Grid and resize over the face, then give it a name.
  5. As you add ‘Faces’ you will build a ‘Faces’ Library in the Left Panel. To see these faces click Faces under ‘Library’ and all your Faces will be displayed on the cork board.


Q. Are iPads unlocked for use with any SIM?

A. Apple sells the iPad unlocked. However there have been cases where people have bought the iPad through a carrier and these have turned out to be locked - in some cases the customer has paid full price for the iPad whereas in other cases the customer has bought the iPad at a reduced price and signed up to a contract for data with the carrier.

The best thing to do is to buy directly from Apple.



Q. I’m running Microsoft Office for Mac 2008 under Snow Leopard. if I upgrade to Mountain Lion will it still work?

A. In short, the answer is a resounding “Yes”. However we recommend you read the information in the following link in case you run into any problems: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2732651


February 2013 Meeting Report

The February meeting built on the changes discussed and initiated in the January meeting and was the first full meeting planned by the Programme Committee.

The evening started off with Apple related news and discussion. News items consisted of:

  • Release of the 128GB iPad
  • Sales of Mac Pro to stop in Europe on 1 March
  • 60% of all iOS devices (300Million) now running iOS 6
  • iOS 6.1 released
  • Apple TV 5.2 update with features such as iTunes in the Cloud, Bluetooth keyboard and AirPlay audio for video
  • 25 Billion songs having been sold through iTunes
  • Premier of JOBS film starring Ashton Kutcher
  • The Max OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) ‘File : / / /‘ (without spaces) crash bug [link]

Next up was a Tips & Tricks presentation by club Chairman Robert, on Apple’s feature set (since Max OS X 10.7 - Lion) known as “Auto Save and Versions”. This feature set has confused many a Mac user, especially as the introduction of these coincided with the removal of ‘Save As…’ and implementation of ‘Duplicate’ in the ‘Edit’ menu of various applications (such as Pages).

Robert explained and demonstrated the benefits of the feature - mainly the auto-saving of documents being worked on, and the ability to choose previous versions of the document from within the application. Other tricks shown included how to invoke ‘Save As…’ via a keyboard shortcut and how to add it back into the ‘Edit’ menu for those that wanted it back.

The second presentation of the night was given by club member and SEAL website strategist and designer David. He gave a walkthrough of the new website, showing it’s clean look and simplicity, yet with all information needed available from the front page. He showed the different social media channels, along with the tutorial video he had produced about screenshots (published in the SEAL YouTube channel). David further explained the website being the main hub for all information from the club and how all new information was going to be cross-posted on to the various social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Google+). Club members and anyone interested are encouraged to ‘share’ and ‘like’ information from the website via the social media tools on the site.

The night closed with the interactive Q&A section - attendees helping each other by answering questions posed to them by other attendees.

The next SEAL meeting will be on Friday 8 March.


Tips & Tricks: Screen Capture

The first of our tutorials is about Screen Capture on Mac OS X.

Mac OS X has always made it easy to capture a screen shot (an image of your computer desktop or window), however most people do not have an idea of how to achieve this.

We thus have a video demonstration (kindly recorded by club member David), showing two different ways of achieving this:
1) Using the Capture application
2) Using capture shortcut keys.

Uses of a screen capture:
From Wikipedia: Screenshots can be used to demonstrate a program, a particular problem a user might be having, or generally when display output needs to be shown to others or archived. For example, after being emailed a screenshot, a Web page author might be surprised to see how his page looks on a different Web browser and can take corrective action. Likewise with differing email software programs, (particularly such as in a cell phone, tablet, etc.,) a sender might have no idea how his email looks to others until he sees a screenshot from another computer and can (hopefully) tweak his settings appropriately.

SEAL YouTube Channel

SEAL now has its very own YouTube channel, with this additional media onboard we can now broaden our appeal to the Apple users around the county and beyond. If you have any suggestions of Tips & Tricks Tutorial video subjects that you would like us to produce and publish on our channel, please make your requests via the contact form on this site.

January 2013 Meeting Report

January saw the first SEAL meeting of the new year and what a meeting it was. First we kicked off with the boring yet very important stuff of committee elections. Without a good and solid committee we cannot continue to be a successful club now and in the future. Our thanks goes out to all those who put their names up for election and to ‘Ben’ who put his name foward to head-up our new programme committee team.

Much was talked about the success of Glassboard that we are now using to discuss any given subject. One might say why don’t you simply use Email to communicate! The reason: Glassboard is private, no Email address are sheared between users of the Glassboard group, just names, that way everyone stays happy.

The Club Logo: John has been working very hard trying to create a new logo for SEAL, one that all members would be happy to be associated with. As always with these things it is difficult to please all people all the time. We all agree we now have the final version one that we would be proud to wear on a club T-shirt. Our thanks to you John for all his efforts.

SEAL Test Website: David has been working on a new Website for the club but found that if he updated the WordPress template, he would lose much of what he had done, so he needed to create a ‘Child’ before the template update installation. He had created a ‘Child’ that would have worked but for a small format error which has now been rectified by club members. David has now put back the hair that he had pulled out over the last few days and is now smiling again!

Demonstration: John provided us all with a very interesting demonstration, on the latest version of 1Password for IOS devices by AgileBits It was quite clear that this award winning 1Password application is safe and a very secure application that uses industry standard encryption, 1Password is used by many thousands around the world. So why use 1Password a member asked, John showed why and how you only need ‘One Password’ for all your logins, he pointed out that you don’t even have to know your password for you favorite sites, so long as you remember your ‘Master Password’ for 1Password, the application will do the rest.

John went on to show how to make your passwords so complicated by using the password generator without fear because it does not matter, you never need to know or even remember the generated password but it does matter to any potential ‘Hacker’ because it would probably take them thousands of years to ‘Crack’ your password. We saw how easy it is to store important documents, such as images of your passport, birth certificate, secure notes in fact, just about anything that you want to store, just in case you need them quick.

All this may sound a bit scary to you, by having just one password for everything! Don’t be scared, it is a safe product to use, do your research then if you’r happy, buy 1Password 4.1 currently available from the IOS App Store at the introductory price of £5.49 with just one purchase you will enable to install it on your iPhone and iPad.

The next SEAL meeting will be Friday, February 8.

December 2012 Meeting Report

SEAL finished the year off with a meeting that was full of information although there wasn’t a great deal of information about new products from Apple other than the all new slim iMac 21.5” from £1099 and the 27” from £1499.

Some concerns were raised due to the “Bonded” screen, what happens after your warranty has expired it would be almost impossible to replace internal components say like the harddrive without the help of an Apple “Genius” or those very clever people at iFixit, here is a quote from iFixit during teardown of the new slim 21.5” iMac.

The fused display may look awesome, but at what cost, Apple? At. What. Cost?

The cost is quickly apparent: cutting open the display destroys the foam adhesive securing it shut. Putting things back together will require peeling off and replacing all of the original adhesive, which will be a major pain for repairers.

Given these concerns it would appear that sales of the new iMac are very strong, it certainly is a very good looking iMac that has little or no screen reflection due to the “Bonded” screen.

The best advice we can give is that you do buy AppleCare protection plan, after all said and done even Apple products go wrong!

As is quite normal at our meetings, we had a couple of demonstrations from club members. The first being the slightly delayed launch of iTunes 11. It certainly showed how much has changed since we first saw iTunes back in 2001.

For some it has a much improved look but still has the much appreciated software. The immediate impression is that there more graphics and fewer lists of text but with a more intuitive user experience.

On the left you have your libraries, while in the centre you can choose to view by artist or album, and on the right you will see your devices that are connected and the iTunes store.

We were shown how you can easily connect multiple devices to iTunes and still have them displayed all in one neat and tidy place. Browsing your collections in the new expanded view, that puts all the information about your albums in one stylish place making it less easy to get confused about what you are listening to.

The loss of Coverflow is to some an irritation but Apple says that not many people use it!

One very interesting iTunes 11 feature shown to us was the new ‘Miniplayer’ that gives a whole new window, not just a mode for iTunes. Using this ‘Miniplayer’ we saw how easy it is to find whatever you need from within this new window.

First impressions at the meeting of the new ‘Miniplayer’ was in the main very good. Building your playlists was so easy, as easy as a walk in the park.

iTunes 11 for general storage of music, movies and other entertainment media for the average user, appears to be very good but already “Power Users“ are saying that with massive libraries that they have iTunes is still a flabby monster.

Playing tracks from the cloud was good and the search feature is much improved. The new ‘Next Up’ feature makes it much easier when queuing tracks and a great addition.

The overall opinion of iTunes 11 at our meeting, “it was worth waiting for.”

We also had a demonstration of Reflector a highly impressive application that “Mirrors” what you are doing on your Apple device to another device over Wifi (AirPlay).

The application was very responsive in that what you did on one device, was immediately reflected on all devices that are connected over WiFi.

It was felt that this would be an ideal solution in a classroom situation, an iPhone 5 was able to control what was being displayed on the big screen.

That’s it from SEAL for this year, we wish you all a very happy Christmas and that you have a truly great year in 2013.

November 2012 Meeting Report

The November SEAL meeting went off with a bang, can’t say it was fireworks but nevertheless a very interesting meeting.

As usual we talked about the past month’s Apple news that included the new iPad mini, there were some thoughts about it’s size and weight stating with the WiFI version Weight: 308 g (0.68 pounds) with the Wi-Fi + Cellular version weighing in at 312 g (0.69 pounds) Height: 200 mm (7.87 inches) Width: 134.7 mm (5.3 inches) Depth: 7.2 mm (0.28 inches). The look and feel of the iPad Mini is great but it does show how good the Retina display is on the current iPad. It remains to be seen if the iPad mini will be a winner with Apple consumers, although for those of you that like to read books in the digital format the iPad mini would be ideal.

The ultra-thin design of the new iMac starts off with a price tag of £1099.00 for the 21.5 inch 2.7GHz available in November, with the 27 inch 2.9GHz starting at £1,499.00 available in December. The widescreen display has been reengineered reducing reflection by 75%.

As always we had the popular workshop where club members can discuss any issues they are having with their devices. One such member was having problems with WiFi and connecting to other devices, as always our club members were on-board, all issues were resolved with complete satisfaction.

Club member David made a recommendation for a free battery management app available from the App Store, called Battery Doctor (Battery Saver, Battery Life) by Beijing Kingsoft Internet Security software Co.Ltd. The App is compatable with iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

David did say that the App had strong words with him for fully charging (With Trickle Charge) more than once in 30 days, whereas he should only be charging as and when needed, then once a month do a thorough charge with trickle.

Some other comments from David said that he is somewhat suprised at the number of Mac users that logon with their Admin password to do their everyday tasks. There were some comments on this, like “What’s wrong with that” and “I always do,” David said that it is something that he would never do, because he believes it may be possible to circumvent the Admin logon, from outside and gain access to data. In a similar vein (Security), he said that someone on the Apple Support Communities website asked if there is a way to automatically open a file embedded in an Email, his answer to that question was, Bad Idea! If there is a way, don’t do it!

It is hoped that one of our SEAL members will be able to put together a demonstration of Aperture for Mac, in the near not to distant future, we look forward to that.

October 2012 Meeting Report

South Essex Apple Link October 2012 Report.

The October meeting had a lot to offer, what with the new iPhone being released in late September and iOS6.

iPhone 5 Sells 5M on Launch Weekend
Exceeds the 4M sold by the iPhone 4S. The new iPod touch and iPod nano are now also available. iFixIt Teardown available: http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPhone-5-Teardown/10525/1

Many members were quite vocal about what they see as falling quality standards on Apple hardware and software, general feeling was that Apple have been at the very top of the market for a long time giving the buying public what they want but now the competition is is getting tougher, Apple is rushing to get stuff out to the waiting public. We have always relied on Apple to provide a quality product but in the last year or so standards do appear to have slipped, to the point that Tim Cook wrote an open letter of apology to Apple’s customers stating that Maps fell short of their usual commitment to deliver the best experience.

He stated that customers using Maps and submitting feedback will help the product improve feedback can be submitted within the Maps App. In the meantime he evensuggests that customers try mapping products from other companies including Nokia and Google. Then on the other hand, the Taiwanese government thinks Apple Maps is too good, they’ve asked for one of their sensitive radar installations to be blurred out!

Apple TV 5.1 Update
Free software update for 2nd and 3rd generation Apple TV
Subscribe to Shared Photo Streams, a new iCloud feature. Support for sending sound to Air Play speakers and devices. Search for movie trailers.
Switch quickly between multiple iTunes accounts, New screensaver options, ability to reorder menu buttons. Other minor improvements.

September 2012 Meeting Report

At the September Meeting we discussed Apple’s recent special event where the iPhone 5, iPod Touch 5G and new iPod Nano were announced.

During our workshop session, topics included extending a WiFi network, hard drive failures and the importance of good backups. During the hard drive discussion, David suggested the Data Cent Failing hard drive sounds page which has sound clips of faulty drives to help you identify if yours is sounding abnormal.