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Things related to Apple (computers, iPods, iTunes, OS X, Macintosh, etc.) hardware and software made or influenced by apple.

Written By: Gary on July 21, 2007 One Comment

So I’ve been very interested in the AppleTV and never got around to trying it. But I was feeling pretty happy after happy hour yeast and Best Buy has a good return policy so I’m now the proud owner of an AppleTV (40GB). It’s very cool. Very easy to install. Very easy to configure. Pure yummy Apple perfection. And there is no way I’m going to return it!

Two user-interface suggestions:
1) They need a better distinction between the computer you sync with and the computers you stream from. This needs to be better in the AppleTV and in iTunes.
2) The top menu item says AppleTV and it looks like it’s a title and not a menu item (it actually takes you back to the main menu) and it’s confusing. I’ve read about this but I forgot about it…
3) Put in a DVD player and a video/s-video port. (This doesn’t count since it’s not an interface issue).
3b) Safari would be cool too! This would just be for .Mac members so it would interface with your bookmarks!

If you think you’d like one of these, then run and go get one, it’s way cool.

Written By: Gary on April 4, 2007 No Comment

So they released Google Desktop for Macintosh, they mentioned this at the Google Blog and the Google Mac Blog (did you know they had a Mac Blog?). It’s the main Google application for desktops and since they’re supporting Macs with this, what’s next (they just started offering free virus protection for Windows from Norton)? I will be trying it especially since I’ve disliked the new search (Spotlight) in Mac OS X for a while now. I’ll try it when I get home, I’m on the go and don’t like to install things when I’m on cell phone dial up (EVDO).

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Written By: Gary on March 29, 2007 No Comment

It’s about time! Now you can go back and buy the rest of an iTunes album at a discount if you previously bought one song. Just go to the iTunes Music Store and in the upper right choose “Complete My Album”.

Apple iTunesThis is great mainly for several reasons: If you bought one song off an album that had 12 songs on it (for $9.99) you can now get the other 11 for $9.00 instead of having to buy the whole album (it looks like it’s full credit). Also, if you bought one song off an album and some of the songs were “album only” purchases you now have the option to get rest since you’re actually buying the whole album. For a 10 song album, it really doesn’t make a difference. Not all artists are doing this and you only have six months to get your missing albums, but it’s a nice option if you regretted not getting it in the first place. FYI, they did grandfather in all the old albums you bought more than six months ago (so you can still get the missing ones).

I’m not sure if this will help if you bought a pre-release single since I haven’t bought that many. I’m pretty sure a few of the songs on the list are ones I’ve (purchased) for free, but I could be mistaken. And I know there are a few that I didn’t purchase off the album they are showing, I must have bought off some other album or special purchase mix that iTunes offered (iTunes Originals or something).

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Written By: Gary on February 9, 2007 No Comment

This is insane!

State senator’s bill would make it illegal to cross the street tuned into portable electronic devices such as MP3 players and BlackBerrys.

For one, you can have these devices with headsets off (and not actually outputting audio) and not distracting you. And the other is that Deaf people cross the street all the time without hearing traffic. While they do have more practice if they’re talking to someone (signing and watching the other person) they’re definitely distracted and this bill. (Have you ever ridden in a car with deaf people signing to each other? How about while they’re signing to the people in the next car over?!?) And I’m not sure if this covers if you’re texting or just using audio? What if you’re reading the paper or a book? Or reading a billboard ad on the side of a bus?

Either way, I just want the gov’t to start supplying someone to hold my hand while I cross the street. That’s what we really need, right? It’s certainly what they’re leading up to…

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Written By: Gary on February 4, 2007 No Comment

So I keep forgetting to mentioned that I found iLike, it’s kind of a music social networking site.

The big difference is it recommends music to you and allows you to download it for free. It appears to work best with iTunes, if you download the iLike sidebar it’ll upload lists of what you listen to most and make recommendations in the sidebar where it’ll let you preview music and download it directly to iTunes. Now the free songs are mostly artists that you haven’t heard of, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t any good, I’m really enjoying some of my new found music. It seems like most (all?) of the new music comes from GarageBand.com

My iLike page is at http://ilike.com/user/garylapointe

They just keep adding new features that they’re pretty god a keeping you up-to-date on the iLike Blog. And they’ve got a widget for your web page (which I’m hoping is showing up on your screen as you read this) and it’ll even let you play my recently played songs as you read this post!What I don’t like about it is it calculates favorites based on the songs in iTunes on your hard drive and not what’s on your iPod (even if this was some manual option I had to select I could deal with it). I’ve got a 60 GB iPod, I don’t have that much room on my laptop to carry around all my music on it all the time (besides I’ve probably got it with me on my iPod). So really what it thinks is my favorite is what I’ve bought from the iTunes store that’s on my laptop and played the most (on the laptop or the iPod). So Conjure One is what it lists as my absolute favorite and while I like them a lot they wouldn’t be listed as my favorite. And when I was playing a lot of Christmas music (which I also had on my laptop) it push that up on my favorite list (I see Kenny G is still high in my rankings because of Christmas.

Written By: Gary on February 1, 2007 One Comment

No not that iPhone. The iPhone that’s been out for a while, the one that Linksys/Cisco owns the trademark to (but debating that is not the purpose of this thread). It’s a regular old looking phone, kinda cellphone-ish, it’s cordless and you can carry it around the house and it connects wirelessly to your Windows PC and can make and receive Skype calls. Your Skype friend’s list shows up in the display and you can dial from there. I thought it was pretty cool and it was on the odd clearance rack at Target (the UPC on the box didn’t scan and the had an extra price tag on it, like they received it by accident but needed to tag it to get rid of it) it was a great deal! It’s even got a spot for me to plug in a headset!

I like Skype, it’s a great idea and even though I only intermittently use it, it always seems to work for me. You can call other computers for free from your computer to and from anywhere in the world (this includes conference calls and video calls). You can call land lines in the US or Canada for just pennies a minute with no monthly fees (or unlimited for $30 a year) from anywhere in the world. Calling other countries cost a bit more depending on the location. Getting a number where people can call you at your computer (no matter what computer you are at, anywhere in the world) is about $60 a year. So going on vacation, it doesn’t matter where you are just load up Skype and connect to the net and people can call you! Get several skype numbers, one that’s close to Grandma and one that’s close to the kids in college and you’re just a local call away for each of them.

Then phone’s charging and so I haven’t even used it yet. But I can’t wait to try!FYI, they do make some other models of the iPhone that don’t require a computer, they just need WiFi to work. I see that as a minor problem in some places since you need a web browser to activate the Wifi (Panera, McDonald’s, Border’s, etc.). And they’re a lot more expensive. When they get smaller and cheaper, or better yet when they come built into my cell phone…

Written By: Gary on January 21, 2007 No Comment

So I haven’t said much about the iPhone since it was announce but what’s to say it looks awesome!!! It’s a widescreen video iPod with an internet browser, e-mail and it makes phone calls. The downside (IMHO) is it’s only on Cingular and I don’t think the network the iPhone is using is as fast as the EVDO speed networks.

IphonehandThe negative I’ve seen some reviewers mention is that it only accepts music from the iTunes music store. Which isn’t true, it only accepts protected music from the iTunes music store. And it’s important to remember all other players don’t allow music from the iTunes music store, I see that as a problem. You can buy from some (smaller) music sites and put your CDs on it. FYI, the iTunes music store sells 58 songs a second (5 million a day) that makes them the fourth largest retailer of music (Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target are above them) then just pulled ahead of Amazon. The iTunes and iPod experience makes it so pleasant to use I don’t think most people care if you can only use one store to buy (protected) music from…On a side note there are rumors that Apple is making a huge advertising announcement during the SuperBowl. The rumor is that they are going to start carrying the Beatles CDs, I just don’t see that is a major announcement, but we’ll see. It’s interesting since Apple Records (the Beatle’s label) has sued Apple more than a few times for infringing on their trademark but I just don’t see it as that huge of a deal. I see them maybe running some new AppleTV ads and maybe some iPhone ads or maybe a new widescreen iPod ad, who knows, the SuperBowl is where they started their ad blitz for the Macintosh in 1984.

Written By: Gary on December 16, 2006 4 Comments

SarahsilentnightOops, I forgot to mention this earlier this week. You can get Sarach McLachlan singing Silent Night for free from the iTunes music store. This track is off of her Wintersong Holiday album. These iTunes freebies are generally from Tuesday to Monday, so make sure you grab it this weekend.

Written By: Gary on December 3, 2006 No Comment

I’m not sure if this was a recent episode but I just saw this Wired post with screen captures and thought it was pretty funny!

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Written By: Gary on October 25, 2006 No Comment

rain delayAs we all know, I’m not a huge fan of sports, normally I’d be hard pressed to know who’s in the World Series. But being from the Detroit area I was curious as to how they were doing tonight. Unfortunately they’ve got rain, much too much rain to play so the game has been delayed. I’m not sure if they might still play tonight or not. Very sad for the sports geeks who had their whole night planned out…

I know how I feel when Apple has a press conference and Steve Jobs doesn’t announce the product I was expecting…

You can tell I’m not into sports that much when I’m wondering how “they are doing” and not how “we are doing”.

Written By: Gary on September 12, 2006 3 Comments

The new iPods have brighter screens and up to 80 GB hard drives (with a 60% brighter screen). It’s also set to play more games these days too (I’d like a nice Scrabble).

The new redesigned Nano now goes up to 8 GB!!! I think the nano looks more like the old minis but smaller.

I’m really thinking I might need me one of these. Mine doesn’t have the video and I’ve been thinking that might be a nice feature. At $349 for 80 GB that’s a nice price (I think I paid $599 for the 60 GB when they first came out). Usually these are about 5% cheaper for education employees but I’m not seeing the discount :(

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Written By: Gary on August 26, 2006 3 Comments

So Apple has a battery recall going on right now for some of the 12 & 15 inch Powerbooks and iBooks. I qualify for two and it’s a relatively easy process. I’ll tell you the four problems with it:

  • The font size on the battery is about 3 pt, you need a magnifying glass or take a digital picture and zoom in.
  • When it asks for your county it’s county, not country.
  • The confimation e-mail I got didn’t mention two batteries, I’d have been happier if there was a good web or e-mail confirmation that listed my name, address and all the serial numbers.
  • I’m surprised that I didn’t get a warning to stop using the batteries immediately as part of the process.

    I’ve got an older third battery at work that I don’t think I ever disposed of, I’m hoping that might qualify too :)

  • Written By: Gary on July 14, 2006 4 Comments

    So on a slight tangent in class tonight (I give a tech leadership class at a local university) I was passing on some ways to get cheap inexpensive technology (or other freebies you can get). And I gave away some of my best savings sites so I thought I would share them here too:

  • SlickDeals – they have all sorts of forums with free stuff (including free magazine subscriptions)
  • Woot – A daily deal at 1 AM EST every day (generally a tech-ish deal)
  • Grupare – Deals on all sorts of stuff
  • DealMac – which has great Apple & accessory deals and links to their PC, Camera, Memory, Ink and Coupon sites too!

    There’s lots more around but these are the ones I check daily.

    Wait!!! I almost forgot MacZot! a cheap mac software ware deal every day. Today (and for the next few days) they are offering the MysteryZot 5 which is 5 pieces of software bundle for $5. Who knows what you’ll get, but it’s only $5! I bought one. Now I have to wait until it’s over to find it out.

    Actually, I had to mention the class tonight because they kept asking me about the blog and I specially said I never mention the class. They asked about my blog address but I said they’d have to use a search engine if they really wanted to find it.

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    Written By: Gary on July 4, 2006 No Comment

    Bluetoothlogo2So I love my iPod but I hate the cords (the same goes for the cell phone). It needs bluetooth! It’s be better for the car (if the stereo from car had it) and it’d be better for walking, running, rollerblading, etc. I know people make some adaptors but Apple is such a BT supporter it really needs to be integrated (you could even sync via BT if you wanted).

    Now BlueTooth is not as universal as it really should be so they need a way for companies to add some firmware to make it more compatible (who isn’t going to add a drive for the best selling iPod?)

    And this is how I want it to work/look (be sure to roll your mouse over the image). And if we’re adding video, I want a 160 GB version!

    Written By: Gary on July 2, 2006 No Comment

    So speaking of free products for your computer there is Open Source (this means free) Word Processing, Spreadsheet and Presentation sotware called OpenOffice and it’s no where near as daunting to install as Linux is. OpenOffice is available for Windows and Linux the latest Alpha of the Macintosh version was just released yesterday. The Macintosh version is called NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha 4 (for OS X 10.3 or better) (Alpha means it’s still in testing).

    By default it’s in English but 53 other language packs are available. It’s still an Alpha release (testing) but you can still get version 1.22 (but 1.22 doesn’t work on the Intel Macs). There is an actual version of generic Open Office for Mac but it requires X11 installed (which makes the process way more complicated) and it’s not as seamless IMHO. I’ve used this and recommend it to most of my Mac friends.

    Written By: Gary on June 27, 2006 2 Comments

    So apple just released a new 10.4.7 update to Tiger. The biggest things that excite me are:

    Bluetooth file transfers, pairing and connecting to a Bluetooth mouse, and syncing to mobile phones

    I’m really hoping this helps with Syncing to my new Sprint Treo 700p. More info at Apple (and more detailed info here).

    Written By: Gary on June 25, 2006 2 Comments

    Kyle xy freeI thought that the first episode of KYle XY looked interesting (it premiers tomorrow) and I see they have the first episode on iTunes for free (I think only through the 29th). It reminds me of the TV series John Doe but it looks ask if it will be more of a Family show than a mystery show (I haven’t watched this yet, but I needed to mention it while it’s still free). This show premiers Monday at 8pm ET on ABC Family.

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    Written By: Gary on June 17, 2006 No Comment

    HoudaSpot, file find/search software for Macintosh, is free for the first 5,000 people (the form will be gone when it’s over, you cannot miss the form it’s all that’s on the page). Yesterday I talked about their buzz marketing strategy so you can read that post if you want more info.

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    Written By: Gary on June 16, 2006 One Comment

    Here’s a mini-review of HoudahSpot it’s a piece of software to help you find files on your computer. First I have to ask: have I mentioned MacZOT.com before? They have a different piece of software way on sale every day with different marketing schemes. Today, a Mac OS X Tiger search program drops a nickel in price for every blog that mentions it. So it could be be free today if enough people mention it…

    THEY’VE EXTENDED OFFER THIS THROUGH SATURDAY. It’s down to $4 and if you blog a mini-review it’s free.

    houdaspot venn pngI’ve complained before about the “find’ options in Tiger so I had to give this search software a try. It’s got options for and and not and or and Venn diagrams to help you choose. It’s got previews for audio, video and photos (with all sorts of info on the files). Try it out, it’ll be cheap or free (actually, I think it’s free just for blogging about it).

    NOTE: If you’re seeing this on June 16 or 17, 2006 or head over to MacZOT, you might be able to get a Free copy of HoudahSpot. Search easily in Tiger, Mac OS X, with HoudahSpot

    Written By: Gary on May 18, 2006 No Comment

    So Apple finally released a new smaller Intel Core Duo laptop. It’s just called the MacBook (no “pro”) and as far as I can tell be biggest difference is the fact that it doesn’t have separate graphics hardware. My big question is why? Why not just put in the better graphics for $50 more and be done with it? I want a small and powerful machine! I don’t think I’ve heard any rumors of a small pro model yet. Has anyone?

    So let’s compare this to my favorite laptop, the 12 inch powerbook. It’s a all around, but a little thinner (10.9“ wide, 8.6” deep and 1.18“ thin for the PB and 12.78” wide, 8.92“ deep and 1.08” thin) but it’s 5.2 pounds which is 0.6 pounds heavier, which is huge when you consider the 15 inch model is only 5.6 pounds.

    Bonuses on the MacBook: built-in iSight camera, up to 2 GB of memory (compared to 1.25 GB), optical audio in and out, a slightly larger screen, Front Row (with remote) and I’m assuming it’s a lot faster for the native applications (has anyone seen any speed tests comparing it to a 12 inch PowerBook?). But the best part? I like the plastic case better than the metal ones! The metal ones are too slippery…

    It’s only $1099 and Amazon has a $100 rebate right now on it. Oh, it comes in black for $150 more and I can’t figure out why it’s more. It’s actually $200 more but it comes with a larger hard drive which would be $50 more anyways.

    Anyone know if there are plans for a 13 inch MacBook PRO?

    Written By: Gary on May 7, 2006 No Comment

    So my photos from Egypt have the wrong time in them (embedded in the EXIF data) because I didn’t set the date/time on my cameras. I was going to try to fix them but it was going to be a little harder since there was a time change when I was there. So I spent some time today fixing that up and renaming the photos. The photos now have the date and time as part of the filename plus the imbedded EXIF data (the part of a digital photo that has info about the picture like time, exposure, what kind of camera, etc.) has the correct date/time also. All new photos posted should have the correct date/time information posted in them.

    Written By: Gary on April 17, 2006 One Comment

    So now that we have Windows on a Macintosh? Why not OS X on a Wintel machine (a stereotypical windows machine). How many people might buy it whil ewaiting for vista?

    Written By: Gary on April 5, 2006 2 Comments

    BootcampSo Apple just released a beta of their new program called Boot Camp that lets you put Windows on a Macintosh! This software allows you to put Windows and the Mac OS on new Intel Macintosh computers and you choose which one that you want to boot. No emulation! How cool is that?!?

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    Written By: Gary on April 5, 2006 No Comment

    Profcast Logo SmI’ve seen Profcast demoed and it’s pretty cool. In essence you talk while doing your PowerPoint or Keynote presentation (Mac only) and creates an enhanced Podcast with the images in it! The site says: “ProfCast is the ideal tool for recording and publishing your live Keynote or PowerPoint presentation. All elements of your presentation, including slide timing and voice narration, are recorded. You can then publish your complete presentation on the Web as a Podcast, complete with RSS support.”

    I’ve been meaning to buy it and I finally did this week, why you ask? Because they’re having the “Happy Birthday Apple Sale!” and only charging 30% of the price (30 years of Apple) so it’s only $10.50!

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    Written By: Gary on March 27, 2006 No Comment

    So my pet peeve with my PowerBook has been accidentally unplugging it when charging and then it’s not charged when I need to take it somewhere. Very annoying. The really annoying part is that I think Apple had a feature to avoid this built in in OS 9 (or 8) but it’s been gone for ages.

    I know I’ve looked for an application or utility to do this before, I don’t know how I missed it. But now I found one and it’s called Unplugged! What UnPlugged does is alert you when you unplug the power adapter (and when you plug it back in). And it’s freeware (donations accepted)! It’s probably going to annoy me with the alerts but at least I’ll never be annoyed that I don’t have power! (It supports Growl too).

    What’s annoying about these little programs (and about widgets too) is how much memory they use. It’s only 5MB of real memory but it’s 150MB of virtual memory. What’s it doing out there? With this one there isn’t even a user interface to adjust anything. It’s not this program, it’s all programs (they’re like windows bloat-ware these days).

    What’s odd is this one mentions that it “doesn’t use as much RAM and CPU usage as the other tools available”.

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    Written By: Gary on March 25, 2006 4 Comments

    So you know how when you’re watching a movie and something stupid happens with a computer, this is either:

  • A person saying something dumb about how it works.
  • Someone type some command or run some software that just doesn’t make sense.
  • The computer gives some weird error that just doesn’t make sense (or that it wasn’t given enough info for it to give an error like that).

    The attempt to burn a disc failed.  The device failed to calibrate the laser power level for this media.And of course you think “that doesn’t make sense” or “people are actually going to believe that now”! I know I’d think something like that if I saw a message like this one, “The device failed to calibrate the laser power level for this media” , I mean how crazy is that? You’ve never really get a message like that, right?!?

    My Powerbook (12 inch, 1.5GHz, superdrive) gave me that message today and I just couldn’t believe it. I had to try two other CDs from the same package and then go try them in another burner (which worked fine). I stuck another CD in here and it worked just fine, how bizarre?

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    Written By: Gary on March 8, 2006 One Comment

    Tori fade to redThis is a little different it’s Tori Amos: Fade to Red a video collection and commentary from the Apple iTunes store. It looks good, I’m not just sure if I want to buy it and it’s not DVD quality. Most of it’s old stuff that I already have on video or DVD. I guess I should check to make sure, it’s possible I already have all of it…

    They have all the other Tori Amos music, videos and they actually have a few live concert “bootlegs” too (Boston, Manchester, London, Denver, LA and Chicago).

    (Later) And now I see that Amazon carries the Tori Amos – Video Collection: Fade to Red DVD. So I guess it’s not as different as I though (although, it did come out less than a month ago). But that’s full screen and it’s a few bucks cheaper too, but I’ll still need to see if I actually need any of the videos.

    Oh, who am I kidding, it’s Tori, I need to have it…

    Written By: Gary on February 19, 2006 2 Comments

    So I’m at the Burger King that has free wired internet but no wireless. So I go to pull out my trusty Apple Airport Express out of my backpack. Or at least I try to. It’s gone!!! I dig and dig, I’ve got everything in this thing. If McGuyver carried a Powerbook, this is all the stuff he’d have “digital duct tape” and all that.

    It’s not here. But then I notice neither is my mini retractable ethernet cable, the last time I used both was (you got it) at this Burger King. I ask if they have a lost and found and they don’t (how weird is that?). But I describe it to them, they go to the office and sure enough they’ve got it!!!

    FYI, if you don’t know what an Apple Airport Express is, you’re missing out (even if you’re a windows user). Read my earlier review about this wireless router / repeater / music streamer and printer adaptor (it’s really small only 3.7 x 2.95 x 1.12 inches).

    Written By: Gary on February 11, 2006 One Comment

    For some reason that seems like it would be a nice thing, an Apple store open 24 hours a day. I suppose eventually I’d get burnt out if I hung out all hours of the day but it’s still a nice idea. If the Genius Bar were a regular bar…

    Why am I even talking about this? Rumour has it that the Manhattan Apple store will be the first 24/7 location. Now, it’s not worth moving to New York for, but I can still dream about it.

    Written By: Gary on January 14, 2006 No Comment

    So I was going to write a post about the new Apple products (iMac, iLife 2006; I already drooled the other about the MacBook a few days ago) and the stats on the Music Store and the B & M stores but PeachPit Press did such a nice wrapup, I’m just going to link to theirs.

    Written By: Gary on January 10, 2006 One Comment

    So I really want need the new MacBook Pro. The Specs are very impressive and it’s gat a great tag line.

    “What’s an intel chip doing in a Mac?
    A whole lot more than it ever did in a PC…”
    – Apple.com

    Plus it’s got everything a guy could want…

  • 4x faster than the last model (which is 150-200% faster than what I have).
  • 67% Brighter screen.
  • Backlit keyboard.
  • Built in iSight firewire video camera.
  • Remote control for Front Row.
  • iLife 2006 (with iWeb your podcasting blogging web publishing software).
  • Digital optical video out.

    I have one complaint, it’s only available in the 15 inch model and it’s really more than I want to carry around. It’s 5.6 pounds (only one pound more than my 12 inch) but it seems huge and heavy. I compared a someone’s old 15 inch model (almost the same size and the same weight) with mine and it just seems annoyingly huge.

  • Written By: Gary on December 23, 2005 No Comment

    Two free videos from the iTunes Music Store. You don’t need an iPod to see these, you just need the free iTunes software installed.

  • Chronicles of Narnia Rap, which I mentioned a few days ago.
  • Battlestar Galactica, a 21 minute behind the scenes (which I haven’t watched yet).
  • Written By: Gary on December 21, 2005 No Comment

    sad mac iconIt makes me crazy that the OS X Mail application doesn’t let you see who you Blind Carbon Copied (BCC) a message to! I sent it, shouldn’t I be able to go back and check?!? Argh!

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