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Stanford/Palo Alto Macintosh User Group Newsletter
March 5, 2011
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February Meeting Notes
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Dear (Contact First Name),


Homebrew Computer Club Newsletter
Appropriately enough, this weekend marks the anniversary of the Homebrew Computer Club's first meeting on March 5, 1975. This was the club where, as longtime SMUGers will know, the 2 Steves first showed off their Apple personal computers. So it's nice to hear that SLAC has decided that our meetings on the Redwood Room will be "grandfathered", an expression that suggests both the venerable nature of our club and  the corollary that it may continue at least until our iDevices are pried from our cold dead hands.

However, this news has come a little too late for us to get a meeting organized for this Monday. I am off to the olde countrie for a week or so, there to ensure, among other things, that my mother's iMac has run all requisite software updates & remains in good working order. Rest assured that the SMUG board will be working on bringing you an informative and entertaining meeting in the Redwood Room on Monday April 4, 2011 - watch for my next newsletter for details.

February Meeting Presentations - the Notes, by Dave Strom

Presenters: Michael Stevenson & Steve Gehrman from


Path Finder is an award-winning alternate file browser for the Macintosh. It is not called a replacement for the Finder. However, Path Finder's default state is very similar to the Finder, having views for list, icon, and column.


Path Finder is super customizable. It can help you with photography, writing, and so on, anything that requires you going through and doing stuff to a lot of files. (Note from Dave: I use Path Finder myself, and yes, it helps when I drag files around.)


You can leave the Finder open when you run Path Finder. (Note from Dave: In fact, that is what I recommend, why close the Finder?) However, you can quit the Finder from Path Finder (menu: Path Finder > Finder > Quit Finder) if you want to, but be aware that stopping the Finder will also stop Time Machine backups. You can even remove the Finder from the dock. (Note from Dave: I bet that is scary! menu: Path Finder > Finder > Enable Finder's "Remove from Dock") Do you want the Finder back? Just restart your Mac. This "Remove from Dock" just hides the Finder away.


A unique feature for Path Finder: you can swap around the views within the browser. You get a Preview window within the Path Finder browser, two preview panes within, and you can even have a hex code pane or a processes pane. You can switch between apps in a pane. You can put two panes at the bottom. Path Finder is very customizable.


Path Finder has the web browser features of tabs and bookmarks, just like Safari. You can bookmark a folder to access it easily. And you have full tabbed browsing so you can go to folders and switch between them fast. In the new version of Path Finder, you can pull a tab off to get a new Path Finder window, just like you can pull off a tab in Safari to get a new window.


The Drop Stack is the most popular feature in Path Finder: you grab files, drop them into the Drop Stack, and then you can perform a process on all those files, such as compress, move, burn, etc. You can do an operation on a lot of files at once by dropping those files in the Drop Stack.


Path Finder has an undo. For example, you can undo a file move.


Path Finder has a dual file browser. You can see two folders side-by-side, each in a pane. And you can compare files, and drag files between these panes. (Note from Dave: This is the feature I use a lot. It is very nice to be able to drag files from one folder to another without having to open two Finder windows. I just have the dual pane view in Path Finder, and drag from pane to pane.)


You have a more advanced search, order feature search by name, content, and so on. You can avoid going thru spotlight. (Note from Dave: I find that using Path Finder, it is easier for me to search individual folders. I have not done that well using Spotlight. But with Path Finder, I clicked on the magnifying glass icon, then I dragged the folder I wanted, and I could search that individual folder.) With the File Selection tool, you can limit your selection to specific criteria, such as selecting all the PDFs within a folder.


Path Finder has built-in apps, such as a terminal, a text editor, and an image editor.


Someone asked if you need special software to do other types of files systems. (Note from Dave: Of course you do! You need special software to read any file system that the regular Finder does not read. I have software installed to read/write Windows hard drives. In fact, I think I ran into a glitch with Windows hard drives from Path Finder once. Path Finder driven by customer feedback, so if something happens, let them know. I will if I get the same bug again.)


Will Path Finder get into the Macintosh App store? Cocoatech uses some private APIs in Path Finder, and really, Path Finder uses Finder stuff. So to get into the Mac App store, Cocoatech feels they would have to negotiate A LOT, and it is likely that Apple will not allow apps in App Store to do what Path Finder does. (Note from Dave: Path Finder deserves to be in the store, but it seems unlikely.)


You can download a demo of Path Finder and try it out for 30 days. Such a deal!


Notes compiled by Dave Strom, SMUG Vice President 

Remember: Monday April 4th, 6:30pm  in the Redwood Room.

See you there!

Steve Bellamy
SMUG President
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