Thursday, 02 September 2010

ATPM 16.09

The September issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Shhhhhhh. Be vewy, vewy quiet. Mark is hunting dwagons. He then ponders who’s really using less paper, us or them. (Them being corporations, not dwagons. Er, dragons.)

Yours truly had the pleasure of interviewing a friend: Heather Sitarzewski. Heather’s a very creative gal; the things she comes up with never fails to surprise me.

ATPM staffer Wes Meltzer has had to travel quite a bit of late for his other employer (the one that actually pays him). With finances being tight enough that a MacBook Air wasn’t in the cards, and needing something lighter than a 13-inch MacBook, Wes decided to try living with an EeePC netbook running Ubuntu Linux on the road.

Rob regales us with his tale of iPad purchasing, noting that our favorite fruit company’s tablet is an earnings and revenue monster.

If you like flowers, you’ll love this month’s desktop pictures selection. ATPM reader Sterling Garwood shares some photos he took in North Carolina.

Calling out the hazmat team, too much caffeine, avoiding FBI warnings on DVDs, old-fashioned copy editing, menopause, multi-level marketing, outsourcing the boss, and recycling: all in the line of duty in Out at Five.

Ed boldly goes where most of us fear to tread: into the realm of accounting. With his look at Acclivity’s AccountEdge and FirstEdge, things appear to be heading into the black. Finally, Eric puts his baby in then hands of Griffin’s Loop, a tabletop stand for the iPad.

As always, this issue of About This Particular Macintosh is available in a wide variety of formats for your enjoyment:

Thanks for reading, ATPM!

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Monday, 02 August 2010

ATPM 16.08

The August issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Rob gets us going with a recap of Apple’s latest earnings, as well as their new product introductions. Two lines in Rob’s analysis really stood out to me:

At $65 billion in annual revenue, Apple’s revenue take is greater than the GDP (gross domestic product) of most nations.


It’s interesting to note: In the June quarter close to 50% of Apple’s revenue was generated by products that did not exist in the marketplace just over three years ago.

It’s no wonder how favorite fruit company continues to be the envy of the tech industry.

While vacationing in Normandy, Mark discovers “wee-fee”, a new French cuisine. Despite some, er, “digestive” problems with the “wee-fee”, it was much preferable to the palate than his having to deal with refurbishing a Windows-running Dell.

Ed not only returns to update the Next Actions GTD app list, but shares his workflow and tools for processing e-mail. This is a great resource for those of us floundering through e-mail inboxes full of stuff we know we should get to, but never seem to.

Linus shares his experience going from 10 GB iPod to iPod touch to iPad, and learns some times the greener grass is hiding a few weeds. Sylvester shares his travails on maintaining the household network, noting that this sometimes unpleasant task has gotten easier over the years.

The August edition of our desktop pictures is courtesy of ATPM reader Giuseppe Balacco, his daughter Maria Luisa, and his wife Cecilia. They feature the gorgeous Tremiti Islands. I’ve already downloaded the entire set.

In this month’s edition of Out at Five, we are treated to unqualified sales recruits who’ll stab you in the back at the first opportunity, lightsaber confusion, why you should never finish every project you have at work, and finally those notes taped to the outside of the fridge should always be heeded.

Yours truly reviews the OWC Express USB 2.5-inch hard drive enclosure, a welcome addition to my tech stable. Finally, Matthew puts Ambrosia’s WireTap Anywhere through the wringer of digital recording.

Our all-volunteer publication is always looking for talented writers, photographers, and graphic artists to contribute regularly. If you’re interested, please contact the editors.

As always, this month’s edition of About This Particular Macintosh is available in a variety of flavors:

Thanks for reading ATPM!

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Tuesday, 02 February 2010

ATPM 16.02

The February issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Mark laments how the technology of his employer isn’t quite there when it comes to telecommuting when the weather’s bad. Then he laments how his home entertainment technology isn’t quite where he’d like it to be, either. Mark also ponders if anyone still cares about the browser wars.

Ed updates the Next Actions master list. If you can’t find something on there to help you get things done, then I suppose you’re content with pen and paper. (And there’s nothing wrong with that.) ATPM reader Stanley Jayne was kind enough to share with us his first experience with the Mac, which began with, well, the first Mac.

Yours truly is responsible for this month’s desktop pictures, which come from our trip to New England in May of 2006. At Weiser Graphics, Chad deals with a finicky printer and the changes in technology, while there appears to be an irrepressible march toward “green products” no one’s heard of. Or may need.

Finally, Sky King Chris has a pair of iPhone-related reviews, checking if the Element iPhone Stand and i.Tech’s SolarCharger 906 can measure up.

As always, About This Particular Macintosh is available in a variety of formats for your enjoyment:

Thanks for reading ATPM!

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Sunday, 03 January 2010

ATPM 16.01

The January issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure. The staff of ATPM is pleased to note with this issue we are entering our 16th year of publication!

Mark kicks off the new year having some fun with a GPS iPhone app, comparing it to its hardware-based brethren and how they work in the United Kingdom. He then notes some consternation with the ability of a XP-based Dell to not multi-task while his equivalently-equipped Mac strolls along chewing bubble gum.

Sylvester is kind enough to take us through building our own additions to the Services Menu. What’s that? You’ve never heard of the Services Menu? Crikey. Sylvester’s certainly got his work cut out for him then…

ATPM friend Delwin Finch loves macro photography, and was kind enough to share some shots of water drops under low light conditions in this month’s desktop pictures section. At Wieser Graphics, they’re feeling the economic crunch. Todd runs headlong into the digital vs analog wall, but proves adept at translating marketing speak for his boss.His greatest achievement, however, may be…well. You’ll see. If you haven’t made a New Year’s resolution yet, but would like to, Linus is ready with some suggestions.

Ed takes a look at a device I’m beginning to pine after: the Harmony 510 Universal Remote. Why, pray tell, might a publication dedicated to things Mac review such an item? Because Ed’s using it with an Apple TV, that’s why. And a Sony DVD player. And a Dish Network DVR/receiver. And an Onkyo 5.1 AV unit. And…well, you get the picture. Or maybe just Ed does…

Matthew drops his nets in the Craigslist ocean using Marketplace. It has a few limitations, sure, and some might find its price (there is a fully-featured trial period) off-putting. However, I recently used Marketplace to help my sister locate a used MacBook, and it was pure pleasure compared to searching Craigslist via its web site.

Linus claims he used Ortelius to make a map for his son, who wanted to use his green and tan plastic army soldiers in a game of world domination. But we really know who was playing with the green and tan plastic army soldiers, don’t we? Don’t we, Linus?

Chris gives Uniea’s U-Motion, a workout sleeve for the iPhone, a, well, workout. Then he goes after the U-Motion’s more formal sibling, the U-Suit Folio Premium.

As always, About This Particular Macintosh is available in a variety of formats for your enjoyment:

Thanks for reading ATPM!

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Wednesday, 02 September 2009

ATPM 15.09

After a couple-month hiatus from my usual blog posting announcing publication, I’m pleased to note the September issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

After more than twenty years of self-employment, Mark finds himself in the company of, well, a company, and is exasperated by the many instances of “anti-time” he is encountering. Oh, and he misses his Mac. (Who wouldn’t?) Angus performs some fortune-telling as he gazes out over the technology sector.

Back in July, Lee took a 10-day excursion to merry ol’ England. (Technically it was the United Kingdom, as Wales and Scotland were visited too, but “merry ol’ United Kingdom” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.) While on his journey, he chose to forego taking along his trusted MacBook Pro, winging it solely with his jailbroken (ahem) iPhone.

In addition to providing us with his Mac-less trip experience, Lee also shares with readers this month’s desktop pictures. My favorites include Becky Falls, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey 1. Matt showers another array of his new cartoon, Out at Five upon us; I really like “Difficult Printer” and “Get to the point”.

Chris finds a simple and inexpensive iPhone stand, while Linus wonders if Cram is the learning tool it’s cracked up to be. Chris also puts the In Your Face “flexible holder” for one’s iPhone through its paces.

It’s always handy to be able to power up one’s iPhone after a busy day of texting, mapping, web surfing, e-mailing, oh, and using that voice thingy that comes with it. No, not the Skype app. That thing that says Phone. Thus, Lee is pleased he can do so thanks to Griffin’s PowerBlock Reserve. Finally, Ellyn takes control of Safari 4 thanks to, um, Take Control of Safari 4, one of the latest titles from TidBITS Publishing’s Take Control e-book series.

As always, About This Particular Macintosh is available in a variety of formats for your reading enjoyment:

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Sunday, 03 May 2009

ATPM 15.05

The May issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Reading about Mark’s travails in obtaining faster broadband across the Pond, I’m thankful our step up to fiber optic a couple of years ago was relatively painless. I’m also thankful we’ve never had the sort of printer troubles Mark’s run in to, thought he does aptly highlight how inkjet printers are pretty much a commodity now. In some cases, it’s to the point of, “We need more ink? The new ink costs how much?!? How much was that new printer at Costco?”

Ed updates the master GTD app list for May, while Sylvester walks us through Front Row. Linus’ attempt at making it through the Bible of GTD, David Allen’s Getting Things Done, offered at least inspiration for this month’s Qaptain Qwerty.

I’m especially proud of this month’s desktop pictures selection. Not only were they were shot by Jessica, the teenage daughter of my good friend Rob Leitao, but they were done so not with even a low-end digital SLR, but with a run-of-the-mill Canon PowerShot point-and-shoot. We hope you enjoy Jessica’s stunning photos from Yosemite National Park.

Lee works out the combo of Slappa’s PTAC laptop sleeve and shoulder bag, while Chris crisscrosses the country with his iPhone in a Core Case. Rob puts iWeb ‘09 through the wringer as he creates from scratch a new web site. Chris puts two non-case iPhone accessories through their paces: the Pogo Sketch stylus, and the “tuned conical deflection chamber” of the SoundClip. Finally, Ed pours some audio through the interesting Transcriva: dump in the audio, out comes text transcripts. I may have to look into that one myself.

As always, ATPM is available in a variety of formats for your enjoyment:

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Thursday, 02 April 2009

ATPM 15.04

The April issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Mark discovers an unexpected benefit of the iPod nano apparently having a mind of its own, while at the same time dealing with the beta of Safari 4 and problems with paperless billing. As usual, Ed updates the GTD App Master List, while exploring the automation of file management.

Rob brings us photos of the Vasquez Rocks, part of the San Andreas Fault just north of Los Angeles, in this month’s desktop pictures. (Be sure to tune in next month when Rob’s teenage daughter’s photos of Yosemite are featured, and we can all see how much better a photographer she is than dear ol’ Dad. Love ya, Rob!) Linus shows us how Mac users really can be affected by Windows viruses.

Ed expands the capabilities of Photoshop Elements with the extremely capable Elements+, which unlocks big-brother Photoshop features otherwise hidden in the application’s source code. In the quest to protect sensitive data, Linus conducts a little Espionage, while Lee looks at the iPhone app for Facebook, a place where far too many people aren’t sensitive enough with their data.

Frank conducts the Mother of Current Big Three GTD Mac Apps Round-Up™, having a hard time choosing between OmniFocus, TaskPaper, and Things. (I use TaskPaper myself, though I admit I don’t really use it every day, in the way I should be using it. I guess I have trust issues. Which is funny because many times, my brain itself can’t be trusted, so… Oh. Right. This month’s issue. Sorry.)

Chris is a little disappointed with the iFlyz Personal Media Solution Stand, whereas Lee finds KavaServices rather useful. Finally, when he’s not flying the friendly skies, Chris is trying out the Showcase with his iPhone 3G.

As usual, ATPM is available in a variety of formats to suit your reading needs:

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Monday, 02 March 2009

ATPM 15.03

The March issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Mike ponders a Jobs-less Apple future, especially in light of a certain comment made by a certain Apple fan-baiting hack. After a long hiatus, Mark re-enters the world of book design with a job hunt, and comes away pining for a twenty year-old Mac rather than suffer the slings and arrows of the Windows machines he encounters. Also in the employment hunt, Mark discovers the paperless office and instant communication are still a long way off, especially, and not surprisingly, in the bureaucratic wasteland of government offices.

Sylvester has a wonderful introductory piece on Time Machine. Be sure to read the comments; after submitting the article for publication, Sylvester encountered an error with Time Machine backups, and his solution may prove valuable to some of you in the future.

David Siebecker was kind enough to share some amazing photos from his 2006 safari to Tanzania for this month’s desktop pictures. (Consequently, Tanzania is the home of Emmanuel, the boy our family sponsors through Compassion.) I especially like the shots of the rhino, elephant, and the two sunsets. In this month’s Qaptain Qwerty, Linus shows us how backups have grown up.

Speaking of Linus, he puts ChronoSync, an app I’ve long had on the Eventual To-Try list, through its paces, and finds it worthy. One booth we made sure to stop by at while at Macworld Expo was the Eye-Fi one, and Lee has given the namesake Explore wireless SD card a workout. Finally, Chris determines whether or not the PED3 iPhone Stand is a worthwhile replacement for Apple’s iPhone dock.

As usual, ATPM is available in a variety of formats for your convenience. Thanks for reading About This Particular Macintosh!

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Monday, 02 February 2009

ATPM 15.02

The February issue is now available for your reading pleasure.

If you’ve gotten over Wes’ analogy to high-altitude, fiber-producing, spitting camelids in last month’s Bloggable, you’ll be pleased to know he’s now moved on to the blogosphere discussion of appropriate iTunes App Store pricing. Oh, and Steve Jobs’ health. Because the mainstream media will just not. Let. It. Go.

Mark wanders down memory lane so far as Internet connections are concerned, and laments that some employment forms across the Pond are in non-editable PDF form. Why is this a problem? When one such form is 28 pages long, that’s a lot of handwriting. There’s also the testy problem of folks paying for a broadband connection half the speed of which they’re paying for.

For anyone looking to get things done, Ed has updated the master list of applications which might help you to do so. Yours truly, with much help from Lee and Eric, offers a report from our adventure in San Francisco, and Macworld Expo 2009. Speaking of memory lane, Linus takes a stroll about Removable Storage Avenue, with a column title that made me smile nostalgically.

Speaking of San Francisco, one of the things the three ATPM musketeers did while we were there was take lots of photos, and the Bay Area offers lots of opportunities for great shots. Lee shares some of his favorites with us for this month’s desktop pictures. Linus contributed a cartoon complimentary to his column, wherein an old maxim is shown to not be true.

Some of you may think laptop stands are just not cricket, but Frank Wu is impressed with the Cricket Laptop Stand. (What? Too many Britishisms in this month’s ATPM post?) Ed puts MacSpeech Dictate 2.1 through its paces, and the voice recognition tool emerges unscathed and highly recommended.

As usual, ATPM is available in myriad formats for your enjoyment.

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Friday, 02 January 2009

ATPM 15.01

About This Particular Macintosh enters its fifteenth year of publishing with the release of our January issue.

Angus found himself doing some iPhone evangelism during the holiday season, even if it was completely unintentional on his part. Wes returns, after many months, with a look at the latest in the Mac blogosphere, notably the latest news regarding lawsuits between Apple and Mac-clone maker Psystar.

Mike is very happy with his iPhone 3G, but is disappointed that it meant his having to leave Sprint. He wonders if we’ll ever have mobile phones and mobile serviced unbundled from one another. As Mike notes, the cable companies don’t tell us what TV to use, and thank Jobs and Woz we aren’t required to use Windows to access content on the Internet. (Well, most content, anyway.) As his next action for 2009, Ed lays out where he’s taking his column, and looks for feedback from the ATPM readership.

Ken Aspeslagh was kind enough to share some photos from around the world for this month’s desktop pictures. Locations include St. John, France, and New England. Linus entertains with this month’s cartoon, related to a review in this same issue.

Speaking of reviews, Ed gets on the, er, Freeway. No, not of love, but of web site design. If you’ve got a ton of URLs you’d like to store for later reference, Paul thinks you can do worse than ShoveBox. For those looking for a hands-free kit to use with their iPhone, Ed thinks highly of the Vizor SUN. (Yeah, I had a line there about shining brightly, or using your car’s sun visor, but I couldn’t make it work, and it’s already past midnight, so this is getting posted on the 2d instead of the 1st. Maybe next year.) Finally, Linus wraps up our first issue of 2009 with a look at WordSoup, and if you’re still trying to figure out the cartoon, hopefully it makes sense now.

As always, this month’s issue is available in multiple formats for your reading enjoyment. Thanks for reading ATPM!

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Thursday, 18 December 2008

Um, yeah

MacJournals News:

Expert Macintosh users who see “MacWorld” in an article know you don’t know what you’re talking about, just as most technology-literate readers would laugh at “MicroSoft,” “QualComm,” or “LexMark.” Referring to a famous technology event without the correct name or spelling is a quick way to throw away your credibility. Saying “That’s how I always thought it was spelled, and besides, everyone knew what I meant” is saying “I didn’t bother to get the facts about my subject before I wrote my article.” Don’t be that writer.

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Monday, 01 December 2008

ATPM 14.12

The December issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available.

We wrap up our fourteenth year of publishing beginning with some fantastic cover art courtesy of our friend Catherine. Mike ponders Apple’s sales strategy post-Black Friday, given the downturn in the economy, while Mark comments on the oft-overlooked Services menu. GTDers, rejoice, for Ed has another installment, this time focusing on non-typical lists, or, in humanspeak, “things that don’t conveniently fall in to our normal lists or categories”. Ed also updates the application list for the final time this year; if you can’t find an app to help you get things done, well, then you’re just not trying. Or reading ATPM each month.

Our friend Mike Shields returns from a long hiatus with perspective from a Mac user in Hollywood. Mike recently took part in the 168 Project, and discusses how you, too, can use your Mac to shoot an almost no-budget flick. Sylvester offers a guide for everyone who would like to run a second monitor on their Mac. Before I brought my old G4 Cube out of retirement, I was doing this with my 20-inch iMac and an older 19-inch LCD, and I confess, I do miss the extra screen real estate. Lee brings us some gorgeous shots of the Rocky Mountain National Forest in this month’s desktop pictures section, including some widescreen shots. My personal favorite is number three.

Just in time for the holiday buying season, we have a slew of product reviews to assist you in purchasing decisions for the Mac users on your list, or for yourself! Linus takes us through the new version of Art Text, while Ed lugs around Tom Bihn’s Checkpoint Flyer, a bag which allows travelers to keep their laptop in the bag without being hassled by the TSA.

Lee puts the Finder-based FTP client ExpanDrive through its paces, as Paul summarizes the tome, Foundations of Mac OS X Leopard Security. If you’re unable to hit the links on a regular basis, Ed may have found a solution for you with GL Golf. Finally, Lee looks at the iRecord Pro to see if it measures up to its predecessor.

As usual, ATPM is available in a variety of formats for your reading pleasure.

On behalf of the ATPM staff, thank you for reading. Concluding fourteen years of publication is quite a milestone, and we’re looking forward to continuing the standards we’ve set forth as we enter year fifteen. Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

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Monday, 10 November 2008


Michael Gartenberg:

Every time there’s a new OS release from MSFT they talk about the shortfalls of the current OS & how the new version will fix all problems.

Ever hear Apple dis a former version of their OS? Me neither. :)

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Monday, 03 November 2008

ATPM 14.11

The November issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Charles returns with another Filemaking column, taking readers through layouts and tables in the book database we’re building. There are lamentations from across the Pond, as Mark bemoans Honda and FireWire neutering, yet we can rejoice and be thankful this month on the American side of the ocean, as Ed has updated the GTD application master list.

Lee breaks down the various file formats available to us in Photoshop, while ATPM reader Zac Stivers was kind enough to share some photos from his hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas in our desktop pictures offering. I think the second Quince photo is lovely.

Speaking of photos, and Photoshop, Lee also reviews Mask Pro 4.1.2, which can be helpful for those of without the experience Lee has in building masks from scratch. Chris rocks the Logitech MX Revolution’s world, putting the ergonomically-shaped, wireless mouse through its paces. Ed likes the intriguing PDFPen, while Linus enlisted the help of his wife and son in his review of the game StoneLoops.

We say good-bye to a dear friend this month in the pages of About This Particular Macintosh. Matt Johnson has been drawing his Cortland cartoon for us for six years, and this month, brings the series to a close. Matt has seen a lot of changes in his life of late: new wife (congratulations, you guys!), new job, and a new city. He’s taking a breather from cartooning to get in to the swing of things, but assures us he’ll be back in the near future.

Thanks for six great years, Matt, and we can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

As usual, ATPM is available in a variety of reading formats for your comfort. Thanks for reading!

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Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Worth repeating

From my good friend, Brent:

“[T]he only people who bring up the supposed value of IBM/Windows over Mac are people whose livelihoods depend on it. Those PC vs. Mac commercials are correct, and Jerry Seinfeld can’t fix it.”

(It’s worth noting Brent’s livelihood does not, in fact, depend on the Mac. He’s just a satisfied user of one at home, whereas his work computer is Windows-based.)

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Wednesday, 03 September 2008

ATPM 14.09

The September issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Mark informs us that more ISP chicanery is afoot across the Pond, and how Mac users in the UK might be affected. Ed’s updated the master list of GTD apps with a new item: iPhone Presence. Does the app have an iPhone version, or a web version the iPhone can access? Pretty handy if you’re looking for an application to get things done with that will run on your Mac and your iPhone.

In this month’s Photoshop For the Curious, Lee shows us how to use the Merge tool to stitch together those vacation photos to get those great panoramic shots. Sylvester scratches the surface of Preview’s usability to help us get more out of that handy little app.

This month’s desktop pictures are again courtesy of Julie Ritterskamp, who took these great photos in various national parks throughout the western United States this past July. The identity of Lord Fate, present and past, is revealed, as Cortland’s saga comes to a close. Todd and Angie begin to move their lives forward again, though Angie is having trouble letting Cortland go. But does she have to…?

First Officer Chris Lawson, our nation-trotting staff pilot, pounds around on Das Keyboard Professional, while the Big Boss, Michael Tsai, reviews three hard drive enclosures which allow one to treat hard drives as floppy disks. (For you young’uns, we used to have to store our computer data on this pieces of five-inch discs, which were encased in a floppy plastic material, hence the name, floppy disk, or floppies.)

Lee looks at a pair of headsets from Maximo, while Ed does some recipe filing with MacGourmet Deluxe. Finally, Linus puts Séquence through its paces to see if it can dethrone screen-capture king Snapz Pro.

As always, this issue of ATPM is available in a variety of formats for your reading enjoyment.

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Friday, 01 August 2008

ATPM 14.08

The August issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Angus gets us started this month with a look at Microsoft’s latest attempts to market its way out of its Vista doldrums, while he’s very impressed with Microsoft Office: Office 2007 for Windows, that is, and notably the suite’s OneNote slice of software. If you’re wondering what this has to do with the Mac, read the whole column.

Mike goes a bit Billy Shakes on us as he recounts his tale of iPhone 3G acquisition, while storage is on Mark’s mind. As we go through the Great Room Reshuffle of 2008™ here in our home, storage is on my mind as well, but Mark’s thinking in terms of data storage. For Photoshop geeks, Mark also notes how to get the Pxl SmartScale plug-in working on an Intel Mac.

Gedeon Maheux, of the Iconfactory, twittered a couple of months back how he wanted a native to-do list app for his iPhone. He suspected that once the iPhone SDK was available, we’d see a “dev to-do list Thunderdome” of productivity apps. Judging from Ed’s roundup of Getting Things Done (GTD) applications for the iPhone, it looks like Ged’s prediction come true. Lee takes a break from the normal tutorials in this month’s Photoshop for the Curious to talk about when and when not to actually use some of the tips and processes he’s been teaching us on our photos.

This month’s desktop pictures are courtesy of Julie Ritterskamp, and features that sleepy little West Coast burb of San Francisco. Also, s the villianous legion regroups and remembers, the shocking truth about Cortland is finally revealed!

Linus has some fun running his photos through Comic Life Magiq, while Eric throws Knapsack over his shoulder for some trip planning. Finally, Lee thoroughly runs SmartMask 2.0, a plug-in for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, through its paces.

As always, ATPM if available in a variety of formats to suit your preferred reading habits.

The release of last month’s issue marked a personal milestone I failed to notice at the time of publication. I’ve now completed my 10th year of working on About This Particular Macintosh, and I’ve worn a variety of hats during that time. I have to thank Michael Tsai, our Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, for giving me the chance ten years ago to be a part of something I believe to be very special. In addition to being the boss, Michael has become a valued friend.

ATPM is a second family of sorts. While staff members come and go, it is amazing how entrenched in one another’s lives we become. We have seen one another through a wedding, the birth of children, a reality television game show, Macworld Expo meet-ups, even one of our own getting out in public to sing the National Anthem at a ball game. Rob’s family, and quite a few of my own, is still amazed that Michael and I showed up for his marriage to Sandy; it was first time any of us had ever met in person. ATPM has delivered my best friend in the online world. Rarely does a day go by that Lee and I are not in touch, mostly by instant message.

Working on the publication has been an honor and a treat, and I extend my thanks to all of the staff members, past and present, for the privilege of working alongside you.

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Wednesday, 02 July 2008

ATPM 14.07

The July issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Kicking things off, Mark gets in touch with his inner “me” as he ponders the news from Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference this year. When the iPhone Software Developer Kit (SDK) was first released, it was theorized in the Twitterverse and throughout the blogosphere that once Apple provided a means to install standalone applications on the iPhone, we would see a raft of to-do list and other task management apps. With the impending release of the iPhone 3G and the iPhone App Store, Ed reflects on these thoughts, along with some on what we might find in the near future.

In this month’s Photoshop For the Curious, Lee shows us how to make the image on a computer monitor or television pop and not appear burned out when the monitor is photographed. Boy, I wish I had had this info back when I did my iPhone review… Sylvester follows up his thoughts from last month on network attached storage drives with some practical advice on playing well with one. Or two. Or three. Maybe four. Heck, you know how it is with NAS drives…

Oh. You don’t? You don’t even know what a network attached storage drive is? You can’t even figure it out from the name?

Let’s move along, shall we?

ATPM reader Harry Torres is kind enough to share some of his vehicular art with us in this month’s desktop pictures selection. Cortland’s foes celebrate his vanquishment, and reminisce on how they got to that point…

Paul puts EyeTV 3.0.2 through the ringer, while yours truly reviews Macworld’s iPhone Superguide, a great resource for any iPhone owner. If you’re looking for a spelling-bee game, read Linus’s Spell-Jam review before continuing your search. Finally, Lee takes a look at a potentially handy piece of software for getting your Mac and Wii to play nice together.

As always, this month’s ATPM is available in a variety of formats for your comfort. Thanks for reading, About This Particular Macintosh!

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Thursday, 01 May 2008

ATPM 14.05

The May issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Wes has a great round-up of the Mac blogosphere’s reaction to the Psystar Mac clone, as well as bits on Adobe Creative Suite, e-mail clients, Apple’s proceeds from Google referrals, profitability of potential iPhone software sales, and user interfaces. Finally, the blog about the column returns as Son of Bloggable. It’s about time, Wes!

Mark’s understandably unhappy with actions of the MBG (Britian’s RIAA), and notes the fallacy of DRM in light of the closing of MSN Music. Ed has a revised list of GTD applications in this month’s Next Action, while Lee dodges and burns up Photoshop for the Curious.

This month’s desktop pictures are courtesy of David Siebecker, and are from a six-day hike through New Hampshire’s White Mountains. All seems lost for Cortland and company as Lisa makes a last bid for victory, any way she can take it.

Yours truly pounds out a review on Apple’s latest keyboard, while Linus grills Blue Crab. Sylvester is impressed with Drive Genius 2, while ATPM’s Official Pilot™, Flight Officer Lawson, puts the Flipp Premium Leather Case for his iPod through its paces. ATPM is a labor of love, with no staffer receiving compensation, so we really can’t complain when Paul takes time to play with SpacePig.

As always, About This Particular Macintosh is available in a variety of formats for maximum reader comfort. Thanks for reading!

posted by retrophisch at 7:03 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 03 April 2008

ATPM 14.04

The April issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Wes kicks things off with a look at what’s been popular in the Mac blogosphere of late, and that’s namely been about a product that isn’t a Mac, but works with your Mac: the iPhone. The announcement of the software development kit (SDK for short) for the iPhone has generated quite a lot of discussion amongst developers and pundits.

Mark talks about chips of all sorts, from his uniquely Brit point of view, as well as the latest DRM nonsense across the Pond. Charles has another Filemaking, and walks through relational databases.

This month’s desktop pictures are courtesy of several ATPM readers, and feature views from all around the globe. Thank you, all, for sharing!

Back in meatspace, Todd turns the tables on the enemy with a reprogrammed Lisa. Cortland and Angela arrive safely from the Mudrix, but Cortland has paid a heavy price…

My good friend Tom Bridge returns to the pages of ATPM with a look at The Book of Wireless. Lee rounds up the latest iPhone accessories from Newer Technology, while Ed puts PhotoAcute Studio through its paces. Paul is pleased with Take Control of Permissions in Leopard, and Ellyn closes out the Tome Edition™ of ATPM by digging through Wikipedia: The Missing Manual.

As always, you can read ATPM online, as well as in three other formats of your choosing. Thanks for reading!

posted by retrophisch at 12:08 PM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 23 March 2008

Mixed Messages

What is ZDNet trying to tell us, I wonder?

Mixed Messages
Click to see a larger size

posted by retrophisch at 11:00 PM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 02 March 2008

ATPM 14.03

The March issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Wes has analysis and the roundup from the blogosphere on Microsoft’s attempts thus far to acquire Yahoo!, as well as bits on the MacBook Air, a disastrous HP PC (is “disastrous” redundant there?), the iPhone, and Aperture. Mark notes Apple’s approach to design, compared to others. Chuck takes a break from the normal workflow of Filemaking to look at what’s new in FileMaker 9.

Time warp with us back to the 1950s and 60s with ATPM reader Jennifer Curry’s shots of automobiles in and around Havana, Cuba, from a trip she took there in 2006. Sorry, Marty, no De Loreans. Meanwhile, Lisa is history, and the Mudrix code dissolves to nothing as Cortland makes a huge sacrifice to save the woman he loves. But is that sacrifice enough to save Angie from Cortland’s enemies in meatspace?

Lee puts Microtek’s ArtixScan M1 Dual Media Scanner through its paces, while Eric sees if LicenseKeeper can keep track of all those pesky software serial numbers every computer user tends to accumulate. Ellyn shoots a little pool with her Mac, but after finding it really hard to get the chalk off its case, she elected to shoot pool on her Mac, with MacPool. Chris tries to extend the wireless range of his PowerBook with Wi-Fire, while Linus reclaims some space on his hard drive with Xslimmer. As always, we get to the nitty-gritty of Mac and technology products so you don’t have to!

Every month, About This Particular Macintosh is available in a wide variety of formats for your reading pleasure, and this month is no exception: on the web; as an offline webzine; a PDF optimized for reading on your computer screen; or a PDF optimized for printing. On behalf of the entire staff, I hope you enjoy our work.

posted by retrophisch at 1:19 PM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 03 February 2008

Little green men

I love the little aliens from the Pizza Planet vending machine in Toy Story. Thanks to my friend Heather, and a long ago giveaway of some kind, I have two of the little guys guarding my favorite Mac, which is a little otherworldly in its own right…

Click on the photo to see the entire set.

posted by retrophisch at 9:30 AM -->in Macintosh , fun , ipod , movie , photography
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Friday, 01 February 2008

ATPM 14.02

The February issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Yes, he’s a month late for such reminiscing, but Wes weighs in on the comings and goings of 2007 in this month’s Bloggable. He also looks at the blogosphere’s rumblings over the new MacBook Air, and other items of interest. From across the pond, Mark offers an Englander’s point of view on Steve Jobs’ Macworld Expo Keynote, while he waits for a CyTV update, due to an incompatibility with Leopard.

Angus offers the pros and cons from this year’s Macworld Expo, as he sees it. Ted offers a progress report for this month’s ATPO, pre-announcing (pre-pre-announcing?) an outlining product he’s endeavoring to build, as well as offering his thoughts on Macworld Expo (anyone else see a theme here?) and an opinion regarding software business models.

Photoshop For the Curious returns from its brief hiatus, as Lee introduces us to Photoshop’s wonderful world of Masks. And, yes, while I didn’t attend Macworld Expo in person, this will not stop yours truly from offering his impressions of Steve Jobs’s keynote address to open the 2008 Macworld Expo, which took place in San Francisco last month. (There it is, again.) This month’s desktop pictures are courtesy of ATPM reader Kim Lee, from a November 2007 trip to Manado, Indonesia. Thanks, Kim!

Linus looks at Chameleon 5.0.881M Legacy, a Photoshop plug-in for combining images, while Ellyn plays around with Flip Words 2, something of a combination of Boggle and Hangman. Chris, ATPM’s official pilot, puts the Kinetik 15.4 Backpack through its paces, and Ed puts a few balls in to play with MacPinball 2.6.

As always, this month’s issue is available in a variety of formats for your reading pleasure.

posted by retrophisch at 7:39 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Macworld Keynote impressions

So the big news in the tech world yesterday was what Steve Jobs talked about during his keynote address at Macworld Expo in San Francisco. The annual technology conference geared toward the Mac OS, and all things Apple, Inc., is often used for the announcement of new products from my favorite fruit company. Yesterday was no exception. Here are some of my thoughts on what was announced:

Time Capsule

If I hadn’t bought an Airport Extreme Base Station last year, to replace a router that died, I’d be buying a new 1 TB—yes, that’s a T, for terabyte—Time Capsule right now. Merging an Airport Extreme Base Station with a “server-grade” hard drive, the Time Capsule allows for wireless backups from all of your Leopard-based Macs via Time Machine. Jobs called it a “back-up applicance”.

Time Capsule photo

Backing up your data is very important, and too few people do it, realizing the value of doing so only when it’s too late. Time Capsule is a dead-simple way, for most people, to ensure their Macs are getting backed up. Plug in and power on the Time Capsule, open up Time Machine on your Mac and point it to the Capsule, and you’re done.

Time Capsule comes in two sizes, the 500 GB version for $299, and the aforementioned 1 TB version for $499. That’s an amazing bargain, a terabyte of storage and a full wired/wireless router for five hundred smackers. As I said, if we didn’t already have the AEBS router, my credit card would have already seen one of these charged to it.

iPhone Update

Today was the 200th day the iPhone had been available for purchase, and Apple’s sold 4 million of them, an average of 20,000 iPhones sold per day. This means that in terms of United States smartphone market share, Apple has nearly 20% of the national smartphone market.

The rumors of a 1.1.3 update to the iPhone proved to be true. The home screen can now be customized, and the Maps application—the underrated killer feature of the iPhone in my humble opinion—is now even more super-powered. The new Location feature in Maps is great. Combining data from Google and Skyhook Wireless, your iPhone can now, without GPS on board, triangulate your position within a couple of blocks. It pulled up my location at home with no problem.

You can, finally, send a SMS message to more than one person, something my lowly Motorola v557 was capable of two years ago. The WebClips functionality is pretty neat; you can create a WebClip from any web page or portion of a web page and pop it on to your home screen, so it’s easy to just go to Google, or The New York Times, or whatever web page you wish, with one touch.

I’ve had quite some fun this afternoon playing with all of this new stuff, and it’s almost like getting a new iPhone for free. All in all, it makes the iPhone an even better communication device.

iTunes Movie Rentals

In addition to buying movies through the iTunes Store, you can now rent them as well. Library movies (viz: older titles) are $2.99, and new releases are $3.99. From the time you click “Rent Movie” in the iTunes Store and it downloads, you have 30 days to watch the movie. From the time you click “Play” on the movie, you have 24 hours to watch it. You can also transfer the movie to another device, such as your iPod or iPhone, and watch it there as well, before your 24 hours or 30 days, depending on where you are when you perform the transfer, are up.

The thirty days requirement is pretty decent, but I find the 24 hours one to be a little restrictive. It should be at least 48 hours, and 72 would be better, with 96 being the ideal.

Going hand-in-hand with the new rental service is an updated Apple TV, or as Jobs put it, “Apple TV Take 2”. Whereas the original Apple TV pretty much required you to have a computer to sync it up with, the new version acts as a stand-alone box. You can rent movies from the iTunes Store in HD through the Apple TV, for only $1 more than the standard resolutions. So library titles go to $3.99 and new releases are $4.99, and no trip to the mailbox or corner Blockbuster is required.

I’m still not convinced that we have a real use for this in our house, given our movie viewing habits. For now, Netflix will continue to suffice, but I’ll be keeping my eyes on the Apple TV, and I’m sure I’ll try out the new rentals even without the new box.

MacBook Air

This had all the buzz, and was the announcement I was most looking forward to. I was ready to pounce on ordering Apple’s new subnotebook, provided it met my personal expectations.

Apple has created the world’s thinnest notebook computer. At its thickest point, the MacBook Air is 0.76 of an inch, and it weighs only three pounds. It comes with a full-size keyboard, a 13.3-inch LED backlit display, and a 1.6 or 1.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor. Two gigabytes of RAM, an 80 GB hard drive, 802.11n wireless networking, Bluetooth, and a built-in iSight camera. A pricey option is to ditch the standard hard drive for a 64 GB solid state drive (viz: no moving parts), and when I say pricey, I do mean pricey: $999 on top of the base $1,799 cost.

You won’t find much in the way of ports on it, either: MagSafe power port, a single USB port, headphone jack, and a micro-DVI port which requires adapters to hook up to external displays. That’s it. The trackpad is larger than on previous MacBook versions, and features multitouch, so you can perform some of those pinch, zoom, and rotate gestures you may have seen with the iPhone.

MacBook Air photo

The downsides to this incredible piece of tech? For me, the hard drive size is the first. I put a 160 GB drive in my four year-old 12-inch PowerBook last year, and have gotten quite used to the extra room it gave me. I’d hate to step back down by half. Only two gigabytes of RAM? And no way to upgrade it? My two year-old iMac is maxed out at 2 GB, and some times I bump against that particular ceiling. I’d really prefer a machine that can handle up to four. The battery is also not replaceable by the user. This might be okay on an iPod or iPhone, but in a full-size computing system devoted to the ultimate road warriors?

Ultimately, I decided this was not the next notebook computer for me. It’s a really awesome system, and if someone were to buy one for me, I wouldn’t hesitate to take it, but that’s not happening. I think I’ll be better served ultimately by a MacBook Pro, and with seven and a half months since the latest edition of those came out, they’re due for a refresh, even a “silent” one like we saw with the Mac Pros last week.


In the end, it was what I would call a typical Steve Jobs Macworld Expo keynote address. There were the requisite ooohs and aaaahs, Apple’s making some evolutionary gains in all facets of its business, and there was a great new product introduced that has the entire tech world talking. It wasn’t a blow-me-away sort of keynote, as was last year’s with the announcement of the iPhone, but then they can’t all be like that. Still better than anything Bill does on stage.

posted by retrophisch at 12:46 AM -->in Macintosh , iphone , movie , tech
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Wednesday, 02 January 2008

ATPM 14.01

The January 2008 issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available to help you ring in the new Mac year.

Mike Chamberlain looks back at the first of 2007, and how his desire for a “MacPhone” panned out, and surprisingly so, later in the year. Mark notes how smaller cars might not always be a good thing, but smaller iPods are, and wonders what lies ahead for Apple’s music player line. Mark’s also thankful that FileMaker has remained easy to use, lo these many years. ATPM reader Tricia Roach becomes an ATPM contributor, with a Segments piece on how she uses her Mac’s video capabilities to stay involved in the lives of her grandkids.

This month’s desktop pictures are courtesy of ATPM reader Jennifer Curry, from her 2006 trip to Cuba. They feature the island nation’s buildings and cityscapes. Meanwhile, Angie flashes back to 1984 as she and Cortland face off against Lisa in the Mudrix for a final showdown.

Linus takes Baseline, a utility which helps you look at file and folder sizes on your Mac, through its paces. Ed uses BusySync to get things done, allowing others to subscribe to or read his iCal calendars, thus assuring everyone’s on the same page. Chris Lawson tries out, and really likes, the Fin Laptop Handle/Stand, while Lee pairs his iSight up with Iris for some fun. Reader Mark Stoneman contributes a review of Mellel, a word processor I’m fond of, and a must-have for those who work with right-to-left languages such as Hebrew or Arabic.

This issue marks the entry in to the fourteenth year of publishing for About This Particular Macintosh, and we hope it’s a great year for our readers, and Mac users everywhere!

posted by retrophisch at 12:39 AM -->in Macintosh
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Saturday, 03 November 2007

ATPM 13.11

The November issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Wes kicks off the month by covering—what else?—the blogosphere’s reaction to Mac OS X Leopard. He also has a choice bit regarding the ZFS file system, which I encourage you to read. I realize that particular topic sounds boring—I teased Wes I was printing out that part to help me get some sleep—but he’s done a stellar job of condensing a boring subject in to easy-to-understand layman’s terms. Our intrepid blog investigator also dishes out the links on the forthcoming iPhone development kit for application programmers, as well as a few other choice bits.

Mark—who seems to have the same attitude toward mobile phones as my parents—talks iPhone from the Brit perspective, while also pondering the Google goings-on in the mobile phone space. Speaking of pondering, Mark’s also beginning the laptop or desktop? dilemma. He gets extra points for using a title from one of my favorite authors. Lee’s taking a break from his great column, Photoshop for the Curious, returning in our February edition. To tide you over until then, he documents some other Photoshop-related links you may be interested in.

Sylvester offers a great how-to on extending iTunes’ abilities with content presets. ATPM reader Graham Lindsay was nice enough to share photos from his native Australia for this month’s desktop pictures. Just as all seems lost, our intrepid hero reenters the Mudrix to save the woman he loves in this month’s Cortland.

Small business owners may be interested in Ed’s review of Billable, whereas many folks may be interested in Paul’s look at Graph Paper Maker. Yours truly makes an appearance this month, as I contribute to the iPhone Case Roundup, with Lee and David. Lee likes XtremeMac’s Luna, and Ed is impressed with Nisus Writer Pro. Finally, Eric puts SuperSync through its paces.

As usual, you can read this month’s issue in a format of your choosing.

posted by retrophisch at 1:40 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 02 October 2007

ATPM 13.10

The October issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading enjoyment.

If you haven’t gotten enough iPhone news in the past month, or if you’ve just been vacationing in the Eastern Hindu Kush with Osama, Wes has a big round-up in this month’s Bloggable. Speed is on Mark’s mind, as is, um, more speed. Of a sort. And referencing the first in a certain series of science fiction movies many would know by name, but few will recall by the included reference.

Lee delves in to one of Photoshop’s premier features, layers, while Sylvester talks about your Mac’s speed. (Was there a theme for this issue that no one told me about?) Matthew has a how-to for installing a cooling fan in our beloved Cube. (For the record, he installed it in his Cube, which is not the same as my Cube. We don’t share a Cube. I was using “our” in a communal sense, as in all Cube owners everywhere. Oh, never mind…)

Tim Allen—the photographer, not the actor (though that would be pretty cool)—shares with us some shots he’s taken around the United Kingdom, including his home town of Kent, as part of this month’s desktop pictures selection. The Usual Suspects it ain’t, but to paraphrase Bill and Ted, “Strange things are afoot at Wieser Graphics” in this month’s Cortland.

Chris Lawson tries out a pair of iPod cases, the Claro, and the PodFolio, while Linus puzzles the ins and outs of Crossword Forge. Chris Dudar dives in to digital watermarking with iWatermark, while I am underwhelmed by DLO’s TuneStik. Lee hauls around the Velocity Matrix Backpack, and yours truly reviews Apple’s latest game-changing device, the iPhone.

As usual, ATPM is available in a variety of formats, so you can read it however you choose.

posted by retrophisch at 12:37 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 19 September 2007

So here I am, vocalizing

Jeff Ventura:

What’s interesting about Windows -> Mac switchers is that they typically feel a need to vocalize their experience in one way or another. That’s pretty remarkable, because it means that somehow Apple knows how to make evangelists out of users. I’m not sure any other company on earth does it as effectively. Apple’s installed base isn’t just an installed base: it’s a field marketing department.


Aside from very specialized computing tasks, there is literally very little reason to own a dedicated Windows machine anymore. I’d proffer that for the great majority of users, a Mac would work just fine if they do a modicum of research and go into the move with an open mind and the understanding that the Mac != Windows and there will be a learning curve. After that, it’s all good.

posted by retrophisch at 12:42 AM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 16 September 2007

Apple: The not-so-premium brand after all

Wherein I shamelessly plug my favorite computing platform.

DealMac has a post where they put three systems in a head-to-head-to-head competition for specificationss and price. The systems? The Sony VAIO VGC-LS37E All-In-One Desktop PC, the HP TouchSmart IQ770 Desktop PC, and Apple’s iMac. The verdict? The iMac comes in cheaper than both of the PCs, and it trumps them both in the specs department. Not to mention the iMac is the best-looking of the three, and you get to use the best operating system in the world, instead of Windblows Windows.

So answer me again on why you’d want to use a Windows machine? Avoid the heartache, people—believe me, with a spouse insisting on bringing a new Dull in to our household, for her use, I’m well acquainted with the heartache—and just buy a Mac.

posted by retrophisch at 3:44 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 04 September 2007

MarsEdit 2

My favorite blogging client has now been revved to version 2. I’ve been using MarsEdit ever since original developer Brent Simmons rolled out the 1.0 product, and I’ve been very happy with it. A couple of months ago, I began beta-testing new owner Daniel Jalkut’s upgrade of the client, and wow, was I ever blown away. Brent never really had the time to devote to MarsEdit, what with the popularity of NetNewsWire, and Daniel has definitely taken MarsEdit to the next level.

One thing I’ve noticed, being on the beta test lists of a few independent and small-shop Mac developers, is the level of responsiveness from those developers. You’re talking directly with the individual responsible for the product, not some project manager or mid-level flunky who really doesn’t get what’s going on with the application. Daniel is no exception, encouraging great participation from those on the beta list, and he always maintains a professional, and very friendly, attitude. It sounds like the the upgrade release is a hit so far, and no wonder, because MarsEdit 2 is a great product.

Great job, Daniel!

posted by retrophisch at 1:32 PM -->in Macintosh , web/site
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Monday, 03 September 2007

ATPM 13.09

The September issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Former staffer, and still good friend, Raena Armitage provided us with a fun cover this month. Thanks again, Raena! If Rob didn’t already have my undying friendship, well, by the power of Greyskull he has it now, managing to work our behind-the-scenes discussion of the new college football season in to this month’s issue. (I confess, this is one reason why you’re not seeing my iPhone review this month.)

Wes covers the big story of the Mac blogosphere from last month, the outing of Fake Steve Jobs, as well as iPhone-related AT&T issues, the iMac refresh, the new Apple keyboard, the latest addition to the iWork suite, and something having to do with brandy and lobster. Regarding that last, maybe our Wes has been sniffing too much newspaper ink at work or something.

Mark laments the Microsoft-blinders of myriad IT professionals, who don’t quite get that not everyone uses Windows, much less Internet Explorer. And speaking of Microsoft, Mark wonders if there might not be some new measurement of time coming forth. If you’ve ever needed a fancy tile graphic, Lee’s got the lowdown for you in this month’s Photoshop For The Curious, so you can knock it out without having to resort to talking to Crunch, the neon-blue mohawked graphic designer with the spike through his cheeks who blasts emo rock from his cubicle.

ATPM reader Jennifer Curry was kind enough to share some shots she took in 2004 from Australia’s Great Ocean Road. These are some breathtaking views of The 12 Apostles and the London Bridge rock formations. Thanks so much, Jennifer! More and more, the swing dance hall offers naught but misery for Cortland, while Todd suffers iPhone temptation. We’re also given a handy guide to online forum denizens.

Matthew explores the under-the-hood utility Cocktail, which, last time we checked, was not a Tom (Maniac) Cruise vehicle. Ed covers Curio 4.0, while Eric dives in to my feed reader of choice, NetNewsWire 3.0. ATPM’s official flight deck officer, Chris Lawson, isn’t suitably impressed with the radioSHARK 2, while Linus puts Snapz Pro X through its screen-capturing paces. Finally, Wes looks at the online, free-form information manager Stikkit, which doesn’t even require a Mac to use, just a web browser. Preferably one which is not from The-Company-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named. (Sorry. I’m currently reading through the Potter series for the first time ever. Apparently, it’s having an effect.)

As usual, this issue of ATPM is available in a variety of formats to suit your wants, desires, and needs.

posted by retrophisch at 1:22 AM -->in Macintosh
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Saturday, 04 August 2007

Today’s head-smacker

Overheard by Jeff Harrell earlier today:

Wouldn’t it be great if the people who made the iPhone also made a computer?

Really? Really?!?

posted by retrophisch at 9:48 AM -->in Macintosh , iphone , quote
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Thursday, 02 August 2007

ATPM 13.08

The August issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available.

In this month’s Bloggable, Wes makes sure to avoid coverage of “the largest technology premiere since the launch of Windows 95”, which would be the debut of the iPhone. Well, he almost avoids it, but does feature a round-up from the blogosphere concerning the WorldWide Developers Conference, the continuing chase to unmask Fake Steve Jobs, and the tale of Photoshop’s birth. Mark, meanwhile, has found a great benefit in the .Mac service over what he’s been getting from his local broadband provider.

Paul delivers a well-rounded meal of web sites for your browsing digestion, including subway maps, fast food ads versus reality, and a digitally-reproduced manuscript of Portuguese sonnets. Part of getting to the next action in GTD is processing. This month, Ed takes a look at processing reference material, which can play an important role in exactly what action you’ll choose. In the latest Photoshop for the Curious, Lee offers a resolution tutorial. (That would be screen resolution. Conflict resolution…well, that’s another publication.)

This month’s desktop pictures are courtesy of staffer David Thompson, and feature scenery from a recent motorcycle trip through parts of Texas and Utah. Cortland finds himself in a spot of trouble with the fuzz, while Angie is paid an unexpected visit. Meanwhile, evil plans are afoot to acquire the Cortland OS.

Andrew enjoys some screen time thanks to El Gato’s EyeTV Hybrid, while Frank Wu offers a double-dose of MagSafe adapters—the Portable Power Station from Battery Geek, and Mikegyver’s MagSafe 120w AC/DC Car/Airline Adapter—for MacBooks and MacBooks Pro. Finally, Linus finds learning fun with Travelogue 360 Paris. I kind of wish my son was older so he and I could play this game together.

As usual, this issue of ATPM is available in a variety of formats for your reading pleasure.

posted by retrophisch at 11:28 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 02 July 2007

ATPM 13.07

The July issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available.

Ellyn kicks things off by noting how the Internet’s managed to let us support our servicemen and women in ways that wouldn’t have been possible in wars past. In this month’s Bloggable, Wes has a round-up of posts on—what else?—the iPhone. Mike laments the pains of the tech upgrade cycle, but looks forward to what the future may bring. Mark offers his “furs thoughts” on Mac OS X Leopard, based on the information recently released at the Worldwide Developers Conference. As he looks forward, Mark also looks back, noting how old technology, while great at the time, may not be so great in the future when we need it once again.

Ted returns with an ATPO of a different sort, comparing past WWDCs, as well as Apples and oranges, with today’s. Lee delves in to some of the cool stuff one can do with Photoshop with layer effects, while offering the acquisition saga of his latest tech toy, a new MacBook Pro. Yours truly has an acquisition saga of his own, as I relate my tale of iPhone hunting.

This month’s desktop pictures are courtesy of ATPM reader Forrest Brown, and feature Crowders Mountain, North Carolina. “Uncomfortable” is the word of the day for the Cortland crew: at the office, on the dance floor, or in MySpace. No one is having a good time on this particular night, well, except for maybe Steve. Qaptain Qwerty interviews the guy waiting for One More Thing™.

Linus plays around with Crossword Express, while Frank Wu puts the i-Volution Shell, a carrying case for MacBooks, through its paces. Lee’s impressed with the PocketDock AV, and Paul takes Redline for a test drive, though I think we need to talk about those gas receipts he submitted for reimbursement.

As always, ATPM is available in a variety of formats for your reading pleasure.

posted by retrophisch at 2:11 AM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 01 May 2007

ATPM 13.05

The May issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

April showers certainly brought May flowers for Apple, notably the kind that grow from the branches of the money tree. Rob provides a rundown of Apple’s latest financials in this month’s Welcome. Wes has the blogosphere round-up on the latest digital rights hubbub, set off by the open letter by Steve Jobs to end DRM on music. When you’re already using the coolest computing system in the world, where do you go next? If you’re Mark, you start letting a robot clean your carpets.

Lee takes us through Photoshop’s bag of tricks concerning color, hues, saturation, gradients, and all sorts of other goodies you can tweak your photos with. In closing out her series on web accessibility, Miraz looks at the capabilities of Firefox and Opera. Matthew does some hacking on what is still my favorite Mac to have owned, the Cube, shoving a XFX GeForce 6200 graphics card into our beloved lucite box.

Lee shares some great photos he snagged at the 2007 AirFest, held last month at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. And it may look like this month’s Cortland is having a severe case of schizophrenia, but trust us, it hits on several plot points of importance.

Miraz thinks Digital Photography Expert Techniques is pretty good, but badly missnamed, as it is about workflow after the fact of shooting photos, rather than during, the latter of which being what I would have thought from the title. Lee has a double-dose of reviews this month—I guess May turned out to be Lee Bennett theme month—looking at a pair of iPod accessories: the Dock Extender, which I am gear-lusting for; and the PocketDock Line Out USB.

Chris raves about the Elevator, Griffin’s replacement for the iCurve, which I used to use extensively. David uses Pando, which I’ve been following closely, but have not yet had a need to use. Ed closes this month’s issue out with a look at Yep, billed as “iPhoto for PDFs”. Personally, I store a lot of my PDFs in EagleFiler, but Yep certainly does look interesting.

As always, you can read this month’s ATPM online, as an offline webzine, a screen-optimized PDF, or a print-optimized PDF. We offer a variety of flavors for your consumption. Enjoy!

posted by retrophisch at 9:20 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 13 April 2007

Professional, interesting and well-written and edited

No, the title doesn’t refer to this blog. (Though I’m trying.) It refers to the publication I’m proud to be a part of, About This Particular Macintosh, and comes from Claire Rottenberg’s Quality Mac Websites:

ATPM is a professional, interesting and well-written and edited magazine. It has a large variety of content, ranging from short news bits to in-depth articles and product reviews, so there is something for everyone in each month’s issue. Take a look at the latest issue and I’m sure you’ll find something worthwhile in it and, like me, will become a regular reader of ATPM.

Kudos to the great volunteers we have on staff at ATPM, and thank you, Claire, for the kind words.

posted by retrophisch at 9:41 PM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 01 April 2007

ATPM 13.04

The April issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available.

Chris Dudar, the staff’s resident 3D artist, provides us with some great cover art this month. Good work, Chris!

Wes kicks things off by noting the response from a lot of the tech crowd to Windows Vista: yawn. Those that have given a flip have turned on those who don’t care for it, like Chris Pirillo, and prominent switchers think it’s time for Pirillo to get a Mac. This and more in Wes’s monthly blogosphere roundup. Mike notes that while it’s not all all roses all the time with Macs, it still beats the alternative.

Mark notes that there is scientific evidence that size does matter. For display size, you plebeians! Display size! Sheesh… Ed returns with another GTD column, focusing on the hunting/gathering aspects of information collection. Lee continues Photoshop for the Curious, this month exploring levels and curves. Miraz looks at the browser side of things when it comes to web accessibility.

Chris Lawson manages to tie together Billy Madison, blogging, reviews, and business ethics, all in one tidy package. Lee provides us with this month’s desktop pictures, shot in New England in 1997. In this month’s Cortland, our hero finds himself traveling to other dimensions, while persons from other dimensions travel to ours, and the Dark Lord I.T. is trying to travel to other dimensions, or our dimension, or…Heck, there’s just a lot of dimension-traveling going on this month!

Matthew picks apart the open-source sound editor, Audacity, while Lawson pores over an accessory many a business traveler will want to take a look at, the Keynamics Aviator Laptop Stand. Linus plays around with Dodge That Anvil!, and Lee is less than impressed with the new HomeDock Deluxe from DLO. Ed peruses Joe Kissell’s Take Control of Mac OS X Backups 2.0, a tome I heartily recommend. And the man that leads off the April issue closes it out for us, as Chris Dudar reviews the app that helped make this month’s cover art, Wings3D.

As always, ATPM is available in a wide range of choices for your reading pleasure.

posted by retrophisch at 5:23 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 12 March 2007

The new shirt arrived today

The new shirt arrived today

posted by retrophisch at 3:50 PM -->in God , Macintosh , fun
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Friday, 02 March 2007

ATPM 13.03

Oh, right. The March issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available. You’d think someone on the editorial staff would be more aware…

Angus decides to reward Microsoft’s recent marketing efforts regarding the Zune and Vista by purchasing a brand-new 17-inch MacBook Pro. Yeah, when I first read his column, I had problems with the logic there, too, but someone informed me it has something to do with this thing called “sarcasm”. In this month’s Bloggable, Wes tracks the biggest news making the circuit of the Mac blogosphere, Steve Jobs’ recent condemnation of DRM for music downloads.

Mark has a quick hit on publishing formats, notably the resistance coming against Microsoft’s Office Open XML, because the words “Microsoft” and “open” go so well together, don’t they? (I like this sarcasm thing. Must note to use it more.) Lee continues his fabulous series, Photoshop for the Curious, this month walking us through color calibration. I really could use one of those monitor calibration tools. Miraz has a great column on web accessibility this month, one I can really relate to, given how I am amongst the spectacled crowd. (We also learn Miraz’s age this month, and please note this was volunteered by the author; our mothers taught us well enough to know better than to ever ask that of a lady.)

This month’s desktop pictures are courtesy of ATPM reader Le Anne Brown, and feature the land of Tasmania (coincidentally, the home of ATPM’s own Tasmanian devil, former staffer Raena Armitage). Strange things are afoot for Cortland at the swing dance-hosting lodge, which appears to be more than meets the eye. Staffer Linus Ly doffs his editorial cap for that of an artisté, introducing the ATPM readership to Qaptain Qwerty.

You may notice a striking similarity between Qaptain Qwerty and the review of Art Text. As a member of the editorial team, allow me to reassure you, this is not accidental. Ed got his hands on a piece of tech that’s found its way on to my personal gear lust list, the SnapScan S500M, by Fujitsu.

I never thought I’d have the opportunity to write, “Ellyn lays the smack down with Smack Mahjong”, but you can’t pass up those opportunities when they present themselves. Finally, Lee reviews the intriguing TuneView from Keyspan: leave your iPod connected to your entertainment system, but have its screen in the palm of your hand with the TuneView remote. Sounds sweet.

As always, you can enjoy About This Particular Macintosh online, or in a manner more appropriate for your reading preference.

posted by retrophisch at 3:12 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 26 February 2007

A signature problem

So I have this email signature. Actually, I have about three. One is the somewhat standard signature I use for all ATPM-related correspondence. The other two are personal sigs which vary only in the email address contained in the signature. One is for the address at this domain, and the other is my Gmail address.

I have set up these signatures with keystroke shortcuts in TypeIt4Me, which I encourage you to check out. Without going in to too much detail, these three signatures are shorthanded “asig”, “gsig”, and “rsig”, and this works very well. For the most part.

I seem to have this memory muscle problem with the last abbreviation. The other two I can rattle off with nary a conscious thought going from my brain to my fingers on the keyboard, but the last has proven to be rather elusive. Instead of typing “rsig” I find myself typing “risg” instead. I even did it in the previous sentence, and had to backspace and fix it.

The obvious and lazy solution is to create a new abbreviation in TypeIt4Me that automagically puts in the proper signature when I mistype the actual abbreviation, because there’s little chance “risg” will ever be a real word in the English language, but that still doesn’t help with why I’m mistyping it in the first place. Bizarre.

posted by retrophisch at 4:18 PM -->in Macintosh , that's life
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That didn’t take long

This post is coming to you from MarsEdit 1.1.3, the first release of my blogging app of choice since Daniel Jalkut of Red Sweater Software acquired it from NewsGator. This update fixes my biggest druther with MarsEdit, where images flicker when you’re previewing your post. Thanks, Daniel!

Speaking of not taking long, Lee and I were chatting via IM last night while he watched the Oscars, and, of course, there was talk regarding the iPhone teaser commercial. I wondered jokingly how long it would be before some post showed up somewhere detailing all of the stars shown in the commercial. Lee provided the answer: two hours. And here I thought I didn’t have a life. I’m sure there’s now a post somewhere detailing each of the movies or shows featured in the commercial, but I’m too lazy to google it.

posted by retrophisch at 2:41 PM -->in Macintosh , iphone
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Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Jumping on the Bandwagon

Bandwagon, going live in two days, is an iTunes backup for Mac users. They’re offering free one-year subscriptions if you blog about them, and like Eric, I can be a cheap date.

Bandwagon Logo

posted by retrophisch at 2:17 PM -->in Macintosh , music
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Tired of Tetris™? No good at first-person shooter games? Want something quicker than world-building or war strategy games? Frenzic may be the answer you’re looking for.

A joint release from The Iconfactory and ARTIS Software, Frenzic is an addictive puzzle game that you can play solo or against others online.

Jobs and company should seriously be looking at getting this game on the upcoming iPhone.

Sorry, Windows users need not apply.

Update, 1:00 PM CST: If you decide to register Frenzic, feel free to add me as a friend.

posted by retrophisch at 11:51 AM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 15 February 2007

“Shameless Mac OS X imitator”

Julio Ojeda-Zapata, for the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

I praise Microsoft’s new Windows Vista operating system, and I also curse it.


But after waiting five years — as in half a decade — for this thing, I think I should get something revolutionary, a PC operating system so astonishing it makes the competition look laughably primitive. The almighty Microsoft made this, right? So Vista—being released to consumers Tuesday—has to be jaw-droppingly superior, right?

Well, it’s not. Vista hardly rocked my world during weeks of testing. It’s a fine Windows upgrade, but it’s also a shameless rip-off (and not quite the equal) of another major operating system, Apple Computer’s Mac OS X.

That begs the question: Why not just use OS X?

Those upgrading from XP likely will have to get a new computer anyway because Vista doesn’t work properly on most older PCs. […] So, instead of purchasing a Windows PC, they could—and typically should—get an Apple Macintosh computer running OS X.

[Emphasis in the original. —R]

posted by retrophisch at 3:46 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 01 February 2007

ATPM 13.02

The February issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Kudos to Lee for this month’s cover art. He ran the idea by me via IM one night, I thought it was great, and Michael gave it the final thumbs-up. Our thanks to Steven Frank for playing along. In case you missed the link, you can also get the cover art as a desktop picture this month.

Well, well, well, well, well. What’s that? Steve Jobs announced the iPhone at Macworld Expo last month? You don’t say. Why, I believe that means Wes has to eat his hat. And given how another ATPM staffer is resident in the city Wes currently calls home, I’m sure we can arrange a photo shoot of the happy event, because let’s face it Wes, tasting is not the same thing as eating. I’m sure we can find a nice Rachel Ray recipe wherein we substitute the meat of choice with the hat. Perhaps former ATPM staffer and amateur chef Tom Bridge can help us out in that regard.

While we hammer out all of those details, Wes does have the blogosphere’s coverage of Apple’s next paradigm-shifting product, as well as weigh-ins on MacHeist and MacZOT. iPhone fever has certainly set in amongst the ATPM staff, as Mike Chamberlain attests to in this month’s Mac About Town. He talks about some other stuff, too. I think. Did I mention the iPhone fever settling amongst the staff? Angus takes us on a safari of the Apple landscape, including, yes, the iPhone, but oh so much more as well.

We welcome Ed Eubanks to the staff as we present Next Actions, a column devoted to to using your Mac to get things done. Lee presents the third chapter in the ongoing saga of Photoshop for the Curious, with a look at the application’s menus and a tutorial on getting better grayscale (viz: “black and white”, even though that’s really a misnomer) photos from your color pics. Chris Dudar has a beginner’s guide to the UPS, and no, he’s not asking what brown can do for you.

Reader David Kettlewell was kind enough to share some photos from Sweden’s “Little Leaf Sea” for this month’s desktop pictures selection. Cortland has junior-high flashbacks after a night of swing dancing with Angie doesn’t go like he planned. Meanwhile, the chameleonesque Agent Smith arrives in town, palming a familiar-looking comm device…

Ellyn isn’t very smitten with Arctic Quest, but David is quite taken with MoRU. Our eastern seaboard surfer, Eric, tries out NetworkLocation, while Frank Wu beats me to a review of Booq’s Python XL System. Matthew wraps up this month’s reviews with a look at Eltima’s SWF Movie Player.

I remarked to Michael that this month’s issue was our most content-packed out of the past few months, and we still had four writers unable to submit this month! (Hey, we have real jobs outside of ATPM, you know?) We’re both very pleased, and our thanks go out to the staff for their efforts.

As usual, this issue is available in a variety of flavors for your reading pleasure.

posted by retrophisch at 10:36 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 23 January 2007

FinderPop Universal has landed

Turly’s brought out a universal version of the venerable FinderPop, now a preference pane.

I found with earlier builds of the OS X version of FinderPop that I wasn’t using it nearly as much as I did under OS 9, due in large part to my use of Quicksilver. However, I can still find a use for FinderPop in my workflow, and I encourage you to give it a go and see if it has a place in your workflow, too.

posted by retrophisch at 8:24 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 19 January 2007

Twittering just got easier with Tweet

Scott McNulty noted Tweet in his Twitter feed as well as on TUAW. I downloaded Ted Leung’s Growl-modified version of Coda Hale’s script. Coda has good installation and usage instructions in the original Tweet script, which you can use if you don’t care about Growl support.

Tweet combines the power of AppleScript with that of Quicksilver (you are using Quicksilver, aren’t you?) to make posting to your Twitter account easier and faster than ever. Sorry, Windows users, but all of this, except the Twitter service itself, is Mac-only.

posted by retrophisch at 10:42 AM -->in Macintosh , fun , tech
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Thursday, 18 January 2007

Once again, we learn why they’re called analysts

So let me get this straight:

Apple sets new company records for revenue and profit, beats the Street’s estimates, and ships 28 percent more Macs and 50 percent more iPods than they did this time a year ago, but because a bunch of analysts don’t like future estimates, the stock price takes a dive?

No wonder monkeys do just as good a job at the stock market as analysts.

posted by retrophisch at 8:25 PM -->in Macintosh , ipod , rant
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Tell me again why I should upgrade

Walt Mossberg reviews Windows Vista for the Wall Street Journal:

Nearly all of the major, visible new features in Vista are already available in Apple’s operating system, called Mac OS X, which came out in 2001 and received its last major upgrade in 2005. And Apple is about to leap ahead again with a new version of OS X, called Leopard, due this spring.

There are some big downsides to this new version of Windows. To get the full benefits of Vista, especially the new look and user interface, which is called Aero, you will need a hefty new computer, or a hefty one that you purchased fairly recently. The vast majority of existing Windows PCs won’t be able to use all of Vista’s features without major hardware upgrades. They will be able to run only a stripped-down version, and even then may run very slowly.

In fact, in my tests, some elements of Vista could be maddeningly slow even on new, well-configured computers.

Something tells me that the only Vista-running PC we’ll see in our home will either be my wife’s company-provided laptop, when their IT department decides the latest version of Windows is “safe” enough with which to conduct business, or if I decide to throw Vista on my Intel-powered iMac. The latter would, at most, be for web site testing, and pure kicks.

I’m pretty much done with Windows PCs at this point. The Mac does everything I want, does it better, does it more intuitively and elegantly, and the Mac is safer. Sure, you can argue this locks me in to a single company, Apple, but then Windows users are pretty much locked in to a single company, too, aren’t they? Oh, you can buy your PC from Dell, HP, Sony, Toshiba, or build it yourself, but you still have to go to Microsoft for the operating system.

(Linux zealots are not invited to this discussion, so pipe down already. Besides, most of you are fawning over Ubuntu nowadays, which still locks you in to a single distribution/company for that particular flavor of the OS. Or you like SUSE, or Debian, or Red Hat, for whatever your reasons may be. And most people don’t feel like hunting down drivers for their Sony notebook just so it can properly display all available resolutions or connect wirelessly to the Internet, things you still have to do with Linux variants.)

For the record, in his review, Mossberg does acknowledge that as far as Windows itself goes, Vista is the best version yet. Which isn’t surprising, since each version since the original has been successively better, with the exception of Windows ME (what a disaster that beast was).

When the desktop PC I built my wife two years ago outlives its usefulness, it will get replaced with either a hand-me-down iMac, or a Mac mini. It’s one thing to do Windows tech support for a living, but when it comes to home computing, that’s something I’d rather not have to worry about.

posted by retrophisch at 2:40 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Friday, 12 January 2007

DiskWarrior 4 now shipping

I just received my shipment notification from Alsoft that DiskWarrior 4 is on its way.

posted by retrophisch at 11:42 AM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 03 January 2007

ATPM 13.01

Welcome to 2007! The January issue issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available. With this issue, ATPM enters its thirteenth year of publication! I am very proud to be a part of this staff, and would like to thank all of the staffers for a great 2006. I’m looking forward to the next twelve months of celebrating “the personal computing experience” with all of you!

Our thanks to Charles Anthony for this month’s cover art. We’re always looking for artwork, so if you’re interested, please let the editors know.

Recently, Michael and I had a discussion regarding sponsorships for the publication. ATPM has always been a free, volunteer-staffed magazine. We don’t make a profit, and any monies generated by sponsorships or ad revenue is pumped back in to the publication’s hosting costs. With twelve years of issues hosted online, the potential of high bandwidth costs is always hanging over us, and our parents taught us the value of being prepared for a rainy day. The result of our discussion is that ATPM will no longer accept direct sponsorships or advertising or advertising. The revenue generated by the Google and Yahoo ads you see on the site, coupled with those of our affiliate shopping links, is currently sustaining us. For those former sponsors and direct advertisers, we thank you for your sponsorship and enjoyed the many relationships they enabled. Our best wishes to your respective companies in 2007. If you enjoy reading ATPM, please help us cover our costs by clicking on the ads which may be of interest to you, and using the affiliate shopping links.

As the new year dawns, we welcome two new staffers. Linus Ly will be assisting on the editorial side of the fence, helping lay down the grammatical law in the copy-editing trenches. Chris Dudar is very much in to 3D graphics, and will be covering applications in that realm. We’re glad to have you guys on board!

Mike kicks the new year off by exploring his hopes and dreams in the Macintosh realm for 2007. Lee continues the Photoshop for the Curious tutorial, with Palettemania! He also provides some outstanding fireworks photos for this month’s desktop pictures section. Speaking of outstanding, er, out-stepping, er, stepping out—yeah, that’s it, stepping out—Cortland learns that some times you have to swing in the right direction for the one you love.

Wes reviews Audio Hijack Pro, a tool I’ve found quite useful in making my own MP3 ringtones. (You’re not actually paying three bucks for a ringtone, are you?) I found coconutBattery, examined for the ATPM readership by David Thompson, fit the bill last year (wow, it really was last year) in diagnosing my PowerBook’s failing battery. As noted above, Chris Dudar opens up the 3D realm to the ATPM readership, this month with a review of DAZ/Studio, better known as D/S, and this one’s not from Nintendo. Finally, Lee’s not as impressed with the iTalk Pro as he was with the original iPod recording unit from Griffin.

You can always find ATPM in a flavor of your liking, and we hope we can serve many more appetizing morsels in the coming year.

posted by retrophisch at 12:06 AM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 29 December 2006

A buggy musical

If you’ve ever wondered what Panic co-founder Cabel Sasser sounds like when he’s singing, you can find out from viewing the hilarious Buggy Saints Row: The Musical. (Caution: Some adult language in the songs.)

[Wave of the phin to John.]

posted by retrophisch at 11:21 AM -->in Macintosh , fun , music
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Monday, 18 December 2006


How would you like 20% off the best spam-killing app for the Mac? Or maybe 20% off the easiest disk image creator? Perhaps 20% off a professional text editor is more to your liking.

Now that you’ve done all of your gift shopping for everyone else, treat yourself to discount savings on numerous Mac applications from top-notch developers with MacSanta.

posted by retrophisch at 4:29 PM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 03 December 2006

XP or Vista?

So I purchased a copy of Parallels Desktop a few months back, when they were offering it at a reduced price while still in beta. I haven’t gotten around to installing it since, mostly because I didn’t have a legit copy of Windows to go with it, and I’m not much interested in dinking around with any Linux variants.

Lately, I’ve been intrigued at the prospect of running Windows from a virtual environment on my Intel iMac, mostly for web browser testing. (My sites don’t look nearly as nice in Internet Explorer as they do in, well, pretty much every other browser.) And long ago I promised I’d help out with some of our church’s web stuff, and they use FrontPage (yes, I know—ick!).

The question then is, do I get the latest version of Windows XP, or do I jump in to the exploratory waters of Windows Vista? Let me know what you think.

posted by retrophisch at 9:36 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Friday, 01 December 2006

ATPM 12.12

The December issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

We debut a new column this month, with Lee’s Photoshop for the Curious. As he notes, this is not a “Photoshop for Beginners”-type tutorial, but rather a look at various elements of Photoshop that occasional users would benefit from. If you’re a Photoshop Elements user like myself, you will find that many of the tips translate well.

Mike Chamberlain offers his personal tour of the Macintosh blogosphere in this month’s Mac of All Trades, while Miraz puts SeakMonkey through the web-accessibility wringer. Sylvester continues looking at Activity Monitor, this time using it to plug memory leaks. (Those would be leaks in the Mac’s memory, not Sylvester’s. His memory is just fine. At least it appears that way to the rest of the staff.)

This month’s desktop pictures are brought to us by our Mr. Chamberlain, taken on his European sojourn this past summer. We continue to see the genesis of Cortland’s employment at Wieser Graphics, while dark forces prep their move to the Midwest.

Lee has a double-dose of reviews this month, looking at Rogue Amoeba’s Fission and the media device, iRecord. Matthew pokes around with OpenMenu X, while David notes one of my favorite iTunes utilities, Synergy. Finally, for all you gamers, Andrew rocks on some first-person shooters as he puts the Tankstick through its paces.

As always, this issue of ATPM is available in a variety of reading formats for your enjoyment.

posted by retrophisch at 3:04 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 27 November 2006

More Get a Mac

There are three new “Get a Mac” commercials: “Gift Exchange”, “Sales Pitch”, and “Meant for Work”. The worst of the three, and probably the worst of all the “Get a Mac” ads, has to be “Sales Pitch”. I really like “Meant for Work”, especially the end when PC wanders off in disgust, saying, “I have got to go…listen to some emo.” I’d probably feel the same way.

posted by retrophisch at 11:31 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 09 November 2006

When keyboard shortcuts collide

I just tried to mark as read all messages in a Mailsmith mailbox by hitting the K key, which is what you use to mark all messages as read in NetNewsWire. (For what it’s worth, marking a message as read in Mailsmith is accomplished by Cmd-M.)

posted by retrophisch at 10:00 AM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 01 November 2006

ATPM 12.11

The November issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Mike Chamberlain notes some of the odds and ends one might take with them for their mobile computing needs, based on his five-week European trip this past summer. Mark Tennent manages to weave together Keats, the MyBook Pro (yes, MyBook, not MacBook), the Honda Civic, and Mac OS X, as he looks at function versus form. Ted delves in to writing environments and their relation to outliners in this month’s ATPO, including the one I’m currently using for NaNoWriMo.

PageSpinner is the latest web development app to go under Miraz’s web accessibility microscope, and Sylvester has a tour of an app on your Mac you may not even realize is there, Activity Monitor. Lee got some great shots at a butterfly garden, which he shares in this month’s Desktop Pictures section. The misery of Cortland’s search for work continues, leading him to Wieser Graphics and his first—and second—embarrassing moments with Angie.

It’s been four years since Lee first reviewed EarthDesk, and a lot has changed in that time, so he took the opportunity to look at this intriguing app again. He also looks at RouteBuddy, a mapping application for your Mac that can work with supported GPS devices that have USB. Finally, while the Spaces virtual desktops feature of Mac OS X is still on the horizon, David Thompson sees if one can get similar functionality now from VirtueDesktops.

We’re still looking for help in the editorial, writing, and art departments. If you would like to contribute cover art to an upcoming issue, have a keen eye for grammar and spelling to edit copy, or have an itch to write about the Mac world, drop us a line. As always, at ATPM we are proud to offer our readers choices in how they consume our product. Enjoy!

posted by retrophisch at 10:17 PM -->in Macintosh
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Saturday, 14 October 2006

Introducing EagleFiler

Once again, I’ve had the pleasure of being “present at the creation” of one of Michael’s software endeavors. EagleFiler is an information collection and management application that’s super easy to use. Dump whatever you want to in to this thing: plain text, rich text, PDFs, web archives, emails, images; pretty much any digital document you can create.

EagleFiler icon EagleFiler differs from a lot of its competition in that it stores its library in Finder format, so your documents are not locked in to a database or someone’s proprietary storage system. Did you dump a rich text file in to EagleFiler, but you want to do some heavy editing to it? No problem: you can open it in Word, TextEdit, or the word processor of your choice, make your changes, save it, and you’ll see the changes in EagleFiler.

As has been the case with pretty much all of Michael’s software initiatives, this one was born out of his own desire for an app to do something that no other app was currently doing. He and I have talked about an application like EagleFiler for a few years now, mostly because nothing out there satisfied us when it came to email archiving. (Here’s a secret about both Michael and myself: we’re digital pack rats, and he’s worse than I am. He saves every email he sends and receives. Every one.) We’re both Mailsmith users, but the larger the app’s database gets, the more of a performance drag it incurs. Offloading either individual emails, or entire mail boxes, helps, and EagleFiler is the first application I’ve felt safe with to do just that.

I’ve been using EagleFiler full time since mid-August, when the first alpha version was released to the merry little band of testers of which I’m honored to be a part. It’s been rock-solid for me every step of the way, even as the testers suggested, and Michael added, new features through the app’s development. Go download EagleFiler and try it for thirty days, gratis. Then, show your appreciation for Michael’s hard work by registering the app, and support a developer of quality Mac software.

posted by retrophisch at 2:31 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 10 October 2006

“Just let me lie here and depreciate.”

Maury notes that Apple has posted three new “Get a Mac” ads: “Counselor”; “Better Results”—which will likely get a lot of buzz; and “Self Pity”, my favorite, and the source of this post’s title.

posted by retrophisch at 9:12 AM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 01 October 2006

ATPM 12.10

The October issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available.

Wes runs down the blogosphere traffic on the is-it-or-isn’t-it AirPort hack in this month’s Bloggable. Mike Chamberlain is one of two new staffers joining the ATPM ranks this month, and the first of his “Mac of all Trades” is a trip down memory lane. Mark Tennent comes to the realization that size really does matter. (Get your mind out of the gutter; we’re talking about displays.)

Miraz Jordan’s look at web-accessibility capabilities in web development apps continues, and she’s impressed with Nvu. Angus Wong muses on the effect of Microsoft’s Zune on the Apple ecosystem, while Sylvester Roque offers a helpful look at that oh-so-mystifying document, the crash log.

This month’s Desktop Pictures are again courtesy of Robert Reis, and his trip to Germany earlier this year for the World Cup. Speaking of trips down memory lane, Cortland returns with a nostalgic journey from college to employment.

Lee looks at A Better Finder Rename, a utility I’d use if I had a lot of stuff to rename, which I very rarely do. Chris wants to like the iWoofer, really he does, but…well, you’ve have to read the whole review. If you’re thinking of doing music on your Mac, you may want to start with Making Music on the Apple Mac, which is what Sylvester did. Finally, our other new staffer, David Thompson, shows off the darling of PC emulation for the Mac, Parallels Desktop.

As always, you can get your kicks on Route 66, but if you want to read this month’s issue, you’d be better served other ways.

posted by retrophisch at 11:46 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 28 September 2006

Macbook Egg Frying

Macbook Egg Frying
Originally uploaded by Pieter Pieterse.

You’ve heard the expression, “hot enough to fry an egg”. Pieter Pieterse decided to do exactly that, whipping up a little breakfast poultry with his MacBook Pro.

posted by retrophisch at 2:36 PM -->in Macintosh , photography
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Monday, 18 September 2006

Are you a Windows user?

Windows has no users…

Warning: adult language on page linked above.

[Via the Fontosaurus.]

posted by retrophisch at 3:04 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Saturday, 16 September 2006

No IMAP for Mailsmith

Rich Siegel, CEO of Bare Bones, confirmed earlier this evening on the Mailsmith-Talk email list that Mailsmith will not be seeing IMAP support. In an attempt to lay to rest much oft-repeated rumors about the company’s email client, Siegel said:

Since we released 2.1.5, an enormous amount of work has gone into Mailsmith. Much of that work is underneath the hood, toward supporting new features and improving performance & stability. The version of Mailsmith in which I am typing this message implements a great deal of what has in the past been discussed on this list.

Most of the rework that we’ve completed was started with IMAP support in mind. After several false starts on the whiteboard, however, we put down the pens and carefully backed away. Despite our best desires and intentions and efforts, Mailsmith is not going to support IMAP. (The FAQ has been updated accordingly.)

So if you’re one of those holdouts waiting for the next rev of Mailsmith to support IMAP, so you can switch over, you can stop waiting.

I have never had much need for IMAP, so this is no big loss for me. Mailsmith remains my email client of choice, and despite temptation to switch to Apple Mail, especially with the new Leopard version on the horizon, I look forward to Mailsmith’s next release with enthusiasm.

posted by retrophisch at 12:01 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 11 September 2006

Inviting the spies to the party

Recall the various pokes of fun Jobs and company took at Microsoft last month during Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference? They’re fresh in my mind, because yesterday I listened to Jobs’ keynote; it was included in Engadget’s podcast line-up, I’m a few episodes behind, and I figured, even though I knew all of the contained info from reading reports on the web, what the hell.

A thought which hit me out of the blue a few moments ago, while I was cleaning dishes, of all things, is this:

More than once, Jobs and company would say something to the effect of “We have other really cool new features coming in Leopard, but we don’t want to share them here because Microsoft may try to copy them in to Vista.” (Vista is, in case you’ve been in a cave with Osama, the next, long-delayed version of Windows. Leopard is the next version of Mac OS X.)

Problem: Who is the largest developer for the Mac OS outside of Apple?

Problem #2: Do you think Microsoft, being the largest developer outside of Apple, didn’t send programmers to WWWDC?

Problem #3: Did not all developers attending WWDC receive the Leopard Developer Preview?

So I guess the jokes are just for those still trapped inside the RDF.

posted by retrophisch at 2:09 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 06 September 2006

Core 2 Duo 24-inch iMac

The whole downside to Apple switching to Intel-based processors is that my brand-new-this-past-February 20-inch Core Duo iMac now becomes outdated much faster than it previously would have.

posted by retrophisch at 11:15 AM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 01 September 2006


  • For you baseball aficionados, Tiff has a great story on what happened when she gave tickets to some coworkers, and how they thanked her.

  • Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit, affectionately known as the MacBU, has its own blog.

    Via The Iconfactory

  • Someone took the house I, and I’m sure thousands of others, would love to live in—Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater—and put it in Half Life 2.


posted by retrophisch at 5:07 PM -->in Macintosh , baseball , fun , web/site
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ATPM 12.09

The September issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Wes examines the kerfluffle du jour in the Mac blogosphere, that of the supposed Airport wi-fi hack which, as more and more evidence is examined, appears to be a complete fake. It’s a shame that this falsehood had to be propagated at the same time Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference was going on.

In the offering is another double dose from Mark, who looks at the power of the press when it comes to a conflict resolution, and the trickle-down effect of broadband access in the United Kingdom. Ted discusses new business models, as they pertain to the outlining community, holding up Hog Bay’s Mori as an example, in this month’s ATPO.

Chuck takes a break from showing you how to get more out of FileMaker, and instead offers a roundup of what’s new in the newly-released FileMaker Pro 8.5. Miraz Jordan continues her look at development tools that can make pages which meet basic standards for Web accessibility, this time giving RapidWeaver the what-for. If you’re interested in running Classic Mac software on your Intel Mac, Chuck shows you how in this month’s How To section.

This month’s desktop pictures are again brought to us courtesy of Robert Reis. These photos of the rolling German countryside were taken during Robert’s recent trip to Deutschland for the World Cup.

Matthew takes the PowerPC-only Guest PC for a spin, while Ellyn decided to talk to her computer this month. She was reviewing iListen after all. Lee examines the TVMax and TVMicro from Miglia, and Wes looks at the very interesting WriteRoom, which will be getting its own workout on phischbowl computing systems.

As usual, you can read the latest issue of ATPM online, or in one of three other formats. We aim to please.

posted by retrophisch at 2:14 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 28 August 2006


  • The U.S. Army now has podcasts.

  • Picture Framer is one of myriad non-productive widgets, but it’s probably the first one of that category that I like.

  • There are new Get a Mac ads, and in “Trust Mac”, I swear Justin Long is about to truly crack up every time he has to look at John Hodgman wearing the glasses and fake mustache.

    [Via Paul.]

posted by retrophisch at 12:32 AM -->in Macintosh , armed forces , ipod
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Sunday, 13 August 2006


Michael has announced that C-Command now has forums for all of its products.

I helped him do some testing with the forum boards—which means we spent about ten minutes on it—and if you’re a SpamSieve or DropDMG user, I hope to see you around the virtual water cooler.

* * *

Messy networks.

Dear God in Heaven.

[Via Firewheel Design.]

* * *

Just when I thought there was never going to be anything interesting on Yahoo’s corporate blog, they have races with toy babies triggered by the licking of lollipops.

posted by retrophisch at 2:32 PM -->in Macintosh , tech , web/site
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Wednesday, 02 August 2006

ATPM 12.08

The August issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available.

Wes kicks things off by noting in this month’s Bloggable that we still really don’t have much to discuss in the Mac blogosphere but the departure of Pilgrim and Doctorow from the Mac-using citizenry. My hunch is that Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference is going to change that very shortly.

The plenteous Mark Tennent is tired of all the beeping in the world, and wishes Apple would turn its interface design skills loose on washers, dryers, and car radios. He’d also like to see a new sort of computer expo, where systems could be tested, real world-style, much like the test drive of an automobile before purchase.

Publisher, editor-in-chief, developer, hiker, and all-around nice guy Michael Tsai returns to the pages of ATPM with a look at Mac OS X’s increasing stability. Miraz Jordan continues her series on web accessiblity, this time putting Sandvox under the microscope. Sylvester is making good use of the summertime, cannonballing in to the world of Automator.

Angus Wong ponders the new Zune music player from Microsoft, and the notion of corporate character. Sylvester uses all of that Automator learning to send automated birthday greetings. ATPM reader Robert Reis traveled to Germany to cheer on Trinidad & Tobago in the FIFA World Cup, and was kind enough to share some of his shots with us for this month’s desktop pictures selection.

Lee spends a good deal of time in InDesign, so he was a shoo-in for the review of O’Reilly’s Adobe InDesign CS2 One On One. Paul upgrades his home entertainment center with the addition of Elgato’s EyeTV 250, and, fittingly enough, the Sylvester Roque edition of ATPM closes with his review of the how-to book, Keep It Simple With GarageBand.

We have several open positions on the ATPM staff, and we’re looking to add regular reviewers to our stable of writers. If you’re interested, please drop us a line.

posted by retrophisch at 9:36 AM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 13 July 2006


The federal government is apparently looking at creating a national SMS alert system.

[Via MobileTracker.]

* * *

Congratulations to Kyle MacDonald, who, one year and fourteen trades later, bartered a red paper clip for a house.

* * *

Making sure you tipped the right amount after the fact doesn’t do your server much good, does it?

posted by retrophisch at 12:41 AM -->in Macintosh , fun , phone , tech
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Monday, 10 July 2006


John points to a 94x magnification of Velcro being pulled apart. Wicked cool.

You can also see Scotch tape being ripped, more Velcro, still more Velcro, and Equisetum strobilus, all worth a look.

* * *

How much do I love Default Folder? Its functionality should be built in to OS X.

(I was just using it quite a bit today, lots of saving in different locales, etc., and I thought a shout-out was in order.)

* * *

After months of waiting, I found it. Part of a pint was consumed this evening. It was yummy. Retrophisch™ Recommended!

posted by retrophisch at 11:15 PM -->in Macintosh , fun , tech
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Sunday, 09 July 2006

This is how you remind me

I like iCal’s alarm features, but there is one feature request I have: I’d like to have both an e-mail sent and have an alarm message pop up on screen. For now, it’s an either/or proposition, and which one I select depends on the type of event I need the reminder for, and when said event takes place. Having the option of setting both types of alarms covers all of the bases.

posted by retrophisch at 11:47 AM -->in Macintosh
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Saturday, 08 July 2006


Oh, if true, a tabbed Finder would rock.

(Yes, I am aware Path Finder has this functionality already.)

* * *

You may have seen Seurat’s “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of LaGrande Jatte”, not realizing what a masterpiece of impressionist painting it is. My first exposure to it, and I’m betting for lots of children of the ’80s, was thanks to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Now, the famous painting has been recreated by those crazy cheeseheads.

* * *

It kind of sucks that the 1.0b1 version of a piece of software has crashed more on me in two days of use than the alpha verisons have in the past year. Update: I guess I wasn’t clear in my above disappointment. For those keeping score, I’ve “downgraded” to Adium X 0.89.1.

posted by retrophisch at 3:09 PM -->in Macintosh , fun
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Wednesday, 05 July 2006

Adium 1.0b1

I note with amusement my pal Damien’s post on TUAW regarding the release of the 1.0b1 version of Adium, in which he writes, “Please note that this is still in beta, though I was using it last night without any significant problems presenting themselves.”

I realize TUAW’s audience includes many non-geek types, who are happily using iChat, and haven’t yet discovered Adium, but it still brought a grin to my face to see a somewhat boilerplate beta-warning line for software that, while technically still in development, has been very stable—for me, at least—over the past year I’ve been using it. This is the first version I’ve seen with the 1.0 moniker attached to it in any form.

If you don’t use the voice and video chat features of iChat much, you should check out Adium (new beta). It supports multiple chat protocols (AIM, Yahoo, MSN Messenger, Jabber (Gtalk), ICQ, IRC, and more…), has a logging feature I have found most useful in finding URIs or other bits of info I forgot to note elsewhere, and is open source, so there’s no proprietary lock-in, if that’s something you’re concerned about.

posted by retrophisch at 11:44 AM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Sunday, 02 July 2006

A compliment from MDJ

MacJournals recently released the third installment of its 2005-2006 MDJ Power 25. The Power 25 is a ranking of the twenty-five most influential persons with regard to the Macintosh platform. These persons are voted on by a select group of Apple insiders, developers, and media types.

In the “Unheralded” section of the final installment, MDJ had this to say:

Only writers from TidBITS and Macworld made the list again, blanking out the talented staffs at print publications like MacAddict and at online journals such as About This Particular Macintosh (whose editor, Michael Tsai, is also the author of DropDMG and SpamSieve, two best-of-class shareware products).

I have long thought that we have a fantastic staff working on ATPM, one reason why I continue my involvement with the publication.

Unlike the other publications noted in the MDJ quote, our staff is all-volunteer; we all have “real” jobs. (Well, most of us do, any way.) Each month our writers churn out reviews and how-to columns, as well as opinion pieces, you won’t find anywhere else. We don’t regurgitate product specs and marketing materials, throwing in a few hours of the product use. We live with these items, attempting to integrate them in to our daily workflow or play time. Many a reader has told us how much they like our publication because of that depth. We strive, each issue, to be the “e-zine about the personal computing experience”.

I feel as though this publication is, in a way, an extension of my family, and I always like to see my family’s work recognized and appreciated. Thanks, Matt, for the recognition. Kudos, and thanks, to the staffers of About This Particular Macintosh. You guys and gals rock.

posted by retrophisch at 9:57 PM -->in Macintosh
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Saturday, 01 July 2006

ATPM 12.07

The July issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available. Paper or plastic?

Wes ponders the news of Mark Pilgrim’s publicized switch from the Mac OS to Ubuntu Linux, as well as the ensuing conversations around the blogosphere. He also points to items on OS X’s kernel, the Apple v Does case, Apple conspiracy theories, John C. Dvorak’s admission that he trolls for Mac users, and Windows Vista running on a MacBook Pro.

We have another double-dose from the prolific Mark Tennent, who loves Call of Duty, but wonders where Apple’s next design inspiration will be springing from. Ted takes a rabbit trail off the outlining pathway in this month’s ATPO, exploring some of the nature and philosophy behind outlining. Chuck looks at script parameters and results for you FileMaker jocks. Miraz Jordan notes how iWeb’s current incarnation isn’t a friend to web accessibility, and Sylvester gets around to using Automator.

This month’s desktop pictures are of Alaska, and are courtesy of John Lowrey. Some of you may know John from Northern Softworks. I have several of John’s photos in my desktop rotation, and we thank him for sharing his work with our readers.

This month’s Cortland features a radical departure as artist Matt Johnson explores a corner of the web comics universe.

Looking for a solution to his DVD-burning needs, Chuck reviews DiscBlaze, then turns his attention to Dobry Backuper, which, if you failed to infer from its title, is yet another data backup app. Wes wasn’t blown away by Google Map Hacks, while Matthew attempts to find out if he indeed did assassinate the President in XIII.

I hope ATPM offers some cool news as the northern hemisphere slides through the hot days of summer, and as always, we thank our readers for…well, reading.

posted by retrophisch at 5:05 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 23 June 2006


It’s not a full-scale semi truck, or even a VW Beetle, but it is a real-life Transformer.

[Via Firewheel Design.]

* * *

Brent informs us that Mississippi is very dog-friendly at its rest stops.

* * *

As Lee said when he pinged me via IM, “What a waste of a Countach.”

* * *

For some reason, I can’t believe John blogged iStache.

posted by retrophisch at 11:52 AM -->in Macintosh , auto , fun
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Tuesday, 20 June 2006


I must have a Gnome-be-Gone. Must.

[Via Uncrate.]

* * *

Why is it I’m learning about Pete’s Famous from Brent, rather than my parents, who have lived in the Birmingham metroplex for a decade? (I can actually answer this one; my parents bring their lunch to work, and don’t go out.) I wonder how far Gus’s place is from their respective offices?

* * *

Eric Blair:

Of course, I could see this eating into the PowerMate’s market. I mean, who needs a flashing knob to notify you of email when you can have a flashing keyboard?

One reason I turned off that particular functionality of my PowerMate was the distraction of the blinking light…

* * *

Presenting the iCarta. iDon’t think so.

[Via Firewheel Design.]

posted by retrophisch at 4:54 PM -->in Macintosh , fun , ipod
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Saturday, 17 June 2006

Killing .Mac, part 1

I renewed my .Mac subscription last year, though I did so with reservations. That was the last time I will renew, and come October, I will be .Mac-less for the first time since the service was the original, free iTools. With every feature “update”, I am finding less and less value in the service for myself. I am not alone in my feelings, and Khoi Vinh sums up a lot of how I feel. Your own mileage may vary.

I thought I would begin the process of replacing the features I use with .Mac, keeping in mind the sum total of the replacements not exceed .Mac’s annual price tag of $99.95. Steven Frank offers alternatives, and I will likely touch on many of those as well.

To begin the replacement process, I started with virus protection. When McAfee began to have issues with Virex 7.5, before and after the introduction of Mac OS X Tiger, I went looking for another anti-virus solution. Granted, we have yet to have a serious virus infection of the OS X community, but it never hurts to be prepared.

I now use ClamXav to fend off the nasties. The only downside to ClamXav is a lack of protection from Visual Basic-based macro viruses, which infect Microsoft Office documents. Personally, though I own Office, I use its components rarely, so this isn’t a showstopper for me. If the applications of Office are some of your mainstays, however, you might want to investigate Norton AntiVirus or VirusBarrier.

It should be noted that Apple no longer includes any anti-virus package with .Mac, so even if I were to pay for NAV or VirusBarrier, it wouldn’t be counted against the $99.95 cost of .Mac.

Besides the former use of Virex, another feature I’m using with .Mac is the e-mail address. At the last revision of the .Mac feature set, Apple increased the default storage limit to one gigabyte. This is shared space; it is utilized by your .Mac e-mail, as well as any files you upload to your account.

Contrast this with Google’s Gmail, which gives you, currently, 2.7 GB of space, and counting. (Google slowly increases the storage amount each day.) My Gmail account has become my main e-mail account, with my account on my own domain coming in second. The Gmail web interface is much faster, for me at least, than the .Mac web interface, though with both accounts I use the POP protocol to route the mail to my local e-mail client.

So for now, I’ve replaced the anti-virus software Apple no longer offers, and I’ve replaced the e-mail service with one that offers more storage and a faster user interface, both at no cost. More on my personal quest to rid myself of .Mac in a future post.

posted by retrophisch at 3:57 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Monday, 12 June 2006


You know, I find it quite amusing, given Al Gore’s connection to Steve Jobs (Gore serves on Apple’s board of directors, in case you didn’t know), that at the same time An Inconvenient Truth is released, so is Cars.

* * *

Since Textpander has become TextExpander, and now comes with a thirty-dollar price tag, all of its little quirks may send me back to TypeIt4Me, of which I am a registered user already.

The biggest quirk? If I misstype an abbreviation with Textpander, but backspace and fix the abbreviation’s spelling, it won’t trigger the full text. TypeIt4Me does. With Textpander, I have to delete whatever part of the abbreviation I’ve typed, and start over.

* * *

I really like the FIFA World Cup smiley-faced logo. It’s just so cheery.

When you see “Fédération Internationale de Football Association”, does Monty Python and the “Department of Redundancy Department” come to mind, or is it just me?

posted by retrophisch at 4:08 PM -->in Macintosh , fun
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Friday, 02 June 2006

ATPM 12.06

The June issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available.

Mirko von Berner celebrates the new MacBook in this month’s cover art. Wes Meltzer waxes nostalgic on the Mac blogosphere’s round-up of the MacBook, as well as noting Apple’s new commercials, Microsoft Vista delays, and other blog posts of interest to Mac users.

Mark Tennent has a triple dose of MacMuser for us this month: Mac vs Windows network printing; the value of iDisk; and how black is the new black. In this issue’s FileMaking, Chuck devles in to FileMaker scripting. Sylvester ponders the modern technological conundrum of the digital lifestyle not always being all it’s cracked up to be.

Chris Lawson offers us another dose of photos from last year’s Oshkosh AirVenture event for this month’s desktop pictures section. This set features some of my favorite prop planes: the P-51 Mustang, aptly named “Gunfighter”; the P-40 Warhawk, defender of Chinese airspace in the days before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor; the P-47 Thunderbolt; Supermarine’s Spitfire, defender of Britian’s skies; and the venerable DC-3.

In this month’s Cortland, Todd lands a date and a job interview on the same night, but neither is what it seems. Plus, Chad is taken down a notch by the Boss Control Squad.

Paul reviews photo manipulation newcomer PhotoComplete, while Wes has a double-shot look at products from Waterfield Design. If you’re not a briefcase type, such as moi, you may want to give the Racer-X a look; it could change your feelings about briefcases. But if you go with the Racer-X, or any of Waterfield’s other cases, you’ll want to use their SleeveCase in conjunction with the larger bag. My PowerBook rides in a SleeveCase, no matter what other bag I use, and I second Wes’s recommendation, though unlike our Mr. Metlzer, I prefer the full flap on the SleeveCase.

What happens when worms gear up with mil-spec hardware and wage war? Worms 3D, of course, which our Matthew Glidden puts through its paces. Eric runs Yojimbo through the wringer to close out the June issue, available any way you like.

posted by retrophisch at 9:29 PM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 21 May 2006


The iPatch.

* * *

This likely has made its rounds through the blogosphere already, but I just read in the latest dead-tree edition of Wired that Choose Your Own Adventure books are getting republished, updated for the 21st century.

Though he’s not old enough yet to read on his own and appreciate them, I may have to pick up these titles for my little phisch. I had a great time with them when I was eleven, though I don’t believe I was ever able to successfully navigate The Abominable Snowman without “cheating”.

* * *

What happened to all that wreckage from the Twin Towers after 9/11? Twenty-four tons of steel girders ended up in one of the Navy’s latest ships.

posted by retrophisch at 11:14 PM -->in Macintosh , armed forces , national security , read
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Thursday, 18 May 2006


Good tip, courtesy of TUAW, on pairing your Apple Remote with its intended system. Very useful in a mutliple Apple-Remote-Mac home. I went ahead and paired my iMac with its remote, even though it’s the only such capable Mac we have. You never know what might be around the corner.

* * *

42 Climbers Reach Summit of Mount Everest. Note to self: “May is considered the best month to climb Everest. Climbers in Nepal have to complete their mission by May 31 before the weather deteriorates during monsoon season.”

* * *

“Elvis impersonators can relax: No one’s coming after their bespangled jumpsuits.”


* * *

This story is encouraging me to let the little phisch have a cheap point-and-shoot digital in a few months. He loved using a Fujifilm disposable camera a couple of months back, and even framed a shot or two pretty well.

posted by retrophisch at 4:24 PM -->in Macintosh , fun , parenting
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Tuesday, 16 May 2006


As is so often the case with video or film, the music totally makes the FedEx pilots drive around thunderstorm short film.

* * *

I sincerely hope JPMorgan Chase & Co. realize they just flushed $150 million.

* * *

This may have been posited elsewhere, but I think when the Power Mac G5 replacement ships, it will simply be called “Mac Pro”. You have the Pro designation separating the portable models, and they’re not going to call a tower/desktop without a built-in monitor “iMac Pro”. Apple will still want to differentiate the line from the consumer series, so it will just be Mac Pro.

posted by retrophisch at 10:45 AM -->in Macintosh , fun , rant
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So it’s all over the Mac blogosphere and online news world: the iBook replacement has been released, and as many reckoned, it is simply called MacBook.

Available in the snow white we’ve all come to know and love, as well as in black-is-the-new-black black, the new MacBook features either a 1.83 or 2 GHz Intel Core Duo processor, up to 2 GB of RAM, starts with an 60 GB hard drive, going up to 120 GB, comes with the same MagSafe power adapter as the MacBook Pro, has a 13.3-inch screen with a 1280 x 800 resolution, and can be had with either a Combo optical drive, or the DVD-burning SuperDrive. The new MacBook has a built-in iSight, and features integrated Intel graphics which shares the system’s main memory, a deal-killer for me personally.

To the joy of a lot of Mac users, Apple has now released all of its products from mirroring-only on an external monitor, as the MacBook joins the Intel-based iMac in supporting extended desktop on an external display. The MacBook can drive up to a 23-inch display through it’s Mini-DVI port, which requires an adapter for full DVI or VGA compatibility. One FireWire 400 port, two USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, Airport Extreme, and built-in Bluetooth round out the package. Just as with the MacBook Pro and iMac, a modem is now optional, external, and costs $49.

It should be noted that the black MacBook is only available with the 2 GHz Core Duo, and features a $200 markup over its white brethren; this gets you a baseline 80 GB hard drive instead of a 60 GB model. Otherwise, you’re paying extra for the alternative color. Still, I believe Apple is going to sell a ton of both, and will be hard pressed to keep black models in stock. Time will tell if the black cases are as susceptible to scratching as their similarly-colored iPod cousins.

I’d love a black MacBook in the future, but I have a problem with integrated graphics and their sharing of the system memory. It may be an irrational dislike, but it keeps my eye on the 15-inch MacBook Pro, with hope that the new MacBook signals a 13.3-inch version in the Pro series.

posted by retrophisch at 10:16 AM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 11 May 2006

A pair of Apple miscellany

“Apple simplifies .Mac Web access”. So common sensical, I wonder why they didn’t think of this sooner.

* * *

“Apple actively courting the Beatles”. I like the Beatles, but I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to download any of their music from anywhere. For the sake of Apple, I would love for the iTunes Music Store to carry their full catalog; I believe, as one online commentator wrote, that the Beatles could make up any lawsuit-related losses easily through iTMS sales. Unlike myself, there are lots of people, including TUAW’s Dave Caolo, who want individual Beatles albums.

Personally, I have all the Beatles’ songs I could want on my iPod already. It’s called “1”.

posted by retrophisch at 10:37 AM -->in Macintosh , ipod
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Monday, 01 May 2006

ATPM 12.05

The May issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available.

We welcome Mark Tennent to the ATPM staff this month. Mark’s been providing us plenty of reading material over the past few months, and we felt it only fair to reward him with the glamorous and career-enhancing position of Contributing Editor. Welcome to the team, Mark!

Wes notes the Boot Camp roundup from the Mac blogosphere, while going insane with award…er, awarding. Mark gives us a double-blast of his regular column, MacMuser, raising the concern over data composting, how valuable cultural artifacts might be lost to future generations, as well as hoping that Apple’s dual boot strategy pays off.

Paul scours the web for sites you didn’t know existed, so you don’t have to. Want to discover new music, solve an online puzzle, listen to the U.S. tax code via podcast, learn how to get to a human operator as quickly as possible in a phone tree, or explore the world of cylinder recordings? Paul’s your new hero.

Chuck delves in to text parsing with FileMaker this month. Ted shares his thoughts on using ConceptDraw in your outlining workflow, as well as noting how outlining concepts are showing up in myriad applications we don’t think of as outliners.

This month’s desktop pictures selection is brought to us by ATPM jack-of-all-trades Chris Lawson. A prophead with his sights set higher—and I mean that in all of the best ways—Chris took his Canon digital SLR to Oshkosh last year for the annual EAA AirVenture. Aircraft lovers are sure to appreciate Chris’s efforts.

We learn Cortland is a James Brown fan, and there’s a lot more to Brody than meets the eye. Much more.

Sylvester opens this month’s reviews with a look at Footlights Pro 2.1. Frank Wu chimes in, noting Axio’s Hardsleeve lives up to its name. It’s the Lee and Lawson show on the fifth-generation iPod, the daring duo bringing you the lowdown on Apple’s latest digital media player. Lee also has a solo act this issue, in a look at iTunes Catalog. Finally, yours truly closes out the issue with my analysis of Datadesk’s SmartBoard ergonomic keyboard.

As always, each issue is available online, or in one of three formats for your offline reading pleasure.

posted by retrophisch at 12:00 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 13 April 2006


Dan Wade has too much time on his hands.

* * *

Gavin Shearer:

If I were Sony, or Toshiba, or HP, I’d be freaking out right now.

* * *

I cannot begin to express how broken up I am over the fact that Michael Jackson has to restructure his debt. Oh, look, something shiny…

* * *

It’s about time. Pooh is certainly more deserving than most of the blithering glitterati that populate the Walk.

[With a wave of the phin to the Firewheel boys and John.]

posted by retrophisch at 7:00 PM -->in Macintosh , fun , tech
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Thursday, 06 April 2006

Boot Camp

When I was in ROTC, our drill instructor told us…

Sorry, wrong boot camp. And we didn’t really have a drill instructor, since the drilling was done by the uppperclassmen. And there was never something called “boot camp” for ROTC. Anyway

The web is ablaze with the news of Apple’s Boot Camp. (Not to mention Wall Street.) When I first heard the news—from my non-geeky wife, no less—I admit feeling a little sour. It’s one thing for hackers to find a workaround because Apple’s now using the same underlying hardware as the latest and greatest Windows machines, but to actually support it?

Blessedly, reason soon took hold. As I went about my day, mulling this over in the back of my mind, I came to look at this development as a good thing. Yesterday afternoon, looking through some of my feeds in NetNewsWire, I saw I reached conclusions similar to those of people I know and trust.

Michael sums it up perfectly:

[P]eople would have found a way anyway, so it’s better for Apple to make it work right and take the credit than to pretend it isn’t happening.

Amen. This is no third-party hack that could wipe out your entire system. This is a straight-from-the-source solution. (That could wipe out your entire system; but the odds are more in your favor with Boot Camp.)

Tom has a couple of theoretical examples of how the dual-boot nature of Intel Macs can benefit Apple.

I would have to agree with Erik, however, in that if I were to run Windows on my Mac, I would rather have it in the vein of Virtual PC, where I can switch in and out of the different OS environments with a keystroke. As Welch noted on the MacJournals-Talk list, having to quit everything in one environment and boot in to the other one gets old if you have to do it more than two or three times a day. Even then…

As for me, I have a XP box five feet away, on my wife’s desk in our study. It’s the PC I built for her, and I have my own account on it. The reason I have this iMac is so I don’t have to put up with such nonsense such as the USB driver we wrestled with earlier tonight on her machine for an IR receiver. Then again, why would I want to pass up the chance at something like seeing the blue screen of death on my iMac? That’s just aces.

posted by retrophisch at 12:41 AM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Monday, 03 April 2006


To get back at phishers (as opposed to a phisch), use PhishFighting. It’s certainly a much better use of CPU cycles than looking for aliens that don’t exist.

[Via IM from Lawson.]

* * *

Lee has no sense of adventure.

* * *

Memo to Skip Bertman, Director of Athletics, Louisiana State University: in the future, Final Four-bound teams are not allowed to come back to Baton Rouge prior to the semi-final game. Apparently, there’s something in the water that results in “chucking”, better known as “the shooting of bricks”.

It was painful enough watching the men’s team lose the game last night due to their inability to put the ball in the basket (as opposed to UCLA’s winning by making it difficult for the Tigers to do so), but the ladies seemed to have the same problem tonight against Duke, a team which was making it difficult for the Tigers to put the ball in the basket.

Two shots at a championship, two shots blown. Kudos to UCLA and Duke. There’s always next year.

And it’s baseball season.

posted by retrophisch at 1:14 AM -->in Macintosh , fun , tech , web/site
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ATPM 12.04

The April issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available.

You’ll notice (hopefully) a new look to the publication this month. Simon Griffee put in time working on the design, and put in time with my and Michael’s tweaks. Thanks so much, Simon!

As Apple celebrates thirty years as a company, it seems more and more notable online personalities are joining the ranks of the Switchers, and Wes has a complete round-up. He also notes the booting-XP-on-Intel-Mac solutions running around the ‘net, but we’re not going to allow such blasphemy to darken our door, much less come inside for dinner with the family. Reader Heather Isaacson took advantage of an abundance of offline time to concentrate on her art, and now wants to build a web site to sell it from. Alas, her old Mac wasn’t up to the task, but she perseveres in a heartwarming tale of old Mac love lost, and new Mac love found.

We feature a double-shot of Mark Tennent this month, as he first delves in to how “Copyleft” software such as Firefox is changing the world’s perception of copyright, then does a little ego-surfing via Google.

We also have a double-shot farewell from Tom Bridge, who is stepping down as an ATPM Contributing Editor. This would be the part where I’d get all weepy and emotional over a staffer’s departure, but I talk to Tom practically every day, and I don’t see that changing, no matter how much he might like it to.

Tom likes the new calendar creation in iPhoto, and I believe I’ll be utilizing this later in the year for the annual family calendar featuring our little phisch. Tom also reviews the TV Mini HD, a ready-for-primetime (provided you get good antenna reception) “Mac TiVo”.

There are a pair of other reviews, with Paul weighing in on Password Retriever (not impressed), and yours truly getting my backup groove on with SuperDuper! (very much impressed). Consequently I have realized I’m not one of those guys who can really pull off a “getting my groove on” sort of line, but it’s late and I don’t feel like coming up with anything else, since my muse tucked itself in after a nightcap about two hours ago.

Cortland learns there’s no accounting for taste, as desperation sets in for Chad while Angie may find that love is even closer than she thinks. Finally, this month’s desktop pictures are of the English Lake District, courtesy of Mac user Andy Bannister. Andy’s work is remarkable; I spent hours on the site looking through photos. Thanks, Andy, for allowing us to showcase part of your portfolio.

As usual, the new and improved ATPM is available in three fruity flavors for your reading pleasure.

posted by retrophisch at 1:05 AM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 02 April 2006

Put AutoPairs to work on your Intel Macs

Late last night, I received an e-mail from AutoPairs developer James Walker. James and I had exchanged some messages previously regarding AutoPairs working on Intel Macs. Now, he has discovered a workaround.

  1. If you have a PowerPC Mac, which I do in the form of my PowerBook G4, copy the System Preferences application from that Mac to your Intel Mac. In my case, I copied the AutoPairs pref pane from the PowerBook as well, putting it in ~/Library/PreferencePanes.

  2. Rename the copied System Preferences application. I renamed my copied app to “SysPref PPC AP config”, so I would know at a glance what it’s sitting on my desktop for.

  3. Launch the renamed application.

  4. The AutoPairs pref pane showed up and I was able to click on it to activate it and open its configuration window.

Quitting, I switched to BBEdit, and tried out some parentheses and quotes, and it worked like a charm! Thanks, James!

posted by retrophisch at 8:21 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 17 March 2006


My favorite band contains big Apple fans apparently. Way cool.

* * *

I downloaded the new iChat icons for .Mac members, but I’m fairly certain I won’t use any of them.

* * *

Europe at night: a digital composite of archived satellite images.

* * *

If you have a Nick-N-Willy’s in your area, and you haven’t tried a pizza from them yet, I encourage you to do so. No, they won’t hold a candle to those from a real NYC- or Chicago-style pizzeria, but the pizzas are way better than any you’ll get from the typical fast-food pizza guys. I’m now discarding all of the Papa John’s coupons we receive each week.

posted by retrophisch at 5:30 PM -->in Macintosh , fun , tech
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Monday, 06 March 2006

“But Macs are still more expensive…”

Winn Schwartau, on conducting a total cost of ownership (TCO) breakdown comparing a Windows PC to an Intel Macintosh, what he refers to as a “MacTel”:

The results of this TCO astounded me. For my small enterprise, owning a WinTel box for three years costs twice as much as owning a MacTel.

Somehow, this just seemed to go hand-in-hand with my previous post.

posted by retrophisch at 5:16 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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The greatest trick

John Gruber:

There’s a line in The Usual Suspects where Kevin Spacey’s character Verbal Kint says, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

The greatest trick Microsoft has gotten away with is convincing the public that the Wintel PC platform is open.

I think the familiarity John talks about in his piece is the main reason (coupled with the just-a-year-old PC they have) my parents haven’t switched.

posted by retrophisch at 5:01 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Friday, 03 March 2006


Earlier tonight at Costco, I happened upon the Samuel Adams Brewmaster’s Collection Mix Pack. It’s basically a sampler case of different Sam Adams brews. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a regular drinker, so when I want to have a beer, I want a good one, and a Sam Adams happens to fit that category.

However, I’ve never had any of their brews other than the Boston Lager. So when I saw the Brewmaster’s Collection, I knew I had to give it a try. In addition to the Boston Lager, it features the Boston Ale, the Scotch Ale (one of which is currently chilling), the Black Lager, the Hefeweizen, and the Brown Ale.

* * *

Also at Costco, Boylan Bottling Company had a table set up where you could sample their various sodas, and buy mix-and-match cases. I have had Boylan sodas in the past, due to their being sold at a Jersey boardwalk-style deli we frequented. (Sadly, said deli has since closed up.) Our case contains Diet Black Cherry (my favorite), Diet Root Beer (better than Barq’s), and Orange Creme (you will never look at any other orange soda the same).

* * *

If you use iCal, you owe it to yourself to download and register Aram Kudurshian’s High Priority. It’s well worth the $6 license.

* * *

This afternoon, I finally got around to syncing my new iMac Core Duo with my still somewhat new iPod Video. Only iSync doesn’t recognize the iPod. What?!?!? I’m sure this issue was covered elsewhere on the Mac news and in the blogosphere, but I missed it. You now use iTunes to sync your Address Book and iCal info with your iPod. Thanks, Apple, for making what was once a one-click move now something that takes two applications.

posted by retrophisch at 11:52 PM -->in Macintosh , fun
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Thursday, 02 March 2006

ATPM 12.03

The March issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available.

Ellyn ponders the notion of just because you can do something doesn’t mean you necessarily should do it, especially when it comes to system upgrades. This makes me think about all those people wailing over the new Intel-based Macs; it’s not like your two year-old Mac is suddenly obsolete. Is it still running all the apps you were running on it yesterday? Yes? Fine, carry on, and stop sniveling.

Wes looks at how February appeared to be an iPod month, and also notes the discussions on Smart Crash Reports and dual-core processors that have been making the rounds in the Mac blogosphere. Ted looks at Dossier, a new-to-ATPO outliner, as well as outliner web interaction. His columns continue to simultaneously fascinate and overwhelm me. The “Attractive Futures” section at the end is not to be missed.

Mark Tennent notes Microsoft’s struggles in the European Union, and the potential effect on Mac users. (I wrote the blurb, I can reuse it here.) Sylvester dives in to the world of video extraction, which prompted Lee to note via instant message that he wishes he had this information a couple of years ago. This from a guy who deals with video production on a fairly regular basis, or obviously Sylvester has some enlightening suggestions. Matthew extends the life of his Cube with the installation of a SuperDrive.

This month’s desktop pictures are still shots of Quartz Composer models created by Futurismo Zugakousaku. I’m partial to the fish (not surprising), and I like the Iron Wave shots, too. Definitely check out Futurismo’s work. Frisky Freeware is on a short hiatus, but Cortland finds love with Angie, while Chad ponders life outside of work.

Matthew plays with Chessmaster 9000—do these Feral Interactive guys have a time machine or something? Chessmaster 9000?!?! Does chess change that much in 7,000 years?—while Eric cleans his iPod with Newer’s Clean and Polish Kit.

Paul examines an app that should be in every troubleshooting toolkit, Data Rescue II. Miraz Jordan reviews Path Finder 4.0.2, a Finder replacement I hope to get to know better. Finally, Chris puts the X-Slim EL keyboard through the wringer.

As usual, this month’s issue is available in a variety of flavors.

posted by retrophisch at 9:54 PM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 26 February 2006

Note to self re: Command- and Option- commands

Command-Tab switches between applications.
Command-tick (`) switches between windows within an application.
Option-Tab, via Witch, switches between windows and applications.

posted by retrophisch at 11:03 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 23 February 2006

SpamSieve 2.4.2

My favorite spam-killing application has been updated, and now kills spam better than ever. Michael has been rocking on SpamSieve’s efficiency with each update; I see very, very few false negatives, and no false positives with the app.

One updated feature which should be noted is the improved phish detection. That’s phish, not phisch, got it? We phisch are more sneaky…

posted by retrophisch at 5:49 PM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 19 February 2006

Leap-A tutorials

Rob Griffiths has an excellent piece on Macworld regarding the Leap-A malware which could infect your Tiger-based Mac, if, well, if you’re either not paying attention or are just stupid. Mark Allan has what should be the obvious, common-sense approach to not getting infected:

  1. Are somehow sent (via email, iChat, etc.) or download the “latestpics.tgz” file
  2. Double-click on the file to decompress it
  3. Double-click on the resulting file to “open” it

…and even then, most users must also enter their Admin password.

You cannot simply “catch” the virus. Even if someone does send you the “latestpics.tgz” file, you cannot be infected unless you decompress the file, and then open it.

posted by retrophisch at 1:57 PM -->in Macintosh
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Developers needed for Intel updates

Mark Allan is seeking a Mac developer with an Intel Mac to help with an update to ClamXav so it will run on the the new Intel-based Macintosh systems.

The one utility it seems I cannot live without on my new iMac Core Duo is James Walker’s AutoPairs. A preference pane, AutoPairs will not run on an Intel Mac. I contacted James, and he doesn’t have access to an Intel Mac to do further development and testing. I’ve offered my services as a tester, but if any developers with Intel Macs would like to give James a hand, please contact him.

(From a totally selfish standpoint, if anyone knows of a replacement for AutoPairs that works on Intel Macs, drop me a note.)

posted by retrophisch at 1:41 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 17 February 2006

The Return of Lemonade Stand

When I was in seventh grade, I began computer programming classes. First it was BASIC, on Radio Shack TRS-80 systems (affectionately known as “Trash-80s”). Then it was more BASIC and Turbo Pascal on Apple II computers. Lemonade Stand was a game, along with Oregon Trail, we spent our free time at the end of class goofing around with.

When my parents bought a used Apple IIe from one of my high school teachers, Lemonade Stand and Oregon Trail came with it, and much joy was had playing them again, as well as in seeing my younger sister happily plugging along on them. Now, Lemonade Stand is back, and ported to Mac OS X.

[Via Erik.]

posted by retrophisch at 9:58 AM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 14 February 2006

It’s Official

Camino, which is fast becoming my favorite browser, has finally been officially released.

The RSS auto-detect feature, a la Safari, is what is keeping me from completely switching from Apple’s browser.

[Via Chris.]

posted by retrophisch at 9:43 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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I love the International Date Line

I received an e-mail notification from the Apple Store just after midnight this morning. It told me they had transmitted the shipping info to FedEx for the pickup of the iMac Core Duo I had ordered.

At 1:53 PM local time, the iMac was picked up in Shanghai. Thanks to the beauty of the International Date Line, it arrived in Anchorage (that’s Alaska, for the geographically ignorant) at 11:54 AM local time, the same day. It has subsequently departed Anchorage as of 1:13 PM local time, and should arrive here on Friday. Yay!

posted by retrophisch at 7:46 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 13 February 2006

Open Source Mac

I was actually kind of surprised by the number of applications listed at Open Source Mac I use. I suppose on some level, they are elegant enough that I don’t think of them any differently than the commercial software I use.

posted by retrophisch at 10:15 AM -->in Macintosh
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Saturday, 04 February 2006

Calendar hosting

If you find yourself wishing you could have your very own online calendar to sync with iCal, but

  1. Have not the resources available to you, or
  2. Have not the desire to learn how to set up PHP iCalendar

then Tom can help you out with his new calendar hosting service. Just be sure to tell him the Retrophisch™ sent you.

posted by retrophisch at 12:25 AM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Friday, 03 February 2006

Rise of the Core Duo

The 17-inch iMac G5 has been removed from the online Apple Store, leaving only the 20-inch G5 version. If you’re looking for a G5 iMac instead of the new Intel Core Duo version, now would appear to be the time to buy.

[Via Al W. on the MacJournals-Talk list.]

Update: John notes what I missed: the remaining 20-inch iMac G5s have been marked down $200, to $1,499. Apple is definitely clearing out last year’s model.

posted by retrophisch at 10:39 AM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 02 February 2006

Printing the day’s schedule in iCal

Since MacHome doesn’t post all of its magazine’s monthly content to the web, I’m archiving for my own use this hint from Editor at Large Chris McVeigh, found in the Q&A section of the February 2006 issue.

You can however print an entire day’s schedule, complete with any notes you may have added to the event. Choose View > Go to Date and enter the date you want, or to see the current day’s events, choose View > Go to Today. Now choose View > Day View to see only that day. Finally, choose File > Print.

You’ll see a preview of the print job, which lists appointments along a timeline at the left and the details of these appointments in a separate column at the right. This is a bit awkward, though. In the Print window, choose View > List. You’ll see that the events are now listed one after another (there is no timeline) and include the event details. Click Continue and then click Print. In a few seconds you’ll have a printed copy of your appointments and notes.

posted by retrophisch at 8:01 PM -->in Macintosh , gtd
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Wednesday, 01 February 2006

ATPM 12.02

The February issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available.

Ellyn examines Google’s noncompliance of demands by the Justice Department, while Wes has the best of the Mac blogosphere’s reaction to last month’s Macworld Expo. Miraz Jordan, noting his enjoyment of podcasts, chimes in with this month’s Pod People. (We’re looking for readers to share their own iPod experiences. If you would like to write a Pod People column, please e-mail the editors.) Ted looks over two outliners new to the Macintosh sandbox. Speaking of sand, Angus Wong dives in to the waters of the Macintosh life and discovers on the sandy bottom the triumph of the Macintosh revolution.

This issue’s desktop pictures section features numerous reader submissions, ranging from flowers to Mount Baker, St. Louis to Thailand, New Hampshire to the Dominican Republic. Thanks to Torben, Bill, Jerry, Steven, and Grover for sharing!

In this month’s Cortland, Lisa makes peace with her maker, the other Steve steps in to foil plans of world dominance, Chad returns to the throne at Weiser Graphics, and Cortland decides the fringe benefits are worth going in-house again.

Ellyn fools around with Bubblomania, while Tom peers between the sheets of the Cult of iPod. Mark Tennent shares his experience with CyTV, and Chris tests the alliteratory Lapvantage Loft. Finally, Tom asks that if you’re going to delve deeply in to the guts of Mac OS X, you do so with a good manual at your side, kid.

posted by retrophisch at 8:48 AM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 17 January 2006

Drive capacity envy

Seagate is now shipping 160 GB laptop drives. These are in the Momentus line, and run at 5400 rpm, with an Ultra ATA/100 interface. The Serial ATA version is coming later in the year. What’s interesting to note is that the drives are shipping, but no pricing is available.

I had thought I would rather a 7200 rpm 100 GB drive, over a 5400 rpm 120 GB drive, should I upgrade my PowerBook. Depending upon pricing, I would gladly run a 5400 rpm 160 GB drive. Lee, who passed on the above link via IM, is hoping this announcement will drive down the cost of 120 GB drives.

Update: Lee, again via IM, points to OWC’s listing, with a price of cough, cough $399.00.

posted by retrophisch at 11:06 AM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Tuesday, 10 January 2006

MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro.

MacBook Pro.

MacBook Pro.

MacBook Pro.

How soon do you think it will take for a spoof ad to show up that shows the new Intel-powered Macintosh portable, with the golden arches in place of the Apple logo, and the tagline “Do you want fries with that?”

I realize this may be part of some new marketing scheme by our favorite fruit company to get “Mac” into all of its Macintosh product names. It’s just shocking that Steve and Company would ditch “PowerBook,” which has for so long almost been a brand unto itself, not unlike “iPod”.

posted by retrophisch at 5:22 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 06 January 2006

Google Apple’s best friend?

Tim Beyers ruminates that if the rumors are true, and Google is set to introduce either a low-priced computer running the “Google OS”, or roll out the Google Pack software package, or a for-pay video download service, or any combination of the above, this could drive more Windows users in to the open arms of Macintosh.

posted by retrophisch at 8:52 AM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Thursday, 05 January 2006

Calendar fun

In my pursuit to not renew my .Mac subscription this year, I decided to install PHP iCalendar. Since we use only SFTP on our box, and none of the the iCal FTP apps out there support that protocol, I was left with publishing from iCal via WebDav.

After I confirmed with him that WebDav was available on our box’s installation, Jim, our sysamdmin, walked me through setting up authentication for publishing and viewing. This was not without its little hiccups.

Not the answer I'm looking for

Being the brilliant guy he is, Jim soon figured out the issue, and now I am happily publishing my calendar to the web. A quick bookmark, named oh so originally “Cal”, in Safari’s Bookmark Bar, and I’m set.

posted by retrophisch at 11:59 AM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Monday, 02 January 2006

Smooth Guy

Do you want to know why Guy Kawasaki was made the head evangelist by Apple in the mid-1990s? Because Guy’s so smooth:

You should give your ten slides in twenty minutes. Sure, you have an hour time slot, but you’re using a Windows laptop, so it will take forty minutes to make it work with the projector.

Actually, the entire post is about Guy’s optimal PowerPoint presentation. (He sees a lot of them as a venture capitalist.) If you give presentations, it’s a worthwhile read.

posted by retrophisch at 3:33 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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ATPM 12.01

About This Particular Macintosh begins its twelfth year of publishing with the release of the January 2006 issue.

Ellyn starts things off by noting something is rotten in the state of Wikipedia. Personally, I try to avoid linking to Wikipedia, and encourage fellow bloggers to do the same. Wes has a round-up of the latest Macworld Expo/Intel-based Mac rumor-mongering, something I simply cannot condone. (The rumor-mongering, not the gathering thereof. I believe it’s important to know, and point out, how badly these rumor sites hurt Apple and rarely help consumers.) Sylvester ponders how even long-time Mac users can encounter newbie moments.

A rare treat for the ATPM readership: publisher Michael Tsai returns with a Personal Computing Paradigm column on coping with Mac OS X’s font rendering. Michael and I share a common Microsoft love: Verdana. It’s my main screen font, too, and the first one I specify in the stylesheets for my blogs. I also like Microsoft’s Georgia, and use it as my main serif font. Look for Georgia to make an appearance in an upcoming redesign I’m working on.

Your humble author again submits some photos from Wyoming as this month’s desktop pictures. These feature the Jenny Lake area of Grand Teton National Park, the part of the vacation I believe I enjoyed more than our time in Yellowstone. This could largely be due to the differences in weather we had between the two parks.

This month’s Cortland, rated PG-13 for violence, attempts to allude to as many science fiction motion pictures as possible, as several plotlines converge.

Tom kicks the reviews off with the software I wish I had the hardware to handle, and that’s turning the digital photography world on its ear, Aperture. Ellyn listens different with Griffin Technology’s EarThumps, while Matthew examines Quicken alternative iCash.

Tom continues to make me jealous with a review of the hardware I hope to be able to run Aperture on in the future, the 20-inch iMac G5. Yours truly got to make a few other staffers jealous with my own product review, that of Tivoli Audio’s iSongBook. While the review was turned in before the Christmas holiday, we did take the iSongBook on the road with us, and it proved its worth for us during our stay at my grandmother’s. It pulled double duty as bedtime lullaby player for our toddler, and alarm clock for us.

Lee, who got plenty of experience with virtual tours last year during his house hunt, looks at an alternative to QuickTime VR for creating virtual tours, Mapwing Creator Pro. Chuck wraps the first reviews of the year up with an examination of the latest version of REALbasic.

Our thanks to our readers who have stuck with us for the past eleven years, and we’re looking forward to the next eleven!

posted by retrophisch at 1:37 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 29 December 2005


Like Merlin, I have longed for the ability in iCal to have alarms automatically created for new events. Now, thanks to Robert Blum gives us iCalFix, which does exactly that. Robert notes version 0.2 will be out some time in January, but I’ve been using today with no issues. (Note: iCalFix requires the installation of SIMBL.)

posted by retrophisch at 9:40 AM -->in Macintosh , gtd
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Monday, 19 December 2005

Pulling the plug on Info-Mac

Adam Engst details the plan for retiring the Info-Mac Network, noting that it has outlived its usefulness given the Internet’s current climate.

The retirement will not be immediate, though the ceasing of new software acceptance will be. The Info-Mac server will remain online for a few months, as mirror sites make the necessary decisions regarding supporting the now-frozen archive. If you want your very own mirror of the Info-Mac archives, you’ll need a mere seven gigabytes of storage and a simple Unix command.

posted by retrophisch at 10:14 PM -->in Macintosh , web/site
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Thursday, 15 December 2005

And the Macworld Eddy goes to…

Given this news, John Gruber makes an excellent point:

This puts Macworld in an awkward spot if they ever again want to review or compare RSS aggregators. If they say NetNewsWire is the best (which it currently is) they’re wide open to accusations of bias; if they say it’s not the best, then they’re stuck admitting that their readers who use the bundled version of NNW are getting something less than the best.

Does anyone else remember when the press, in general, was not burdened by corporate ownership? I just turned 35, and I can recall it being a near-industry standard not that long ago, in my lifetime, where press bodies operated independently.

John is dead-on in his analysis: how are we ever to take seriously any review Macworld conducts of any news reader from this point forward? The fact notwithstanding that a large amount of the Macintosh news reader community, this author included, agrees that NetNewsWire is, in fact, the best news reader out there, on any platform, and, the fact notwithstanding that said Macintosh news reader community likely applauds Macworld’s decision to go with NetNewsWire, given that same would likely ridicule Macworld for choosing what it would perceive to be a lesser application if something other than NetNewsWire was chosen, one has to wonder what the thinking is amongst the editorial staff of Macworld to essentially paint themselves in to a corner when it comes to an ever-increasingly important segment of the software arena.

posted by retrophisch at 1:03 AM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 04 December 2005

ATPM mentioned in NYT

I don’t often link to The New York Times, but when the publication I work on gets a mention, well, I have to throw the Times some link love.

James Fallows notes the plethora of Macintosh thought-organization applications (free registration required), and About This Particular Macintosh gets a mention in the last paragraph.

This is due to the incredible work of Ted Goranson, and his About This Particular Outliner series. Thanks, Ted, for all of your hard work!

[From Michael via e-mail.]

posted by retrophisch at 12:30 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 01 December 2005

ATPM 11.12

The December issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading and downloading pleasure.

Our continued thanks to Bare Bones for their sponsorship of the publication. ATPM is an all-volunteer effort, and any monies made from sponsorships or ads go to support the ever-growing hosting costs for our eleven years’ worth of issues. If you are a hardware or software developer for the Macintosh community, and you would like to become an ATPM sponsor, please contact the editors.

Rob reminds us of December issues past, present, and takes a peek at the future. Ellyn notes how the gadgets of Star Trek are slowly appearing today. As usual, you can depend on Paul for an eclectic mix of sites to explore: tractors, Mac browsers, sudoku, Lowe’s library, and a porcelain throne in a pear tree.

Ted wraps up some loose ends in this month’s ATPO, and puts the call out to the outlining community for users to help out with future ATPO columns, as well as proposing something of a formal gathering of the outlining community: an e-mail list, forum, or web site. If you’re a hard-core outliner, and any of Ted’s proposal strikes you, drop him a note.

Johann delivers a column on how a formerly-derided technology is now changing the way he interacts with his PowerBook and mobile phone. Tom provides a quick how-to on Apple’s PhotoBooth, and Sylvester offers part deux of his music server series.

Tom weighs in on Docktopus, which I’m still trying to figure out if I like or not. Lee convinces me the iFM, in its current state, isn’t for me given my listening habits. Eric reviews a book I will have to take a serious look at, as well as the tome Rob read for this month’s issue. Andrew delivers a double-shot of trackball reviews, with the X-Arcade, and my trackball of choice, the Logitech Trackman Wheel. (I have the corded version.) I’m not a gamer (and if I were, I’d probably use a console), so Andrew’s concerns on using the Logitech for games is moot for me.

Yours truly contributes some shots from the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park, taken this past June on a family vacation, for this month’s desktop pictures section. In this month’s Cortland, the Lisa turns on her creators, while Cortland is rewarded for his forward-thinking when it comes to backups. Frisky talks about one of my favorite media apps, VLC, which I’ve been using to watch those episodes of Joey I’ve missed and had to download from the ‘net, because the TiVo is recording someone else’s shows during that time slot.

As usual, you can download the latest issue in one of three flavors. Just don’t spill the egg nog.

posted by retrophisch at 11:09 AM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 29 November 2005

I’ve always said, “If you want to play games…”

John Gruber:

[N]ext-generation consoles seem set to surpass the PC as the premier platforms for gaming, which means anyone who’s resisted switching from Windows because of the lack of games for the Mac will have one less reason not to switch. I think there a lot of guys out there who are starting to think they’d be better off with a new Mac and an Xbox/PS3 than with a new Windows PC.

Years ago, when I was more fanatical about evangelizing the Mac, whenever the gaming argument came up my reply was always along the lines of “If you want to play games, go buy a Nintendo.” (Update the phrase with the console of your choice.)

posted by retrophisch at 12:51 AM -->in Macintosh , fun
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Saturday, 26 November 2005

This is what is known as “hitting the nail on the head”

Jeff Harrell:

It kind of amazes me what shortcomings the people who buy Windows computers are willing to live with. It used to be the case that Macs were more expensive than other kinds of computers, pound for pound. This is no longer true, of course, and hasn’t been for some time, but even if it were, it seems like it would be only proper. It seems like people who buy Windows computers have to spend a lot of time finding and downloading (or buying) programs to make their computers do stuff my computer does all by itself.

posted by retrophisch at 10:14 AM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Friday, 25 November 2005

“I ain’t missin’ you at all…”

Erik posits he really isn’t missing windowshade functionality in OS X. Neither am I. I began using windowshade less and less in the waning days of OS 9, thanks to LiteSwitch. Like Erik, I have rarely found myself in a situation where windowshade functionality would be necessary with Mac OS X. I hardly ever use Exposé, either.

My extensive use of cool-switching via Command-Tab and Quicksilver has also rendered the usage of multiple desktops as moot. Lee reviewed You Control: Desktops, and I looked at the product, and have experimented with Desktop Manager, but right now multiple desktops don’t fit in to my computing habits.

posted by retrophisch at 4:06 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 23 November 2005

Michael Hyatt: Judge, Jury, Executioner

Relax, mouth-foamers, we’re talking about software. I like Michael’s system, sequestering apps for a specific amount of time to see if they’re truly needed or not. I need to do something along these lines, though I’ve already pared down to 110 items in the Applications folder from a clearinghouse earlier this year.

posted by retrophisch at 8:20 PM -->in Macintosh , gtd , tech
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Saturday, 19 November 2005


Today’s “Too Much Time On Their Hands” installment is again brought to you by TUAW:

Turn a classic Macintosh SE in to a 3 GHz PC.

What a waste of a SE case.

posted by retrophisch at 11:03 AM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Friday, 18 November 2005


Today’s “Too Much Time On Their Hands” episode is brought to by TUAW:

Stick the guts of a modern optical mouse in to a classic Apple ADB mouse.

posted by retrophisch at 2:51 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Wednesday, 16 November 2005

Dear MacAddict

Thank you so much for the magazines you keep sending, even though we’re coming up on the fifth month since my subscription expired. I don’t really care about the fact that these “teaser” issues do not contain the CD, as I often found the CDs included with MacAddict to be out of date and the original content mostly useless. The only reason I re-subscribed in the first place was because of the $10 off the regular subscription price offer through Apple’s .Mac service. Your magazine hasn’t been worth much more than that for a number of years.

But feel free to keep the teaser issues coming. I can use the laughs.

posted by retrophisch at 7:07 PM -->in Macintosh
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Today’s miscellany

And thus Apple’s plans at world domination were dashed.

Regarding HTML in e-mail: what Tom said. I’m not even an admin like Tom that has to deal with this crap on a day-to-day basis. E-mail is for text. The Web is for graphics. No co-mingling of the two. I realize I’m in a rapidly dwindling minority on this issue, Jeff, but that’s my area of Ludditism, I guess.

The Tetran doesn’t look too terribly comfortable to be sliding in to one’s front pants pocket. [Via Lee.]

I’ve noticed the severe lack of updates to Apple’s iCal Library section, too. Now I just get whatever I want from iCalShare.

Google continues to intrigue me. Really.

An excellent illustration.

I pronounce it like the peanut butter, with a hard J. [Via John.]

posted by retrophisch at 12:44 AM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Monday, 14 November 2005

Today’s miscellany

Yeah, it’s been up a few days, but I’m just getting to it, okay? John Gruber has come around, much as I have recently, to the notion of PowerBook-as-main/only-system, a concept Lee has been a proponent of for some time. John also has an in-depth review of the latest 15-inch PowerBook, outfitted just as I would like, with his usual attention to detail.

It’s Monday evening, and I’m still sore from the neighborhood tree planting from Saturday morning. Eleven ten-gallon trees to go in the neighborhood’s greenbelt area. Seventy homes, with an average of two adults per home. Seven people showed up, including myself. Yeah.

An interesting tip I picked up from No Plot? No Problem! shows an innovative use for all that spam that gets collected for me. This one writer keeps a list of names that show up in the From field of spam e-mails, so she always has a pool of character names to pull from. I really like this, since usually when I’m working on fiction, I can come up with two or three good character names, then I start really pulling stuff out of bodily orifices. A simple text document in BBEdit now has 305 names, one per line, and the built-in Kill Duplicates filter ensures I don’t have the same name twice.

posted by retrophisch at 6:43 PM -->in Macintosh , rant , tech , writing
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Friday, 11 November 2005

Today’s miscellany

I’ve been trying to send some e-mails with attachments via Gmail, from within Safari. Frustrated, I launched the 1.0b1 version of Camino, and it worked the first time I tried.

If Camino could mimic the easy subscribability of Safari when it comes to RSS and Atom feeds, there would be no looking back. Based on my own usage, Camino is consistently faster than Safari at rendering, uses less RAM over time, and remains more stable.

Then Tom has to go and remind me why Safari kicks butt when it comes to designing for standards.

An article in the latest Macworld has prompted me to look seriously at My personal work habits have evolved to the point where I’m no longer worried about keeping bookmarks synced between two systems, but the prospect of an online backup of my bookmarks, that I could access from any where, is appealing. I’m coming closer all the time to my own personal death knell for .Mac.

Anthro’s eNook is so cool it almost makes me wish I didn’t have enough space to get one. Almost.

A happy belated to Tiffany.

Finally, my thanks to Tom. He knows why.

posted by retrophisch at 10:51 PM -->in Macintosh , fun , tech
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Friday, 04 November 2005

Widgets smidgets

So Leander posits Apple is prepping a WYSIWYG widget-creation app. TUAW’s David Chartier whines “what took so long?” I can’t help but think, “So what?”

I know I’m not alone in minimal widget use. I see the myriad widgets being created and updated daily fly through my RSS feeds, and I can easily imagine users with 20-30 of these things flying around at once, bogging down their system’s background process time. At least now to create a widget you have to have some Javascript and HTML knowledge, and it helps if you’re design savvy. God help us if “Dashcode” is for real; it will unleash untold useless and ugly widgets on the Mac-using populace.

I do see a lot of widgets where I think, “Hey, that would be cool/convenient to have.” Then I realize that a particular widget wouldn’t be one I would want running all of the time. Then I realize that in the time it takes me to activate Dashboard, go in and make the widget active in the Dashboard environment, and have it refresh, I could just as quickly pull up my web browser and point it to whatever page I needed for the same information.

Ah, you say, but what happens when you’re using your PhischBook some place where you don’t have ‘net access? Granted, this is an instance when widgets would be useful, provided the widget itself doesn’t require an Internet connection to load its information. For my own use, there’s not a non-Internet-using widget out there that I cannot live without. A scenario where such a widget would come in handy when I am without Internet access has not arisen, and even if it had, I believe it would be for something that could just as well keep until I had access again. I probably activate Dashboard between eight and a dozen times a day.

For the record, the widgets I run:

I had been using iCal Events, but I’m giving MenuCalendarClock for iCal a try, and am attempting to determine which one I like better for everyday use.

Your thoughts on widgets? What are you running? Drop a note in the comments.

posted by retrophisch at 2:43 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 02 November 2005

C-Command Blog

Michael now has a dedicated blog for C-Command products. Since the illustrious Mr. Tsai has not yet posted feed links, allow me to help you out: RSS, or if you prefer, Atom.

[Big wave of the phin to Lee for the pointers to the feed links.]

posted by retrophisch at 11:46 PM -->in Macintosh , web/site
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ATPM 11.11

The November issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure. I’m wondering if Charles Anthony’s cover art will be the last to feature the Power Mac G5.

Daniel Jalkut, of Red Sweater Blog, was kind enough to contribute this month’s Pod People column. We are actively seeking new iPod stories each month, and if you would like to share yours, please e-mail the editors.

In this month’s FileMaking, Chuck Ross takes a break from the usual how-to to examine the new features of FileMaker 8. Sylvester Roque sets up a Mac music server, while Matthew Glidden upgrades his Cube’s video card. I’ve performed the latter operation myself, though instead of the Radeon Matt uses, I went with a nVidia GeForce2 MX.

Lee Bennett is kind enough to share with us his photos of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis as this month’s desktop pictures selection. I especially like numbers four and eight.

In Cortland, Chad Wieser finds himself beginning a new phase in life, while Cortland collects the last of a client’s bill. Frisky Freeware notes the return of a Classic classic: FinderPop! Turly O’Connor is porting the venerable productivity app to OS X, and I’m looking forward to putting it through its paces. I’ve been thinking that I wouldn’t get as much use out of FinderPop now, since I use Quicksilver, but I’m also thinking of the two apps as compliments rather than competitors. For those times when you’re mousing around, it’s easier to activate FinderPop, rather than going to the keyboard with both hands for Quicksilver.

Yours truly shares the review spotlight with my fellows this month. Lee puts the AirClick and AirClick USB from Griffin Technology through their paces, while Matthew goes behind enemy lines with the Commandos Battle Pack. Tom Bridge examines the third edition of Derrick Story’s excellent Digital Photography Pocket Guide. Eric Blair gives OmniGraffle Professional 4 a workout, while I chime in with a look at RadTech’s Portectorz for the 12-inch PowerBook.

We still have openings on the editorial staff, and we are always looking for new writers, and need new cover art each month. If you are interested in volunteering some time to ATPM in any of these areas, please e-mail the editors.

posted by retrophisch at 4:20 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 25 October 2005

It is about time…

With thanks to John for the post title and link:

Rich Siegel, of Bare Bones fame, is finally blogging.

As if it weren’t enough that Rich is responsible for two of the applications I use the most each day, he is a fellow scotch and peanut butter lover. Rich, drop me a line when you’re in Dallas; there’s 12-year Glenfiddich Special Reserve in the pantry.

posted by retrophisch at 10:10 AM -->in Macintosh , web/site
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Friday, 21 October 2005

MarsEdit lives!

Brent Simmons announced tonight that development of MarsEdit will continue. w00t!

posted by retrophisch at 9:34 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 20 October 2005

Apple’s new iron and bits

So yesterday was the latest in a slew of product announcements from Apple. In just over a month, we’ve seen the iPod nano, the iPod with Video, the new iTunes Music Store from whence you can download videos and television shows for your video iPod, and now new Power Macs, PowerBooks, and a new piece of pro software.

Power Macs

The new Power Macs are slower than the ones they replace—from a clock-speed perspective, anyway. And let’s be honest: most people don’t understand how a dual-core 2.5 GHz processor is faster than a non-dual-core 2.7 or 3 GHz processor. They see numbers. They understand numbers. The higher the number, the faster it must be. So Apple has a bit of education to do for users, who aren’t as hip and in-the-know as you or I when it comes to the technobabble, contemplating new Power Macs. Then again, maybe those sorts of people are just better off with an iMac or a Mac mini.

Every gearhead, yours truly included, of course is lusting after the dual-core, dual-processor 2.5 GHz Power Mac. This means there are four cores on two chips, and is why Apple refers to this beast as the “Quad.” Should you care to shell out as much money for two video cards—the NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500, with 512 MB of SDRAM—as the Quad costs, you can drive four 30-inch Cinema Displays from a single box. Every gearhead, yours truly included, is also lusting after the funds to accomplish this. I can barely fathom having two of those 30-inch monsters on my desk, much less four, and I would be in happy-happy dream land with only one.


While it’s fun to have fantasies about high-end desktop hardware, I was realistically focused on the new PowerBooks. The missus mentioned the possibility of new mobile iron after the first of the year, so I was hoping to see some improvements, given that this may be the last revision of PowerPC-based ‘Books before Intel-based hardware ships.

I was disappointed that the line-up didn’t see a speed bump. It would have been nice to get a 1.8 GHz PowerBook. The added pixels in the 15- and 17-inch models are indeed welcome, though the 15-inch’s resolution is now higher than the 19-inch LCD I would normally hook it up to. Right now, my 12-inch PowerBook—with a resolution of 1024x768—drives the 19-inch panel, with its resolution of 1280 x 1024. My normal habit is to run the PowerBook closed, given the extra real estate on the 19-inch LCD. With one of the new PowerBook models, I’m looking at the prospect of reordering my workspace, so the PowerBook could be run in extended-desktop mode with the LCD. This is certainly not a bad thing.

John notes the simplified line-up of the PowerBook models, and I concur this is a good thing. I wonder, though, if the simplified product line-up isn’t so much a result of Apple’s desire for simplification, but rather the aforementioned fact that there are no speed-bumps. Historically, when you saw the different versions of a PowerBook, other than screen size, there was a processor speed difference as well. With yesterday’s announcement, Apple killed the slower-speed model for the 15- and 17-inch PowerBooks.That notwithstanding, again, I agree; the simplified line-up is much better. When I went to price a new 15-inch, I only made one change, the hard drive. (I’ll buy my 2 gigs of RAM elsewhere and save a few hundred bucks, Apple, thanks.)


Likely the main reason I’m gear-lusting after a Power Mac G5 Quad is because I’m also lusting after Apple’s latest piece of pro software, Aperture. Think Final Cut Pro for digital photographers. (I know I read that phrase somewhere, but haven’t been able to recall where yet.) I wasn’t crazy about the name at first, thinking Tom had come up with a much better one, but it’s growing on me.

Aperture is a one-stop shop of digital photo post-production, and while it is geared toward—and priced for—professional photographers, as a burgeoning “prosumer,” I can see how much I would gain from Aperture’s abilities. Alas, none of my current hardware can handle the app, and while I know I will begin pushing the limits of iPhoto in the near future, I’m not there yet.

Many see Aperture as a shot across Adobe’s bow, and while I’m sure it will steal some screen time from Photoshop, I see the two applications working in complement with one another rather than competition. Given what Aperture brings to the table, Adobe is going to have to look at something other than just workflow solutions for Photoshop. Their flagship application is already suffering from featuritis, with no real room to grow except through the implementation of workflow solutions, so future development should be interesting to watch.

Regarding the new Apple hardware, Leander Kahney remarked, “I actually don’t like product announcements like this. It makes my 18-month-old PowerBook and G5 look feeble and decrepit.” Leander, I’m plugging along on a 4.5-year old Cube and 2-year old 12-inch PowerBook. How do you think I feel?

posted by retrophisch at 12:01 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 13 October 2005

Keep your iCal window the same size

King of Mac OS X Hints Rob Griffiths has a great tip for keeping your iCal window the same size no matter which view (Day, Week, Month) you’re using. Very handy.

posted by retrophisch at 6:53 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 12 October 2005

Why stock analysts are worthless

(Alternative title: There’s an reason the word “anal” is in “analyst”)

Apple quadruples its profit, but the stock takes a ten percent-plus dive because the company “missed” the number of iPod sales stock analysts —who are not employees of Apple, do not sit on the Board of Directors, and who are not Apple executives— said they thought the company should have sold? They sold 6.4 million iPods in a three months. How many Rios did Creative sell in the last three months? Oh, that’s right, they canned that music player.

Hold on, it gets better.

Those same analysts, who are poo-pooing Apple for failing to sell as many iPods as the analysts thought they should have sold, seem to think Delphi is a good buy. No wonder monkeys are just as good at the stock market as these guys.

[With thanks to John Gruber, and Matt Deatherage and W.R. Wing on the MacJournals-Talk list.]

posted by retrophisch at 10:46 PM -->in Macintosh , ipod , rant
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Friday, 07 October 2005

That smart FontExplorer

So like a lot of the Macintosh-using world, I’ve been dinking around with Linotype’s FontExplorer X, and I like it. I used Suitcase when I worked in the graphic design support world, and it was a good app, but always felt cumbersome. Not so with FontExplorer X.

Jon Armstrong notes the use of the app’s Smart Set feature, and I can see myself taking advantage of this quickly. Being able to sort fonts in to their own foundry sets is at the top of my list. I’m curious to see how many Fontosaurus types I still have kicking around. (Go, buy from Dan, support a one-man font shop.)

posted by retrophisch at 12:23 AM -->in Macintosh , type
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Tuesday, 04 October 2005

More on the NetNewsWire acquisition

Tom’s not happy with Brent and Sheila’s sale of NetNewsWire to NewsGator. I’m going to chalk it up to the fact that he’s literally on drugs.

If you’ve spent any time on the Ranchero beta lists, exchanged e-mail with Brent, or read his blog posts on development, you know Mr. Simmons does not go off half-cocked with major business and development decisions. Despite Tom’s dislike of NewsGator, I’m sure Brent and Sheila were quite careful with whom they chose to sell NetNewsWire. After all, this company is Brent’s new employer. He would have to be convinced the company would foster the sort of development environment in which he would have the freedom to make NetNewsWire all it could be.

As he notes, there are things he’s wanted to do with NNW that he has been able to not get to, having to deal with the business and support aspects of being an independent software developer. By going in-house with NewsGator, Brent is now free from those other constraints, absent anything he may wish to do on the side with Ranchero’s other products that NewsGator did not purchase. With regard to NetNewsWire, all Brent has to worry about right now is programming. One would reasonably believe this is a Very Good Thing™.

I have no opinion about NewsGator, as a company or with regard to any of its products. They have never been on my radar before. Perhaps Tom knows something I do not, but again, I believe Brent would have done his research regarding the company before making such a commitment.

With regard to selling out to Apple, I don’t see that ever happening. Apple’s nod to RSS is the feature built in to Safari. I don’t see a standalone news reader in Apple’s future, nor do I see Apple devoting the depth of features you can find in NetNewsWire in to the RSS cabinet of Safari.

In the end, it appears this is a good thing for the Simmons, and a good thing for Mac users. NetNewsWire simply rules the news reader market, on any platform. No doubt this is the number-one reason NewsGator was interested in it, and I don’t see any other product, much less an open-source initiative, knocking it from that perch any time soon.

posted by retrophisch at 10:17 PM -->in Macintosh , tech , web/site
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Brent and Sheila sell out

Gruber points out that Ranchero Software has sold NetNewsWire to NewsGator. Big, big news in the Macintosh community it is. It appears this is a good move for Brent and Sheila Simmons, and will not affect NetNewsWire aficionados, yours truly included. I am a little concerned about MarsEdit, which Brent says, in the above-linked interview, they are searching for a new home for.

I’m sure Brent will take some heat from certain zealots in the Mac blogosphere and beyond, but he will get none from me. He and Sheila have to do what’s best for them, and by throwing in with NewsGator, it would appear the sky is suddenly the limit. Our best wishes to the Simmons, and we eagerly await the next version of NetNewsWire!

Update, 9:35 PM CST: Gruber notes the post in Brent’s blog regarding the acquisition.

posted by retrophisch at 4:53 PM -->in Macintosh , tech , web/site
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Monday, 03 October 2005

ATPM 11.10

The October issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available.

Ellyn ponders the day we watch movies on our mobile phones, while Wes covers the fact that our mobiles are now playing music, thanks to the iTunes-compatible ROKR from Motorola. He also looks at the incredible iPod Nano, file formats, OS X UI, and other bits from the Mac blogosphere.

Ted takes TAO and OmniOutliner Pro head to head, while Chuck’s FileMaking rolls on with Common Functions.

ATPM reader Mark Dickson is gracious in sharing photos from his June trip to Italy as this month’s desktop pictures selection. In this month’s Cortland, the Lisa returns, and Terry is targeted by…well, some people you think you know. Frisky notes backup freeware PsyncX.

On the reviews front, Johann examines Airfoil’s audio hijacking and broadcasting capabilities (when paired with an Airport Express Base Station). Chris Lawson tries out Business Card Composer, and puts the Mercury Elite-AL Pro RAID through its paces. Michael compares two disk catalogers, Catalog and CDFinder. I used to use Disk Tracker, but eventually got out of the disk/CD cataloging habit. Now that my digital photo collection is growing by leaps and bounds, there is a need to pick that habit up again, and this review helped. Finally, Tom tells our readers what he thinks of the new iPod nano.

As always, the publication is available in three fruity flavors for your reading enjoyment.

posted by retrophisch at 9:55 AM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 20 September 2005

“Mac” is a no-no for Google AdWords users

Sometimes, Apple can be so stupid.

posted by retrophisch at 9:42 PM -->in Macintosh
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It must be .Mac renewal time

Matt Deatherage used the above line as the title for an e-mail on the MacJournals-Talk list, and he’s right. You usually don’t see updates and new features added to .Mac until fall arrives.

You can read the gory details, but the gist is .Mac members now get 1 GB of storage, split between mail and data, there’s a new version of Backup, and .Mac members can now congregrate in to groups.

As of five minutes ago, looking at my iDisk space inside the .Mac preference pane, I saw it was still at 200 MB. I logged in to my .Mac Account Settings, and it reflects the 1 GB increase. You will have to click on the Storage Settings button to see the change reflected in your e-mail/iDisk breakdown. Quitting System Preferences, then relaunching and clicking on the .Mac pref pane will have the storage update reflected there.

I have been debating renewing my .Mac subscription, and these updates really don’t change much for me. I’m not ready to transition everything in the next 12 days, when my account is set to renew, so I’ll be a .Mac member for at least another year. Watch for an upcoming post about .Mac value.

posted by retrophisch at 10:49 AM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 09 September 2005

Enough said, indeed

The Oz has spoken.

posted by retrophisch at 2:43 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Thursday, 08 September 2005

Is there a name for this sort of illness?

I use Safari Enhancer to kill the brushed metal look of Safari. I just used iTunes Unified to change iTunes 5’s Unifed-Metal look to normal Unified.

So why is it my chat client has to have brushed metal? What the hell is wrong with me?

posted by retrophisch at 9:19 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 01 September 2005

ATPM 11.09

The September issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available.

Wes had a great idea for the cover, and we like how the art turned out. We’re just sorry we couldn’t have run it last month, but that’s the way it is some times.

Speaking of Mr. Meltzer, in this month’s Bloggable, Wes covers the latest Mac-on-Intel musings from the Mac blogosphere, as well as blips on the Mighty Mouse, browsers, and Apple rumors. David Ozab shares a moving tribute to Robert Moog, the man responsible for popularizing the modern synthesizer, which many a Macintosh has played in concert with. Sylvester shares his digital music experiences in this month’s Pod People.

Regarding the Pod People column, we seem to have run through the staffers interested in contributing, and we are seeking future columns from our readership. If you would like to share your iPod experiences, please drop us a line.

Chuck Ross’s critically-acclaimed FileMaking series continues with a look at Fields and Calculations. (I kid not; reader feedback on Chuck’s articles has been incredibly positive. Congrats, Chuck! It’s our pleasure to offer your work to our readers.)

Our own Matthew Glidden shares some photo textures from Louisville, Kentucky, and New Orleans, taken in August of last year, in this month’s desktop pictures section. My good friend Francisco also has a contribution, a picture of what the night sky in Manhattan may have looked like, starting in 1998…

Cortland decodes corporate buzzwords while missing a golden opportunity. Meanwhile, the plan of the evil geniuses is temporarily foiled due to their inability to read a map. Once again, I wrote the blurb (ahem, Lee), so I’m using it here. It took me long enough to come up with that; why reinvent the wheel?

Frisky Freeware notes the Nvu web authoring system. It’s free, and cross-platform to boot, and looks fairly nice. If I wasn’t such a text editor nerd-wannabe, I would probably look in to it more, but most of my web design and development is done inside BBEdit.

David Blumenstein puts the ABSmini one-touch storage system through its paces, while Tom Bridge does the same with Apple’s new Mighty Mouse. (I’m still trying to scrape together funds for a Kensington trackball.) The Dean, Frank Wu, examines the NeoCase from RadTech. I had many a neoprene case for my old PowerBooks, and it’s cool in a retro way to see them still around. Andrew Kator works over the PhoneValet 3.0, while Marcus Albers logs in to Tron 2.0. Light-bike races are still my favorite. Finally, Lee reviews You Control: Desktops, which, for the special price You Software is offering ATPM readers, is worthy of consideration for your multiple desktop needs.

We have some staff vacancies, as you can see on our cover page, we need Pod People authors, as I stated earlier, and we always need cover art each month. If you’d like to contribute to ATPM in any way, please let us know.

posted by retrophisch at 9:09 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 29 August 2005

About that Safari update

Dear Apple,

Is it really and truly necessary for a x.0.x upgrade of a web browser to force an full-blown system restart? Think of the minutes of productivity lost for this single user. Think of the total hours lost by large corporate entities.

Oh, Safari is closely tied to Mac OS X? How very Microsoft of you, Steve.

Get your act together, gang. It’s a web browser. Updates and upgrades shouldn’t force restarts.


Annoyed Retrophisch™

posted by retrophisch at 10:13 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 24 August 2005

Quicksilver + Dictionary

Tim Brayshaw has a great tip on combining the use of Quicksilver with Mac OS X 10.4’s Dictionary.

[Via TUAW.]

posted by retrophisch at 11:21 PM -->in Macintosh , gtd
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Giving Adium that iChat-fresh feeling

As I’ve said before, I like the look of iChat. So when I made the switch yesterday to Adium, so I could use both the AIM and Google Talk (viz: Jabber) protocols at the same time, I began a hunt to have Adium replicate the look of iChat. If you feel similarly, I’ll save you some time.

First, don’t download the official Adium client. Instead, download Metal Adium X by Mike Barca. That will give you the metal look for the chat window(s) and the Contacts list, as well as Aqua-y goodness for progress bars, etc. As he explains on the Metal Adium site, Mike updates the app within 24-48 hours of a new release of the official Adium client.

Second, download iChadiumMod, so your message view will have the iChat-style balloons. Next, be sure to change your sound set to “iChat” in the Events preferences. Finally, you’ll need a new Dock icon. There are a few iChat replica icons on Adium Xtras, but I didn’t want an exact duplicate. I’d like to be able to tell my apps apart, thank you, so I went with the iChat Adium derivative.

Looking at my chat setup now, I can’t help but wonder if this is near to what iChat would look like with tabs:

Metal Adium chat window

I’m sure Steve would have the tabs at the top, a la Safari, but otherwise, pretty darn close, no?

posted by retrophisch at 10:08 AM -->in Macintosh
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Accordance Seminar, Dallas

If you’re an Accordance user, and aren’t on the OakTree Software e-mail list, there is a free seminar on getting the most out of the company’s flagship product coming up in September:

Saturday September 24, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Todd Academic Center — Room 114
Dallas Theological Seminary
3909 Swiss Ave., Dallas, TX

Refreshments will be provided, though you’re on your own for lunch. You are encouraged to bring your own laptop to follow along with. E-mail Dr. Helen Brown for further details and to RSVP.

posted by retrophisch at 9:09 AM -->in God , Macintosh
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Tuesday, 23 August 2005


Jon reports that Google Talk has gone live. The IM product builds on Gmail accounts and the open-source Jabber IM service.

I’m already up and running on it with AdiumX, so I guess iChat will be taking a hike, and my fun balloons won’t be used in the future. (Can anyone point me to a reasonable substitute for Adium?) If you want to jaw via Jabber courtesy of Google, use my site name at gmail dot com, but you have to have a Gmail account to play along. Let me know if you’d like an invitation via the e-mail address noted in the previous sentence.

posted by retrophisch at 11:54 PM -->in Macintosh , tech , web/site
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Saturday, 20 August 2005


MacDevCenter recently featured an article about ClamXav, a free virus scanner for Mac OS X. ClamXav is based on the open-source, antivirus engine ClamAV.

With the loss of Virex as an incentive for purchasing .Mac, François Joseph de Kermadec’s article convinced me to download ClamXav and give it a whirl. I now have it configured to automatically scan my home account every night at 3 AM, after it checks for the latest updates. It also will scan, in the background, any file that ends up in my downloads folder.

The app is Java-based, so it’s a little slower than I’d like on my 1 GHz PowerBook, but hey, it’s free. It does appear to be put together well, otherwise.

We have very few virii to worry about on the Macintosh side of the fence, but it never hurts to be prepared.

posted by retrophisch at 11:07 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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In search of a good web whacker

That’s web whacker, not weed whacker. The latter is taken care of by our Black & Decker Grass Hog.

A friend is looking for a Mac- or Java-based web whacker/sucker program for a project. According to what he’s tried so far:

  • Web Dumper doesn’t work
  • PageSucker stops working while in use
  • Site Orbiter doesn’t save files for browsing offline properly
  • Safari’s Web Archive feature isn’t cutting the mustard, either

The project in question is taking a dynamically-generated web site (which does not output HTML files), whacking/sucking it to a local machine in HTML format, then moving it offsite to another web server.

Please leave suggestions in the comments. Thanks!

posted by retrophisch at 9:20 PM -->in Macintosh , web/site
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Friday, 19 August 2005

You learn something new every day

John Gruber, via GUIdebook:

…[Y]ou can use Command-Tab switching when you’re in the middle of a drag. So you can start dragging something in one app, then use Command-Tab to switch to another app, and then complete the drop in the new app. I don’t even know when this happened – it might have been like this on Mac OS X all along, but I don’t think I noticed until sometime during the 10.2 era. This also works with things like Exposé and Dashboard.

It sounds obvious, but doing something like that was completely unheard of on the old Mac OS.

posted by retrophisch at 8:59 PM -->in Macintosh , gtd
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Wednesday, 17 August 2005

What should they do with the company, Michael?

The company Michael Dell said should be sold off and the money given to its shareholders is kicking his butt:

Overall customer satisfaction with the PC industry is unchanged from a year ago at 74, but changes within the industry give Apple a commanding lead. The PC maker maintains big improvements from 2003 and 2004, holding at 81 for a second year. Apple’s sales are up 33%, net income has grown 300% and its stock price has nearly tripled over the past year. A slew of product innovations and an emphasis on digital technologies and customer service have been very successful for Apple with a high degree of customer loyalty as a result.

Dell is a different story. Based on a strategy of mass customization, the #1 PC maker worldwide has been a leader in customer satisfaction for several years. This quarter, it suffers a sharp drop in ACSI, down 6% to 74. Customer service in particular has become a problem, and service quality lags not only Apple but also the rest of the industry. Customer complaints are up significantly with long wait-times and difficulties with Dell’s call-center abound. Still, competitive pricing as a result of Dell’s direct-sales business model keeps overall customer satisfaction slightly above other competitors, with the exception of Apple. Whether Dell’s declining satisfaction will have a negative impact on the company’s stock performance remains to be seen; however, ACSI history has shown that changes in customer satisfaction often signal similar changes in future financial performance. Apple’s stock price is up 35% for the year-to-date, whereas Dell’s is flat.

[Via MacInTouch, emphasis in quoted text added. —R]

posted by retrophisch at 12:59 PM -->in Macintosh , rant , tech
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Monday, 15 August 2005

DropDMG 2.7

Michael has released a new version of his disk image creation utility, DropDMG. The big, new features are disc burning and improved progress windows. Very groovy. I may have to revise my own backup procedures in light of this new release.

posted by retrophisch at 12:12 PM -->in Macintosh
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Saturday, 13 August 2005

OS X on non-Apple Intel iron

Jon notes the challenge to get the Intel version of OS X running on non-Apple, Intel-based hardware has been met.

It will be interesting to see how this affects both Macintosh hardware and software development moving forward. It would seem that, since this is a development build of Tiger, it would be relatively easy to pull this off. I’m sure the shipping version of the first for-Intel Mac OS will have appropriate countermeasures in the code to prevent this from happening.

posted by retrophisch at 5:42 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 03 August 2005

Gmail on Mailsmith

I finally attempted, once again, to set up POP access to my Gmail account in Mailsmith. I used all of the settings found on the Configuring other mail clients page, made sure to check “Leave Mail on Server”, and like any good technology, it all just works.

posted by retrophisch at 7:46 AM -->in Macintosh , tech , web/site
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Monday, 01 August 2005

ATPM 11.08

The August issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available.

Kudos to Lee on the cover art. We were in dire need of cover art, and he stepped up big time. We are always looking for cover art, so if you are graphically inclined, and wish to contribute something, please contact us.

Speaking of contributing, we’re also looking for another copy editor, a publicity manager, and contributing editors to help us with reviews, opinion columns, how-to pieces, and interviews. We’re an all-volunteer publication, but if you’d like to help out in one of these areas, please drop us a line.

Back to the issue at hand, there has been a lot of good news coming out of Apple this past quarter, as Rob reminds us. Wes takes, well, just about everyone involved in the business world to task for underestimating and misunderstanding Apple, as well as sharing bits from all over the Mac blogosphere. Eric, my 3G iPod brother, tells his tale with the little white digital music player in this month’s Pod People.

Ted shares part two of Outlining and Styles in the latest ATPO, discussing, among other things, on-screen readability, font choices, and style sheets. Chuck continues his FileMaking series with Fields and Calculations. If you’re just getting started with FileMaker, be sure to go read his first column, too.

As Managing Editor, part of my job description is to strong-arm columns out of writers subtly hint at a possible column to staffers when they broach interesting technical subjects. Such was the case when Sylvester was having RAM issues with his new G5, and he shares his experiences with memory testing.

Tom has an interview with John Hart, Mac modder extraordinaire. Sorry, John, but I still have severe reservations about embedding my beloved Cube in the middle of a fish tank, no matter how utterly wicked cool that would be. Maybe when I get a G5 we can sacrifice the Cube to the modding gods.

This month’s desktop pictures selection is a melting pot of various submissions from ATPM readers. We thank John, James, Jim, Bill, and William for the privilege of showcasing their work. Frisky Freeware notes App Stop, which is software I’ll have to look in to. Cortland wraps up dinner with his parents and friends, Wieser Graphics rises from the ashes, and Matt pays homage to influential Web comics. Yes, that’s word-for-word from the blurb on the Welcome page and the RSS feed, but I wrote it when the blurber got stuck, so I’m using it. (Michael, take note. I have just created the official staff position of “blurber”.)

Tom and his fiancé, Tiffany, have a review of Backpack, the latest web service from 37signals. I’m really enjoying the free version so far, and my wife and I have used it to track RSVPs for the little phisch’s upcoming birthday party, sharing a page online so both of us can access it. Wes looks at Boswell 4.0, sharing how it helps him keep things straight as he writes reviews about software that helps you keep things organized, like reviews about software that help…

Then there are the reviews which make this “The Issue of Apple Portable Computing Computer Bags.” (See, this is why Michael doesn’t let me declare names for issues.) David hauls around the Brenthaven Pro 12/15, while Lawson bombs about with the MaxSleeve from MaxUpgrades. Frank Wu uses booq’s Vyper XL, and yours truly was underwhelmed with Timbuk2’s Detour.

Savvy readers may notice that Ellyn’s Candy Apple column did not appear this month. Ellyn’s taking a break from the writing gig for awhile, but she continues working tirelessly in the trenches, copy editing for the rest of us. Rest assured, when she has something to say, you’ll read it in ATPM.

Yet another solid issue from the staff. Thanks, gang!

posted by retrophisch at 10:58 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 26 July 2005

A terabyte for less than a grand

OWC announced today it is now offering 1 Terabyte (TB) of RAID storage for $979.99. Wow.

posted by retrophisch at 8:44 AM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Sunday, 24 July 2005

Arlo’s revenge

What do you do when you perceive a major computer company has totally ripped off your software and tout their version as a major feature of their latest operating system?

Why, you sell out, of course.

MDJ publisher Matt Deatherage, ever the trooper, offers this bit of analysis on the MacJournals-Talk list, even though he’s laid up with an illness:

Kind of a “widget wow” moment. Anyone think there will be about six billion more new Konfabulator widgets in the next 3 months? Apple just got trumped on the “we’re making our widget format available for free to more users” strategy; now Dashboard may be the underdog in the long-term.

(Just for the record, my original notification of the sale came from Matt’s post to the list.)

posted by retrophisch at 11:43 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Thursday, 21 July 2005

Types of Windows users and I wish we’d bought a Mac Mini

Wil Shipley, in a DrunkenBlog interview:

The two types of Windows users I’ve identified at my café are:

a. I use Windows to run Word and Excel and browse the web (and read e-mail in my web browser), and b. I’m a programmer and I spend all my time in a Windows IDE or hacking around with my system.

I’m sure there may be a third category of user out there, but this has been my observation as well. My wife and parents clearly are the first type of users, and could just as well be served on a Mac. The SuperToad falls in to the second camp; he makes his living as a Windows programmer, but he does so with a Mac on his desk as well. Plus, he’s still getting mileage out of a decrepit, original orange iBook.

Since my switch to Macintosh over a decade ago, one of the reasons we have kept a PC or two in the house was due to my wife’s work. She’s a corporate attorney, and could always work from home, if need be. After our move to Dallas, the firm she worked for here had a VPN system set up, and she could work on items in the firm’s document management system from home, just as if she was sitting in the office.

Her new employer, however, being tied in to the stock market and the myriad regulations therein regarding insider trading, etc., does not have such a system in place. You work at the office, or you work on a company-provided laptop, or you don’t work. Also, my wife’s position also is not as intensive in outside-normal-business-hours work as her former firm life was. She doesn’t need a PC at home any more.

Last year, when her old desktop PC was giving up the ghost, and I set out to build her a new one, if we had known then she was going to change jobs, I wouldn’t have bothered. I would have milked the old PC until after she moved in to her new career, then replaced it with a Mac Mini. Hindsight is always 20/20.

posted by retrophisch at 12:40 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Monday, 18 July 2005


Chat on iChat
posted by retrophisch at 1:14 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Sunday, 17 July 2005

iCal Day

Today is iCal Day. Like Erik, I use iCal for my scheduling needs, because right now anything else is overkill. Plus, it syncs easily with my iPod and Sony Ericsson T616.

posted by retrophisch at 8:05 PM -->in Macintosh , gtd
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Friday, 15 July 2005

Backpack widget

Well, a widget I can actually get some use out of…

Chipt Productions has released a widget for the Backpack service from 37signals.

Darned if Gruber didn’t beat me to it.

posted by retrophisch at 11:25 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Tuesday, 12 July 2005

iSync 2.1 breaks T616 synchronization, sort of

After reading Colin Robertson’s report that his Sony Ericsson T616 would no longer sync with his PowerBook via iSync, I set out to test this myself, since I have the same phone.

I have a 12-inch, 1 GHz PowerBook running Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.1, and I had just installed iSync 2.1 yesterday when it was released by Apple. It was then that I noticed I hadn’t synced my PowerBook with the phone in a while, though the ‘Book had synced with .Mac.

When I attempted to sync the two devices, iSync told me it was unable to do so with the T616. I decided to remove it as a device, then re-add it. iSync picked up the phone during its device scan, but informed me it would be unable to sync with it.

I then turned to my other Mac, a 450 MHz Cube still running 10.3.9. I added the phone to the older version of iSync installed there, and it synchronized with no problem.

About half an hour later, I decided to revisit the PowerBook’s iSync version, and this time, the software recognized the phone, added it as a device, and synchronized with it. Since then, after making minor modifications to some contacts, I have made two more successful syncs with the T616. It would appear one simply needs to remove the device from iSync, wait a bit, then add it again.

posted by retrophisch at 12:06 PM -->in Macintosh , phone
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Saturday, 02 July 2005

ATPM 11.07

The July issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available.

The issue kicks off with some amusing, original artwork from former staffer Grant Osborne. I need to pester him for some high-resolution copies to use as desktop pictures. Crikey, but did we get a lot of reader e-mail last month. Keep those e-mails coming, folks. We love interacting with our readers!

This issue marks a milestone, as we move from what has been our traditional publishing method for many years to a new system. Michael explains it all in a fascinating look back at our old publishing methods, and the transition to the new one. Having had a front seat to the development process, looking at alpha and beta publications over the course of a couple of weeks, I can tell you that Mr. Tsai poured a lot of effort in to our new publishing system, which should allow ATPM more flexibility for the future. On behalf of the entire staff, thank you, Michael!

I agree with Ellyn’s take on the Apple-to-use-Intel brouhaha, and wish her well on her upcoming Jeopardy appearance! Ellyn also notes a worthwhile project wherein you can “adopt” a serviceman: Books for Soldiers. My personal favorite program is Adopt a Sniper; snipers have different equipment needs than most other soldiers, beyond simply the difference in arms. Yet the inflexibility of the military’s purchasing process precludes snipers from getting a lot of this more flexible and specialized equipment before they are deployed. Kudos to the individual citizens who have banded together to help provide what the most cost-effective warriors in our services require. (One shot, one kill.) And thanks to Ellyn for pointing out another program supporting our soldiers I was unaware of. I’ve got some books winging their way to the Middle East very soon.

Sorry for that tangent; let’s veer back on track. Angus Wong delivers an introspective look at the Mac’s history and current market, in light of the recent move-to-Intel announcement. Paul Blakeman offers up his iBook love story. We welcome David Blumenstein as a full-time ATPM staffer, and he reciprocates the love with a look at podcasting.

Charles Ross has a great FileMaker database How To, and Marcus J. Albers goes Dashboard widget hunting. We are pleased to offer desktop pictures from ATPM reader Mark Montgomery. Thanks for the guitars, Mark! My favorites are the Dobro and the Rickenbacker. Cortland’s parents come for a visit, and Frisky’s freeware pick this month is MacMAME.

Chris Lawson has a pair of speaker reviews, and Matthew Glidden explore’s graphic design aid Curio. Paul Fatula gets to know Wacom’s Graphire Bluetooth edition, while David Zatz compares headphones from Pro Tech Communications and Sennheiser. Finally, Andrew Kator details vSpace Master 2.0, a 3D/VR presentation system.

posted by retrophisch at 11:43 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 28 June 2005

Tiger snuggles up to OfficeJet

Thanks to a tip from a MacInTouch reader, my PowerBook, running Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.1, is successfully printing to my HP OfficeJet d145 again. It was quite simple.

First, in the Hewlett-Packard folder that would be installed in your Applications folder, run the HP Uninstaller application. When it’s done, restart your Mac.

Next, make sure you have the latest HP driver software for your OfficeJet, in my case the d145 on Mac OS X. After mounting the disk image, quit all other running applications. Or just run the HP All-in-One Installer, as it is going to ask to do this for you. Let the installer run as normal, and run through the Setup Assistant stuff at the end. The Setup Assistant saw my OfficeJet sitting on its assigned IP on the internal network.

After that was done, I launched TextEdit, typed in a line, made several copies of said line, and sent it to the printer. Voila! Happy days are here again in the Phisch Bowl™. Your mileage may vary, but this is what worked for me. I have not tested any other functions, such as faxing or scanning, from the HP Director software, since I didn’t really use those functions before.

posted by retrophisch at 10:03 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 20 June 2005

DropDMG 2.6.1

Michael announces the release of DropDMG 2.6.1. This update of the easy-to-use disk image creation tool adds support for bzip2-compressed disk images, for those of you in to that sort of thing. The usual assortment of bug fixes and tweaks abound. Go. Download. Register. Help an independent software developer out by buying his worthy product.

The usual disclaimer: I have no vested interest in C-Command and its products other than I like seeing my friends happy and sane, and when you reward their hard work, that’s what they are.

posted by retrophisch at 2:21 PM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 19 June 2005

Rumor sites still costing Apple money

Matt D. and I don’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things outside the realm of technology. But when it comes to an intense loathing of the rumor sites, which continue to cost Apple money, Matt and I are blood brothers:

Any writer who believed that rumor sites were “cowed” into not reporting items that might adversely affect Apple should have checked the news from Friday, 2005.06.03 - the stuff everyone forgot that same night when CNet broke the Intel story as a done deal. The previous day, AppleInsider reported that Apple was “seemingly overstocked on most iPod models with about a month remaining in its third fiscal quarter.” Attributing the information only to “one source” and “reliable sources of information,” the rumor site said Apple’s sales “appear flat or declining” because none of Apple’s products appears constrained. Yes, read it for yourself - the site said that not having a shortage was, in itself, a sign of weak sales.

Despite both the flimsy sourcing and the site’s complete unawareness of the impending Intel transition, the market acted. To quote Reuters, “Shares of Apple Computer Inc. fell 5% Friday [2005.06.03], fueled by an Internet report of swelling inventory of its iPod digital music players.” When a rumor site can cost Apple’s shareholders 5% of their value in one day by printing an unsourced report based on specious inventory logic, it’s hard to call that being “cowed into silence,” and it just doesn’t have the same ring to say the rumor sites have been “cowed into incompetence.” (If your stock in trade is “inside” or “secret” information, and you have no sources on the biggest Apple-related story of the next two years before the mainstream media does, you’re losing your touch.)

A subscription to MDJ or MWJ isn’t cheap, but it’s the best money you’ll spend on Apple and Macintosh-related news you won’t get any where else. I’m not affiliated with MacJournals, just a happy subscriber.

posted by retrophisch at 8:41 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Mac hacking

A dual reading selection today, mostly because both are sitting next to me, waiting to ship up New England way to my friend Rich, and both deal with the same topic. Mac OS X Hacks, by Rael Dornfest and Kevin Hemenway, was one of the early—if not the first—books in O’Reilly’s Hacks series. The authors, along with numerous contributors, take the reader through many different aspects of the Mac OS X operating system. The book was published in 2003, and covered OS X up through the Jaguar edition.

The second title, Mac OS X Panther Hacks, is the follow-up to the aforementioned book, and will soon be supplanted, I’m sure, by Mac OS X Tiger Hacks. Credit must be given to Rael and co-author James Duncan Davidson for not regurgitating hacks from the first book, but rather, again with the help of contributors, introducing one hundred new ways to make using OS X easier, more efficient, and more fun. Both tomes are highly recommended for those who want to get under the hood of Apple’s great operating system.

posted by retrophisch at 12:48 PM -->in Macintosh , non-fiction , read
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Saturday, 18 June 2005

Now I just need to find money to give to a broker

There are many reasons why I read Jeff’s blog as often as possible. Brother, I need to buy you a beer some time.

Does that mean that Apple will never go after the commercial-computing market? No, I don’t think so. I think that as Apple continues to own the creative-professional market, reasserts its dominance over the mobile-user market, gains momentum among home users and makes incremental moves into sci-tech, demand in the commercial-computing market will grow all on its own. Sooner or later, folks are going to start asking why salesmen or accountants or factory managers aren’t using Macs. And when that happens, Apple will be there, ready to make small advances with sure footing, working its way into the commercial market a little at a time.

But you know what? Maybe that’ll never happen. Maybe by 2010, Apple will own as much as 25 or 30 percent of the computer market, but still show no sign of making a move into commercial computing. Would that be seen as success or failure? I guess it depends on who you ask. Which brings us back to the three blind guys with the elephant. The guy who looks at the computer industry and sees only commercial computing would see an Apple that doesn’t compete in the commercial space as being a failure. Somebody who sees only the home market would see an Apple that dominates that space as a shining success.

Me? I just sit back and think about what it would be like for Apple to own thirty percent of a multi-billion-dollar global industry. And then I consider calling my broker.

posted by retrophisch at 11:16 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Friday, 03 June 2005

Tiger Sync does suck

I wholeheartedly agree with Dave Golden that syncing in Tiger is a step back from what it once was in Panther.

Before, if I wanted to sync my PowerBook with my phone and .Mac, it was a one-shot deal. Click on the iSync icon in the menu bar, tell it to “Sync Now,” and it was done. When that finished, it was a simple matter to switch over to the Cube to sync it and my iPod with what had just been uploaded to my .Mac account.

This has now become a two-step process on the PowerBook, which runs Tiger, while it remains the easy one-shot on the Cube, which still runs Panther. (The reason for the latter still running the older operating system is that with a HP d145 OfficeJet all-in-one printer in the house, it would be nice to have at least one Mac that can print. Where are those drivers, HP?)

The iSync button in the menu bar now only runs the sync to .Mac. To get changes to sync to my T616, I have to manually launch the iSync application, and tell it to sync with the phone. Can we please fix this in 10.4.2?

posted by retrophisch at 1:47 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 01 June 2005

ATPM 11.06

The June issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available, and apparently Rob was in a rhyming mood when he wrote the Welcome.

Ellyn looks at the advantage of age, through the eyes of a sport I have recently rediscovered as a favorite. Amongst myriad other happenings, Wes covers the release of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger (there’s a mouthful) in this month’s marathon Bloggable. Our Reviews Editor, Paul Fatula, takes his turn with the Pod People column, doting on his first-generation iPod. We’re looking for writers who wish to contribute to the Pod People column, so if you’re interested, drop me a line.

Ted discusses outlining and styles in this month’s ATPO, while Scott Chitwood, of ResExcellence fame, looks at skinning your OS X interface with Appearance Themes. David Blumenstein delivers another thought-provoking column, as he ponders the possibilities presented by the Mac Mini. No, I cannot bring myself to not capitalize the second word, at least on my own blog. Tom Bridge presents readers with an overview of the new features in Tiger.

Lee has a good how-to column on getting widescreen output in iDVD 5, or at least as close as you can come. Sylvester delivers a Tiger installation instruction manual for those who haven’t gone through the upgrade process yet.

Cortland proves he knows where his towel is, while leaping the hurdles of the design world. College student Dan Klein was gracious in providing photos from Moraine State Park for this month’s desktop pictures section. Frisky Freeware discusses Apple Jack, a utility that has piqued my curiosity.

Eric lays out the goods on the AppleScript Missing Manual, Michael provides yet another keyboard review, this time with the iceKey, and Frank H. Wu offers his review of the iLugger, designed for you to tote your iMac G5 around the town. Eric reviews a staff-favorite, the news reader NetNewsWire, while Lee shows that Shoebox Pro isn’t quite deserving of the professional moniker just yet. Marcus J. Albers wraps up this month’s reviews section with his take on Unreal Tournament 2004.

I want to thank the staff and all of our writers. This month’s issue is solid and well packed, and you should all be proud.

posted by retrophisch at 3:40 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 24 May 2005

Safari 2 window positioning

I have noticed that Safari 2 likes to launch and not remember where its last window position was. I like my application windows to “stick” to the bottom of the menu bar, and Safari was launching with it quite a few pixels south. Damien and I discussed the issue via instant messages, as he was noting the same issue. Turns out the problem is with Safari’s plist preference file, and the good Mr. Barrett has the gory details.

posted by retrophisch at 9:03 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 18 May 2005

Baton? I don’t see a baton

Because that so-and-so Tom publicly foisted this meme upon me, and Michael tagged me, too, here goes:

Total size of music files on my computer: Tunaphisch is loaded with 25.72 GB of music, exactly 5,000 songs at the moment. Only one of those is a purchase from the iTunes Music Store, and “purchase” may be stretching it, since I redeemed a Pepsi cap to get the song.

Last CD I Bought: Where Angels Fear to Tread by Matt Redman. Most people know Matt’s work from the worship hit “Blessed Be Your Name,” and this is the album it’s on.

Song playing in iTunes: “Come Down ” from the Vineyard Music album Just Like Heaven, the second-to-last CD I bought.

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me: There are a lot of songs that I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me, so here’s what you could call the current batch of such songs, and since I couldn’t decide which one to give up, you get six.

“Callin’ Baton Rouge” by Garth Brooks - it’s not often a song contains the name of your hometown, and it was while at LSU I met my wife.

Love of a Lifetime ” by Firehouse - the song we danced to at our wedding. I wish the slower acoustic version had been available then.

May Your Wonders Never Cease ” by Third Day - this song became incredibly important to me when our son was born, nine weeks early, and he spent the first seven weeks of his life in the hospital. Today, you would never know our toddler was a preemie, and God’s wonders do indeed never cease.

“Barely Stay Inside of My Own Skin” by Ceili Rain - like the song says, “Can’t believe the life I get to live.” Despite being unemployed, despite all of the other bad things that have happened to my family over the past two years, I still have a really great life. This is a great pick-me-up song.

Be Unto Your Name ” by Robin Mark - this is one of my favorite worship songs, and I come back to it again and again.

A Living Prayer ” by Alison Krauss & Union Station - I saw them perform this on Leno during the Christmas 2004 season, and Ms. Krauss’ vocals cut right to the bone.

The five victims I’m cursing with this meme:

Since Michael stole the bulk of the ATPM bloggers, and most of the other bloggers with whom I am friends have already gone through this torture, here’s my hit list.

Wes Meltzer, because he needs to blog about something other than interning at Popular Mechanics.
Jim Riggs, because he always has something I like, but may not know about.
Brian Borden, because the SuperToad needs to blog about something other than politics.
Tiffany Baxendell, because Tom foisted it on me, babe, so you get to suffer, too. (And I like what Tiff has previously recommended.)
Damien Barrett, because while we don’t always agree on things, he’s a good guy to hang out with, and he gave me my Newton 2100.

posted by retrophisch at 4:16 PM -->in Macintosh , fun
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Tuesday, 17 May 2005

Widget fun

Two new Dashboard widgets in service tonight:

Courtesy of Erik, the Gun Self Defense Counter, which uses a formula developed by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz of Northwestern University to show how many times in a calendar year firearms are used to save lives.

The other Michael I call friend IM’ed me about the SysStat widget, which is now in use, replacing MemoryStick. If the developers at iSlayer are feeling adventurous, I’d love a field that would show the front-most application’s (sans Dashboard) memory usage, a la MemoryCell.

posted by retrophisch at 11:59 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 04 May 2005

Tiger is nirvana

Michael Gartenberg:

If you spend too much time organizing your stuff or just can’t find it, you need to take a close look at Tiger. There’s a real experiential difference. What’s missing? Not much. I’d like to see more RSS support so I can better read and search off-line, and I wouldn’t mind seeing Microsoft add Spotlight support for Entourage. Otherwise, this operating system is near nirvana for productivity.

There’s no doubt that a lot of similar concepts will be included in the next version of Windows. But Longhorn won’t be here for at least 18 months. It will be interesting to see what Apple has for us by then.

posted by retrophisch at 10:13 AM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 03 May 2005

Where’s my copy of Tiger?

So rather than futz around with having to mail in a rebate form by ordering from Amazon, I ordered my copy of Mac OS X Tiger from OWC. Having done business with them in the past, I have always been pleased with their level of customer service, and their prices are always competitive.

OWC sent out an e-mail last week to its customers explaining they were having issues getting stock of the new operating system, and would ship orders on a first-come, first-serve basis. Some orders might not ship until May 5th. Fair enough.

Please note I’m not upset with OWC here. I’m a wee bit ticked at Apple and/or Ingram Micro (or whichever distributor is responsible) for leaving out the smaller vendors in getting the stock they need, especially in light of MacMall having received and shipped Tiger to customers days in advance of the official release.

I realized my savings of $30 by ordering from OWC would likely mean I wouldn’t see the new OS until today. But at this rate it’s going to be next week. Live and learn…

posted by retrophisch at 4:54 PM -->in Macintosh
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Microsoft fonts still in Tiger

John Gruber notes that the Microsoft fonts typically associated with and installed with Internet Explorer are still present in Mac OS X Tiger. Good news for web designers, and all those who appreciate a good font; Verdana and Georgia are among my favorites in their respective categories. Verdana is my default web and e-mail reading font, and I generally use Georgia for all of my styled text editing. As a matter of fact, it’s the font my resume is set in.

posted by retrophisch at 9:28 AM -->in Macintosh , type , web/site
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Monday, 02 May 2005

ATPM 11.05

The May issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Ellyn discusses generic vs brand-name, and though she never states it—and maybe I’m just reading my own bias in to it—I’m sure there’s a Mac vs PC thing in there as well. Wes’s romp around the Mac blogosphere covers Photoshopped Apple products, how more Unix-heads are turning to OS X, stupid accessory manufacturers offering cash for someone to write a Mac virus, Apple plagiarizing CSS tutorials, and oh so much more. Paul’s roaming through the ether reveals a solar-powered van, the excitement of watching lard via the web, the dumbest girl in on the planet (she’s riding through Chernobyl’s radiated zone), finding out just what the file extension’s application is, and where to find a place to get a cup of coffee other than Starbucks.

Tom Bridge checks in with this month’s Pod People, and for that, we are grateful. David Blumenstein looks at how he has turned the Apple Store SOHO in to his own private office. Matthew Glidden, though tempted by the Mac Mini, decides to upgrade his Cube instead. (Ah, another kept within the brotherhood!)

Cortland notes the Adobe-Macromedia “merger”, reader Bill Jastram shares photos he and his wife took in the Canadian Rockies, and Frisky Freeware takes the plunge with Cyberduck.

Chris Lawson continues his impressive slate of product reviews with Kensington’s Expert Mouse 7.0, the Keynamics Laptop Stand, and the latest 15-inch PowerBook G4. Wes puts MacJournal through its paces, Paul shares his thoughts on Mind Hacks, and yours truly reviews the TransPod FM.

As usual, the issue is available in a variety of formats for your reading pleasure.

posted by retrophisch at 11:24 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 28 April 2005

Spotlight gotchas

Jeff Harrell has a good article on things to keep in mind when using Mac OS X Tiger’s new Spotlight.

posted by retrophisch at 8:37 PM -->in Macintosh
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Adobe’s markets

Gruber sums up quite well my feelings about Adobe’s acquisition of Macromedia:

Rather than expand into untapped creative markets, Adobe seems hell-bent on expanding into the jerks-wearing-suits market, a market that’s completely at odds with the creative market they’ve dominated for nearly two decades.

Which is what happens when you put a sales guy in charge of a company that makes creative products. Which is Gruber’s point.

posted by retrophisch at 4:08 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Tuesday, 19 April 2005

What’s in the Retrophisch™ Bag

Recently, Michael Hyatt revealed what was in his business carry-on, and posed the question to others of what is in their’s. So here’s the official inventory from the Phisch Bowl:

The PowerBook 1 GHz 12-inch rides in a Waterfield Designs Sleevecase (with flap). This is tucked in to a sapphire-blue, Tom Bihn Brain Bag. (Anyone want to trade me a black Brain Bag?) The Sleevecase replaces the original Brain Cell I got with the pack, as it is for a 15-inch PowerBook no longer in my possession.

In a WD medium Gear Pouch, I have stashed: my AC adapter for my third-generation, 40 GB iPod; three packs of iKlear Travel Singles screen cleaners; a Boostaroo for possible use with the iPod (it might came in handy while flying, so your mate can watch the movie on your PowerBook with you, instead of the in-flight entertainment—if there is any); a small voltage tester; and a wall socket circuit tester.

The rest of my cables—with the exceptions of 25-foot RJ-45 (Cat-5 Ethernet) and RJ-11 lengths—reside in a black Tom Bihn Snake Charmer. These include: the long AC adapter for my PowerBook; a Madsonline MicroAdapter (it’s good to have a spare); a Madsonline Auto/Air Adapter; a six-foot Ethernet crossover cable; a PowerPod; two Dock-connector FireWire cables; and a Fellowes Transient Surge Suppresser (a single-plug surge suppresser, complete with RJ-11 In and Out jacks).

Stashed elsewhere in the Brain Bag’s pockets and compartments, as well as in a Freudian Slip, also by Tom Bihn, are the following: a Kensington PocketMouse; a pair of Aiwa noise-cancelling headphones (the cans are actually more noise-reducing than they are cancelling, but for $50, they’re a great value); a pad of stickie notes; 4 ink pens of various colors; the one-foot FireWire cable I use with the portable FireWire hard drives I pick and choose from; the AC adapter for my mobile phone; the VGA and DVI video adapters for my PowerBook; the battery recharger for my digital camera; a deck of playing cards; and a pocket first-aid kit.

Part of my everyday kit that would also travel with me: Sony Ericsson T616, paired with a SE Akono HBH-602 Bluetooth Headset (silver plate, not the blue shown); the aforementioned 3G, 40 GB iPod; and a Canon PowerShot S500 with a 1 GB Compact Flash card. These tech toys ride in, respectively, a horizontal Krusell case, a Contour Design Showcase, and a Lowepro Rezo 20.

Whew! I think that about does it. What’s in your bag?

posted by retrophisch at 12:08 AM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Monday, 18 April 2005

Lorem Scriptsum

Whenever I need to generate filler text, I’ve been using MacLorem. It’s a handy little app, it’s freeware, and it can generate text in Hawai’ian, which amuses me to no end. It generates text in other “dead” languages, though being a “dead language” is hardly the case with Hawai’ian.

If you’re looking for one less program in your Applications folder, however, you should check out Steve Wheeler’s Lorem Scriptsum, an AppleScript that will generate the Lorem Ipsum dummy text and place it in the Clipboard for your use. I’m going to have to give this a try…

[Via MacInTouch iWork Reader Report.]

posted by retrophisch at 1:35 PM -->in Macintosh
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Does this look like a monopoly to anyone else?

Adobe to acquire Macromedia.


posted by retrophisch at 8:46 AM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Wednesday, 13 April 2005

Seeking VNC help

I’ve been futzing around with OSXvnc on my Cube and Chicken of the VNC on my PowerBook, and I cannot get the latter to connect to the former. Is anyone out there using this combination, and can offer guidance? Or recommend a different VNC client?

posted by retrophisch at 2:31 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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What would we do without stock analysts?

Today’s MDJ provides good background information on Apple’s quarterly financial conference call coming later this afternoon. Matt & Company’s analysis of the stock “analyst” situation is spot on:

If Apple beats its own estimates by 10%, those results are merely “in line with analyst expectations.” If Apple’s estimates were spot on, then the company didn’t live up to those “analyst expectations.” In a sane world, the market would punish the analysts for missing their forecast, but that’s not where we live. The analysts would blame Apple, not themselves, and issue feverish research notes accusing the company of “underperforming” and “bursting its bubble.” The stock price, in turn, would summarily fall.

[Emphasis added. —R]

So like many segments of our society, the “analysts” will play the blame game if Apple’s figures don’t match up with theirs. It’s not their fault their projections were wrong; it’s Apple’s fault for failing to meet the analysts’ expectations, even if Apple’s figures fall in line with Apple’s projections. Much like how a certain Mr. O’Grady and other rumor-mongers blame Apple when new product specifications fail to match up to their caffeine-driven imaginations. MDJ’s taking-to-task of the anaylsts continues:

Still, one shouldn’t ignore the possibility that Apple will post a solid quarter that looks “bad” simply because it doesn’t meet the fantasies of analysts who are busily inventing video iPods, media servers, and Apple-branded cell phones in their feverish little heads. The exuberance has placed Apple in the uncomfortable position of needing to beat its own guidance by 10% or more just to keep up with expectations.

UPDATE, 7:55 PM: It’s all moot, at least this time, as Apple blows away everyone’s projections. [Via Matt D..]

posted by retrophisch at 2:03 PM -->in Macintosh , rant
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Tuesday, 05 April 2005


In what yours truly believes is a huge branding mistake, Mac Design is changing it’s name to Layers. Ick.

Publisher Scott Kelby reasons:

The magazine has grown, changed, and evolved so much over the past few years that the word “design” doesn’t really explain all that we are anymore. If you’ve read us for any length time, you know we’re also a magazine for digital photographers, with digital photography news, tips, tutorials, and camera and printer reviews in every issue. Plus, from the very beginning, we’ve been the only Mac magazine to have an entire section dedicated to digital video editing. But we found that most photographers and video editors didn’t really know that because they don’t generally reach for a magazine that has the word “Design” in big letters on the cover.

I’m not sure how changing the name to Layers is going to draw the digital photography/video crowd that isn’t already reading the publication. I know about the use of layers in Adobe products. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s a pretty stupid name for a magazine that already has a great, all-encompassing name. This will not have an effect on the fact that I am a reader and subscriber. I just think it’s a bad name.

[Via Macsimum News.]

posted by retrophisch at 10:28 AM -->in Macintosh
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Six Apart-GoLive intergration

Adobe GoLive CS2 is going to have integrated tools from Six Apart for MovableType and TypePad users. Maybe this will be a way to speed up generation of new site looks.

posted by retrophisch at 12:32 AM -->in Macintosh , web/site
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Friday, 01 April 2005

ATPM 11.04

The April issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available.

Ellyn looks at the ongoing Apple trade secret lawsuits, which Wes covers as well. His Bloggable column is chock-full this month, as March was chock-full of Apple- and Macintosh-related news and bloggings. Yours truly is even quoted in the column, for which I am humbled and grateful.

Paul takes another lap around the Internet, bringing back sightings of baby naming, credit reports, Canadian flag proposals, and ad blockers. Oh, and “three dozen kinds of fried dough.” Ellyn has this month’s Pod People, and discusses the use of digital music vis-a-vis le iPod for exercise purposes.

Ted starts a new chapter of ATPO, with a look at the history of outline exchange and XML. Reader David Blumenstein shares his first Macworld Expo experience, and Scott Chitwood checks in with customizing your Mac with desktop pictures. Ever the mad scientist of multimedia experimentation, Sylvester shares some tips for your next multimedia project.

The Ellyn Ritterskamp issue continues with her review of the iPod Shuffle, while our Mr. Lawson looks at three backpacks from Axio and the iLite. Marcus J. Albers reviews the latest king of Tetris games for the Mac.

Cortland deals with designer networking, and the iTrolls ask “What’s In A Name?”. Frisky Freeware notes Firefox’s kissing cousin, the Thunderbird e-mail client. Finally, Eric was kind enough to offer up desktop pictures from his trip to Arizona last year.

This issue marks a milestone for ATPM. This e-zine has now been continuously published for 10 years. I am happy to say that I have been involved with the publication in one aspect or another for nearly seven of those ten. Since leaving college, this is the longest relationship I have had with anything or anyone other than my marriage to my wonderful wife. This publication has given me an outlet for writing. It has given me my best friend in the virtual world, and other close pals as well. The staff—all volunteers—approach the work as professionally as they would if this were a monthly print magazine that actually paid them. It’s a top-notch crew that I am thankful to be a part of. I’m looking forward to the next 10 years.

posted by retrophisch at 8:40 PM -->in Macintosh
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More on the Apple trade secret cases

If you’re not subscribing to MDJ or MWJ, you’re missing out on what is the very best and most comprehensive coverage of the ongoing Apple trade secret lawsuits. Matt Deatherage has worked to the point of failing health to deliver a knock-out of an issue this past Sunday that features the most intensive news of the cases I’ve seen. Matt & Co. deliver brilliant point after brilliant point, with so many good ones, I’d have to reprint the entire article to get them all in.

There is one example on why these cases are important for businesses, and why this is not about the political right to free speech as set forth in the First Amendment.

How many people would have looked twice at the original iMac if its Bondi Blue design had leaked out two months in advance, and competitors had already released similar-looking PCs? Apple actually introduced the machine at an event that everyone thought was for some of O’Grady’s long-rumored PowerBooks, and it was - plus “one more thing.” It’s said that only about 30 people within Apple knew what the machine looked like or that it would be announced that May day in 1998, and the press coverage conveyed the shock at Apple’s bold move.

The iMac’s design influenced everything from rival PCs to peripherals to pencil sharpeners, but because Apple kept its work secret until it was ready, all those products were rightly seen as iMac copycats. If Think Secret had leaked the iMac like it did the Mac Mini, would the world have seen those products are iMac knock-offs - or seen the iMac, the original idea that was stolen and released prematurely, as “just part of a trend?”

That sums it up. If the latter had happened, would Apple have recovered as quickly from its doldrums as it did? Would it have recovered at all? One could make the argument that the success of the iMac fueled the development of iTunes, the iTunes Music Store, and the iPod. Without the runaway success of the iMac, Apple as we know it today might not exist at all. That success could have been placed in serious jeopardy with rumors of the new machine leaking out.

If you could spend your money on only one Macintosh publication, I would recommend MDJ or MWJ. (I have no affiliation with these publications, or their parent company, GCSF, Inc., other than as a satisfied subsriber.)

posted by retrophisch at 8:44 AM -->in Macintosh , liberty , tech
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Tuesday, 22 March 2005

Installing BT module in G5

Going thru a backlog of RSS reading, I came across this post on installing the Bluetooth module in a Power Macintosh G5. One of my duties in the former job was performing this precise installation for part of a Genius Bar Apple Store client project. I did something on the order of 70 of these…well, a lot. It is not fun, and I have average-sized hands. I cannot imagine the pain a pair-of-meathooks-wielding tech must have to endure.

posted by retrophisch at 11:30 PM -->in Macintosh
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Pimp My Safari

Jon Hicks has set up the definitive Safari extensibility site. I say that only because no one else has, so as the first, Jon gets the honor of “definitive.” I prefer my Safari to be as stable as possible, so the only extensibility I’ve engaged in is the use of Safari Enhancer and SafariSource. Your mileage may vary.

[Via TUAW.]

posted by retrophisch at 3:11 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 21 March 2005

Camino’s new digs

Mozilla offspring Camino has a new site. I like the new look, and downloaded the latest nightly build. Maybe it will be more stable on my system than 0.8.2. I really want to use Camino more, as I feel it’s faster than Safari on my systems, but it doesn’t seem as stable when it comes to running out of real RAM and having to subsist on virtual memory.

[Via DF via Daniel Bogan.]

UPDATE, 10:30 PM CST: After downloading and installing the latest nightly build, I happened across the site again, and was greeted with this banner near the top of the main page:

Camino bleeding edge notice

Fun, fun, fun!

UPDATE 2, 11:30 PM CST: You can find all of Camino’s keyboard shortcuts on one handy page. And its hidden preferences, too.

posted by retrophisch at 8:13 PM -->in Macintosh , tech , web/site
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Tuesday, 15 March 2005

Windows: The Bloated Cow

Michael Hyatt:

I understand that the code name for the next version of Windows is “Longhorn.” Note: this is not an improvement over “Whistler.” All I can say is that they must not have longhorns in Redmond. I went to high school and college in Texas where longhorns were a regular feature of the landscape.

Let’s start with the fact that a longhorn is a cow. Is that really the image you want people to connect with the newest version of Windows? What were you guys thinking!

But that’s not all. A longhorn has one distinctive feature that separates it from all other cattle—its long horns. On a Web page called Longhorn Country, the author, a longhorn expert, writes:

There was probably no meaner creature in Texas than a Longhorn bull. The slightest provocation would turn him into an aggressive and dangerous enemy. The bull’s horns usually measured six feet or less from tip-to-tip, but could measure over eight feet long. In addition, the sharpness of horns of any length, the speed and muscle power of the bull, and the ease with which he could be aroused and enraged, made him a dangerous and uncontrollable animal.

Sadly, some would say that this aptly describes what Windows has become. A bloated cow that, when provoked, can become “dangerous and uncontrollable.”

posted by retrophisch at 9:31 AM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Friday, 11 March 2005

On the Apple lawsuits

I have refrained thus far from commenting on the lawsuits by Apple against Think Secret, PowerPage, and Apple Insider, none of whom I will dignify with a link. There are others who are doing a far better job of shedding the real light on this issue, in that is has nothing to do with the First Amendment.

Notably, John Gruber and Jeff Harrell have gotten it right. Think Secret, PowerPage, and Apple Insider should have to reveal their “sources,” and they should suffer some form of punishment. I don’t think hefty fines or jail time is necessary, but something punitive enough to ensure they will discontinue this nonsense, because it is hurting Apple.

My disdain for Jason O’Grady’s rumor-mongering goes way back, and my thoughts then still hold true now. By combining real facts leaked by insiders and NDA-holders with utter speculation, these rumor-mongers set up false expectations for unannounced Apple products. This leads consumers, as well as Wall Street “analysts”, to be disappointed when the real product is announced, and downplay the significance of the product because it is not exactly what the rumor-mongers said it was going to be. These sites are hurting Apple by revealing sensitive and private corporate information, and it has to stop.

posted by retrophisch at 9:35 PM -->in Macintosh , liberty , tech
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Tiger RSS screensaver

I’m sorry, but you just won’t see something so insanely, wicked cool as this on Windows.

posted by retrophisch at 3:04 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 02 March 2005

Being hijacked

I am not referring to an airline hijacking.

Michael informed me this morning that our host for ATPM told him we went over our bandwidth limit for the month of February by 17 GB.

After further investigation, we learned that most of this extra bandwidth is going toward serving up various JPEGS to other sites. In other words, rather than downloading the desktop pictures we offer to our readers each month, and hosting it on their own server, people are linking directly to the file on our server for display on their sites. They are hijacking these images, and our bandwidth. This is nothing new. It’s just never happened on such a large scale before with any site I’ve been involved in.

People, this is not cool. First off, those desktop pictures are the copyrighted property of a photographer or artist who graciously donated their use to ATPM, and subsequently to our readers, as desktop pictures. This means if you want to use said picture on your web site, or any other medium, you should be contacting that photographer or artist for permission. Second, if said photographer or artist grants you permission for usage, you then host the picture on your own site. To link to the picture directly on ATPM means you are stealing our bandwidth, and driving up our costs.

We are not a for-profit publication. Our staff is all-volunteer, from the top down. Any moneys generated from ads and sponsorships goes in to our hosting costs, and after ten consecutive years of publication, those costs can be considerable. Thus, bandwidth is not something we can afford to give away, and certainly not at the rate of an extra 17 GB every month.

If you are one of the many persons out there linking directly to one of our pictures, please stop. You are violating legitimate copyright and stealing bandwidth from a group of people who do something each month out of love and joy.

posted by retrophisch at 10:05 PM -->in Macintosh , rant , web/site
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Tuesday, 01 March 2005

ATPM 11.03

The March issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your viewing pleasure.

Ellyn opens with a look at a life in—or on, rather—Jeopardy, and Wes’s Bloggable delves in to the issue of Napster’s resurgence, as well as noting other happenings in the Macosphere.

Lee weighs in with the second edition of Pod People, and reader David Blumenstein shares his switching story. Ted wraps up his look at outlining task managers, a favorite mini-series of mine, though I’m not sure if I’m any closer to selecting any sort of app to help me in this arena than I was when he started writing it. Marcus J. Albers offers some hints and tips toward getting the most out of OS X.

Andrew reviews the addictive Apeiron, and Chris Lawson examines the Cobra.XM from BOOQ. Michael runs LaunchBar 4 through its paces. While LaunchBar has long been a staple in my computing toolbox, I do have my eye on Quicksilver. I actually learned something new from Michael’s review, and I’m pleased to see that like a fine wine, LaunchBar is getting better with age.

Conversely, Chris was rather disappointed with PolyRingtone Converter, in his words, “a good idea ruined by a horrible interface and poor features.” Finally, Eric puts WireTap Pro through the wringer to test its audio-capturing capabilities.

A new chapter begins in the Cortland saga, and Frisky Freeware notes my favorite IRC client, Conversation. Lee has generously donated some inspiring cloud photos for the desktop pictures section this month. (My favorite is “clouds-6.jpg”.)

Yours truly was supposed to have a book review in this issue, but writer’s block and a sick toddler this past week foiled my attempts at finishing it. (Hey, don’t laugh about the writer’s block; I don’t want my review to be a simple regurgitation of the table of contents.) Look for it, and other awesome stuff from the staff, next month.

posted by retrophisch at 1:50 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 28 February 2005

Mapping the tax man

Since Google Maps now works in Safari, and I had to get our property taxes paid today, I thought I would give the new service a whirl. I prefer it to the other map sites, since the interface is contained inside a single browser window. It’s also fast compared to the other sites; it’s snappiness reminded me of using Gmail, which is the fastest web-based e-mail system I’ve ever used.

posted by retrophisch at 8:53 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Tuesday, 22 February 2005

And the winner of my almost twenty bucks is…

Last night, my Movable Type installation decided it wanted to keep me from further posting on any of my blogs. This wasn’t simply an authentication error with my login and password. Something in MT’s lib directory wasn’t playing nice, and I kept getting this error:

MT/App/ did not return a true value at /www/retrophisch/public/movabletype/mt.cgi line 21.

Now I had been considering upgrading to Transmit 3, since as a registered user of version 2.x, I could do so for $17.95. Or I could, as a registered user of version 4.x, upgrade to Interarchy 7 for $19.

This really wasn’t a fair contest, as I was using Interarchy 7.3.1 and the last 2.x version of Transmit, 2.6.2, not the new version 3. For whatever reason, whenever I SFTPed in to my domain with Transmit, the transfer mode always turned to Auto, with no way to turn this off so I could transfer in ASCII, or Text, mode. Interarchy saved the day. It reuploaded MT’s lib directory from the local installation copy I had, preserving permissions, etc. And while they’re so similiar, I’m not sure there’s much of a differece, but I like Interarchy’s “Edit in BBEdit” implementation better than Transmit 2’s.

Transmit’s a great app, don’t get me wrong, but this time around, my money went to Interarchy.

posted by retrophisch at 12:37 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 16 February 2005


I just installed the temporary version of Daniel Becker’s iScroll2 on my 12-inch PowerBook G4 1 GHz. I’m loving it. Provided it proves stable, I’ll load the permanent version. It’s certainly worth checking out for pre-2005 PowerBook owners.

posted by retrophisch at 8:29 PM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 13 February 2005

In my right mind

So I’ve been thinking about Daniel Pink’s article, “Revenge of the Right Brain”, over the past couple of days, and it’s amazing how much my own feelings toward a future career mirror his piece.

One would have to consult my parents as to when I may have first exhibited artistic sensibilities, but as I grew up, I was very fond of writing, drawing, and music. I was always doodling, tracing, sketching. Making up stories, or just bits of stories. In seventh grade, I started playing the clarinet in band, was quickly moved to the bass clarinet by Mr. Dawson, our fantastic teacher-director, and continued all the way through high school. I did not attempt to gain a music scholarship to LSU; I had a partial academic scholarship, and the Air Force wanted to pay the rest of my way, so long as I was willing to be an electrical engineer.

By the end of my freshman year, my Air Force scholarship was gone. My grades tanked, and they yanked it. I was not a party animal, I did not go hog-wild upon becoming a college student. I simply goofed off.

Looking back, maybe there was a subconscious effort on my part to sabotage my academic and future professional careers. I was a right-brain person, suddenly thrust in to a left-brain world. No longer burdened with studies related to engineering, I remained in Air Force ROTC, and switched majors: criminal justice. When LSU’s Criminal Justice department was terminated as a separate division the following year, swallowed by the larger Sociology department, I was forced to change majors again. Not particularly interested in a sociology degree, I opted instead for political science, a decidedly more right-brained course of study. I minored in history. I excelled in English classes, testing out of Freshman English 101, or whatever it’s technically called.

The large part of my professional career since college, however, once again led me in to left-brain land. I have been involved with computer technology, troubleshooting, and support, for over a dozen years. When I was laid off in October of 2003, I was both devastated and optimistic. My son was only two months old, and I was looking forward to spending a lot of time with him, which has been great. Perhaps this was the opportunity to move in to a new field as well.

I have not kept completely out of the right-brain sphere these past twelve years, however. I began volunteering as a copy editor with ATPM in the summer of 1998, and began writing the occasional review or opinion piece shorly thereafter. Today, I’m the Managing Editor, and quite happy to work with the fine staff of our little publication, all of whom do what they do because we enjoy the Macintosh platform. I also believe a goodly number of the staffers are like myself, and enjoy having this right-brain outlet, compared with the left-brain professions they may be involved with.

This blog, like its predecessor, is nothing more than an outlet for those right-brain skills yearning for exercise.

Which brings us back to Pink’s article, in which he hypothesizes that the coming “age” will be devoted to more right-brain activities, as opposed to where we currently are now, and have been, where more left-brain occupations have reigned supreme. I’m all for it. I feel as though I have a couple of books in me, and I love the editing thing. Just ask some of my online friends and acquaintances how many times I’ve annoyed them over misspellings and other grammatical gaffes on their blogs. Likewise, they are quick to point out my own brain burps, in large part because they know I care about such things. (Though with Lawson, I suspect it’s just out of spite.)

There is a part of me which has enjoyed my past dozen years in the tech field, and I would heartily welcome another job in that arena. Yet another part of me yearns for something different, something more right-brained, and this is reflected in some of my Monster search agents. In the mean time, I’ll concentrate on editing, writing, digital photography, and most of all, being a dad.

posted by retrophisch at 10:47 PM -->in Macintosh , fun , rant
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Wednesday, 09 February 2005

Bayesian Logic intro

Computerworld has an article on “Bayesian Logic and Filters” in their QuickStudy section this week. This is the sort of logic behind many of the spam-killing applications out there, such as SpamSieve. If you’re using an anti-spam program that utilizes Bayesian logic, this article may help you understand a bit more how it works. Don’t miss the sidebar on the Reverend Thomas Bayes.

posted by retrophisch at 8:18 AM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Tuesday, 08 February 2005

Secure your Mac the NSA way

If you’d like to secure your Macintosh in the same manner as the National Security Agency, you can download a PDF explaining how here.

[Via the March 2005 issue of Macworld, not yet online.]

posted by retrophisch at 7:43 AM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 03 February 2005

About that PowerBook G5

So my previous rumination on the G5 in a PowerBook and the Mac Mini bears a little updating.

On Monday, Apple announced new PowerBook G4s, showing the G4 processor still has plenty of life left in it as they bumped up the top speed to 1.67 GHz. CNET looks at the expected PowerBook G5:

The computer maker is well aware that Mac fans want a G5 PowerBook, and technically, the company could offer one now. But given the relatively power-hungry nature of the IBM PowerPC 970FX processor—Apple has dubbed the 970FX and its predecessor, the 970, “G5” chips—a G5 PowerBook would require compromises in size, weight and other aesthetics such as noise production. Apple, and likely most of its customers, wouldn’t be willing to live with that.

So while the G5 works in the iMac form factor, not so much in the PowerBook’s. Which means not so much in a Mac Mini, perhaps not even within the possible timetable I outlined earlier. Which is why I’m not in the rumor business.

posted by retrophisch at 12:56 AM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 02 February 2005

Boingo for Mac

In case you aren’t a T-Mobile HotSpot subscriber, you can now use your Macintosh on the Boingo Wireless network. I can’t get the word “Oingo” out of my head now.

posted by retrophisch at 11:24 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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PulpFiction nabs 4.5 mice

So the March issue of Macworld arrived today, and I was reading through it over lunch. One of the articles is a round-up of news reader apps, and congratulations are in order to Erik and Company for PulpFiction being awarded four and a half mice. Erik, has, however, beat me to the punch with the news.

That’s okay, I’m still using NetNewsWire. ;-)

Kudos, amigo!

posted by retrophisch at 9:37 PM -->in Macintosh
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Mac Mini to cannibalize older Mac sales

Yeah, I know, there’s a shocker of a realization, right? But it’s true.

Since the Mac Mini was announced, I’ve had many instant message conversations with current Mac die-hards who see the Mini as a great second, third, or even fourth system in their home or office, for xyz kind of use. The kinds of use that would normally be reserved for a two- or three-generation-old Macintosh.

For myself, I was thinking a Mac Mini would be the best way to transition my grandmother to OS X. She’s currently running OS 9.2.2 on a Power Mac 8500 I got dirt cheap from a fellow ATPM staffer, and that was when the iMac G4 was brand new. I had been thinking that a blue-and-white G3 would be the next step up for her (she already has a monitor, so an iMac would be overkill), but now I’m thinking why bother with that? All she needs is the $499 Mini and a RAM upgrade, and she’s good to go.

Everyone knows that Steve could care less that the Mac Mini is going to cannibalize those older Mac sales, especially among the more savvy, long-time Mac users out there who know better than to pay most of the prices one sees on eBay. Apple needs to move units, and for those sort of Mac users, Mac Minis aren’t going to cannibalize Power Mac G5, PowerBook, or even iMac sales. Certainly not enough for Apple to not have come out with the Mini. Apple doesn’t care about the so-called “gray market” of its products’ sales, because those products are already out of Apple’s inventory. The Mac Mini is the here and now, and that’s what counts.

posted by retrophisch at 12:39 AM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 01 February 2005

It’s nice to know we’re cool

Christian Science Monitor:

Paul Saffo, a director of the Menlo Park-based Institute for the Future, a technology forecasting firm, says Apple’s two new slimmed down products are the newest harvests in what will be an array of hand-held devices catering to the demand for digital entertainment and serious computations. “Apple has been cool all along,” he says, praising Jobs’s talent for including “little details,” in Apple products. “The public wasn’t. But now because of Apple, the public has become cool.”

[Via DF.]

posted by retrophisch at 5:22 PM -->in Macintosh
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ATPM 11.02

The February issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Ellyn notes the need for healthy skepticism on the web, while Wes’s Bloggable column looks at the miniature life, courtesy of Apple’s new releases. The Wizard of Oz(ab) notes how the Mac Mini may affect musicians, while Ted’s About This Particular Outliner column continues with part two on the usage of outliners for task management. Sylvester has a follow-up column about what to do with those old Macs.

The ATPM staff is pleased to welcome Scott Chitwood, editor of the Mac GUI customization site ResExcellence. Scott’s first column is about customizing your Mac’s icons. Yours truly also kicks off a new column for the ‘zine, focusing on the iPod.

Wes delves in to Mariner Software’s ultimate productivity tool, Desktop Poet, while Chris Lawson looks at the FriendlyNET FR1104-G Wireless Firewall Router and Griffin Technology’s radioSHARK. Frisky Freeware notes a favorite chat client of some staff members. Cortland and the iTrolls continue their adventures. Lee and I were blown away by Mark Montgomery’s nature photos, which he offered as this month’s desktop pictures. I’ve already got a black bug on my desktop. Thanks, Mark!

posted by retrophisch at 1:56 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 25 January 2005

The Mac introduction

If you’ve followed every Macworld Expo keynote QuickTime stream since, well, since Apple’s been offering them, and you wonder what it would have been like to be able to watch the introduction of the original Macintosh, now you can. Recorded in January 1984 by Scott Knaster, and digitized by TextLab. Link from Tom.

posted by retrophisch at 11:26 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 24 January 2005

MacInTouch on the Mac Mini

Ric Ford, the original Macintosh blogger, has a review of the Mac Mini.

posted by retrophisch at 4:32 PM -->in Macintosh
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Looking ahead to the G5 Mini

So looking around a bit at the Mac web this weekend, it appears the PowerBook G5 rumors are about to start gaining steam. Supposedly the current PowerBook G4 line is about to be EOL’ed. EOL is retail/manufacturing talk for End of Life, as in, we’re not making this any more, and when we’ve sold what’s out there, that’s all there is.

I won’t dignify the rumor-mongers with links, but I do have a couple of thoughts.

First, if we see a PowerBook G5, I’m not sure we’ll see a PowerBook G5 12-inch right away. I would like to be wrong, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a G5 available in only the 17- and 15-inch PowerBooks to start with. It all boils down to how well Apple and IBM have managed to work around the heating issues with the G5 in the smaller spaces.

Second, if Apple solves its heat issues and wedges the G5 in to the PowerBook form factors, it’s not a stretch to then dump the G5 in to the Mac Mini. Not that this would occur any time in the near future after a PowerBook G5 release, but one could reasonably surmise when it will be coming, because it will eventually happen.

If you look at the six product lines of Apple’s computers, two are already on the G5: the Power Macintosh towers, and the iMac. Next up for the new processor is the PowerBook line, which would leave the iBook, the eMac, and the just-released Mac Mini.

Those same rumors hinted at above also say that the eMac is about to be EOL’ed as well. Should that prove true, then this means Apple is pushing the Mac Mini in to the education market, and schools will have to buy cheap third-party monitors, because they sure as hell aren’t buying 20-inch Apple flat-panel displays that cost twice as much as the baseline Mac Mini. Seeing as how these schools never purchased displays from Apple before, Apple’s not losing revenue there, though one can theorize their margins on Mac Mini sales will be lower than on eMacs. As John Gruber has observed, Apple looks to make up for reduced margins with volume. So if the eMac is indeed dead in the near future, Apple’s computer product line falls from six to five, and after the PowerBook G5 is released, only the iBook and Mac Mini will be on the G4.

The G4 is just about tapped out in Apple’s product line. The 1.5 GHz processor is the highest speed being offered, but third-party upgrade vendors are offering faster G4 processors. Apple may bump up the G4’s speed in its product line one more time, but it all depends on how aggressive they want to be with the G5.

I can see Apple bringing out the PowerBook G5 some time in the first half of the year, before or after the release of Tiger. At some point within the following six months, the speeds of the Power Macintosh G5 will be increased. At Macworld Expo next year, you’ll see increased speeds for the iMac G5, and by mid-year, faster PowerBook G5s. This would open the door to then add the G5 to the iBook line, and maybe at the same time the Mac Mini line, though Apple is known for only refreshing one line at a time, for the most part. Earliest time for a G5 Mini? I’m betting on Macworld Expo in January 2007. It all hinges on IBM’s G5 fabrication, however, so it’s not all up to Jobs and the Apple brain trust. And hell, I was way wrong on the flash-based iPod and the iCheap, aka the Mac Mini, so what do I know? This has all been stream-of-consciousness blogging any way.

posted by retrophisch at 12:41 AM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 20 January 2005

LSU goes Xserve

MacMinute reports that my alma mater has put online a 24-Xserve G5 cluster named Nemeaux. So I guess this proves that Tigers eat Apples…or something.

posted by retrophisch at 11:03 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 17 January 2005

The price of being a Mac user

Michael opines on the increased software value of an iWork-loaded Mac Mini, when compared to purchasing iLife ‘05, iWork, and an OS upgrade separately.

ATPM founder Danny Novo has a similar analysis, including .Mac. The Mac Mini looks better and better when you factor in all four of these software prices. Maybe a Mac Mini will be in the phisch bowl’s future, later this year, after Tiger is released and iWork comes loaded. Maybe around the time my own .Mac registration is due for renewal. However, I don’t think I’ll wait too long to purchase iLife ‘05, as I’ve decided to begin using iPhoto for my digital photo management needs, and I’d like to do so starting with the new version.

posted by retrophisch at 9:43 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 13 January 2005

Another Mac master

Michael Crichton:

Q: Describe the perfect writing environment.
A: Small room. Shades down. No daylight. No disturbances. Macintosh with a big screen. Plenty of coffee. Quiet.

posted by retrophisch at 4:12 PM -->in Macintosh
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Chained notes

I rediscovered a gem by former ATPM staffer Kirk McElhearn from the June 2004 issue of Macworld. In the Working Mac column, Kirk is discussing built-in ways to protect data in Mac OS X. I found the use of the Keychain as a storage place for secret notes intriguing.

To turn Keychain into your security guard, open Keychain Access (Applications: Utilities), and click on Note in the Keychain Access toolbar. Enter a descriptive title in the Name field of the window that appears, and then type or paste the data you want to protect into the Note field. You’re not limited to short things, such as a password or a credit card number. I pasted several megabytes of text into one secure note.

To access your secure notes later, open Keychain Access, find the note in the list of protected items, and click on its name. Select the Show Password option and enter your password; you’ll then see the note’s contents. To enter the contents in another program, click on Copy Note To Clipboard, enter your password again, and paste into any text field or document.

posted by retrophisch at 4:04 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 10 January 2005

Apple Dev on Delicious Monster

For the programmers out there, Apple’s Developer Connection has an article on Delicious Monster, and their use of Cocoa Bindings in the development of Delicious Library.

The application Delicious Library gets top marks for its user-friendliness, its devoted adherence to the Macintosh human-interface guidelines, and its imaginative uses of Macintosh platform technologies—for example, its ability to use an iSight camera to scan an item into the application’s database.

However, Wil singles out one Apple technology, Cocoa bindings, as being central to his company’s success so far.

The value of Cocoa bindings, he says, is that, “it makes it really easy for programmers to present data in a way that’s very clear and intuitive to the user. It makes every app look and feel like an iApp.”

posted by retrophisch at 4:11 PM -->in Macintosh
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BBAutoComplete 1.4

Michael has released BBAutoComplete 1.4. BBAutoComplete gives you word auto-completion in scriptable applications like BBEdit, Mailsmith, Tex-Edit, and with the new version, Smile.

If I weren’t already using a combination of AutoPairs and TypeIt4Me, I would probably be using BBAutoComplete. The latter is “smarter” than TypeIt4Me in that TypeIt4me has to be “taught” the abbreviations and expansions to use in place of those abbreviations. BBAutoComplete guesses what you’re wanting to type by checking out expansions in your app’s open docs. For most of my typing needs, though, especially in the apps BBAutoComplete supports, I simply have no need for it. Programmers, however, will find it a boon.

BBAutoComplete is freeware, and be sure to check out Michael’s excellent commercial software, SpamSieve and DropDMG, while you’re at it. Both are Retrophisch™ Recommends selections, and you can support a developer who gives back to the user community.

posted by retrophisch at 3:18 PM -->in Macintosh
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Saturday, 08 January 2005

Still no OmniWeb for this phisch

Michael’s analysis of OmniWeb’s shortcomings, and Gruber’s comment to the post, leave me wondering why I continue to download and install the thing, since I hardly ever use it.

posted by retrophisch at 1:40 AM -->in Macintosh
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Saturday, 01 January 2005

ATPM 11.01

The January issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure. Ellyn resolves not to make resolutions, while Wes digs in to the ugly world of Apple rumors. Ted takes a break from the frenetic world of Mac outliners, but still manages an update column. Eric has a brilliant piece on the upcoming iTunes-compatible Motorola phone and what that means to the mobile music and mobile phone marketplaces. Sylvester explores the world of tech recycling, a public service for those who were lucky enough to receive new Macs for Ramahanakwanzmas.

Just in time for New Year’s, Lee has submitted Fourth of July photos for use as desktop pictures. Go ahead and use them, no one will know that they weren’t taken New Year’s Eve and immediately uploaded. Well, no one who doesn’t read about it here, that is. Cortland and iTrolls continue, and this month Frisky Freeware explores OSXplanet.

Lee runs down the latest darling of the Mac software world, Delicious Library, while Wes reviews the blogging tool, MarsEdit. Paul’s look at PhotoReviewer and Michael’s review of Kensington’s StudioBoard will likely have me spending some money shortly. Eric explores PreFab’s UI Actions, of interest to you script junkies out there.

Happy New Year from all of us at ATPM!

posted by retrophisch at 12:33 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 20 December 2004

Retrophisch™ on the Eddys

Taking a cue from Michael, I’d thought I’d look at the 2004 Macworld Editors Choice Awards to see how they fit in my hardware and software toolbelt:

  • GarageBand 1.1 - I used it once. It needs more oomph than my 1 GHz PowerBook can provide.
  • BBEdit 8.0 - as with Michael, I use it every day
  • Toast - has saved the bacon more than once, and again, as Michael says, nothing else can touch it
  • Snapz Pro X 2.0 - still using the last 1.x version, and I rarely take screen shots

That’s about it as far as the items I have actual experience with. That said, a few comments on others that made the list:

  • Photoshop Elements 3 - I could maybe get excited about Elements if (a) I didn’t already have Photoshop, and (b) it offered photo organization and competed against iPhoto (which I do not use for photo organization)
  • FileMaker Pro 7 - I want to like it, really I do, but I feel 4D still outmatches it; granted, I haven’t played with either in three years, so I’m just going off what I read and hear from people I trust
  • Halo: Combat Evolved - like many Mac users, I was looking forward to Halo, until Bungie was bought by Microsoft and the entire project was lost for three years while the Evil Empire ripped off Sony and Nintendo created the Xbox; I’m not sure my PowerBook’s 32MB of video RAM would do it justice, and the Cube’s processor won’t even touch it. Plus, it’s still fifty bucks.
  • QuarkXPress 6.5 - not that they will ever tell us, but I’m curious to know how much market share Quark has lost to InDesign. Not only because Quark’s customer service feeds on the bottom of the scum pond, but also because it took them a couple of years to come out with a native OS X version. I personally know of more than one shop that has made the conversion to InDesign, and plans to never return.
  • OmniWeb 5.0.1 - I want to like OmniWeb, really I do; I download every beta and play around with it, but always return to Safari and Camino. I’m addicted to tabs and Safari’s bookmark implementation.
posted by retrophisch at 5:04 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 13 December 2004

Mid-range Mac comparison

Ric Ford found some surprising results in a mid-range Macintosh face-off with today’s Performance Comparison: eMac G4, iBook G4 and iMac G5.

posted by retrophisch at 11:13 AM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 12 December 2004

Having a blast with BlastApp

Ever have one of those moments where something gives a swift kick to your memory box and you suddenly rediscover an old joy? Such it was this evening as I’ve spent the past hour playing BlastApp, the OS X version of the NeXT classic helicopter game. You’ll need the Developer Tools installed to have access to the game.

posted by retrophisch at 12:30 AM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 08 December 2004

DropDMG 2.5

Michael has released DropDMG 2.5. The latest version adds the ability to create Zip archives in OS X 10.3 Panther, very handy for when you need to send files to Windows users. It can also convert Zip archives to images and vice-versa. The release also allows for the creation of StuffIt X archives, converting those to images, and vice-versa. You can now convert .tar, .tgz, .tar.gz, and .tar.bz2 archives to disk images (as well as to .zip and .sitx). Michael added support for .cdr (DVD/CD-R master) images, which I think I’ll find very handy. I know in my former corporate life, I would have liked DropDMG’s new ability to create a custom icon for the mounted image. With the different images we had to maintain, the feature of saving named Configurations of DropDMG’s preferences would have been very handy, too. “By switching between different configurations, you can instantly recall different combinations of options.” You can read about all of the other changes here.

If you work with image files, you cannot afford to be without DropDMG.

posted by retrophisch at 8:24 AM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 01 December 2004

ATPM 10.12

The December issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available.

Ellyn explores self-sufficiency in the digital age, while David’s accidental click of the mouse results in GarageBand loop pleasantness. Wes looks forward to Tiger, the inroads being made against Microsoft, and looks in to the past as the year draws to a close. Ted explores outliners and task management, and Sylvester offers advice on getting better video.

On the Reviews front, Ellyn games with Corregon, while newly-minted pilot Chris Lawson examines LogTen, flight log software for the Mac OS. Matthew puts BeLight’s Mail Factory to the test, and Wes discovers he doesn’t like the RSS-as-mail paradigm of Pulp Fiction. Finally, Matthew delves in to Jeff Duntemann’s Wi-Fi Guide (2nd edition).

Lee contributes some truly awesome desktop pictures this month, from his recent trip to northwest Washington state. Frisky’s monthly freeware review covers Radio Recorder, billed as a TiVo for MP3. Cortland and iTrolls round out this month’s issue.

posted by retrophisch at 11:41 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 23 November 2004

Pogue’s Posts

Macintosh author extraordinaire David Pogue now has a daily blog, courtesy of the New York Times.

posted by retrophisch at 11:04 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Monday, 15 November 2004

Audion ends at 3

Yes, I’m a wee bit behind in my web reading, having been on vacation last week, and I’m still getting caught up.

So Panic has retired Audion. Co-founder Cabel Sasser has a simply outstanding story of Audion that every Mac user should read. There is no boo-hooey, “why us?” whining, but rather a brutal examination of core business principles and personal desires, combined with a can-do, what’s-next? attitude.

I have long admired Cabel and Steven Frank, the “Panic guys” as I’ve personally referred to them. I see a kindred soul in Steven, and his office products-fetish, what’s-the-latest-and-greatest-PDA blog postings. I was an Audion 2 registered user, before converting full time to iTunes when I got my first iPod. I have been a registered user of Transmit since the days it was called Transit, and will continue to be so until something better comes down the pipe. Outside the command line, Transmit is, for me, the best FTP client out there right now on the Mac.

Personally, it is their rational reasoning, bereft of any whining on the part of big, mean, ol’ Apple—unlike other Mac developers who shall remain nameless— regarding their decision to retire Audion, rather than the decision itself, that further endears this company to my software-consuming wallet. Keep doing what you love doing, guys, because there are users out here who appreciate it.

posted by retrophisch at 2:44 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 04 November 2004

ATPM 10.11

The November issue of About This Particular Macintosh is out. Lee’s cover is inspired. Mondo thanks to Gruber for playing along.

Ellyn explores the basics of the stock exchange, while Wes explores the discussions between “brushed metalheads and Aquaphiles”, and other happenings, in the Macintosh blogosphere. Reader Jon Allen Boone relays his computer-using saga, and how he came to switch to Mac OS X. Andrew Kator has a How-To on sharing web content.

Yours truly reviews Waterfield Design’s Medium Cargo bag, Wes examines the FrogPad USB, and Watts Martin weighs in on Nisus Writer Express 2.0. Andrew also looks at Stuffit Deluxe 9, and David Zatz compares the IOGEAR and Dr. Bott KVMs.

Cortland and iTrolls continue their strips, and we have some great desktop pictures from Ireland, courtesy of reader Mark Dickson. My favorite new segment, Frisky Freeware, explores Meterologist this month.

As always, ATPM is available in a variety pack for your reading pleasure.

posted by retrophisch at 10:35 AM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 22 October 2004

Software Update before and after

Dr. Mac has excellent advice for preparation and post-op procedures for working with Mac OS X’s Software Update in his latest column for Mac Design magazine.

We admit we do not always back up prior to running software updates, but then again, we tend to let a few days go by after an update appears, seeing how the world outside our bowl fares with it. Regardless, it is good advice to at least back up your Home folder, or wherever you store your vital data on your drive, before running major updates, like the supposedly-forthcoming 10.3.6. It’s a pain to have to rebuild your boot disk in the event of a major problem after an update, but it’s quite another pain to lose irreplaceable data.

posted by retrophisch at 8:38 AM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 20 October 2004

PowerBook goodies

A couple of PowerBook-related goodies were announced yesterday that has the phisch bowl churning. MCE announced a new 100 GB internal drive for every PowerBook out there back to the Kanga G3. However, at US $279, it won’t be finding its way in to the phischbook any time soon.

MacMinute also noted the announcement of Targus’s Notebook ChillHub, a US $50 laptop stand that incorporates two cooling fans as well as four USB 2.0 ports. Further details aren’t yet available, but it appears that it’s necessary to lug around an extra AC adapter to power the ChillHub’s fans and USB ports. Ugh.

posted by retrophisch at 8:35 AM -->in Macintosh
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Saturday, 09 October 2004

MacSurfShop returns!

My favorite merchant of Mac-related apparel has re-opened for business. Mike Yraelbra, the Big Kahuna, has brought back the MacSurfShop, with a new business model that should allow him to keep costs low while still serving up great pro-Apple designs. I’m off to order my Pod People shirt…

posted by retrophisch at 10:52 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 06 October 2004

Sticking with BBEdit, thanks

Michael, who is much more knowledgeable of such things than I, has an overview of MacroMates’ newly-released TextMate, which purports to be a BBEdit killer. I downloaded and took a look at TextMate, too, and I was fairly unimpressed. If I weren’t using BBEdit, I would likely go with SubEthaEdit. I’ve been using BBEdit since, oh, 1996 or so, and version 8 is the best version yet of the ultra-powerful text editor. Like mi amigo, I won’t be cranking up TextMate any time soon for my own needs, but more power to MacroMates for going after the switcher market.

posted by retrophisch at 11:48 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 05 October 2004

Happy Tenth, Ric

Yesterday, Ric Ford celebrated the 10th anniversary of MacInTouch. MacInTouch is, to my best recollection, the original Macintosh news blog, from before the terms “weblog” and “blog” were coined. To quote Ric, “here’s to another ten years!”

posted by retrophisch at 9:36 AM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 03 October 2004

A prettier Firefox?

There seems to be a movement afoot to pretty-up the Mac version of Firefox. Jon Hicks came up with some native-looking widgets, and Kevin Gerich has been busy with new button icons, as well as other widgets.

Not being a Firefox user—though I do plan to install the latest preview release—I am left wondering: why not just use Camino and all of its native Mac GUI goodness? It’s my browser backup of choice behind Safari.

posted by retrophisch at 10:20 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 01 October 2004

ATPM 10.10

The October issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available. We are thrilled to have as sponsors Bare Bones Software, developers of the powerful BBEdit, and staff-favorite Mailsmith.

Ellyn finally upgrades to Mac OS X, which isn’t without its travail. Andrew Kator submits that internet democracy is territory best tread carefully, while Ted’s latest About This Particular Outliner delves in to Tinderbox. In addition to the normal monthly dose of Cortland, Matt Johnson introduces Frisky the Freeware Guinea Pig. I really like Frisky. I don’t know why. I think Matt has a hit on his hands with a software-reviewing rodent.

Lee contributes some gorgeous sunset photos for your enjoyment as desktop pictures. Eric reviews Airport Express, Lee explores the Photoshop add-on I’m drooling over, Optipix, and Johann takes us between the covers of O’Reilly’s Mac OS X Panther for Unix Geeks.

As always, the issue is available for online viewing, or your choice of three delicious flavors.

posted by retrophisch at 5:21 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 03 September 2004

ATPM 10.09

The September issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available. Ellyn sneaks in a word on integration, while Matt pontificates over the new iMac. David Ozab discusses a recent copyright case, and Paul has the latest from the world wide web.

It’s the Chris Lawson review issue, as the licensed pilot (be afraid, be very afraid) examines a hardware hacking book, the iRac, and the MicFlex. Oh, and Eric looks at DEVONnote while Michael puts my next keyboard through its paces. Some great renderings by Mark Feemster are available as desktop pictures.

Enjoy the fruits of our volunteer labor on behalf of the Macintosh-using public!

posted by retrophisch at 1:00 AM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 24 August 2004

The Apple Table

For the Apple Macintosh lover who has everything, there is now the Apple Table. It’s actually kind of ergonomic, in the way that the cutouts allow the user to slide up much closer to the table. (Via the PowerPage.)

posted by retrophisch at 11:52 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 23 August 2004

About that halo effect

USA Today:

Apple’s trendy iPod digital music player, which has revitalized the company, is giving laptop sales a boost during back-to-school season.

Many students, after falling in love with the iPod, are packing for college with new Apple Macintosh computers.

Of course, the “journalists” at USA Today could head on over to Microsoft’s Mactopia and verify that Outlook is not part of Office for Macintosh, but I suppose that would be too much trouble. I guess it’s just one more rag I really need to stop reading…

posted by retrophisch at 9:48 PM -->in Macintosh , ipod
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Friday, 20 August 2004

iPods, Real, and real choices

John Gruber:

RealNetworks’ battle cry in the Harmony debate is “Choice!” Consumers demand and deserve “choice”, and despotic Apple isn’t offering it to them. (Microsoft has also played the “choice” card — cf. last year’s “Closed Is Open”. Look for Microsoft to reiterate the “choice” angle when their own music store platform launches.)

But when RealNetworks whines about choice, they’re only talking about choice between rival DRM platforms. And it’s true that Apple denies iPod owners this choice.

But what Apple provides is a larger and more important choice: the choice not to use DRM protected audio at all.

Harmony is not going to help Apple sell more iPods. Harmony is simply an attempt by RealNetworks to sell songs to iPod users. There’s no shame in that — but no benefit to Apple, either.

posted by retrophisch at 8:49 PM -->in Macintosh , ipod , tech
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Wednesday, 18 August 2004

Happy Birthday, MDJ!

Belated birthday wishes to Matt Deatherage and the entire MDJ on their eighth anniversary of publication. The August 12th issue of MDJ marked the special occasion.

posted by retrophisch at 8:25 AM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 10 August 2004

Apple shoulda woulda coulda

It is analysis like this, on the “Apple should have licensed the Mac in the ’80s” unconventional wisdom, which merited my support of Mr. Gruber.

posted by retrophisch at 12:11 AM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 05 August 2004

Pool tunes

I have an Onkyo SE-U55 USB Digital Audio Processor hooked up to my Power Mac G4 Cube. This allows me to run all Cube audio through my Aiwa shelf stereo system (which happens to reside on my desk instead of a shelf).

My wife and I have been wanting to get some speakers for use on the patio and by the pool, preferably wireless. We picked up a pair at The Sharper Image, and the set includes a 900 MHz transmitter. The transmitter plugs in to the headphone jack on the front of the Onkyo. This allows us to hear the audio on the Aiwa’s speakers as well. So, for the pool party this Saturday, we will have iTunes playing the party mix on the Cube, and getting tunes out by the pool, without having to have the beloved iPod within drenching distance.

(Yes, I know this could have been accomplished via Airport Express, but I would still have to have the speakers for outside, and in this instance, the transmitter was included.)

But we’re not done yet…

Now we have Salling Clicker installed on the Cube, and synced with my Sony Ericsson T616 via Bluetooth. I can now control iTunes remotely with my phone, so long as I’m within thirty feet of the Bluetooth adapter hanging off the back of my Cube. The study, where said Cube is located, is in the back corner of the house, just outside of which is the patio and pool.

Now I’m thinking of other possibilities. My clock radio has a crappy cassette deck built in to it, but I could put one of the speakers next to my nightstand. A cron job could start playing iTunes in the morning at the appointd time. And before you can say, “No snooze bar,” don’t forget about the phone! Just hit the appropriate control key for “Pause.”

This is how technology is supposed to work: enriching our lives, making it easier to accomplish a goal or dream, no matter how simple—or simple-minded—those might be.

posted by retrophisch at 11:46 PM -->in Macintosh , phone , tech
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Tuesday, 03 August 2004

Apple does batteries

Just in case you’ve ever wondered.

posted by retrophisch at 8:55 AM -->in Macintosh , ipod
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Monday, 02 August 2004

What’s your chat preference?

Totally unscientific, totally biased, comment-based poll:

What is your favorite chat protocol and client?

Here at Retrophisch™ Central, we prefer AIM, and use either iChat or AdiumX.

Leave a comment with your choices.

posted by retrophisch at 6:26 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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ATPM 10.08

The August issue of About This Particular Macintosh is out. Ellyn reminds us to take some time out, while Ted dives in to mindmappers in his latest outlining column. Wes has the complete coverage of the Dashboard vs Konfabulator from the Mac blog world. Sylvester walks readers through making a silent movie, which, alas, was the last great task of his beloved FrankenMac before it gave up the ghost.

This month’s desktop pictures section is a bazaar of reader-submitted photos from around the world. Greg looks at Excel Hacks, and Kirk reviews the Rolls-Royce of mini-speakers, while Ellyn offers her thoughts on Wil Wheaton’s Just a Geek. Finally, fellow Dallas metroplex resident Adam Zaner reviews the Belkin Media Reader, an iPod accessory I have long had my eye on.

As always, the issue is available in regular, premium, and super.

posted by retrophisch at 12:47 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 21 July 2004

Whip antenna for smallest PowerBook

As a 12-inch PowerBook owner, the blurb on MacMinute about QuickerTek’s new Whip Antenna for the smallest PowerBook piqued my interest. However, after looking over the product page, I’m left wondering if this wouldn’t just be something that would easily break off. It appears to be a permanent or semi-permanent installation; how does that affect my three-year AppleCare warranty? The kicker: 90 bucks. Sheesh. Fifty I could understand, but it seems a little overpriced as is.

posted by retrophisch at 9:34 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 20 July 2004

Why Macs Rock

James Duncan Davidson:

Unnsse Khan wrote me yesterday and asked the question, “Why are Macs better than PCs?” I thought about it for a while and decided that I’d write my reply as a public blog entry. After all, I’ve been a poster boy for Macs for a while. Almost every serious programmer I know and respect now uses one—and many of them asked me that question before they took the jump and bought a PowerBook. Boy, if I had a kick back for every Mac I’ve helped sell… well, I’d be living in a penthouse suite instead of an apartment. But it doesn’t matter. I like working on my platform. And I don’t mind telling people why.

posted by retrophisch at 9:38 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 09 July 2004

Tiger Support for Boy Bands?

Wittiness like this is one reason why I decided to support our Mr. Gruber. (The latter of which won me an iLife ‘04 book + DVD from Jim Heid! Thanks, John!)

posted by retrophisch at 12:40 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 05 July 2004

A dashing konflagration

So it seems that just about everyone has weighed in on the Dashboard vs Konfabulator issue. I happen to firmly echo the sentiments of John Gruber, and, like Michael, feel the bigger picture is getting lost in the melee.

I have tried Konfabulator and its many widgets. I was initially impressed, but in the end, I feel the widgets are nothing more than extra eye candy that, as Gruber points out, takes up even more memory from my system. I fooled around with Panic’s Stattoo, which seeks to provide the same sort of feedback that most of the widgets available for Konfabulator do. Stattoo, however, is an application running different “capsules” within its environment, whereas each Konfabulator widget is running as a separate app, each loading the Konfabulator runtime engine. If I were going to use one over the other, I would go with Panic’s offering, based on the types of capsules vs widgets involved.

In the end, the point is moot, as neither will find a permanent home on my systems. I just don’t see the point. I can tell the time and date because it’s already up in the menu bar. I can tell how much battery charge is left on my PowerBook because it’s already up in the menu bar. I can tell my iChat status because it’s already up in the menu bar. I can tell what the weather is, and what it’s going to be, because I already have WeatherPop Advance running—you guessed it—in the menu bar. I keep iTunes minimized, and position the window where I can always tell what song is playing, so I have no need for that particular widget, either. For that matter, I use Synergy as my alternative iTunes controller, because the buttons reside—drumroll, please—in the menu bar. If I have new mail, the bouncing Mailsmith icon in the Dock is sufficient to warn me.

I realize there are many other widgets out there for Konfabulator that do other things, but after looking through the gallery, there are some that are cool, but none that I cannot live without. I would rather have my system resources back.

Which brings us back to Dashboard, and how it differs from Konfabulator in that regard. Gruber has an excellent summary of this, and I see that the impact on system resources will be less when using Dashboard gadgets than Konfabulator widgets.

Like Michael, I personally am more inclined to fool around with building my own Dashboard gadget, because I already know some HTML and CSS, and can build on that knowledge. There is a greater reach toward the hobbyist market with Dashboard, versus Konfabulator. It will be fun to play around in.

Of course, the Dashboard gadgets are going to have to evolve beyond the typical widgets and capsules I have already mentioned. I’m not about to go with eye candy that replicates what the system, or another app, is already telling me in another format.

posted by retrophisch at 11:34 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 01 July 2004

ATPM 10.07

The July issue of About This Particular Macintosh is out. Ted’s amazing ATPO series continues with a look at the future of outlining, while Ellyn takes a chance with a public appearance, and how the digital lifestyle has made it easy to share such a moment.

Yours truly shares some more desktop pictures from Kilauea Volcano National Park, and posts a review of the BOOQ BP3 System. Lee reviews the iTalk, next on my own iPod accessory list, and Eric looks at a shell script book that actually discusses Mac OS X. Other reviews and articles abound. As always, available in three different flavors for your reading pleasure.

posted by retrophisch at 9:44 AM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 27 June 2004

Taking the gloves off?

Apple publicly acknowledges what Mac users have known all along.

posted by retrophisch at 10:18 PM -->in Macintosh
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Sweet Southern Summer

So, yeah, I’ve been playing with GarageBand.

Sweet Southern Summmer

Yes, it is inspired by the southern rock, classic rock, rockabilly, and country music I grew up with. Yes, it’s all done using GarageBand loops. Yes, you can leave a comment and tell me how much it sucks, but I kind of like it. Heck, even Lawson told me the composition wasn’t bad at all, and I can always count on him to be brutally honest. Flame on!

posted by retrophisch at 10:04 PM -->in Macintosh , fun
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Wednesday, 23 June 2004

Fun with Apple toys

You can now have your iPod fully integrated in your over-priced German automobile.

Apple product managers have an iChat AV video conference while one is at 35,000 feet over Canada.

(Danke, Lee.)

posted by retrophisch at 10:47 PM -->in Macintosh , ipod
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Thursday, 17 June 2004


GigaDesigns announced today a 1.5 GHz G4 upgrade for the Power Mac Cube. However, at six hundred smackers, I believe I’d rather put that toward a new G5.

posted by retrophisch at 10:12 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 07 June 2004

Dock? What Dock?

From my days of working on 15-inch LCDs, I have long hidden Mac OS X’s Dock. After all, I wanted to maximize my screen real estate. I still do this on my 12-inch PowerBook, for the same reason. On my Cube, however, I have a 19-inch Princeton LCD and my Apple 15-inch Studio Display. Plenty visual expanse, right? Yet old habits die hard, and I have found that I do not miss the Dock at all.

I am not one of the many whom have not cared for the Dock since OS X first rolled out. On the contrary, I rather enjoyed having it. But the addition to the operating system of cool switching via Command-Tab, and my usage of—nay, addiction to—LaunchBar, has rendered for me the Dock irrelevant. If the current beta of LaunchBar 4 is any indication, the final release of this new revision is going to ensure my hands stay on the keyboard even more.

Finder usage will not be going away any time soon. I still need that for moving files about via drag-and-drop, and I have customized my Finder toolbar with various apps for such drag-and-drop operations. One example would be opening archive files of various denominations by dropping them on Stuffit Expander. I know the command-line junkies will tell me that I can do all of that from the Terminal, thus ensuring my hands stay on the keyboard even more. However, for some operations, such as the example above, I believe I am faster with the mouse than typing in pathnames to drill down to the file I want.

posted by retrophisch at 11:17 AM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 03 June 2004

ATPM 10.06

The June issue of About This Particular Macintosh is out. Matt Coates discusses online offers and gives us a glimpse of his personal network. Andrew Kator has a wicked cool tutorial on combining the power of Blender with Xgrid. Paul Fatula reviews Mariner Write 3.6; I last reviewed version 2.0.5 in January 1999. The second part of Lee’s desktop pictures from Puerto Rico are available. Other columns and reviews fill out the issue, and as usual, it is available in different formats for your reading pleasure.

posted by retrophisch at 10:49 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 17 May 2004

iMac G5

No, Apple hasn’t made any new product announcements, but Peter Kellner resurrected an old iMac in new clothing. (via MacInTouch)

posted by retrophisch at 9:31 AM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 14 May 2004

Mac OS version builds

This handy chart of Mac OS version builds that shipped with various systems since 1998 is incredibly valuable. (via MacInTouch)

posted by retrophisch at 10:56 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 03 May 2004

Book return

Thanks to the newly-introduced PowerBooks, and getting back some of our hard-earned dough from Uncle Sam, there is a new phischbook in the house.

I was able to score a now-previous generation PowerBook G4 12-inch 1 GHz system, with a SuperDrive, from my local Apple Store for a song. It was one of their demo units, refurb’ed by one of the in-store techs, most of whom I know from my previous employer, and trust to be thorough. I carefully inspected it before finalizing the purchase, and it appears immaculate.

Along with the three-year AppleCare, a must-have with portables, and an Airport Extreme card I purchased, it was still less than a brand-new PowerBook in the same part of the line-up. A 512 MB SO-DIMM purchase from the fine folks at Other World Computing brings it up to 768 MB of RAM.

This purchase settled three wishes I’ve had since being laid off this past October: (1) a PowerBook; (2) a faster Mac in general (my Cube is still at the original 450 MHz); and (3) a way to burn DVDs. I love the ultra-portability of the smallest PowerBook!

posted by retrophisch at 11:01 PM -->in Macintosh
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ATPM 10.05

The May issue of About This Particular Macintosh is out. Ellyn makes a wonderful observation on social contacts on the Internet, which I know has been positive for me. I have a local friend whom I met online first, and like Ellyn and one of her friends, I have doubts on whether we would have become friends if we had met in meatspace first.

I know Lee, Michael, Raena, and Eric through our meetings online. Granted, all are part of the ATPM staff, but our friendships have developed beyond this commonality. These are people who have come to me for advice or my opinion, and I have sought the same from them. (And likely the latter moreso than the former!)

Eric is the only one I have met (twice!) in the physical world, meeting at the New York Macworld Expos in 2001 and 2002. My various web sites wouldn’t be where they are, design-wise, without Raena’s expertise. Michael’s SpamSieve, for which I was an original beta tester, has made my online life immeasurably better. I’m assisting Eric as a tester with a kick-butt product he is developing, and I get to tease him when the Rangers sweep his beloved Red Sox, as happened this past weekend. Thinking of all the people I know solely from my online journeys, I would have to say that Lee is my best friend in cyberspace. Ellyn’s point is well taken with yours truly.

Wes has yet another extensive round-up of the latest Mac blogosphere happenings, Paul always finds something that makes me laugh, and Sylvester discusses the latest in the cloning front. Lee’s friend Andy McConnell has a report from this year’s National Association of Broadcasters Convention, and Ted takes NoteTaker and Notebook head-to-head in an eagerly anticipated match-up.

Lee contributes desktop pictures from his very recent vacation to Puerto Rico, the latest Cortland and iTrolls toons are accounted for, and we have a plethora of great reviews. Available in the usual fruity flavors.

posted by retrophisch at 2:00 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 14 April 2004


My eyes! My eyes!

Just because you can do something, doesn’t necessarily mean you should do something.

(via Kahney)

posted by retrophisch at 8:37 PM -->in Macintosh
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NASA Space Flight Patch icons

Maury McCown of RAILhead Design has released a massive, 146-icon collection of NASA space flight patches. The patches range from the Freedom 7 flight in 1961 through 2003’s ill-fated Columbia mission. Maury obviously put in a lot of work on this icon set, and it is a must-have for NASA/space fans.

Sorry, Windows users, for Macintosh only.

posted by retrophisch at 10:58 AM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 01 April 2004

ATPM 10.04

The April issue of About This Particular Macintosh is out. Yours truly contributed desktop pictures for this month’s issue. Of note is Evan’s Soundsticks review, Ted’s announcement of a new outliner, and would someone please send Wes some feedback so he’ll stop whining? Geez, you’d think Tom was writing again…

posted by retrophisch at 12:40 AM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 10 March 2004

Marginalizing IE

The Mac Marginalization report at MacInTouch has seen a spurt of activity in recent days, notably about certain web sites not working with Safari or other non-IE browsers. In today’s postings, MacInTouch reader “Steve” suggests:

Safari users often are subjected to annoying web page redirection to inform them that their browser is not supported. Microsoft’s subversion of web standards deserves a similar tactic: “Your browser does not adhere to international web standards. Please contact Microsoft support to request standards compliance so that we can provide a better web experience for everyone. You will be redirected to our non-standard pages momentarily…”

If every web page handled MSIE this way, the stream of customer support inquiries might eventually annoy Microsoft enough that they would clean up their act.

While I highly doubt the latter would ever happen, it is amusing to consider the former nonetheless. Windoze users reading this, and other web standards-composing web sites, would do well to look to Firefox/Mozilla.

posted by retrophisch at 11:16 AM -->in Macintosh , tech , web/site
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Tuesday, 02 March 2004

ATPM 10.03

The March issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available, in leaded, unleaded, and diesel flavors.
posted by retrophisch at 3:42 PM -->in Macintosh
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Development halts on VLC Mac client

ATPM staffer Chris Lawson informs us that the the former OS X maintainer, Derk-Jan Hartman, has stepped down from the VideoLAN Client project. So far, no OS X developer has stepped up to take his place. So if you’re a Mac OS X developer looking to contribute to a worthy open source project, give VLC a look.
posted by retrophisch at 3:30 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 01 March 2004

iPod mini thoughts

I stopped by the Willow Bend Apple Store last week for two reasons. First, I needed to pick up a couple of extra FireWire-to-Dock cables for iPod use. Second, I wanted to see how the Genius Bar LCD retrofit turned out, since that has been my principal project at work for the past month. While there, I also played around with the new iPod mini. If I didn’t already have the 40 GB iPod, and was still using the original 5 GB one, I would jump on the mini. I love how they’re using Espy Sans for the screen font; I hope that carries over to the next-gen full-size Pods. Likewise, I hope to see the combination mechanical/capacitance-sensitive scroll wheel with the built-in buttons on the next-gen full-size Pod. It make navigation so much simpler. Of course, with my 40 GB iPod, I use it 50-50 as a music player and as an external hard drive. Every day, I back up my Mailsmith and Entourage mail folders to it to shuffle to and from work. Between the two, I’ve got about 1.3 GB of stuff, not to mention anything I may have downloaded during the day that I want to take home. So from that usage standpoint, a mini is not in my future. Then again, by the time I’m ready to upgrade again, the mini may just have the storage capacity to suit my habits.
posted by retrophisch at 9:32 AM -->in Macintosh , ipod , tech
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Thursday, 26 February 2004

ATPM Chicago outing

The boys in and around the Windy City who volunteer on ATPM decided on a get-together last weekend. Wes Meltzer has the complete story, along with a photo of the gang in front of the North Michigan Avenue Apple Store. One of the things I love about ATPM is getting to see pictures of folks who I only correspond with via e-mail. Now Evan and I have been pals for a while; we’ve even spoken on the phone once or twice. I’ve seen pictures of him, to boot, and trust me, his looks haven’t improved with age. ;-) It was good to see Chris L. and Paul, though, of course, they looked nothing like I imagined they would. I don’t know why, but I always figured Paul would be more of a clean-cut sort of fellow, and thought that Chris would be shorter. Wes, on the other hand, pretty much looked like what I thought he might. Isn’t the Internet cool? And we’ll have to work on Wes’s Cajun-French; it’s actually “les bon temps roulez.” I also can’t imagine anything north of the Louisiana border being remotely close to real Cajun/Creole-style food…
posted by retrophisch at 8:55 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 23 February 2004

Kirk’s latest

ATPM staffer Kirk McElhearn’s latest book, How To Do Everything With Mac OS X Panther, has been released.


Congrats, Kirk!
posted by retrophisch at 10:00 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 16 February 2004

Bye-bye, Palm

So PalmSource has decided to discontinue Mac support in upcoming versions of the Palm OS, despite the fact that they have a larger market share percentage-wise in the Macintosh side of the computing world than out. Mac users will be left to third-party solutions to sync future Palm devices with their Macintosh systems, costing us more money. Palm Desktop (which Palm bought from Apple as Claris Organizer) will no longer be updated. Last night, I migrated all of my Palm Desktop data to Address Book, iCal, and BBEdit-created text files. I then proceeded to use iSync to sync my contact and calendar info,first on my iPod, then to my .Mac account, the latter of which was a first for me. I then synced my new-to-me, work-provided 1.42 GHz dual-G4 to my .Mac account, so that my Address Book info and Safari bookmarks matched with those on my Cube. All syncs worked without any problems, just as they should. I have been debating over what kind of phone to move to. My wife’s law firm makes extensive use of the Blackberry RIMs amongst the attorneys, and she will be getting one soon, with service through T-Mobile. I had been considering the Treo 600, but now I’m not so sure. I may go with the Sony-Ericsson T630 when U.S. providers begin carrying it over the next month or two. I don’t think Address Book and iCal will fill all of my PIM needs; I already feel like I’m going to butt against the limits of the applications, and am looking at alternatives. For now, however, Palm no longer has a place on my systems’ desktops.
posted by retrophisch at 10:19 AM -->in Macintosh , ipod , phone , tech
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Tuesday, 10 February 2004

ATPM 10.02

Whew. You know it’s been a hectic month when you’re ten days in and you’re just now getting around to noting the release of the February issue of the Macintosh e-zine you help manage. Yes, About This Particular Macintosh 10.02 is out, featuring first-time cover art by my pal Lee. Ellyn discusses technology and values, Wes has the monthly Mac blog run-down, and Raena continues her discussion on web accessibility. The usual rogues’ gallery provides reviews, cartoons, and other columns for your Mac-using noggin.
posted by retrophisch at 11:27 AM -->in Macintosh
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Always have an eject button

A lot of third-party keyboards for Macs don’t have an eject key on them. This is an oldie but a goodie from the fine folks at OWC on how to always have an eject button at your disposal, via the menu bar.
posted by retrophisch at 11:17 AM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 29 January 2004

SpamSieve 2.1.2

Well I hope no one out there is relying on me for up-to-date SpamSieve release information. I have been woefully remiss this week in my completely unpaid, totally biased evangelism of SpamSieve as the ultimate spam killer for the individual Mac user. Complete list of changes are here, and Michael notes full support for Apple Mail and the release of a Japanese localization. SpamSieve is worth twice what Michael prices it at in terms of time saved in dealing with e-mail spam. (And I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if anyone wanted to send him extra dough on top of the normal SpamSieve registration.) As the Managing Editor for About This Particular Macintosh, I deal with all of the mail sent to the public ATPM e-mail addresses, and let me tell you, those addys get the bejeezus spammed out of them. SpamSieve makes it a breeze to deal with my ATPM e-mail each day. If you’re still looking for a worthy spam killer for your Macintosh e-mail client, or you’re new to the platform and want a great product to deal with the spam you will eventually receive, you can’t go wrong with SpamSieve.
posted by retrophisch at 12:30 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 27 January 2004

The FireWire Drive That Would Not Die!™

So yesterday afternoon, my boss hooks up an external LaCie FireWire hard drive to one of our G5s. We’re working on a project for the Apple retail stores, and we need to take some screenshots. My boss was going to boot the G5 off of the FireWire drive, then use Snapz Pro to take said screenshots.

After attaching the drive, we saw it pop up on the desktop. My boss went in to System Preferences —> Startup Disk, and selected the FireWire drive. Hit restart.

And the G5 reboots, but doesn’t start up from the FireWire drive. Hmmm. We know the image on the FireWire drive is good, and the G5 can boot off of it’s alternate internal partition, where the same boot image is loaded (but doesn’t have Snapz Pro or any of the other tools my boss was planning on using). Certainly an oddity.

Boss powers down the G5, but the FireWire drive stays on! Is it still sucking power from the G5, even though said G5 isn’t powered on? The conversation went something like this:

Boss: Can you unplug the G5 for me?

Chris moves behind the rack, steps up on the stool to get to said G5; pulls power cord.

Chris: Power cord is pulled.

Boss: Dude, the drive is still on!

Chris: No way!

Boss: Come around here and please tell me I’m not hallucinating! (Always a strong possibility, as said boss used to be heavily involved in the music biz. Just kidding, boss!)

Chris moves around to front of rack, and verifies that the FireWire drive is still powered on.

Boss: You’re sure you pulled the power on the right G5?

Chris: Positive.

Boss: Can you please verify? This is just too f&#@*$g weird.

Chris moves back behind rack and verifies that the correct G5 is unplugged.

Chris: G5 in slot #19 is unplugged. Ah! I think I see what the problem is.

Care to venture a guess before we move on?

What had happened was that the G5 in question had been hooked up to another G5 via a FireWire 800 cable. We booted the G5 in question in FireWire Target Disk Mode initially, to partition its drive and to blow the restore image on to it, since it was faster to do it this way than off a FireWire 400 hard drive.

What we failed to account for was that the G5 in question was still plugged in to the builder G5! That was how the external LaCie drive was still getting power, despite the fact that the G5 it was connected to was powered off and unplugged from AC.

Ah, the wonders of technology…

posted by retrophisch at 10:45 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 19 January 2004

GarageBand to also revolutionize the music biz?

In an article for the New York Times (free registration required), David Pogue discusses iLife ‘04 and looks at the GarageBand component. He says:

It won’t be long before the GarageBand creations of no-name singers and players start popping up on Web sites - indeed, it won’t be long before Web sites start popping up just to accommodate them - bypassing the talent scouts and gatekeepers of the American recording industry. GarageBand and the Internet give tomorrow’s stars their own democratic recording and distribution channels.

That prospect of new artists growing from grass roots is probably what inspired Apple to name the software GarageBand, abandoning its lowercase i naming tradition. But when you consider both the fledgling state of the 1.0 version of this program and the immense musical and commercial forces it could one day unleash, you might conclude that there is, after all, an i-name that might have suited this remarkable software: iPotential.

Breaking down the barriers musicians face, in light of the way the recording industry does things, would please me to no end. It would be great to see the next Yo-Yo Ma or Eric Clapton emerge from the shadows, thanks to what they can do with something like GarageBand or its higher-priced, better-featured brethren. Any day you can get your product to those who would listen, without having to go through the labels’ convoluted process, licking the heels of record execs, is a good day.

posted by retrophisch at 5:25 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 12 January 2004

More Microsoft “innovation”

One of the features touted in the upcoming Office 2004 for Mac is the on-the-fly-editable Page Layout view in Excel. Too bad Gates’ Macintosh Business Unit is only 13 years behind the times.

From Bob Hearn, co-creator of ClarisWorks, as posted in a MacInTouch reader report:

bq. Another of MS Office 2004’s touted “key features” is more than a bit behind the times. I must admit that I like the idea of a live, fully-editable Page Layout view, as Excel now has. I like the idea so much that I put that feature in ClarisWorks 1.0, in 1991 - for all document types. It has been in every version of ClarisWorks and AppleWorks since then. You can see comparison screenshots at: “A Brief History of ClarisWorks.”

posted by retrophisch at 11:52 PM -->in Macintosh
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Macquarium, Cube style

One of the Cube listers pointed us to a friend’s Macquarium, built in a G4 Cube shell. There’s even a phischy Mac-head named Steve!

posted by retrophisch at 11:35 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 09 January 2004

SpamSieve 2.1.1

Michael has updated SpamSieve. The latest update is faster at processing messages, even when there are many blocklist and whitelist rules. The speed of loading, deleting, and sorting rules is also improved. Those using SpamSieve and Apple’s Mail under Panther will noticed improved accuracy tracking, and a bug affecting Japanese language users has been fixed.

Notably, this release is going to catch more spam because it knows about more spammer obfuscation tricks, and which headers it should ignore. The following menu commands have also been added: Close All Windows, Minimize All Windows, and Zoom. A complete list of ehancements is available.

SpamSieve just keeps getting better and better, and is worth a look if you’re a Mac user who hasn’t found a spam killer yet.

posted by retrophisch at 10:01 AM -->in Macintosh
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PowerLogix has followed up their PowerCube enclosure upgrade for Power Mac Cube owners with a new clear acrylic version. Robert, I’m still waiting for one to review. ;-)

posted by retrophisch at 9:23 AM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 08 January 2004


If you haven’t been by MacZealots lately, stop on by. This is not some lame, thrown-together-quickly teenage Mac lover site. The three brains behind it are seniors at Purdue, in business and technical fields. The site’s design is clean and uncluttered, and uses XHTML and CSS, with RSS feeds where appropriate. I’ve been enjoying their Macworld Expo coverage this week, and they have some informative articles to boot.

posted by retrophisch at 12:55 PM -->in Macintosh
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MacCentral: The FoxTrot interview

MacCentral interviewed Bill Amend, creator of the comic FoxTrot, last month. My favorite quote:

Amend previously worked on a Blue & White Power Mac G3, but a few months ago he treated himself to a 2 GHz Dual Processor Power Mac G5, complete with a Cinema HD display.

“I can finally play Warcraft III!” Amend said. “Oh, and it helps with work, too, in case the IRS reads this.”

(Thanks, MDJ)

posted by retrophisch at 11:28 AM -->in Macintosh , fun
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Keynote coverage

On the one hand, it’s pretty amazing that Andy Ihnatko nails—in advance, mind you—what would go down at the Macworld Expo Keynote Steve Jobs delivered this past Tuesday. On the other hand, it’s pretty sad that the semi-annual Stevenote has gotten this predictable…

posted by retrophisch at 11:14 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 05 January 2004

Salkever on a stronger Apple

MacMinute points to a BusinessWeek Online article by Alex Salkever wherein he lays out his wish list for a stronger Apple.

I have to say that Salkever is dead-on in two of his three points: better corporate governance and improved quality control. As an investor, I agree with Salkever’s analysis of the board and its lack of control over Jobs and the lavish awards it showers him with. The board does need to act more independently, but still let Steve do what Steve does best. It can only help Apple in the long term.

The second point, improved quality control, is a must. Granted, every tech company, every computer manufacturer, is going to have bugs, flaws. But to my mind, at least, 2003 lowered the quality bar in what we saw from Apple, both in its hardware and its software. Apple used to have, even in those “dark days” of the mid-1990s, a top-notch quality-control division, and the company was consistently rated tops in that area. Apple needs to reclaim that title, even if it’s only result is greater mindshare.

On Salkever’s third point, of more hardware upgrades, I have mixed feelings. Yeah, I’d like to see every system in the platform get upgraded once a year, and I believe Apple is more than up to that. I think Salkever misses the mark in his analysis over why Apple wasn’t shipping upgrades in earnest in 2002, however. Apple didn’t “chill out” because of the economic downturn; Apple was still having problems getting faster procs from Motorola to put in their systems. That was the driving force behind the move to IBM’s PowerPC chips, and voila! now we have G5s.

All in all, though, some totally reasonable analysis of Apple on the part of someone in the business/financial world. It’s about time.

posted by retrophisch at 1:09 PM -->in Macintosh
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Saturday, 03 January 2004

ATPM 10.01

The January issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available. ATPM has now entered its 10th calendar year of publishing!

As a typophile-fontaholic, I thoroughly enjoyed Andrew Kator’s article on Type as Shape. Ellyn, as usual, makes us think, Matt takes a non-rumormongering look at what we might see announced at Macworld Expo, and Paul has the usual assortment of I-can’t-believe-that’s-actually-on-the-web sites.

New staffer Wes Meltzer starts a column that rounds up the latest and greatest from the Mac blogosphere. Raena begins a series on making web sites more accessible to those with various impairments. The usual goodies—desktop pictures, cartoons, product reviews—are included at no extra charge, available, as always, in three fruity flavors for your convenience.

posted by retrophisch at 9:55 PM -->in Macintosh
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Saturday, 27 December 2003

Yes, more SpamSieve flattery

Away from home, on the annual Christmas trek, for four days. Mailsmith is left humming along on the Cube, pulling mail every few hours. Upon the return home, and subsequent email check:

  • Total number of messages moved to Trash by SpamSieve:over 1,200
  • Total number of false positives moved to Trash: Zero
  • Total number of false negatives left in active mailboxes: Zero

Yes, yet another shameless plug for a friend’s software, but it’s worth every penny, and pays for itself in time saved.

posted by retrophisch at 11:18 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 19 December 2003

IT-Enquirer on Mailsmith

The official Retrophisch™ email client has been reviewed at IT-Enquirer, and Michael’s SpamSieve gets some more good press.

posted by retrophisch at 4:21 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 16 December 2003

Power Mac G4 Cube G5

Those Japanese Mac lovers sure have some copious spare time on their hands. One Cube owner decided he wanted an enclosure that mimicked the look of the Power Mac G5. I must say, I’m impressed with the effort, and would buy such an enclosure, if mass-produced, over PowerLogix’s version.

posted by retrophisch at 7:39 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 15 December 2003

Mac Fax

Hivelogic has the low-down on setting up your Panther-ized Mac as a fax server. (via MacInTouch)

posted by retrophisch at 1:57 PM -->in Macintosh
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SpamSieve makes the MacInTouch poll

Just as I mentioned that I would like to have voted for SpamSieve for the MacInTouch Reader Choice Poll for 2003, so does Ric Ford go and allow readers to vote for third-party software. So I got the chance to vote for Michael’s software after all.

With that, congratulations are in order to Michael for being a runner-up in the Communications category of the refreshed list. Kudos also to one of my other favorite developers, Brent Simmons (and his wife, Sheila), for the runner-up spot claimed by another awesome piece of software, NetNewsWire. It’s the only way to read RSS feeds on the Mac.

posted by retrophisch at 10:33 AM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 11 December 2003

MacInTouch Readers Choice Poll 2003

Ric Ford has posted the results of his totally informal poll on the best Apple products for 2003. The iPod/iTunes combo takes overall best product. You can check out the other winners on the poll page.

Personally, I would have voted for Michael’s SpamSieve as the best software product, but the poll was for Apple-only items. I can’t tell you what a time saver SpamSieve has become for me, and even though I have little to no day-to-day interaction with the app, I am addicted to its usage. (Which is the way I’m beginning to feel about LaunchBar…)

posted by retrophisch at 2:21 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 10 December 2003

ProTouch PB

The folks at iSkin have rolled out a new keyboard protector for current PowerBooks and iBooks. I reviewed an older version of the iSkin Keyboard Protector earlier this year, and recommend the product.

posted by retrophisch at 4:07 PM -->in Macintosh
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Paying for iPod color?

I have to wonder at the prospect of paying for a professional paint job for one’s iPod or PowerBook. Granted, the iPod job only costs fifty bucks, but how many different colored skins could you buy for your iPod for fifty bucks? And the skins are removable, plus generally offer other features (non-skid, for example).

I know it’s not a full-blown paint job, but you can get cover panels for your PowerBook. Not to mention that having your iPod or ‘Book painted will void your AppleCare warranty. (via MacMinute)

posted by retrophisch at 10:56 AM -->in Macintosh , ipod
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Tuesday, 09 December 2003

SpamSieve 2.1

Michael released version 2.1 of SpamSieve today. This version adds more support to Apple Mail that was begun in version 2.0.2, as well as numerous other improvements. There’s a new Training Tip window that offers advice on how to improve the app’s accuracy. The Entourage address book can now be used as a white list, something that will come in handy for me at my new job.

And I swear this thing just keeps getting faster. With its tight integration with Mailsmith, I hardly know it’s running at all, though I most certainly know that it’s working. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve gotten two false positives—relatives who had never emailed me before—and a few false negatives from new spam that was swiftly added to the corpus and now flow in to the Trash.

SpamSieve 2.1 requires Mac OS X 10.2.6 or later, and is the best $25 a Mac user can spend.

posted by retrophisch at 12:47 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 05 December 2003


XtremeMac has released their Xtremity iPod Case System. I like the ease of transition from being carried on the belt to popping it in to a car mount, to just having it on the desk. Something else to look in to when I add a new iPod to my arsenal. (via MacMinute)

posted by retrophisch at 9:46 AM -->in Macintosh , ipod
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Thursday, 04 December 2003

Congrats, Michael

Friend of the phisch Michael Tsai has been awarded an Eddy by Macworld magazine for his awesome spam-killing app, SpamSieve. I’ve been using SpamSieve since before it was first released, as a beta tester, and it’s a top-notch piece of work from a top-notch guy. Sorry, Windows users, but this spam killer works on Macintosh only. Congratulations, Michael!

posted by retrophisch at 4:48 PM -->in Macintosh
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What happens when your client realizes they’re running the wrong version of two commercials in all thirty-nine of their stores that have a theater setup? You spend all night pushing the new versions down to those stores. That’s exactly what happened on my third day of work, my birthday no less.

Apple wants its current commercials to be popped in to the video loops shown at the retail stores with theaters, and the latest iPod commercials (HipHop, Rock, and Dance), were either wrong or nonexistent. We received the raw footage from Apple on DV tapes in the morning, spent the afternoon capturing and cutting a new video loop, then uploaded the new loop to a staging server—all 1.2 GB of it. Then it was waiting until the stores began closing, and staggering the push across the time zones.

Crawled in to bed about five this morning, got up about noon. Standard operating procedure is nothing but support calls on the day after a big push, and I don’t know enough about the systems to take any calls, so I get a day off. Pretty simple editing in Final Cut Express, but it has whetted my appetite for more.

posted by retrophisch at 1:06 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 03 December 2003

ATPM 9.12

The December issue of About This Particular Macintosh is out. Articles of interest include Ellyn’s look at the changing face of research, part six of Andrew’s excellent design tutorial, and Ted’s continuation of his intensive outliner series. Eric has a review of the Risk game for OS X (no, it’s not from Milton-Bradely), Chris Lawson gets everyone addicted to Snood, and yours truly reviews iPhoto 2: The Missing Manual. The usual great stuff abounds.

posted by retrophisch at 8:52 PM -->in Macintosh
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Change your iPod battery

Thinking that my iPod’s battery may be dying—it is an original 5 GB model—I’ve been looking around for replacements from third parties. The fine folks at have even elected to show you how to disassemble your iPod to make the battery swap. Kudos!

posted by retrophisch at 6:21 PM -->in Macintosh , ipod
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FrontPage coders, take note

If you really want to get the most out of your web code, and don’t have a Mac, please, please, please use this.

posted by retrophisch at 5:59 PM -->in Macintosh
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Beginning of VPC’s end?

Karl Dandenell reports to Ric Ford on MacInTouch that Virtual PC 6 is not supported on Power Mac G5s. There is potential hope in that Microsoft states in the tech note they are working on G5 support for the application. This avoids a Retrophisch™ “I told you so” moment for the time being. After all, how long did it take Microsoft to bring HALO to another platform?

posted by retrophisch at 11:01 AM -->in Macintosh
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The real reason behind IT purchasing

In the most recent Macintosh Daily Journal, Matt Deatherage & Co. take Information Week to task over their recent PC Vendor poll and rankings. MDJ correctly points out what’s really behind the buying decisions of most corporate IT managers:

IT buyers list many important factors, but when Apple meets them, they ignore them because Apple is not the “standard.” The most important consideration for IT buyers is not cost, customer service, quality, reputation, or proven technology, even if the magazine’s survey said so. The most important factor is that the PCs be Intel-compatible so they can run Windows, but no one wants to say that because it makes them look inflexible. Windows is the elephant in the middle of the room, and rather than talk about it, InformationWeek made up reasons why Apple doesn’t meet criteria when it obviously does. It’s hard to see how that is information, even if it does come out weekly.

posted by retrophisch at 10:20 AM -->in Macintosh , rant , tech
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Tuesday, 02 December 2003

iPod as big as the Mac?

It’s certainly looking that way to Apple. The iPod is the highest-volume item the company moves right now, with 1.4 million sold.

”It’s something that’s as big a brand to Apple as the Mac,” is how Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, puts it. ”And that’s a pretty big deal.”

posted by retrophisch at 3:38 PM -->in Macintosh , ipod
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Monday, 01 December 2003

Back to work

Today was my first day at my new job. The company I’m working for is AMX, based in Richardson, Texas. In business since 1982, AMX specializes in audio/visual automation and control systems for both commercial and residential customers. The project I’m working on happens to be the Apple Retail Stores.

AMX has partnered with Apple to deliver and maintain all of the control systems for the Apple Stores’ theater and music setups. All those movies that play on the store’s big screen? The cool tunes you hear playing over the loudspeakers? All run by a combination of AMX’s hardware and software and Macintosh systems.

My new boss Mark just had a hellacious holiday weekend prepping the Ginza store opening. Things look to be fairly quiet for a couple of weeks, then it’s time to prep all the content the stores will need after the Stevenote that first week in January

posted by retrophisch at 11:29 PM -->in Macintosh
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Saturday, 22 November 2003

Skin that Pod

When I pick up a new 40 GB iPod, it will get sheathed in one of these.

posted by retrophisch at 1:24 PM -->in Macintosh , ipod
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Wednesday, 19 November 2003


Joe Leblanc rescues a dead G4 Cube and builds Gil a new home.

posted by retrophisch at 8:48 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 05 November 2003

Something Wicked Cool on MacDesktops

Earlier this year, yours truly used an Apple PR hi-res product photo of the third-generation iPods to create a desktop picture. That picture was subsequently submitted to, and has finally been posted.

Due to the vagaries of life, I missed the email notification sent to me a couple of weeks ago that it was posted until checking through earlier this evening. It can be found on the iPod page, and is “Something Wicked Cool.” Enjoy, and please leave feedback on the desktop picture.

posted by retrophisch at 12:26 AM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 28 October 2003

New Cube for Cube owners

I love my Power Mac G4 Cube. Small. Elegant. Takes up little desk space, and you want it on your desk so it can be displayed as the work of art it is.

The only problem with owning a Cube is that you are somewhat limited in processor and video card upgrades. Because the Cube uses convection cooling, you have to be careful that you don’t overtax the external power supply and overheat the system. Most processor upgrades for the Cube come with a small fan that, once installed, blows air up the Cube’s “chimney,” assisting in keeping the little Power Mac at peak operating performance.

As video cards have become more and more powerful, they have also increased somewhat in physical size. Sure, anything you buy these days will easily fit in the AGP or PCI slots of your Power Mac tower, but the Cube is limited to certain models whose physical proportions match those of the Cube.

PowerLogix thinks they have the answer to these Cube-owning quandries: the PowerCube Enclosure. The PowerCube offers improved ventilation, allowing faster processor upgrades to be used without adding on fans. It also features 20 times more room for video cards than the original Cube enclosure, by moving the DC/DC card.

I realize that these enclosures are hand-crafted from machined aluminum, but I’m not sure if it’s worth $269. Yes, I understand that (a) this is an expensive process to produce these enclosures, and (b) that the Cube-owning market is pretty small. All the same, I’d be more tempted to buy one if it were running around $150.

My Cube is pretty much maxed out in all areas. It has the full complement of 1.5 GB of RAM. It has a 100 GB hard drive; the only larger drive I could put in would be a 120 GB model, since the Cube’s bus limits drive size to 128 GB or smaller. My Cube sports a nVidia GeForce3 video card. I’m not a gamer, and at this stage, I’m not working with a lot of digital video, so it’s a great card for me. The only upgrade missing is a new processor, and the price on 1.2 GHz upgrades keep slowly falling, so that’s just a matter of time (and finances, now that I’m unemployed).

I had always thought that after the proc upgrade, I would eventually just buy a faster Mac, lusting after a new 15” PowerBook and the dual 2 GHz G5. The Cube could then be put to other uses.

Laurie Duncan had a hand in seeing the PowerCube brought to production, and offers thoughts on her two test enclosures, as well as giving an overview of the transplant procedure. Response on Laurie’s forums and the Cube email list run by Eric Prentice seems very favorable.

I watched the online version of the install video. (Warning: designed for low bandwidth, so it’s low-res and really jumpy. The one that comes on DVD with the enclosure is very smooth, according to Laurie.) There are a couple of items of note that should give the Cube purists out there pause. One, the new recessed power button. On the one hand, a good idea, since many a Cube owner has put his system to sleep by accidentally brushing the button on top of the Cube. On the other hand, there is something so inherently cool about there not being any push buttons on the original Cube, that simply gliding one’s finger across the acrylic top will power on the system.

Second, no more “core removal.” While the internal chassis of the original Cube is used, with a slight modification of the Airport antenna and the DC/DC board, said chassis is screwed to the PowerCube enclosure. So you can’t simply flip your PowerCube over, push down on the latch, and lift the chassis out by the handle. Not that Cube owners do that all the time, but it’s still an incredibly easy way to get to the Cube’s internals, no longer available with the PowerCube.

Finally, and this is the purest of the purely aesthetic: I just like the way the original Cube enclosure looks. The clear acrylic shell, with nothing behind it for a good two inches or more at the bottom, makes the system look like it’s floating on one’s desk. You don’t get that with the PowerCube Enclosure.

So even if I could afford it, I just don’t think the PowerCube is for me. Though I wouldn’t say no if Robert at PowerLogix wishes to send me one to review

posted by retrophisch at 7:30 PM -->in Macintosh
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Saturday, 25 October 2003

Panther or Bust

Lee relates his Mac OS X 10.3 Panther-buying experience from last night, where he also garnered an iSight.

As for your humble host, our Panther hunt was a complete bust. I seriously undermined the attention given the release by the Dallas Macintosh-using population.

Thinking that we could go grab a bite to eat, then get to the Apple Store some time after 8:30 and pick up a copy, we found, at 8:30, an hour-long wait in the line outside the store. Needless to say, I wasn’t about to stick around, waiting in a line that long with a three month-old in tow. So we headed home, and I’ll swing by and pick up Panther later today. I can do without the fake dog tags, thank you very much.

posted by retrophisch at 12:03 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 16 October 2003

DropDMG 2.2

Michael has quietly updated his super-easy disk imaging utility to version 2.2.

posted by retrophisch at 11:43 AM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 01 October 2003

Innovation report good for a laugh

In case you’ve been under a rock so far this week, some of the big news in the Mac/tech world is the new Cheskin report on the top innovative companies. Apple ranked #3—behind Microsoft and Dell. I’ll give Michael Dull credit for innovative marketing, but his PCs are about as exciting as my wife’s Volvo. (Okay, bad example, since the Volvo S80 departs from the boxy design of old for curves, and features a kick-butt turbocharged six under the hood, but you get my point.)

I do enjoy the take on this from As the Apple Turns. (Thanks, Chris L.!)

posted by retrophisch at 2:34 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 29 September 2003

G5 intro movie

Apple has posted the Power Mac G5 introduction movie online, for those who missed it from this year’s WWDC.

posted by retrophisch at 11:57 AM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 26 September 2003

Michael on Daring Fireball

John Gruber has interviewed my friend, ATPM publisher, and SpamSieve creator, Michael Tsai.

The two discuss SpamSieve intensely, including thoughts on a server version of SpamSieve, which sounds intriguing (nudge, nudge, Jim). AppleScript and other scripting languages are kicked around, as well as programming in general, and Michael talks about his involvement with About This Particular Macintosh, which began in 1996 when he was 16.

Michael asked for input on his answer to Gruber’s question on what sets ATPM apart from other Mac publications, and I think he puts it quite succinctly:

The biggest difference in the content, I think, is that we don’t cover news. We try to write more in-depth articles that will be interesting to people a year or two after they’re written. And we do multiple editing passes and accuracy checks, which hopefully set us apart from the average Web site in terms of quality.

In reviews, we tend to write about products that we use every day. That’s the only way to really go beyond the spec sheet and press kit, and get at what it’s like to actually use the product. In general, we write about what interests us and the topics where we have something to add, rather than feeling an obligation to completeness. For example, Eudora is an important product, but we haven’t reviewed it since 1997 because I don’t think anyone on staff normally uses it.

When I was an ATPM reader, I liked the down-to-earth, personal writing style, and I hope some of that still remains. Compared to other Mac publications, I’d like to think that ATPM is most like TidBITS — only with graphics.

My online life is a lot less harried thanks to Michael and SpamSieve, and if you are a Mac user, yours can be, too.

posted by retrophisch at 10:20 AM -->in Macintosh
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ATPM hits Sweden

ATPM contributing editor Matt Coates noted for the staff that the ‘zine and his article on Xnippets made the Swedish edition of Macworld magazine.

With staff members throughout the world, this bit of international exposure is hardly surprising, but very, very welcome.

posted by retrophisch at 9:44 AM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 19 September 2003

Piro, Mac User

Applelinks has a great interview with Fred Gallagher, the creator and meatspace alter ego of MegaTokyo’s Piro. Fred discusses his relatively new switch from Windows to the Mac, for reasons which include stability, more power, and lust for a Cinema Display.

And, of course, I am kicking myself for not thinking of getting this interview for ATPM…

posted by retrophisch at 12:18 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 15 September 2003

SpamSieve 2.0

Being the bad friend that I am, I failed to note Michael’s release of SpamSieve 2.0 last week. At least I have the excuse of a new son. :D SpamSieve is an awesome app that is effectively killing 90-95% of my daily email spam, and I have had 0—that’s zero—false positives for a good three months or more. Version 2.0 only makes a great product better. Outside of Apple’s, it supports practically every major email client for Mac OS X, and tightly integrates with my and Michael’s client of choice, Mailsmith. SpamSieve is well worth the $25 registration fee, so support a shareware developer who will save you more than $25 of your time each and every day of your online life. (Too obvious that I’m bucking for an unprecedented 3d quote at C-Command?)
posted by retrophisch at 11:03 AM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 03 September 2003

ATPM 9.09

The September issue of About This Particular Macintosh is fresh from the oven. Two new staffers join up this month; Mary Tyler begins a series of articles focused on SOHO users, and Ted Goranson delivers a knockout on outliner application history. The usual accoutrements abound.
posted by retrophisch at 11:18 AM -->in Macintosh
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But where are the Bluetooth versions?

So Microsoft announced six new wireless optical desktop components, but none of them utilize Bluetooth for connectivity. Rather, one of your USB ports will still be eaten up by the RF receiver. Don’t get me wrong, I love the freedom from clutter that the older Wireless Desktop Optical Pro keyboard and mouse give me at the office. I would prefer Bluetooth versions of the same for use at home, however.
posted by retrophisch at 10:25 AM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 02 September 2003

Skin your PowerBook

Speaking of the 12-inch PowerBook G4, the folks at MacSkinz now have skinz available for the smallest PowerBook. I first saw the MacSkinz guys at Macworld Expo, when they had the side panels for desktop G3s and G4s. Looking through the skinz available for the PowerBook 12” (yeah, like I still need to get one of those, right?), my favorites include: American Flag, Urban Camouflage, Flames Blue/White, Silver on Blue Flames, and Hibiscus Green. Of the latter, how about some other colors, MacSkinners? I’m partial to blue, in case you couldn’t guess from my other choices. :)
posted by retrophisch at 12:56 PM -->in Macintosh
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12-inch PowerBook can go to a gig

Thanks to the fine folks at Trans Intl., the PowerBook G4 12” can now have more than 1 GB of RAM. This clears up one of the few misgivings I have about the smallest PowerBook. Unfortunately, going beyond 1 GB in a 12” PowerBook is going to be a somewhat exclusive club, at least in the beginning: price for the 1 GB DDR memory module is $499. Now if Apple will just throw in a minimum of a 1 GHz processor, and bump up that video chip and video RAM, I’d be one happy camper… (via MacMinute)
posted by retrophisch at 12:37 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 29 August 2003

FTP in Macworld

Michael has a run down on his FTP app usage over the past few years. Transmit is what I use when I want visual feedback, or to do some things, like setting permissions, that I’m not as comfortable doing from the command line. (I even beta-test new versions, though I’m not much of a FTP heavy-lifter.) Otherwise, it’s ftp or sftp in Terminal for me.
posted by retrophisch at 11:50 AM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 27 August 2003

Safari quits fix

Thanks to Ric for pointing to the new Apple KB article on unexpected Safari quits. This has suddenly started happening for me within the past week on both my TiBook and my Cube. Reading through the KB article, I believe my problems with each are solved in section II of the article, regarding QuickTime preferences. Yay! Last night, Safari died on my Cube after I watched the Matrix Revolutions international trailer (rocks!), and I noticed Safari died on my TiBook a couple of days ago after listening to a QuickTime-encoded MP3 on a web site.
posted by retrophisch at 1:35 PM -->in Macintosh
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Font fights cancer

Speaking of Dan, he has hooked up with one of my favorite cartoonists, and all-around nice guy (have met him twice now!), Michael Jantze, creator of The Norm, to produce the Jantze font. The font is the handwriting Michael uses in The Norm comics.
Jantze font graphic
Not only is it a great font, but Dan & Michael have decreed that all royalties earned from this font’s sales will go to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which “provides financial grants to researchers working to improve our odds against the disease, individuals stricken with cancer, and survivors of the disease that are advocates for survivorship issues in their communities.”
posted by retrophisch at 9:15 AM -->in Macintosh , fun , tech
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Monday, 04 August 2003

ATPM 9.08

The August issue of About This Particular Macintosh is out, and available online or in three dreamy flavors. Some good stuff here: Matt Coates uncovers a software gem; Andrew Kator continues his excellent series on graphic design; Eric Blair gives a nod to departed software publisher Casady & Greene, as well as reviewing the the 30 GB iPod; and yours truly delivers a review on a product no Mac portable user should be without.
posted by retrophisch at 3:56 PM -->in Macintosh
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Doing the browser shuffle?

What is it about Safari all of a sudden? It’s taking _forever_ to pull up web pages. I’ve cleared the cache. I’ve quit and restarted Safari. The only thing I haven’t done is totally restart the system, and that’s because the exact same pages load like lightning in Camino. Is some weird Safari behavior going to cause me to flip-flop from it to Camino? Or Camino’s kissing cousin, Firebird? Safari is normally faster than the others, and I like its bookmarking technology to boot. I’d rather not do the bookmark export-import shuffle yet again… What are you guys consistently using and why? Are you shuffling between browsers? How are you keeping your bookmarks straight? Third-party bookmark managers? Sound off in the comments, please. UPDATE, 4:00 PM: It seems a certain web site was at the root of my recent problems. Something is taking _forever_ to load on that page, and subsequently is causing any other pages to load *very* slowly. It took a bit of time to load in Camino, too, though not nearly as long as in Safari. Care to take a look at that, Cory?
posted by retrophisch at 3:07 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 30 July 2003

Finder musings

So I’m wondering… In the Finder found in the WWDC beta release of 10.3 Panther, will there be a way to take the iDisk out of the Places sidebar? After 8 October, I will no longer have a .Mac account, and therefore, no need for an iDisk. Just a thought about cleaning the new Finder window up.
posted by retrophisch at 8:36 AM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 29 July 2003 fall down, go boom

USA Today reports that’s first week in business has not been a bed of roses, as “early customers have found they can’t transfer the tunes they buy on to digital portables.” Whoops!

The problem: Unlike MP3 music tracks plucked from the Net from pirate sites such as Kazaa, music on BuyMusic is encoded in Microsoft’s Windows Media Audio format. The “digital rights management” coding limits what can be done with the files. The files will be recoded to allow for transfers, Blum says.

Well, there you go, yet another reason to avoid WMA. I know the AAC format Apple is using is somewhat proprietary, but it is based on the MP4 industry standard, available to all. Not to mention that I’ve yet to hear a WMA file that sounded as good as a straight MP3.

Say,, how’s the first week of sales been?

Apple has sold 6.5 million songs since April; BuyMusic won’t release figures, but “it’s not millions,” Blum says.

Everyone remember that Apple sold a million tunes the first week its iTunes Music Store was open? And that’s to what, 3% of the computer-using public? Less, really, since not every Mac user has upgraded to OS X, which iTunes 4 requires. (The iTunes Music Store requires iTunes 4 for access.)

Blum & Co. had 97% of the industry to pull from.

Finally, Ric Ford is reporting on Macintouch today the experience of musician Jody Whitesides (and I hope Ric doesn’t mind the copy/paste since he doesn’t have permalinks):

My name is Jody Whitesides, I’m an artist that is about to be brought to the Apple iTunes Music Store. Of course I recently heard about BuyMusic so I decided to point my Mac browser at it (with Javascript turned off you can see the site).

I did a search for one of my old CDs that will be going onto iTunes and it turns out my CD was there on, as were the CDs of several other bands that I’m friends with - all of whom were not contacted about being placed for sale there.

Here’s what I’ve deduced… (which I will refer to as BM) got their “vast” music library of 300,000 plus songs from a company called The Orchard. The Orchard is a distribution company that has consistently shafted artists


So, without the express consent of what is likely lots of The Orchard’s catalog, BM has put it up for sale at the bargain price of $.79 a song.

So, now they can tout they’re selling tracks at $.79, and they can say they have a library of music of over 300,000 songs. But what they don’t tell you is that it comes from musicians/bands who were not asked for permission, and who will likely not see a penny of any sale made through BM.


I’m currently looking into legal means to have my music removed from their site and strongly encourage users to not browse BM’s site nor purchase from it.

So: crappy file format, downloads that don’t work, and screwing artists out of royalties. Better luck with v2.0, hosers.

(via MacMinute)

posted by retrophisch at 11:21 AM -->in Macintosh
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Truth in advertising?

This is now posted outside my cubicle.
posted by retrophisch at 9:17 AM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Monday, 28 July 2003

One less key to push

So you’re using Safari. You’ve enabled tabbed browsing (who wouldn’t?). You have a two-button, scroll-wheel, wireless Microsoft optical mouse. Using the Microsoft Intellipoint mouse software for OS X, you turn the clickable scroll wheel’s command function from Autoscroll (the default) to Command-Click. Now you don’t have to hold down the Command key while clicking links in Safari to get them to open in new tabs…
posted by retrophisch at 3:18 PM -->in Macintosh
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Panther 32-bit

MacMinute notes a Register report that Apple has confirmed Mac OS X 10.3 Panther will be a 32-bit OS, but with 64-bit libraries to support the new Power Mac G5 and beyond. Is this really a big surprise? Maybe I just hang out online with, and read, more technically-minded folks, but I thought this was a foregone conclusion. From my daily use of Panther (no, I didn’t dump the WWDC beta for Jaguar this past weekend like I said; rather, I have begun a much more rigid backup procedure), it is already an evolutionary step forward from Jaguar. Faster on the same hardware; the Aqua GUI is a bit more subdued, though I have mixed feelings over the new Finder. Quite simply, I _like_ it, even in beta form, the same way I liked Jaguar over 10.1, and 10.1 over the original release. The OS simply keeps getting better, and at a much faster pace than what the competition offers. Expect a 64-bit OS somewhere around 10.4, maybe even 10.5. There’s a lot of work that has to be done for that to happen, and developers have to be brought on board as well. A 64-bit OS will be something more revolutionary, and revolutions—at least ones that will matter in the long term—do not happen overnight.
posted by retrophisch at 11:51 AM -->in Macintosh
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Us Wacky Cube owners

Wired has a new article on the staying power of the Power Mac G4 Cube, and the lengths some Cube owners will go to keep their beloved system up to date. As for me, I’ve upgraded everything in my Cube _except_ the processor. I decided after WWDC that it would be more beneficial to me to turn those funds in to a new G5 (this daddy-in-waiting plans on utilizing Final Cut Pro quite a bit for all those DV movies I’ll be capturing via our new Canon ZR70). The Cube could then be turned in to the house’s file server. I certainly do not wish to get rid of it; it _is_ a work of engineering art…
posted by retrophisch at 11:26 AM -->in Macintosh
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Saturday, 26 July 2003

Billy copies Stevie again…?

MacMinute reports on a CNET story that Bill Gates told analysts Microsoft is considering a music download service. Gee, wherever would he have gotten that idea from?
posted by retrophisch at 9:59 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 25 July 2003

More madness

Bob Levitus rips in to bq. Simply put, while iTunes Music Store is the Rolls-Royce of online music, is a Yugo. Jon shows how to use Safari to get around that nasty Windows-only business has decided to shovel…
posted by retrophisch at 3:13 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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SuperDrive in any PowerBook G4

MacResQ is now offering a SuperDrive upgrade for any PowerBook G4. Too bad I know my employer would not pay for this for my TiBook/500. Eh, I’m looking toward a future PowerBook G4 12” with SuperDrive purchase, and I have two G4 desktops with SuperDrives at the office…
posted by retrophisch at 2:14 PM -->in Macintosh
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The Panther honeymoon is over

Having experienced my second kernel panic with the WWDC beta release of Mac OS X Panther 10.3, and the corruption of some of my emailboxes, I’ll be doing some volume cloning and Jaguar reinstalling this weekend…
posted by retrophisch at 2:09 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 24 July 2003

Second-rate from the Windoze world once again…

By now everyone has heard about, the Windows answer to Apple’s iTunes Music Store. Don’t be impressed; don’t be worried. According to a few reader notes from yesterday’s MacInTouch, is not all it’s cracked up to be: claims tracks cost “from $.79,” though I found most popular music to be either $.89 or $.99. The DRM is also complicated, varying from track to track. Some tracks can only be burned 1,3,5, or 10 times. Others can only be downloaded to an MP3 player a limited number of times. Some can be stored on 3 computers while others can only be stored on 1. (Ryan Greenberg)

Dominic Mazzoni writes:

BuyMusic isn’t nearly as price-competitive as the AP article would have you believe. First of all, their lowest song price is $0.79, not $0.70 as the article claimed. But if you browse their site, you’ll discover that the vast majority of songs are offered at $0.99—the same rate as the Apple store. I found a few songs available for $0.89, but in a few minutes of searching through a number of genres, I only found one song available for $0.79.

Not only that, but quite a few of their songs aren’t even available for purchase. That makes me wonder how their catalog size (which they claim is 300,000) actually compares to Apple’s if you only consider songs that you can actually purchase and burn to a CD.

Apple does need to get its act together with getting iTunes and the Music Store ready for Windows users. The iPod is already burning up the sales charts in Windoze-land, and Apple has a huge advantage over any music-selling competitor. Strike while the iron is hot, Steve.

UPDATE: 9:20 A.M. More from MacInTouch’s Thursday report, as Greg Orman shows that BuyMusic isn’t actually letting you buy music…

The fine print clearly states that you’re only licensing the music, not purchasing it, and furthermore that the license is tied to the computer used for the transaction. If you replace your computer, you lose access to everything you’ve licensed and downloaded (though you’ll still have any copies you burned to CD or transferred to a portable, assuming that the DRM on the songs you licensed allowed you to do that in the first place).

So there you go. The Apple iTunes Music Store remains the only place one can actually buy music for their own personal, pretty much unrestricted use, online.

posted by retrophisch at 8:57 AM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Monday, 21 July 2003


Yes, Virginia, you too can build a web browser without a single line of code. Thanks to Apple’s WebKit SDK, available here (free registration), the Mac OS X Developer Tools (latest version available via previous link), and these instructions by Brian Kendig. Presenting version 0.1 of WebPhisch(tm). It’s no Safari, but it’s a start. No, I’m not going to become a browser developer. Why would I, when there’s Safari? This is just to show the awesome power of Mac OS X and the tools available to developers. Think you can build a web browser in five minutes with .NET? Think again… (Yes, Michael, I used the metal appearance just like Safari. No, I don’t know why. Just because I could, I suppose. Yes, I used DropDMG for the disk image. [New version’s out!] Yes, this is just one of about a million Safari-wannabes now popping up on the Mac web…)
posted by retrophisch at 3:22 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 18 July 2003

Panther panic

Just had my first kernel panic under the WWDC Panther beta on my PowerBook G4/500. This is the first kernel panic I’ve had with OS X on any Mac since before 10.1 was released. To be honest, I cannot recall any kernel panics prior to the OS X beta program. So we’re talking about two-and-half, three years? Contrast this with my XP-equipped Compaq Evo, which goes down about once every two weeks…
posted by retrophisch at 2:02 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 10 July 2003

ATPM milestones

This month has seen a couple of milestones reached by yours truly, regarding my work with About This Particular Macintosh. First, the current issue, 9.07, marks the end of my 5th year involved with the publication. This is a longer period of time than I have been with any paying employer. I have worn many hats for ATPM. I started as a Copy Editor; at the time, _the_ Copy Editor. I’ve been the Publicity Manager (we could use one! Let us know if you’re interested!). I’ve been the Help guy. I’ve been a Contributing Editor (we need some of those, too!), though I’m not sure if I really contributed more than headaches for Michael. Now I’m the Managing Editor, Numero Two-o, Almost-The-Big-Cheese, the Publisher’s Right-Hand Man. I strike fear in the hearts of our writers with cries of _”Deadline! Deadline! Deadline!”_ and _”What is this *&#@!% drivel?!?!?”_ and…oh, sorry, got a little carried away there. :) The second milestone, well, technically, I reached it before today, but due to the way I’ve got email organized….well, you’ll see. I have now archived over 10,000 messages to my ATPM account. This doesn’t include whatever is sitting in Claris Emailer on my Cube that didn’t get exported to Mailsmith eons ago. Nor does it include items sent to the ATPM help, editor, submissions, and other internal addresses that all end up in my box, since I keep those items sorted to separate mailboxes. If I were to include all of those, I’m probably looking at well over 13,000 messages, by far the most I’ve accumulated with any one email address since I’ve gone online. Outside of a friend who’s local, but I met online, and a certain font guy, I would have to say my closest online friendships have come out of ATPM. It’s been a blast working on something that interests me personally, even if it doesn’t pay a dime. We don’t produce ATPM to make a buck; we do it because we care about the Mac platform and we have something to share with the Mac-using community. Here’s to the next five years, and 20,000 messages!
posted by retrophisch at 11:26 AM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 08 July 2003

NetNewsWire fall down in Panther, go boom

I have been running the WWDC preview release of Mac OS X 10.3 Panther on my TiBook for over a week now, and I’ve noticed an odd problem with NetNewsWire 1.0.3 under this OS. Specifically, it’s crashing/quitting when updating from my friend Michael’s blog. What’s even more odd is that version 1.0.2 of NNW works just fine! I know Michael’s not doing anything wocky with his RSS feed, as he’s very much a web standards kind of guy. So it makes me think there’s something off in this rev of Panther which will hopefully get fixed as it heads to golden master. All the same, I let Ranchero’s Brent Simmons know. Any other Panther/NetNewsWire users see similar behavior?
posted by retrophisch at 9:13 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 07 July 2003

LXG Soundtrack only from Apple

Apple has managed to nab exclusive rights to the soundtrack for _The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen_, and will release it as a $9.99 download on the iTunes Music Store. No physical CDs will be pressed! (via MacMinute)
posted by retrophisch at 12:54 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 02 July 2003

ATPM 9.07

The July issue of About This Particular Macintosh has been released. I enjoyed Matt Coates’ column on the Apple iTunes Music Store, new staff member Andrew Kator’s graphics article, and the reviews by Paul and Eric. Great stuff throughout. Stop by and read online or download the PDF of your choice.
posted by retrophisch at 9:51 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 30 June 2003

Farewell, C & G

The big news in the Mac market today is that longtime software publisher Casady & Greene is closing its doors, with all software reverting back to the individual developers. Casady & Greene’s _tour de force_ in software publishing was Conflict Catcher, which eased the process of troubleshooting control panel and extension conflicts in OS 9 and below. It was a primary weapon in any Mac troubleshooter’s arsenal, but alas, it has no place in an OS X world. The only other C & G product I’ve used, and continue to use, is Spell Catcher, which will continue in development through its developer, Rainmaker Research. After Apple bought SoundJam and turned it in to iTunes, and OS X began to dominate the landscape, it was only a matter of time. So we bid Casady & Greene a fond farewell, and thank them for taking the risk on publishing some great software.
posted by retrophisch at 10:50 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 27 June 2003

Mac OS X 10.3 beta first impressions

So yesterday I installed the WWDC release of 10.3 on a spare G4/933 at the office. It simply _flew_. It is _fast_. *Wicked fast*. Below are some of my observations of it on the 933, as well as my PowerBook G4/500. (ATPM staffers, you’ve seen most of this already.) Mac OS X 10.3 appears as fast—if not faster—than OS 9 on the same machine… The system in question is the aforementioned G4/933 single-proc with SuperDrive. Our OS 9-based graphics configuration was loaded on it, but this system hasn’t seen any testing in a while, so it was a perfect candidate for co-opting to test Panther. I loaded the Panther Disc 1 into the SuperDrive, and started the installation. Typical OS X install, began after a restart, pretty boring. I figured that the install would kill the existing OS 9 config, but that’s easily replaced, so it was no big deal. Filled out the contact info, selected my time zone, and _voila!_, it brought me to the log-in prompt. First surprise: don’t all previous versions of OS X want to restart at this point? So I logged in, and brought up a Finder window. Second surprise: all of my OS 9 stuff was still there, the Panther install didn’t touch any of it! (The reason for this is that on the Panther developer beta, the default install is to upgrade the existing OS X system, if present. If not, it simply installs it. If you want to wipe the drive for a clean install, you have to tell the installer.) Eye candy-wise, they haven’t put in any new user pics, desktops, or screen savers just yet. Regarding the new Finder window: I like it. Yes, it is a little Windowsy, but damn if Apple hasn’t outdone Windows on a Windows feature/interface. I have nearly always used the OS X Finder in column mode anyway, so there was little for me to get used to with the new one. I made that change in my Finder prefs right away, so that all my Finder windows open in column view. And yes, boys and girls, Finder prefs are _sticking_! System Preferences have been streamlined. Desktop and Screen Effects are now one and the same, with buttons denoting each to click between. They are not tabs in the sense that they do not look like tabs, but that is how they function. While I’m not wild about the metal appearance everywhere (it has grown on me through repeated iChat, iTunes, Safari, and Mellel use), I do like the removal of the Aqua stripes from all windows. Most pleasant. It’s fast. _Fast_. *Wicked fast*. Did I mention it was fast? As usual, there are many subtle interface surprises that you wouldn’t think to look for, but when they happen, they pleasantly surprise you, then you promptly forget about them. Which is why I’m not listing any here right now. :) Exposé is a very cool feature. Very cool. Wicked cool. (Yes, I like that word.) It’s going to change the way people work in OS X with windows and applications, and I believe it will be a change for the better. One thing that’s missing thus far: an Internet pref pane. They pulled the .Mac stuff out and gave it its own pref pane, but Internet is AWOL. So no way that I’ve found thus far to determine default browser, default mail, etc. Hey, it’s a developer beta, there’s more to come. Safari 1.0 is included. IE 5.2.2 is the other web browser of note. I don’t have a FireWire cam to use with iChat AV, but I like the app itself, especially how the typing area at the bottom of a chat window automatically expands as you type. This way, you don’t have to scroll up one line at a time to see exactly what you’ve typed. Cool switching, Cmd-Tab, brings up an _enormous_ bar with your active apps in the center of the screen, with a semi-transparent background, like with the brightness and sound pop-ups. It also puts the current app at the front of the list, with the app you last used right behind it. For instance, right now I’m switching back and forth between Safari and iChat AV, and I don’t have to go to the Dock and cool-switch through a bunch of other stuff between the two, or use my mouse to click. One Cmd-Tab smoothly switches me back and forth. I think this is going to kill a good portion of the market for Liteswitch. That’s about as far as I’ve gotten right now. I have yet to encounter one of my apps or little extras that’s breaking under the beta, but then again I haven’t given my systems a total workout with the new OS just yet. I expect that now that this release is in developers’ hands, we’ll begin seeing updates to applications left and right in the coming month or so. More to come.
posted by retrophisch at 10:13 AM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 26 June 2003

How pathetic am I?

So I’ve spent part of last night and this morning, off and on, installing Fink, FinkCommander, and X11. Why? Why, to play XGalaga, of course, the open source clone of my favorite childhood video game. Geez, you didn’t think I was going to go through all that trouble to do work or anything, did you? ;-)

posted by retrophisch at 10:02 AM -->in Macintosh , fun , tech
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Wednesday, 25 June 2003

Going out of business twice as fast

I’ve got to start reading more from James Lileks. Like with the previously-noted pen comment, he cracks me up: bq. Today they announce the new machines. From all I hear the new computers go up to 11, so to speak. Dual 2 ghz processors. Of course, this means the company, which is DOOMED, will now go out of business twice as fast as before.
posted by retrophisch at 3:12 PM -->in Macintosh
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Isn’t technology cool?

1. Buy the Baby Einstein CD set. (Mozart, Beethoven, Handel, and Bach) 2. Rip all 4 CDs to MP3 with iTunes. 3. Copy all 4 sets of MP3s to your iPod. 4. Now you can use your Aiwa noise-canceling headphones plugged in to the iPod and situated on the wife’s abdomen to let your developing little son listen to the classics, proven to beneficially stimulate neural development.
posted by retrophisch at 11:25 AM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Thursday, 19 June 2003

Microsoft comes full circle with IE

Marc Marshall brings up the excellent point that Microsoft has come full circle with regard to Internet Explorer. His is the last post in Macintouch’s Browser Future report for today:

The bottom line in this situation is this: For the past several years, Microsoft gave away a free browser to kill the competition, and succeeded. Now, they have stopped development of their standalone product, and are giving people exactly three choices to get their “standard” product: 1) Buy Windows. 2) Use MSN for Internet access. 3) Pay them $10/month or $80 per year. No free options, no free upgrades.

The price is higher than Opera or Omni’s paid competition, and you don’t have a free option, and you have an ongoing fee. In fact, if MS starts charging annual licensing for Windows, there will be no lifetime-licence-purchasable version of IE. This sounds like exactly the sort of consumer hostile situation that monopolies create, and governments are supposed to protect us from.

Now that they’ve pretty much saturated the market, Microsoft has been scrambling on how to consistently generate revenue. They have long discussed subscription software licensing, and this situation with IE appears to be the first shot across the bow. Unfortunately, I do not forsee the mass sheep of Windows and IE/Mac users torpedoing the Microsoft Bismarck any time soon.

posted by retrophisch at 2:17 PM -->in Macintosh , rant , web/site
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Wednesday, 18 June 2003

Mailsmith 2.0 arrives

Bare Bones has released v2.0 of my favorite email client. Major kudos to Michael for getting SpamSieve bundled with all Mailsmith 2.0 purchases (before 31 July 2003). Speaking of which, SpamSieve 1.3.1 has been released. Seems to be a bit faster to me, and I like the new script addition that sends a piece of mail directly to the Trash when I mark it as spam. (I have the Mailsmith filter that SpamSieve’s script uses set to send spam to the Trash; others have a spam folder, so your mileage may vary.) If you’re already using both of these products, here’s the kicker regarding Mailsmith 2.0: it features direct integration with SpamSieve! No more scripts or filters! Rock on, Michael! Way to go!
posted by retrophisch at 2:33 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 17 June 2003

Good riddance, IE, part III

Speaking of the dress-code-aware genius that is Dan Benjamin (is that enough, Dan?), he offers up some delectable food for thought on the discontinuation of standalone IE development for the Mac. I say standalone, because it seems that IE will continue on in MSN for Mac OS X.

Zeldman sums it all up rather well.

From here, as it has for several weeks now, it looks like a period of technological stasis and dormancy yawns ahead. Undoubtedly the less popular browsers will continue to improve. They may even gain in market share. But few of us will be able to take advantage of their sophisticated standards support if most of the market continues to use an unchanged year 2000 browser.

But enough, and enough, and enough. We are glad of the latest versions of Opera, Mozilla, Konqueror, Safari, and Omniweb. But on this grey and rainy day, this news of a kind of death brings no warmth. To Tantek and Jimmy and their colleagues on the IE/Mac team: for what you achieved on behalf of web standards and usability, much respect.

When it arrived, IE5/Mac was the standard for web browsers. It shamed Netscape. Complacency and stagnant development, however, have left it behind technologically. Zeldman mentions reasons people switched from IE to Camino or Safari; I switched for all the reasons he discusses, including that it’s one less Microsoft application on my system. There are choices people, and they’re better than the “standard.”

posted by retrophisch at 4:44 PM -->in Macintosh , web/site
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DNS Primer

If you’ve ever been interested in how your email gets from your computer to someone else’s, or how your browser knows how to load up a web site, you need to read Dan Benjamin’s excellent DNS primer at MacDevCenter. It’s geared toward Mac OS X users, but anyone can learn the basics of DNS, IP addresses, routing, and all that other techie stuff that makes the Internet work, boiled down in to simply terms by Mr. Benjamin (of Hivelogic/Hiveware fame). Oh, and hire this dress-code-aware guy, if you have the need. Too much talent to not be getting paid well by someone, somewhere.
posted by retrophisch at 3:35 PM -->in Macintosh , tech , web/site
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Monday, 16 June 2003

Good riddance, IE, part deux

This morning, Microsoft released a slightly-updated version of IE for Mac OS X, version 5.2.3. While no future development is planned, Microsoft will update this last version of IE as needed.

I hope Ric doesn’t mind my copying this from today’s Macintouch, but he doesn’t provide a permanent link to this story:

Clint McIntosh summarized the issues of Microsoft dropping Internet Explorer development for the Mac (something the company also has done on the Windows platform):

Microsoft is saying that they can’t do as good of a job as Apple of integrating the browser with the MacOS as a a reason they are halting development of Internet Explorer and that Safari is an excellent browser even in this public beta stage. BUT there is a serious problem ahead of us Mac users that deals with browser detection at many sites.

Many sites that rely on security or on compatibility do a browser check when you first try to view their pages. They usually make sure you are running MSIE 5.x or higher or even Netscape 4.x and higher. I’ve found that a lot of site developers don’t even realize that there are many more browsers other than IE and Netscape—either that or they just don’t care.

I’ve already found quite a few sites that don’t work at all with Safari such as my online banking through SouthTrust bank. I’ve written to the webmasters of those sites that aren’t Safari friendly but the standard answer I get back is “Our site only works with Internet explorer and netscape.”

Using iCab’s ability to identify itself as another browser, I’ve found that there is no technical reason for the limitation to IE and Netscape. They just do browser checks and see that you are using something other than IE and Netscape they deny you access. I’m not a fan of Microsoft but I do use IE on those occasions when I just can’t get a page to work with any other browser. Netscape 7 is just too slow and bloated for my liking and it still doesn’t work on a lot of sites where Netscape 4.x works flawlessly.

I’ve tried and compared the features of iCab, Opera, OmniWeb and others. They all have their good points, but Safari wins out overall. If Safari is going to be a suitable replacement for MSIE, Apple is going to have to either change the identifier to pretend it is IE or they are going to have to market the hell out of Safari to get the name known out there as a major player AND they are going to have to beef up a lot of the compatibility issues before they finalize it as a 1.0 release. There’s also the issue of browser plugins, but that’s another story.

posted by retrophisch at 1:41 PM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 15 June 2003

Good riddance, IE

No more Internet Explorer for Macintosh. No more standalone Internet Explorer on Windows. I cannot tell you how heart-broken I am to hear this.
posted by retrophisch at 10:23 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 11 June 2003

7135 first impression

As I stated previously, I went on my lunch break to the nearby Verizon Wireless store to check out the Kyocera 7135 SmartPhone. I was suitably impressed. Yes, it’s a little thicker and bulkier than most phones out there, weighing in at 6.6 ounces. But playing around with it, I didn’t find its size to be a deal-breaker. We are, after all, talking about a phone with a Palm PDA jammed in to it. Personally, I didn’t feel that it was too much bulkier than my current Motorola StarTac, once it’s folded over and in its belt clip/holster. Decided to do a little checking on the web. Walt Mossberg likes it, but doesn’t like it. Walt’s gripes do not overly concern me, especially the email issue. Call me old-fashioned, but I just haven’t quite grasped the concept yet of checking my email on my phone. I like to stay connected and in touch via email as much as the next guy, but I honestly don’t have the type of professional or personal life that would warrant such immediate need. Mike Wendland loves his 7135, and has had little problems with it under OS X. Since I’m no longer using iSync, I doubt I would encounter the same issues as Mike. (Said issues may have been fixed with iSync 1.1, but I haven’t come across the post yet on Mike’s site that may say so.) Reading through one forum on Palm Boulevard sounds like there was a lot of pent-up demand for the 7135 from November of last year to just this April. There’s even an entire site devoted to Kyocera SmartPhones. I’m waiting to hear back from our VZW corporate rep, but I think I’ve found my new phone…
posted by retrophisch at 3:28 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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So today I de-iApped a bit. Viz: I had moved all of my contact and calendar info out of Palm Desktop, into OS X’s Address Book and iCal. Then I set up iSync to sync my Palm m505 with my TiBook. The thought was that I could then sync this info with my iPod—which I’ve done once in about six months—and whatever new mobile phone I get when my current contract expires (end of this month). Seeing as how I’ve never used iSync to sync to my iPod (did it all manually the one time), and now I’ve got my eye on the Kyocera 7135 as my mobile phone replacement, I’ve ditched Address Book and iCal and moved everything back over to Palm Desktop. Syncing is *way* faster now. I think Apple is doing some really cool stuff, but the iSync Palm conduit just plain sucks. Address Book and iCal are now gone from the Dock. Yeah, I may opt for another phone, and that might mean that I’m doing all of this again. The m505 actually is provided by my employer, so if I went with the 7135, I’d have my own Palm, with a phone wrapped around it. I’m going to look one over during my lunch break.
posted by retrophisch at 12:32 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Monday, 02 June 2003

iMac no more

So, yeah, maybe I’m just way behind in picking this up, but the CRT iMac, the box that helped bring Apple back, is no more. The only CRT Macintosh still being sold in the Apple Store is the 17” G4-driven eMac. So the flat-panel iMac is now the only iMac. Thanks to Robert for pointing this out.
posted by retrophisch at 12:26 PM -->in Macintosh
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PowerBook prices lowered

Apple has lowered the prices on the 12” and 15” PowerBooks, in some cases by as much as $300. Does this portend an update for the 15” model and speed bump for the 12”? WWDC is just around the corner
posted by retrophisch at 12:12 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 29 May 2003

Oh, stuff it, StuffIt

Erik brings up a good point on using disk images, .dmg, for archival purposes, rather than Aladdin’s DropStuff or StuffIt Deluxe. I haven’t used StuffIt Deluxe in over two years, since I migrated to OS X. I have the latest version of DropStuff, courtesy of my .Mac account (which will not be renewed later this year), but I’ve only used it once in the past three weeks (and that was to send screenshots to Lee). I cannot recall when I used it beyond that. I could have just as easily used DropDMG for that purpose, and likely will in the future. As far as archiving goes, just make sure you’re not creating Internet-enabled images, i.e., the .dmg file expands in to a folder, and you should be good to go.
posted by retrophisch at 11:45 AM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 28 May 2003

Gruber on Waferbaby

The Waferbaby Corner monkey interviews John Gruber, of Daring Fireball fame. John is his usual, subtle self when refuting the “Cult of Macintosh,” discussing the direction of Apple and the web, and sharing where he spends his time online.

Gruber gives Michael (and his software) a nice plug, as well as one for About This Particular Macintosh, though Waferbaby doesn’t provide a link to the ‘zine.

Good interview, though. John gives some good examples I will have to remember.

posted by retrophisch at 9:44 AM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 20 May 2003

Master the Services Menu

My favorite n3rdling has a great primer on MacMerc about getting the most out of OS X’s Services menu. I’ve recently begun relying on the Services menu more myself, and Jon’s article showed me a couple of items I hadn’t thought about using yet. Check it out.

posted by retrophisch at 10:27 AM -->in Macintosh
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NetNewsWire Feature Ideas

One of the cool things about being an independent Macintosh software developer is that you can have more open and direct communication with your customers. Ranchero’s Brent Simmons is a great believer in this concept, and he has posted a list of possible future features for Ranchero’s flagship application, NetNewsWire.

posted by retrophisch at 9:18 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 19 May 2003

New Cube?

I’m not one to spread Mac rumors; heck, I wrote an entire column about the dangers of rumor-mongering and how it affects Apple’s bottom line. I’ll make an exception in this case, however, because should this rumor prove to be true, it will not affect the majority of the Mac population, and thus, will not greatly affect Apple’s bottom line in the here and now. MacWhispers is reporting the possibility of a revised Mac Cube as the system that commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Macintosh at the end of this year, beginning of 2004. (Not to be confused with the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh released during the tenure of Gil Amelio, which celebrated Apple’s 20th anniversary.) I’m sure that like the original TAM, this will be a premium product out of the range of a majority of Mac users, yours truly included. I adore my G4 Cube, and I’m slowly extending its life a bit at a time. It is maxed out with 1.5 GB of RAM; it enjoys a 100 GB hard drive and a GeForce3 MX vid card. The next upgrade will likely be a new processor card, bumping it to 1 GHz or higher. A SuperDrive is currently available from MCE, but I consider it to be at too high a price point right now, especially when I have access to SuperDrive-equipped Macs at work. I know someone out there may rightly point out how in the long term, I may spend as much on upgrading my Cube as I would on a new Mac, but I don’t believe that to be the case. (Unless I ran out right now and bought the PowerLogix dual-1.2 GHz proc upgrade and aforementioned MCE SuperDrive; but I’m on a budget.) RAM continues to be relatively cheap, as it was when I maxed out the Cube. The hard drive was purchased on sale, and with a mail-in rebate. The video card was the most expensive upgrade of the three, and it was picked up on sale as well. All told, I would hazard a guess that I’ve spent around $400 on upgrading a system I got a great deal on when Circuit City was blowing out Cube floor models. It takes up very little space, makes very little noise, and if you weren’t paying attention, you might miss it on my desk, sandwiched between my 15” Apple LCD and the shelf stereo’s right speaker (stereo and left speaker sit to the left of the display). Though it suffered from a bit of an identity crisis and pricing issues early on, the Cube is one of my favorite all-time Macs, and I’d love to see Apple make an updated version, even as a limited-run, 20th-anniversary special edition. I just hope I can afford one.
posted by retrophisch at 10:39 AM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 18 May 2003

Displaying Apache logs in NNW

Brent links to a novel proof-of-concept usage of his flagship application, showing how versatile NetNewsWire can be.
posted by retrophisch at 8:23 PM -->in Macintosh , web/site
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Open in new tab in Safari

Some times, the solution is so simple, we overlook it. Brent Simmons has a quick and dirty tutorial on how to get Safari to open an external links (like from your mail client or NetNewsWire) in a new tab, rather than a new window.
posted by retrophisch at 8:06 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 16 May 2003

Gigabit Cube!

It appears that Jeff has the only Gigabit Cube in the world. Now if we could just get someone to make the rest of us an upgrade. Too bad Apple won’t sell the leftover Gigabit Ethernet parts from before they EOL’ed the Cube; Gigabit Ethernet was going to be a build-to-order option. What a killer little server this box would be, especially after you popped in a processor upgrade.
posted by retrophisch at 10:22 AM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 15 May 2003

iTunes music sharing

So I wanted to borrow my buddy Jim’s CD of _Seussical the Musical_, in light that it’s coming to town this month, and my wife and I want to take in one of the shows. Jim says it’s loaded in iTunes, just connect to his shared music. Once we figured out that iTunes wants our IP addresses (different subnets here at work), I’m listening to _John Williams - Greatest Hits 1969 - 1999_ (greatest composer of the latter 20th century?), and Jim’s reconnecting with his teenage years by jamming to Bon Jovi’s _Slippery When Wet_ on my TiBook. It’s wicked fast, with no lag. This despite the heavy traffic on our corporate network and the fact that our Macs are both streaming and receiving at the same time. Apple rocks.
posted by retrophisch at 4:07 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 07 May 2003

One million in one week

Yeah, I know everyone has read how the Apple Music Store has sold more than a million songs in its first week.

But Lee has broken down what that means, and the results are impressive. Better than one-and-a-half songs sold per second. I can’t wait to see Apple’s financials on this as the year progresses. My stock has already gone up about three bucks a share in the past week.

posted by retrophisch at 11:12 AM -->in Macintosh , fun , tech
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ATPM 9.05

Crikey! I completely forgot to mention that the May issue of About This Particular Macintosh has been published. Doh!

I talked Lee in to interviewing our mutual acquaintance, Jon Gales, a total Mac-head who has an awesome mobile phone site, I’ve been relying heavily on information Jon posts for our upcoming mobile plan/handy switch when our current contract is up at the end of June.

Matthew Coates has a great article on Acrobat, PDFs, and OS X. Lee went to the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Vegas, and offers a Mac-centric perspective. Ellyn offers a fantastic column on the virtues of the Golden Rule and our online lives. The usual assortment of reviews abound.

posted by retrophisch at 10:29 AM -->in Macintosh
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Synergy vs PTHiTunesNotifier

So Lee asked what made Synergy worth $5 when PTHiTunesNotifier was free and did essentially the same thing. So I decided to run down a quick comparison of the two.

  • PTHiTunesNotifier offers more button choices for the button controls in the menu bar (though I prefer Synergy’s choices over PTHiTunesNotifier’s)
  • PTHiTunesNotifier offers more control over the layout of the track display window
  • Synergy has a few more hot key options for controlling iTunes
  • Synergy offers greater control over the menu bar buttons
  • Synergy includes recently played tracks in its drop-down menu; it is able to remember up to the last 50 songs played (set in the number in the prefs)
  • Synergy includes the Playlist and iTunes submenus (if you don’t want to use hot keys to control iTunes)
  • Synergy offers button spacing control (this can be important when you have tons of stuff in your menu bar, like I tend to)

So there you have it. If you’re already using PTHiTunesNotifier and you’re happy with it, or you’re just a cheapskate, then you’re not missing much with Synergy. To me, Synergy simply feels like the more well-polished app. I like its button choices and options better, and I consider it $5 well spent.

posted by retrophisch at 9:59 AM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 06 May 2003


Michael turned me on to Synergy, a menu-bar utility for controlling iTunes, and it freaking rocks! Well worth the $5 shareware fee. One feature is the transparent floater that pops up when tracks change. Click on the thumbnail below for detail, then cruise to Wincent’s site, download, and register!

Synergy screenshot thumb

Sorry, Winblows users, but you just don’t see stuff this wicked cool in Bill’s kingdom.

posted by retrophisch at 4:16 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 02 May 2003

iPod 1.3 software

While I’m very glad Apple provided us old iPod users with a way to sync and listen to AAC-encoded files, the one other feature I’m envious of, in the iPod 2.0 software on the new Pods, has to be the text notes. If I had that, my Palm handheld usage would likely drop off by fifty percent or more.

(Thanks to Lee for the link.)

posted by retrophisch at 12:56 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 01 May 2003

Apple’s music Fortune

My lovely bride pointed me to this Fortune article on the new iTunes Music Service. Obviously written for publication before the service was officially announced, it provides a great look at Jobs’ vision behind the service, and the inadequacy of the music industry in its previous and current efforts at online distribution.

A few items I’d like to address:

One thing’s for sure: If ever there was an industry in need of transformation, it’s the music business. U.S. music sales plunged 8.2% last year, largely because songs are being distributed free on the Internet through illicit file-sharing destinations like KaZaA.

I take issue with this statement, since it’s impossible to prove that illegal file sharing has had this much impact on the U.S. music biz. There is a ton of physical piracy (blanket CD copying) going on overseas, especially in Asia, that eats in to the music industry more than a bunch of geeks swapping songs online.

I have downloaded a lot of music from peer-to-peer networks, as well as some centralized sites I have access to. Some of it was digital copies of CDs and cassettes I already own. The rest was stuff I wanted to listen to before I went out and bought it. A lot of that got trashed when I realized it wasn’t for me.

I know I’m not the only one who probably spent more on music (albeit looking for sales and good prices online) because I was pulling music off the net.

Second, it seems as though hardly anyone in the music business thinks that the problem with falling sales may be attributed to the product itself. Elsewhere in the article:

For years they have been able to get away with releasing albums with two or three potential hits bundled with ho-hum filler cuts. That has been wonderful for the industry, but it has made a generation of consumers who pay $18.99 for CDs very cynical. “People are sick and tired of that,” says singer-songwriter Seal. “That’s why people are stealing music.”

Amen. That’s it right there. And we see further evidence of the music industry’s slow-to-catch-on attitude:

But MusicNet users still can’t download songs onto portable players. “These devices haven’t caught on yet,” insists MusicNet CEO Alan McGlade. Never mind that U.S. sales of portable MP3 players soared from 724,000 in 2001 to 1.6 million last year.

Hmmm. I would think a better-than-two-times annual growth, in a year, in any segment of the tech economy would be cause for consideration of said segment.

As for the service itself, I think it’s great. I haven’t actually bought and downloaded any music yet, but that’ll change any day. I’ve spent quite a bit of time searching through it and listening to samples. It’s going to change the way I buy music. It’s going to change the music business.

posted by retrophisch at 11:40 AM -->in Macintosh , fun , tech
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iTunes Music Store pricing

Lee notes David Pogue’s column on the individual song pricing structures at Apple’s new online music store. Good points all around.

posted by retrophisch at 9:59 AM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 30 April 2003

No more Safari-ing for me

So after three crashes in a row today, I’ve decided to dump Safari as my main browser. Despite this being v73, aka, Public Beta 2, and fairly rock solid, and despite disabling the cache, known cause of myriad problems, it’s still not stable enough for my liking.

Granted, Safari doesn’t crash every day for me normally. More like once a week or so. It’s just that it chooses to crash at the most inopportune times!

So I downloaded Safari Bookmark Exporter, and got my Safari bookmarks into Camino. I’ve noticed that Camino consumes less RAM than Safari, and doesn’t seem to get bogged down as usage is extended day after day after day. We’ll see where this goes, and wait for Safari 1.0.

posted by retrophisch at 12:17 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 24 April 2003

Back off, you Rebel scum!

Thanks to Carbon Copy Cloner, my TiBook has gone from four partitions to three, without missing a beat. Well, there was obviously some downtime, but no muss, no fuss!

The new desktop pic is courtesy of my new Canon PowerShot G3.

desktop20030424 thumbnail
posted by retrophisch at 3:49 PM -->in Macintosh , fun
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DropDMG 2.1

Michael has quietly updated DropDMG to version 2.1. Enhancements include the ability to create Internet-enabled disk images, and the ability to encode .dmg images with MacBinary. Numerous other improvements abound.

posted by retrophisch at 2:10 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 23 April 2003

We do have it good

Bill Palmer offers an excellent summary of why it’s so great to be a Mac user.

posted by retrophisch at 11:26 AM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 16 April 2003

Photoshop 7 tip

I’m a complete Photoshop novice, often getting FranX or Lee to walk me through stuff. One observation I thought I would share about Photoshop 7 running in OS X: when working on a JPG (and maybe any file), be sure to not have that file selected in the Finder.

I had clicked on the JPG in question in the Finder (column view), and the Finder was previewing the pic. Photoshop no likee this. As soon as I clicked to another pic in the Finder, Photoshop saved my changes to the JPG.

posted by retrophisch at 3:31 PM -->in Macintosh
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Slide show screensavers

Looking for a little help from the retrophisch readership (all 3 of you): I’d like to create a slide show-style screensaver, like those that come pre-installed with OS X, but I don’t want to use the .Mac Slides Publisher to do it. I know I can just point the Screen Effects pane to a folder of pics, but it tends to limit the number of pics to five. And I’d like to provide the screen saver as a download to other OS X users.

Of course, I’m looking to do this cheap and easy, so recommendation on products such as iScreensaver Designer, PhotoCircus, or any others would be appreciated.

posted by retrophisch at 11:06 AM -->in Macintosh
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USB 2.0 already on new Macs?

Hyok Ki Chung thinks so. Quoted on Macintouch, Chung analyzes a Korean news article:
While browsing a Korean Mac magazine site, I found this interesting article. It’s about the USB 2.0 controller chipset on [Power Mac] MDD 1.25 and 1.4 motherboards. According to this article, the controller is made by NEC, model number uPD720101. The article is in Korean, but basically what it describes is the NEC USB 2.0 controller. It also mentions the driver, saying that Mac version is not available yet. It looks like we already have USB 2.0 built-in. I guess it’s just matter of time. Hopefully Apple will add the driver to an updater soon.
Obviously, Apple doesn’t want to really push USB 2.0 right now, not when its own FireWire technology is picking up more steam, and the second iteration of that technology, FireWire 800, has hit the market on just-released systems. Perhaps I have just bought the Apple line, but USB for me is for small peripheral usage: keyboards, mice, my CF card reader, my little Canon scanner that barely gets used. For the “heavy lifting”—my external drives, tape backup, iPod—FireWire is the way to go. Not to mention that you can’t use USB, 1.1 or 2.0, to boot a Mac as an external drive to another Mac, better known as FireWire Target Disk Mode. UPDATE, 9:50 pm: Ric updated with follow-up from Kevin Purcell:
But examining the Apple Hardware Developer notes [Power Mac G4 Developer Note], you can see that these PowerMacs only expose two USB ports which means the USB 2.0 port in the chip is not connected to any PHY or external connector on the Power Macs. Only the low-speed/full-speed ports are connected. I don’t expect to see a software update. Apple probably just bought these because they meet their spec (an OHCI controller) and they needed a 2 or 3 port USB solution.
So, maybe wishful thinking…
posted by retrophisch at 10:06 AM -->in Macintosh
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Macintouch does XML

Ric Ford notes that he is experimenting with a XML feed for his renowned Macintouch site. Plug this in to NNW, boys and girls:

posted by retrophisch at 9:19 AM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 15 April 2003

Tax Day Desktop

Not sure what compelled me to suddenly share what my desktop looks like, but here it is:

desktop thumbnail

Click on the above pic for a full-size image.

That’s Zane, atop one of his former favorite napping places: my 20” CRT, now replaced by a 15” Apple LCD. That shot is about two years old. The PowerBook has four partitions, appropriately named for an avowed Star Wars nut. iTunes is ripping The Elms’ latest to MP3.

The one thing I miss about that incredibly massive Radius CRT, was Zane plopping down on top when I was in the room.

posted by retrophisch at 4:05 PM -->in Macintosh , fun , tech
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Monday, 14 April 2003

Second Safari public beta

Apple released this morning the second public beta of its Safari web browser. You can download it here.

The official public release of tabbed browsing in Safari, as well as other improvements and additions, this release is v73, for those keeping score at home.

posted by retrophisch at 8:55 AM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 09 April 2003

Daring Fireball Double Whammy

Gruber’s last two posts are right on the money. First is his PR-speak to English translation of Quark’s press release about QuarkXPress 6. Of note:

We are plowing full steam ahead under the delusion that our users want to use a print-oriented page-layout program for web design. By placing extra emphasis on these unwanted web features, we hope to distract your attention from a certain upstart page layout application, which is focused squarely and solely on page layout.

He really lays in to John C. Dvorak, though, on Dvorak’s latest rants regarding Apple and Intel.

This point cannot be emphasized strongly enough. Apple is a computer hardware company. Selling hardware is how Apple generates most of its revenue. Their operating system software may well be the best aspect of their computers, but that does not make them a software company. Anyone who claims that Apple could simply switch to being a software company and make up for lost hardware revenue by selling additional software doesn’t understand how the company operates.

During the brief period of time when Apple licensed the Mac OS to other manufacturers, their revenue tanked. Too many people bought cheap clones from PowerComputing and Umax instead of higher-priced Macs from Apple, and the licensing revenue didn’t compensate for the lost hardware revenue. The situation may well have been good for Mac users, but it was terrible for Apple’s bottom line.

No matter how badly people clamor for it, Apple is never going to release a version of Mac OS X that runs on standard Wintel PC hardware. Whether it’s possible or not, it isn’t going to happen. A frequent comment regarding this rumor is something like “I’d love a version of Mac OS X that ran on my PC.” Sure you would, you cheap bastard. Apple’s Switch campaign is an attempt to get PC users to buy thousands of dollars of Apple hardware, not hundreds of dollars of Apple software.

In addition, pay attention to the fact that Microsoft and Apple are indeed separate companies with separate goals, and thus should not be lumped in to the same industry “group” that analysts and reporters always lump the two in to.

posted by retrophisch at 5:11 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 07 April 2003

Embedded PowerBook

Thanks to Mark for the pointer to this photo gallery of USA Today photography Jack Gruber, who is using his PowerBook G4 12” to send pictures to the main office.

I still want one!

posted by retrophisch at 2:49 PM -->in Macintosh , liberty , tech
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Sunday, 06 April 2003


Wired reports on John Fraser’s attempt to build a new pizza-box, or “headless” Mac, using replacement parts for older systems.

Good luck getting past Apple Legal, John.

posted by retrophisch at 10:52 AM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 02 April 2003

ATPM 9.04

The April issue of About This Particular Macintosh has been released. Check out Eric’s review of NetNewsWire, Lee & Darryl’s review of Studio MX, and Bob’s continuing saga on using your Mac to record your vinyl albums to CD.

posted by retrophisch at 2:27 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 01 April 2003

New BBEdit pricing option

Bare Bones continues to push the envelope of customer service with this new pricing option for their flagship product, BBEdit.

(via Gruber)

posted by retrophisch at 2:29 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 31 March 2003

Gruber interviews Simmons

John Gruber recently interviewed Brent Simmons, creator of NetNewsWire. “Interview” might be stretching it a tad; it comes off more like the two of them are yakking over a cup of coffee. Great stuff here.

I worked on the Windows version also. I wrote a fair amount of Windows-specific code, even. And I learned that I don’t really like developing for Windows very much.

I suspect that many Mac users are like me, that they’re driven in part by aesthetics. And they want to use software written by people who are driven by aesthetics. Windows is not aesthetic.

posted by retrophisch at 2:26 PM -->in Macintosh
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Saturday, 29 March 2003

Switch of a different sort

So today I completed a switch of my calendar and contact information from Palm Desktop to OS X’s Address Book and iCal. After getting everything kosher in iSync, my Palm m505 is now syncing happily with Address Book and iCal. The only thing I’m still using Palm Desktop for is the Memo Pad feature for my various lists and notes. If anyone knows of a sync-able alternative, I’m all ears.

Why the switch? Well, I just acquired a Newton 2100 (thanks again, Damien!), and there are methods for getting it to sync with that info. I also plan to get a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone in June, when our current contract is up, and would like to be able to sync all of my info with that as well.

posted by retrophisch at 11:54 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 27 March 2003

Brent’s Birthday

Jon notes that yesterday was Brent Simmons’ birthday, so I’d like to express my best wishes to him as well. NetNewsWire absolutely rocks, I’m becoming a big fan of TigerLaunch (doesn’t hurt its popularity with me that I went to LSU, either), and look forward to trying out Huevos.

posted by retrophisch at 9:44 AM -->in Macintosh , fun
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Wednesday, 26 March 2003

Macworld Expo no more?

Well, there won’t be an expo this summer in New York called “Macworld Expo.” Instead, IDG and Apple today announced CREATE. Not that I’m likely to go, even if I’m still employed with VZ…

(via Ric)

posted by retrophisch at 4:36 PM -->in Macintosh
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Resuming the Safari

So since the weekend, Safari has been giving me major headaches. It seemed to particularly dislike my using Movable Type, and viewing slide shows on anyone’s .Mac homepage. It would crash violently, occasionally taking into oblivion the post I had just completed typing. Said crashes were all dutifully reported to Apple via the Bug button in Safari’s button bar.

It was getting incredibly annoying yesterday afternoon, however, so I took action. First, I manually killed the entire Safari cache folder; using the Empty Cache command just wasn’t cutting it. Next, it was to the preferences file, which was swiftly introduced to the Trash. And just for good measure, I restarted the TiBook.

I should say that I’m not too surprised that the corrupted preferences was obviously contributing to the problem. Ever since the last public beta version of Safari (v60), I’ve used the leaked 62, 64, and now 67 revs. I’m sure something floopy worked its way in at some point.

At any rate, after thorough usage last night and so far today, things seem to be back to normal. I’ve gone in and killed the metal appearance, so that Safari looks like a normal OS X app, with no apparent side effects yet.

posted by retrophisch at 12:05 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 24 March 2003


Now this is something I could have used last year, when I lost pictures of my grandmother’s visit to Dallas.

posted by retrophisch at 10:51 AM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Friday, 21 March 2003

WiFi in rural Iowa

Rod Keller documents the external expansion of his home LAN via WiFi. Very cool.

(Thanks, Ric)

posted by retrophisch at 4:35 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Thanks to Jeremy Hedley, I’ve discovered, a faster means of mounting disk images than using Disk Copy. Just as Michael’s DropDMG is easier and faster than Disk Copy for making images, is faster at mounting them in the Finder. Just goes to prove the adage that not everything that comes with the OS is the best.

posted by retrophisch at 4:13 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 14 March 2003

Extremely useful iTunes AppleScripts

MacMinute is reporting on a set of three AppleScripts for iTunes released by Trinfinity Software. I’ve downloaded them, used them, and am grateful. Thanks to the folks at Trinfinity.

posted by retrophisch at 12:23 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 11 March 2003


One of my favorite pieces of software has been updated. WeatherPop has been revved to version 1.7. The Advance version is only $8 and gets you:

  • National Weather Service forecasts for the United States
  • and forecasts for US and International users
  • 3 to 5 day forecasts depending on your location
  • Beautiful color icons and realistic moon phases
  • Up to 3 favorite locations in addition to the your main location
  • The best darn easy-to-use Mac OS X-savvy interface they could design
  • 14-day trial period so you can decide if you like it before you buy

I refer to it often throughout the day, checking out other locales where I have friends and family as well. Great piece of software, so download it, register it, and support a Macintosh developer.

posted by retrophisch at 11:52 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 10 March 2003

Safari’s wrong typography

John Gruber makes an outstanding case for one of the few things I don’t like about Safari.

One thing that Safari has gotten wrong ever since it debuted is that it applies anti-aliasing to all typefaces, including small monospaced fonts such as 9- and 10-point Monaco.

Yes, yes, the Mac OS X zeitgeist is such that anti-aliasing is everywhere. But small-point monospaced fonts are the exception to the rule, for good reason. Monospaced typefaces are an anachronism, a throw-back to the typewriter era. They are, for most purposes, ugly; their metrics contradict the basic precepts of proper typesetting. With regular (non-monospaced) fonts, small punctuation marks such as commas and apostrophes fit snugly next to adjacent alphabetic characters; punctuation is intended to be subtle. But with a monospaced font, every character consumes the same amount of horizontal space on the line; it’s downright silly that an apostrophe should consume the same space as an “m.”

Downright silly, perhaps, but I find a certain elegance in monospaced fonts. After all, look at my logo and tagline!

I differ with Gruber only in his observation of Geneva in Camino versus Safari: I think Geneva looks better in Safari, though, I admit, at the same point size, it is slightly less readable than in Camino.

posted by retrophisch at 3:44 PM -->in Macintosh
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I’m finding more and more stuff that makes me antsy for my forthcoming MessagePad 2100…

posted by retrophisch at 3:34 PM -->in Macintosh
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Does it come in desert camou?

Lee notes a Wired story on a lone PowerBook user in the Third Infantry Division, currently operating out of Kuwait.

As someone who almost became one of those military officers, I must take exception with Lee’s “smarter-than-the-average-automaton” crack observation. Despite how they may be portrayed from the Hollywonk perspective, by and large your average military officer is a highly dedicated, smarter-than-the-average-citizen, master’s degree-holding professional who does what he does out of love for his country. Because even the officers aren’t getting a whole of lot of kit in their kaboodle when it comes to pay.

As far as computing choices go within the military, those front-liners have about as much say in the matter as your average Fortune 500 cubicle dweller does within their corporation. Kudos to Major Weed for getting the TiBook cleared through channels.

posted by retrophisch at 10:58 AM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 07 March 2003

Safari v64

Yes, another leaked beta version of Safari. Yes, I have a copy. No, I’m not posting it for widespread dissemination; my site runs via Darwin/Apache on a iBook/300 that sits on an AT&T cable connection. Can you say “easy to overload?” Go here.

Jon has posted a quick rundown with screenshots over at MacMerc. Be sure to read the comments; interesting things are afoot.

posted by retrophisch at 2:28 PM -->in Macintosh
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Camino 0.7

Hot on the heels of the official rename, the Camino crew has released an updated version of the in-beta browser. Highlights to this update include: a new Download Manager, compatibility with URL Manager Pro, global History in the sidebar, dragging of images and links to the desktop and other applications, support for Shockwave Directory content, the use of Rendezvous to show local FTP and web servers, and support for Proxy Auto-config.

posted by retrophisch at 9:12 AM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 06 March 2003

Multipage-view Safari

I can’t wait to hear what Michael and Gruber have to say about this really good mock-up.

I’m torn on this idea. As presented, it takes up too much screen real estate. Okay, fine, but it’s like a drawer, you might say. It’s hidden, much like the Safari bookmarks are.

But that takes away the immediacy of getting to multiple sites, which you have with tabs. I know Michael is a little put off by the tab implementation seen in the leaked build of Safari, but to me, the tabs beat this approach. Controls appearance aside, tabbed browsing offers maximum screen real estate with immediate access to multiple pages. The drawer/hidden panel system doesn’t do that.

One poster in the thread mentioned on the mock-up page had a brilliant point: he would like to see the tab implementation extended. That is, make the tabs so they can be renamed, repositioned, and able to be hidden. I would like to see those. Another good idea from the board thread: booklists, i.e., you can bookmark an entire list of pages you have in your pane.

Again, for me, tabbed browsing is the best implementation thus far. It has room for improvement, but nothing right now beats it for real estate savings and immediate action. Flame on, boys!

(props to Michael S. for the link)

posted by retrophisch at 5:13 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 04 March 2003

Camino lives

It’s official:

03 March 2003: Due to circumstances beyond our control, the project [formerly known as Chimera] has been renamed Camino.

posted by retrophisch at 2:27 PM -->in Macintosh
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MacMinute reports that Aspyr is going to bring the updated version of the arcade classic to the Mac! w00t!

I wasted many a quarter on the full-size, sit-in version of SpyHunter that dominated one side of the arcade at the LSU Student Union when I went to school there. I’m not much of a gamer, but this may be one I pick up.

posted by retrophisch at 2:15 PM -->in Macintosh
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Apple to revolutionize the music biz?

If this story in the L.A. Times is to be believed, Apple is going to change the way Mac users buy music.
The new service was developed by Apple Computer Inc., sources said Monday, and offers users of Macintoshes and iPod portable music players many of the same capabilities that already are available from services previously endorsed by the labels. But the Apple offering won over music executives because it makes buying and downloading music as simple and non-technical as buying a book from “This is exactly what the music industry has been waiting for,” said one person familiar with the negotiations between the Cupertino, Calif., computer maker and the labels. “It’s hip. It’s quick. It’s easy. If people on the Internet are actually interested in buying music, not just stealing it, this is the answer.” That ease of use has music executives optimistic that the Apple service will be an effective antidote to surging piracy on the Internet, sources said. […] Although no licensing deals have been announced, sources close to the situation say at least four of the five major record companies have committed their music to the Apple service. It could be launched next month. […] An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the service Monday, as did representatives from the five major record corporations: Sony Corp.’s Sony Music Entertainment, Vivendi Universal’s Universal Music Group, AOL Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Music Group, Bertelsmann’s BMG division and EMI Group. The new service is so important to Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs that he personally demonstrated it to top executives at all five companies, sources said. More than a dozen music executives have visited Apple since last summer and came away enthusiastic. The executives also like the massive marketing plan designed by Jobs to educate consumers about the service. […] As a result, Mac users may find it easier to make unauthorized, free copies of songs through an online file-sharing service like LimeWire than to buy a copy through a label-sanctioned service. Apple hopes to change that situation with its new service, which is expected to be included in an updated edition of the iLife package of digital music, photo and movie software. Sources said Apple will make the songs available for sale through a new version of iTunes, its software for managing music files on Macs. Users will be able to buy and download songs with a single click and transfer them automatically to any iPod they’ve registered with Apple. Rather than make the songs available in the popular MP3 format, Apple plans to use a higher fidelity technology known as Advanced Audio Codec. That approach allows the songs to be protected by electronic locks that prevent them from being played on more than one computer. Still, sources say, Apple wants to enable buyers to burn songs onto CDs. That feature would effectively remove the locks. That’s been a sticking point for executives at Sony, sources said. The other four major record companies, however, appear ready to license their music to the new service. No details were available on the price of the service, although one source said it would be competitive with other services in the market. Pressplay, for example, charges just under $10 a month for unlimited downloads, plus about $1 for each song that can be burned to CD or transferred to a portable device.
Yeah, so I pretty much give you most of the article. Saves you from the pain-in-the-butt registration the L.A.Times thinks it deserves from you. (via MacMinute)
posted by retrophisch at 2:09 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 03 March 2003

No more Caffeine

Caffeine Software has suspended operations. Bad news for users of TIFFany, Curator, and PixelNhance. While I personally haven’t used any of their products, this is bad news for the Mac world in general, as it means one less Mac developer. (via MacMinute)

posted by retrophisch at 3:09 PM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 02 March 2003

ATPM 9.03

The March issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now online. Yours truly has stepped into the Managing Editor’s shoes, so if there’s something you love, something you hate, or something you just have a comment on, email me.

I read with great interest Greg’s review of iView MediaPro, Johann’s review of the 2d edition of The Mac OS X Missing Manual, and Kirk’s review of O’Reilly’s UNIX Power Tools, 3d edition.

Update, 03-03-03: Thanks to Eric for the kind words, and the reminder that this issue features the return of my birthday-sharing paisan, Tom Iovino.

I joined the staff of ATPM in 1998 as a copy editor; Robert Paul Leitao was the Managing Editor then. I’ve also been the Publicity Manager (currently vacant), the Help Jedi (now simply called “Technical” and performed by Evan), and a Contributing Editor.

Eric is one of the few ATPM staffers I’ve actually met in person (two MWNY Expos in a row; will there be a 3d this year?). I met former Managing Editor Daniel Chvatik at MWNY last year, as well as long-time desktop pictures contributor Jens Grabenstein.

posted by retrophisch at 4:25 PM -->in Macintosh
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Like Michael, I like Bare Bones’ replacement for BBEdit Lite, though I also wish it included support for AppleScript. Like Jan, while I like TextWrangler, it doesn’t fit into my work habits, since in addition to normal text editing, I need the HTML tools of BBEdit. Still, if you want a hell of a text editor without the need for AppleScriptability or HTML tools, TextWrangler’s the ticket.

If you still want BBEdit Lite, which to me should have been the name they used for TextWrangler, and just gone to a pay model instead of freeware, Lee notes that you can still snag it from Bare Bones’ FTP servers.

posted by retrophisch at 9:27 AM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 28 February 2003

Newton still going strong

Yesterday marked the 5th anniversary of Apple’s discontinuing production of the Newton, the forerunner of today’s PDAs. Speaking of today’s PDAs, some are still trying to catch up, in terms of features and speed, to what was offered 5 years ago in the Newton MessagePad 2100. To this day, the Newton’s biggest shortcoming is still its size.

Michael notes how Newton users are continuing to extend the life of the original personal digital assistant. I can’t wait to reacquaint myself with Newton when a 2100 arrives in a couple of weeks, courtesy of a pal in NYC.

posted by retrophisch at 1:29 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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Monday, 24 February 2003

Don’t waste your money

Please don’t shell out ten smackers for MacMaid when Erik gives you an AppleScript that’ll do the same thing for free.

posted by retrophisch at 1:43 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 20 February 2003

iChat logs

I share Michael’s iChat irritation. One of the things I love about Fire is that I can drag a log file onto BBEdit and have it open up in the text editor. iChat logs have to open in iChat, presumably so you can see the pretty word balloons. The solution, obviously, would be the ability to open my iChat chat log in BBEdit and read it in plain text glory, or open it in iChat and get it with the balloons.

From a UI perspective, I prefer iChat over Fire, since most everyone I know uses AIM. Two friends stubbornly cling to MSN (Hi, Wil!). I have accounts with ICQ, MSN, and Yahoo! Messenger, but with the aforementioned MSN exceptions, everyone I know on the other services also uses AIM, so iChat it is.

posted by retrophisch at 2:33 PM -->in Macintosh
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Cool new PDF trick

Michael notes Bill Bumgarner’s example on using Mac OS X 10.2.4’s new PDF Workflow feature. I tried out Bill’s example, since it plays into my own web reading habits, and it’s wicked cool. Bill also says:

“But PDF Workflow is even more flexible than that. It isn’t limited to just saving PDF. You can also drop scripts, apps, filters, and other mechanisms into the PDF Services folder. That’d be the Workflow part of the whole thing.”

posted by retrophisch at 1:42 PM -->in Macintosh
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NetNewsWire + Safari = Power

Ok, I’ve finally used NetNewsWire consistently for a couple of weeks, and now I’m hooked. Like Michael admitted, my vision on NNW’s potential was limited. Like Rands, I’m reading more weblogs, collectively, than any other type of site. Combined with Safari, NetNewsWire is a powerful tool for weblog reading, as well as accessing any other site with an RSS feed, such as ATPM. The two form a potent combo for accessing nearly any info on the web you might need.

posted by retrophisch at 10:25 AM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 19 February 2003

Well, Virtual PC is dead…

Microsoft is going to acquire Connectix’s Virtual PC software. Don’t believe for a minute their claim that they’re not buying the software to kill it. Why else would they? And they don’t even have to outright kill it. Just buy it, sell it to end users, and don’t update it. As the Mac OS moves on, just let it die since it would inevitably become less and less compatible with the latest version of the Mac OS. Whenever a company purchases assets from another company, and publicly announce they plan to not kill off a product they are acquiring, it is a sure sign that they will, in fact, kill it.

As Michael said, it’s a sad, sad day for Mac users.

Update (2:55 pm): Apparently, Microsoft acquired the Virtual PC assets from Connectix so it can strengthen its hold in the enterprise server market. Sure, I can buy that. The Virtual Server product is pretty powerful.

Yet let me remind you: we’re still waiting for a Macintosh version of HALO. You remember HALO, don’t you? The kick-butt 3D successor to the Marathon game saga from Bungie, it was going to be a Mac OS-first release, or at the very least, a Mac version was to be released concurrently with a PC version. Then Microsoft stepped in, bought out Bungie, and instead of getting a $49 Mac game, you now have to spring for a $199 Xbox to play it.

Virtual Server may live on in Windows code, but don’t bet on having a copy of Virtual PC to run on your Mac a couple of years from now. I really hope I’m wrong, but judging from past Microsoft history, I’m afraid I won’t be.

posted by retrophisch at 2:44 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 18 February 2003


Apparently, everyone’s favorite OS X-flavored Gecko-based browser will be renamed to Camino. What’s sad is that Pinkerton knows it stinks, but apparently nothing else has “made it through legal.” Hyatt doesn’t really like it, either. I found this stuff thanks to John Gruber, who does like the name. Like he says, it’s got style. I like it. Though unlike the automobile image it conjures in Hyatt’s mind, I think of a certain planet in a certain Star Wars movie…

Update (9:12pm): The more I think about it, the more I see it, the more I like the name Camino. Definitely better than Chimera.

posted by retrophisch at 5:18 PM -->in Macintosh
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Ric is reporting that Microtech International has finally gotten off their duffs and have posted for download drivers for the USB CameraMate and Zio! Compact Flash readers for OS X 10.2. I own both of these products, which work great, but unfortunately, require a driver to do so. Thankfully, I also have a PC Card CF adapter that I’ve been using with my PowerBook G4/500 to get digital photos from my Nikon (it doesn’t have USB). Besides, the whole drivers for hardware thing should be left to the Windoze drones.

If I were to lose PC Card-ability in the future, say with a 12-inch PowerBook G4, I would have to seriously consider an alternative CF reader, like the Dazzle* 6-in-1 USB reader our artists use. Unlike the Microtech products, it is true plug-and-pray, working flawlessly on every OS X-running Mac (4 different models) I’ve tried it on.

posted by retrophisch at 11:32 AM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 16 February 2003

Safari now supports title tag

I just noticed, after adding a new link in the right-side column, that the latest public beta of Safari now supports the title tag. Make sure you have the Status Bar at the bottom of the browser window; View menu, then click on Status Bar to get a check mark beside it. Or you use the keyboard shortcut Cmd-Backslash. Now when you hover on a link that contains a title tag, you’ll see the title text in the Status Bar.
posted by retrophisch at 7:38 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 14 February 2003

10.2.4 disables PHP?

Lee is reporting that Jon Gales has found that the Mac OS X 10.2.4 update disables PHP; Jon provides the Terminal-based restart sequence.

posted by retrophisch at 9:09 AM -->in Macintosh
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Free DropStuff via .Mac

If you’re a .Mac subscriber, MacMinute is reporting that Apple is offering Aladdin’s DropStuff as a free download.

As of 9:00 am CST, I’m getting 504 Gateway Timeout errors when trying to connect to .Mac.

posted by retrophisch at 8:58 AM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 13 February 2003

Mac OS X 10.2.4

Apple has made rev 10.2.4 available via the Software Update panel.

“The 10.2.4 Update delivers enhanced functionality and improved reliability for the following applications, services and technologies: Address Book, Classic compatibility, Finder, FireWire, Graphics, OpenGL, and Sherlock. It includes AFP and Windows file service improvements, as well as audio, disc recording, graphics, and printing improvements.”

posted by retrophisch at 4:25 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 12 February 2003

Safari update

Apple has released a Safari beta update, taking the turbo browser to beta v60 (0.8.2).

posted by retrophisch at 4:15 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 11 February 2003

Get Safari Enhancer

I’m always a little leery of third-party applications which modify or “enhance” another application. I like to live on the bleeding edge, but I also like my system stability. So I’m just getting around to trying Gordon Byrnes’s freeware Safari Enhancer, and my recommendation, if you’re a Safari user, is to download it immediately. What finally prompted me to give it a whirl was its bookmarking importation abilities, especially from Camino Chimera, my previous browser of choice. Others may have reported problems, but Safari Enhancer pulled off the importing of my Camino Chimera bookmarks perfectly, which is something Safari itself *never* did right with IE. Now I get to spend some time re-organizing my newly imported bookmarks in my new favorite browser. Hats off to Gordon!
posted by retrophisch at 5:24 PM -->in Macintosh
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Entourage will be Exchange solution for OS X

Good news for those of us stuck in Exchange server-using corporate environments: Microsoft’s Mac BU has officially announced that Entourage will be updated as the official Exchange client for Mac OS X. (via

posted by retrophisch at 11:26 AM -->in Macintosh
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SpamSieve 1.3

Michael has released SpamSieve 1.3, which is more resilient than ever to spammers’ tricks for obfuscating words. In addition, you can now use e-mail addresses in the system Address Book as a whitelist, so that messages sent from those addresses will never be marked as spam. Michael continues to optimize the app, greatly reducing the overall memory usage as well as launch and quit times. A complete list of changes can be found at the above link.

SpamSieve requires Mac OS X 10.1 or later, and supports Emailer, Entourage, Eudora 5.2, PowerMail, and my personal favorite, Mailsmith. It’s only $20, it’s shareware so you can try before you buy, and it nips my spam problem in the bud. Give it a whirl, and support a shareware developer.

posted by retrophisch at 8:45 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 10 February 2003

Dude, you’re going to jail!

You know, this explains so much about the persona of “Steven the Dell dude.”

posted by retrophisch at 9:18 PM -->in Macintosh
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1.2 GHz Cube

Bill Fox fans the flames of my gear lust with his review of the PowerLogix 1.2 GHz single processor upgrade for the G4 Cube.

posted by retrophisch at 10:03 AM -->in Macintosh
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Updated Xserves, new Xserve RAID

Apple announced today updated Xserves, as well as the new Xserve RAID. The new servers feature up to dual 1.33 GHz processors, up to 720 GB of storage, FireWire 800, dual Gigabit Ethernet, optional 2 GB Fibre Channel, and unlimited client licenses for Mac OS X Server. The new Xserve RAID is a 3U rack-optimized enclosure that offers up to 2.52 TB—that’s terabytes—of storage, dual 2 GB Fibre Channel ports, full redundancy for continuous uptime, and powerful remote monitoring. The Xserve base price drops to $2,799, and the Xserve RAID pricing starts at $5,999. Apple is certainly looking to kick some butt in the enterprise market!
posted by retrophisch at 8:57 AM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 07 February 2003


From Damien comes this encouraging news on the TiVo front.

posted by retrophisch at 5:32 PM -->in Macintosh
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Transmit 2.3

Panic released an updated version of their FTP client today. Mostly a bug-fix release, it does include an oft-requested feature: a preference that allows the user to define what the app does when a file is double clicked. From my limited beta-testing of this release, it remains solid and adequate for my GUI FTP needs. (I tend to use Terminal most of the time.)

posted by retrophisch at 4:26 PM -->in Macintosh
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Virex 7.2

My favorite antivirus application has been updated. .Mac subscribers should log in and download the new version, which includes an automatic virus definitions update feature.

posted by retrophisch at 4:14 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 06 February 2003

Baked PowerBook, anyone?

A colleague just sent me this link to a baked Apple. Please note that there are links at the top of the page to more pictures other than those immediately displayed.

What frickin’ rocks is that the PowerBook still boots and they’ve installed Mac OS X 10.2.

posted by retrophisch at 2:04 PM -->in Macintosh
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Death of the floppy, redux

Four and a half years after Apple declared the floppy disk was dead with the introduction of the iMac, the rest of the computer industry is finally starting to follow suit. Dell, of course, is “innovating” ahead of the other PC box companies.

I truly love this quote:

“What Dell has done, I expect every major vendor to do in the next 12 months.”

This from Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a technology consulting firm in San Jose. Where was Tim four and a half years ago, when it was Apple announcing it was removing the floppy disk drive from its systems, beginning with the then-new iMac?

posted by retrophisch at 11:40 AM -->in Macintosh
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You can still nab WordPerfect

If you are one of those folks who just cannot let go of WordPerfect for the Mac, you can download the last version, released free by Corel, here. (Thanks to a Macintouch Reader Report.)

posted by retrophisch at 11:14 AM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 04 February 2003

New iMacs

Even though I’m late in the day reporting this, Apple released upgraded iMacs today. The 17” iMac now sports a 1 GHz G4 processor, while the 15” strolls along with an 800 MHz G4; the flat-panel iMacs sell for $1,799 and $1,299 respectively.

The 17” iMac sports a faster system bus, 133 MHz, uses DDR SDRAM memory, a 4x DVD-burning SuperDrive, and a NVIDIA GeForce4 MX video chipset with 64 MB of DDR SDRAM. It is also Airport Extreme- and Bluetooth-ready. The 15” iMac remains compatible with the original Airport, and can use Bluetooth only with a USB adapter.

posted by retrophisch at 6:13 PM -->in Macintosh
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Void that warranty, yeah!

Thanks to Mike for the link to Kodawarisan Oheya’s step-by-step disassembly of a 12” PowerBook G4.

posted by retrophisch at 3:52 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 31 January 2003

iLife released

Apple has posted for download iPhoto 2, iMovie 3, and as has been the case, iTunes 3. The full iLife package began shipping earlier this week to those who ordered it to get iDVD 3.

posted by retrophisch at 2:55 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 30 January 2003

iLife shipping

MacMinute is reporting that iLife is now shipping from Apple. iPhoto 2 and iMovie 3 downloads have yet to be posted online, however.

posted by retrophisch at 3:09 PM -->in Macintosh
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Microsoft anti-Safari?

A member of the Cube email list reports that he is unable to log in to his Hotmail account with Safari. He does say this “is limited to the browser login check. If you fire up MSN Messenger and click on the Mail icon with Safari set as your default browser, it will take you right in with no problem.”

Another member reports that once he logged in with this roundabout solution, he was able to log in again directly through Safari.

posted by retrophisch at 2:46 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 28 January 2003

New Apple iron

Apple released new desktops today. Processors ramp up to 1.42 GHz in the high-end model, as well as a new 4x SuperDrive. Like the PowerBooks released at Macworld Expo earlier this month, the new Power Macs either incorporate or are ready for the latest tech: FireWire 800, Bluetooth, and Airport Extreme.

Apple also dropped the price on its 17- and 23-inch LCDs, to $699 and $1,999 respectively, and introduced a new, 20-inch LCD for $1,299.

posted by retrophisch at 2:27 PM -->in Macintosh
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Good riddance, Opera

Speaking of Mac browsers, Opera’s Jon von Tetzchner whined to CNET about competing with Safari, and losing out on providing the Opera engine to Apple, which chose KHTML to drive Safari instead.

Fellow ATPM staffer Chris Lawson brought the article to our attention, and several interesting comments have been raised, which reflect my own feelings:

Lawson: “…because it sucks and is two versions behind the Windoze version and you keep trying to charge $40 for it. It would be one thing if it were a really fast, slick browser, but it’s not.

“Then again, maybe I’m still bitter about the fact that they announced a Mac browser in 1996 ‘in a few weeks’ and didn’t deliver until late 2001…”

Michael: “I’m more distressed that anyone would print a story like this without checking the facts (like whether Mac Opera is any good). It’s irresponsible of CNet to act as von Tetzchner’s mouthpiece.”

Michael also rightly points out that there is nothing stopping Opera from using open-source alternatives, as Apple chose to do by using KHTML. Michael points to Chuq Von Rospach’s rockin’ analysis, as well as the dead-on commentary from Eric Albert.

So Mr. von Tetzchner, let’s run the down the Mac browser market, shall we?

Quite simply, people do not expect to have to pay for a web browser any more. Just ask Netscape, and thank Microsoft for it. I know there are many people, myself included, who would pay for a wicked fast, slick-looking, web standards-compliant browser. Unfortunately for Opera, their product isn’t any of those things on the Mac. Like Eric says in his post, the Omni Group still believes there’s a market for a commercial browser; why doesn’t Opera?

I’m very happy with Safari, even in its beta form, and I have Camino Chimera to fall back on, and worse case, IE. If Opera wants to plow the same kind of development into their Mac product that they do for Windows, I’ll sit up and take notice. If instead, Opera wants to leave the Mac market, no tears will be shed here.

posted by retrophisch at 2:03 PM -->in Macintosh
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Safari best Mac browser ever?

Bob Levitus, a.k.a., Dr. Mac, thinks it just may be:
“Safari is wicked fast, with a clean, uncluttered interface and a feature I love—a special field in its toolbar that lets you search the Web via Google without going to the Google Web page first. “I’ve been using Safari for several weeks, and even though it’s still in beta, it has become my browser of choice. It is much faster than the others, and it may very well be the best browser ever created. Not bad for a program that’s not even done yet.”
posted by retrophisch at 11:47 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 27 January 2003

Apple Store Knox Street Grand Opening

So I decided to drag my butt out of bed at 6 am Saturday morning to join a friend for the opening of the new Apple Store on Knox Street in Dallas. This is the Dallas area’s second Apple Store, the first being in Plano at Willow Bend. My pal Michael, and two of his friends, had already arrived at the store by the time I got out of bed, but were kind enough to save a spot for yours truly, who rolled up at 20 after 8. :) Though I failed to capture the moment on camera, Michael was the first official customer of the Knox Street store, as he picked up a software title for his wife. I did take lots of other photos. *UPDATE* (10:45 am): Michael emailed me links to a gallery that features his first purchase, as well as a shot of yours truly checking out the 12” PowerBook G4. A second gallery shows us waiting out front, though my back’s turned, and an open doorway shot of me, in profile, waiting to look at the 12” PowerBook G4. (Hint, I’m wearing a dark LSU cap and brown jacket.)
posted by retrophisch at 9:57 AM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 22 January 2003

ClarisWorks History

Michael notes a history of ClarisWorks posted by Bob Hearn, one of the software package’s creators. The quote Michael highlights stands out in my mind as well.

ClarisWorks was partially responsible for my switching to the Mac back in the mid-90s. I began using the Windows version of ClarisWorks while working at CompUSA, and it became my favorite application when I brought home my first Mac. The rebadged AppleWorks that is its successor actually feels more bloated and “heavy,” and I miss the lightweight but powerful ClarisWorks 3 and 4.

These days, I tend to do most of my text editing/word processing in Tex-Edit and BBEdit. Database stuff is done in FileMaker Pro. What little spreadsheet work I have is done in Excel, but that’s just because I have Microsoft Office through my job. Without Excel, I’d likely be in the spreadsheet module of AppleWorks.

Though he hints at it, what Hearn doesn’t come right out and say is how ClarisWorks totally annihilated Microsoft Works on the Mac. It simply ceased to exist. A truly impressive accomplishment, considering Microsoft’s track record both then and now.

posted by retrophisch at 4:44 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 21 January 2003

New spam filters

Something I know will be of interest to Michael. (SpamSieve uses Bayesian analysis to identify spam.)

(from Lee)

posted by retrophisch at 10:21 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 20 January 2003

Frank talk on Apple’s free software

I know why Michael links to Steven Frank’s note on Apple’s free software. I agree with Steven, and I hope that developers like Michael and Panic continue to thrive, even with more and more freebies coming out of Cupertino. The old cliché is true: you get what you pay for.

And if Steven keeps it up, he’s going to have me seriously considering a Sidekick when my current mobile phone contract is up in June….

posted by retrophisch at 5:14 PM -->in Macintosh
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One million Safari downloads

Apple announced that its beta web browser for Mac OS X, Safari, has been downloaded more than a million times in just over 2 weeks time.

(from Stan)

posted by retrophisch at 3:16 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 15 January 2003

Apple Q1 Results

Apple posted its first quarter results; $8 million net loss. Ouch. I’m sure the stock will drop like a stone as “analysts” and stock “experts” tell clientele to sell, sell, sell.

The loss isn’t really bad news when you take the reasons why into consideration. Why is this important? Because the “analysts” won’t, that’s why.

Apple’s revenues for the quarter were $1.47 billion, up 7 percent from the quarter a year ago. Gross margins were 27.6 percent, down from 30.7 percent in the year-ago quarter. So that explains some of it, right? Apple’s not making as much money per unit sold, even though sales were up.

But here’s the doozy: the “quarter’s results included a $17 million after-tax restructuring charge and a $2 million after-tax accounting transition adjustment. Excluding these non-recurring items, the Company’s net profit for the quarter would have been $11 million, or $.03 per share.” [emphasis added]

So, if Apple hadn’t taken the restructuring charge and the adjustment, it would have shown a profit. And its stock would still go down tomorrow, because Apple can’t win at the stock price game, unlike certain monopolistic computer companies.

Anyway, I don’t look at it as bad news. Apple is making the necessary adjustments it needs to make to stay healthy and competitive while the economy sorts itself out, and if I could afford it, I’d be snapping up more stock tomorrow when the morons dump theirs. Thus concludes this edition of the Retrophisch™ Apple Financial Analysis.

posted by retrophisch at 3:51 PM -->in Macintosh
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Apple on Photoshop

There’s a bevy of Photoshop tips in the Creative section of

posted by retrophisch at 2:51 PM -->in Macintosh
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New PowerBook benchmarks

Bare Feats’ Rob Morgan benchmarked the PowerBook G4 17” from the Macworld Expo show floor, and has posted his results, with comparison to current and former Powerportables.

I have to agree with Rob’s assessment of the 12” PowerBook G4; the more I think about it, I love the size, but I really want the power one finds in its 15” and 17” brethren: 1 GHz proc, L3 cache, and faster graphics with more VRAM. I know a PC Card slot is still out of the question, because of its size, but you add in those things, plus the SuperDrive you can get it with now, and it’s a sure-fire winner.

I’m beginning to think that an updated 15” PowerBook G4 with similar specs to the 17” is what I’ll be looking for in the future.

posted by retrophisch at 1:43 PM -->in Macintosh
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Macally items

Between the new PowerBooks, Safari, and Keynote, amongst other news out of Macworld Expo SF, I failed to notice some of the latest gadgets from Macally.

Now every peripheral manufacturer and their cousin’s mother’s brother’s aunt’s dog’s sister has produced a 4-port USB hub, with a nuclear-arms-size race to build the smallest one. My Dr. Bott gHub is pretty small, and unobtrusive behind my Apple 15” LCD. Macally tops it though, with this minihub that features a built-in USB cable. Twenty bucks U.S.

It was really nice of Apple to include a FireWire cable with my iPod, but it’s kind of a pain to schlepp that cable around in my bag. Macally comes to the rescue with a 5-foot retractable FireWire cable. Like the minihub, twenty bucks U.S.

posted by retrophisch at 12:29 PM -->in Macintosh
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How small is the 12” PowerBook G4?

PowerBook Central answers that question with this handy chart of small Apple portables. While it’s technically not the smallest when certain individual measurements are compared, the 12” PowerBook G4 is the smallest Mac portable ever by volume. In my technolust over the new ‘Book offerings, I’m still waffling over the 12” PowerBook G4 versus its 17” big brother.

posted by retrophisch at 10:08 AM -->in Macintosh
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If you love(d) Risk, then you have to get iConquer. Sorry, Mac OS X only.

posted by retrophisch at 9:56 AM -->in Macintosh
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40 GB iPod?!?

As crazy as it sounds now, a 40 GB iPod could be a reality later this year, thanks to 40 GB 1.8-inch drives from Hitachi. (from MacRumors)

posted by retrophisch at 9:29 AM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 14 January 2003

Safari first look

If you’re still waffling over whether or not to try Safari, Wei-Meng Lee has a good overview over on O’Reilly’s MacDevCenter.

posted by retrophisch at 10:06 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 13 January 2003

Saving web pages as plain text in Chimera Camino

Like Charles, I hadn’t thought of this remedy.

posted by retrophisch at 12:15 PM -->in Macintosh
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Bumper Snickers

LEM has some new bumper snickers. The Dell one is my favorite from this batch.

posted by retrophisch at 12:06 PM -->in Macintosh
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Saturday, 11 January 2003

New Safari beta

Some time yesterday, Apple released a new beta of Safari.

posted by retrophisch at 5:49 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 10 January 2003

Achtung! Safari auf Deutsch!

Für die, die Deutsches sprechen, download Safari hier.

(I hope Babelfish got that right.)

posted by retrophisch at 2:59 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 09 January 2003

X11 for Mac OS X

Steve didn’t mention it during the keynote, but it’s been generating lots of buzz: Apple released a public beta of X11 for Mac OS X. X11 is the common name for the X Window System, used by Unix developers to create graphical applications. So if you have a graphic-based Unix app that hasn’t been ported to Mac OS X, and you don’t want to fiddle with Fink and XDarwin, like me, then download this installer and get started.

posted by retrophisch at 4:57 PM -->in Macintosh
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The Hacker FAQ

For clueless managers.

posted by retrophisch at 4:41 PM -->in Macintosh
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iPod #1

Steve Jobs reported during his keynote that the iPod is the #1 MP3 player in the United States and in the land of consumer electronics, Japan, with a 42% market share in the latter.

I love my iPod; it goes practically everywhere with me. During the 16-hour round-trip drive of our Christmas vacation, my iPod provided more than enough music for us in the Jeep. Now to get my wife to spring for the 20-gig version for my birthday this year…

posted by retrophisch at 4:10 PM -->in Macintosh
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“Come on a Safari with me…”

Safari is generating quite a bit of buzz: Former Mozillian and Chimera inventor Dave Hyatt is part of the Safari team and has several interesting posts regarding his new employer’s browser project. Chris Sorenson blogs on why Safari is yet another reason to switch. Mark Pilgrim is putting Safari to the grindstone. Zeldman offers his initial impression. There’s a tip on accessing all of Safari’s keyboard commands over on Mac OS X Hints. Mena Trott, half of the force behind Movable Type, offers her impressions, as well as a pro/con breakdown between Safari and Chimera, her current favorite browser. Speaking of Chimera, waferbaby offers a rudimentary way to get your bookmarks from Chimera into Safari. Folders are not currently supported, but it’s better than nothing. Finally, if you want to get rid of Safari’s brushed metal look (yes please), and don’t want to use a haxie (just say no to haxies), Michael has detailed instructions. Hmmmm. Now to do this with the other Apple brushed-metal apps… Whew! Too many links for a single post?
posted by retrophisch at 3:54 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 08 January 2003

Safari breaks download record

MacCentral is reporting that Safari, Apple’s new browser for OS X, has broken Apple’s single day download record.

posted by retrophisch at 2:56 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 07 January 2003

Wireless PocketMouse

Kensington has announced the PocketMouse Pro Wireless. US $49, pre-orders being taken now. I’m sure this will eventually find its way into my bag for use with my PowerBook.

posted by retrophisch at 11:11 AM -->in Macintosh
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Too cute

Keegan, a seven year-old hockey player from Canada, has his own iMovie-edited film clip, with some help from his dad. (QuickTime required.)

posted by retrophisch at 10:36 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 06 January 2003

And just like that…

…Apple releases iCal 1.0.2. Apparently this is a bug-fix for a problem in 1.0.1 that caused some users “living in time zones 10 hours or more from Greenwich Mean Time to have their calendar data displayed incorrectly.”

posted by retrophisch at 9:19 AM -->in Macintosh
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Saturday, 04 January 2003

ATPM 9.01

About This Particular Macintosh enters its 9th calendar year of publishing with the January issue. Yours truly has a small review in this issue, as does my pal Lee, who reviews the ultracool Earthdesk. Paul examines the keyboard I lust after, and Michael has a great article on archiving email with or Eudora.

Read it online or download a PDF of your choosing.

posted by retrophisch at 9:22 AM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 03 January 2003

Debug your iPod

Slashdot has a post on accessing the secret debugging tools inside the iPod.

(with a nod to Ric)

posted by retrophisch at 11:05 AM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 02 January 2003


Apple announced iCal 1.0.1 and final release of iSync 1.0 today. Each requires Mac OS X 10.2.2.

posted by retrophisch at 10:31 AM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 24 December 2002

Microsoft to acquire Macromedia?

Yes, that Macromedia. Of FreeHand, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and most of all, Flash, fame. Does Microsoft plan to kill Java through this acquisition? The monopoly rears its ugly head yet once again…

(from Lee)

posted by retrophisch at 10:14 AM -->in Macintosh
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Santa uses a Mac!

UPDATE (12/26/02): In case you are seeing this link after December 25th, the above link used to redirect back to Apple’s Santa Switch ads. Now the link is back to its regular page. Santa still uses the easiest, most powerful personal computer on the planet, though. On Dasher, on Comet, on Macintosh… !

(Thanks, Lee!)

posted by retrophisch at 9:35 AM -->in Macintosh
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OS X fresh meat

Open source software site, Freshmeat has opened a new section devoted exclusively to OS X.

posted by retrophisch at 8:46 AM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 19 December 2002

Transmit 2.2

What is fast becoming my favorite GUI-based FTP client for OS X has an incremental update. Transmit 2.2 was released today, and is the first FTP client for the Mac to support Rendezvous.

posted by retrophisch at 5:46 PM -->in Macintosh
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I’m glad I use a Mac

New security bug with Windows XP and Nullsoft’s Wimamp MP3 player. Yet more reasons why I love iTunes and Audion. (Thanks, Eric.)

posted by retrophisch at 8:56 AM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 18 December 2002


Well, isn’t this a kick in the pants?

posted by retrophisch at 5:04 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 13 December 2002


SecureMac has released a beta version of MacScan, their spyware detection and removal software for all Macs, from 68K machines to the latest G4s running OS X.

posted by retrophisch at 2:02 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 12 December 2002

A product manual worth the read

Grant mentions purchasing a Marathon Deskmount for his G4. I downloaded the Deskmount installation instructions (PDF), and had a good chuckle. These guys have a great sense of humor, and this has to be the funniest product manual I’ve read in a while. Give it a read, it’s only 8 pages and 2 of those are the cover and the legalese.

We had a similar product in use in our graphics lab, but it’s not nearly as elegant as the Marathon Deskmount, though it doesn’t require modification to the G3/G4 case. I decided that I bang my knees into the G4s we do have mounted this way too much for my liking.

posted by retrophisch at 3:52 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 09 December 2002


A developer known as “mathew” has released SnowSaver, a freeware snowflake screen saver for OS X. SnowSaver is “modeled on the pretty falling snowflakes animation that Apple has been running on an iMac in the window of the local Apple store. (Theirs is actually a QuickTime movie, and not available to customers. People have asked.)”

Pretty nifty, and despite mathew’s development pains, really shows the power of OpenGL. Well worth the effort, mathew!

posted by retrophisch at 1:59 PM -->in Macintosh
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Macintouch on IP over FireWire

Dan was asking if I had any experience yet utilizing IP over FireWire. I still haven’t set it up to play with it, but Ric Ford has posted a Reader Report on the issue, and it includes user experience.

posted by retrophisch at 1:38 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 04 December 2002

IP over FireWire

At 400 megabits per second, FireWire is 40 times faster than 10Base-T Ethernet, and 4 times faster than 100Base-T. The only Ethernet spec faster than FireWire is Gigabit Ethernet (1000Base-T), now standard on all Macs, but still an option for many PCs (like FireWire).

Today, Apple released a preview version of IP over FireWire, useful for networking and clustering solutions. It can even be used for temporary connections to the internet using Internet Sharing. It’s interesting if for no other reason than that of future possibilities in networking.

posted by retrophisch at 8:36 PM -->in Macintosh
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ATPM 8.12

The December issue of About This Particular Macintosh is out. Nothing in there from me this month <head hung in shame>, but Robert Lewis has what I think is the most comprehensive Mac game gift guide seen in a while. New-to-the-staff Kirk McElhearn reviews a book I keep near my Mac, and publisher/friend Michael Tsai reviews the latest rev of one of our mutual favorite applications, BBEdit.

posted by retrophisch at 4:13 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 25 November 2002

Switchers you won’t see on TV

More and more PC users are learning how easy it is to switch from Windoze to Macintosh, and OS X is a big reason. For Shoshana Berger of Business 2.0, the new PowerBook G4/1 GHz proved to be a big selling point in her move to Mac, helped along by Detto Technologies’ Move2Mac software.

Command-line developer Tom Yager made a voluntary switch as part of his research for an article in InfoWorld, shelving his ThinkPad for a PowerBook G4/800. After a two-week business trip with only the PowerBook, he’s realized that he switched without even really thinking about it, since most of the work he did under Linux or BSD can be accomplished under OS X.

Infoworld also has an interview with C.J. Rayhill, Chief Operating Office and Excecutive Vice-President of Technology for O’Reilly & Associates, wherein she reveals: “I will share with you that we’re currently in talks with Apple to possibly do a corporate switching program.” C.J. cites that many of O’Reilly’s “heavy technical folks” have moved from having two systems on their desks—some sort of Unix box plus a Windows PC for productivity apps—to using an iBook or PowerBook as their only system. (Anyone notice a trend here with regard to the popularity of the portable Mac?)

posted by retrophisch at 10:33 AM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 15 November 2002

Foam PC

Proving they have too much time on their hands, as well as what PCs are really good for, it’s the NeuHausPlatz 200NC. NC stands for “no case.” This is an oldie, but a goodie.

posted by retrophisch at 11:15 AM -->in Macintosh
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Sunday, 10 November 2002

New Mac portables

I can’t believe I forgot to make mention of the new PowerBooks and iBooks that Apple released last week. The new PowerBooks go up to 1 GHz and contain a SuperDrive! Not to mention that with the 60 GB hard drive, it’s actually cheaper than the TiBook/500 I use when that machine was brand new.

And Apple has broken the one-grand barrier with a new entry-level iBook at $999.

posted by retrophisch at 8:02 PM -->in Macintosh
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Frank TabletPC analysis

Steven Frank, co-founder of Panic Software, has an early analysis on why Microsoft’s new TabletPC initiative is really nothing new, and in many ways, like the Palm OS, is still inferior to the discontinued Newton platform from Apple.

Steven’s point, and one I concur with: since you’re not really getting anything new or innovative, go buy a Newton on eBay and save about three grand.

posted by retrophisch at 12:03 PM -->in Macintosh
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Friday, 08 November 2002

Chimera 0.6

The latest stable version of Chimera was released a couple of days ago, and I am falling further in love with this browser. Powered by the Gecko rendering engine (of Mozilla fame), it is a Cocoa-based web browser, only for OS X.

It is fast. Wicked fast. Scary fast. It blows IE away in rendering pretty much all of the sites I visit. loads blindingly fast. MacMinute appeared instantly. Did I mention it’s fast?

It shares some of my favorite features with its Mozilla brethren, as well. Tabbed browsing is just one of the coolest things to hit web browsers since standards compliance. No more multiple browser windows littering the desktop! And built-in pop-up ad blocking is a godsend.

If you’re running OS X, you owe it to yourself to give Chimera a try.

posted by retrophisch at 2:45 PM -->in Macintosh
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Transmit 2.1

The fine folks at Panic Software released version 2.1 of their fine FTP client, Transmit today. Hey, Michael, guess what feature got implemented? :)

posted by retrophisch at 2:02 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 05 November 2002

Like you need another reason to go Mac

Wired has an article on successful tech entrepreneur Doug Humphrey, wherein he discusses his decision to move his company to all Macs. He has an excellent quote:

“We avoid the Windows operating system since it is such a huge security risk,” he explained. “We didn’t want to have viruses blowing up systems that we depend on for navigation and monitoring engines and other systems. And since nothing seems to be able to stop all of these Windows viruses, the best way to win is to just stop using Windows.” (emphasis added)

posted by retrophisch at 4:16 PM -->in Macintosh
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Character Palette

Instead of hunting up the Key Caps application under Mac OS X 10.2, use the Character Palette instead. Go to System Preferences, click on International, then choose the Input Menu tab. Select Character Palette in the list of layouts, and voila! you now have a new icon in your menu bar that you can consult from any application.

posted by retrophisch at 12:31 AM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 04 November 2002

Lapvantage Deluxe Dome

My review of the Lapvantage Deluxe Dome is now online in the November issue of About This Particular Macintosh.

posted by retrophisch at 2:57 PM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 24 October 2002

Transmit 2.0

I failed to mention that yesterday Panic Software released Transmit 2.0, their outstanding FTP client. Version 2.0 has been rebuilt from the ground up using the Cocoa APIs, and is Mac OS X-only.

I helped beta-test this release, and it’s been really solid for me. I like how it handles both regular FTP, and SFTP, which is how I connect to my own domains for file transfers. Give it a try, and support future development by registering the software.

posted by retrophisch at 2:04 PM -->in Macintosh
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Wednesday, 23 October 2002

DropDMG 2.0

Pal Michael Tsai today released DropDMG 2.0, the latest version of his excellent utility for creating disk images in Mac OS X’s device image (DMG) format.

Why do you want DropDMG when DiskCopy already comes free with OS X? Because DropDMG is both more powerful and easier to use than DiskCopy, that’s why. Gee, Michael, I guess I need to register my copy, don’t I?

posted by retrophisch at 11:40 AM -->in Macintosh
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iPod turns one

The iPod is one year-old today. On October 23, 2001, Steve Jobs held a special press event to announce that Apple had produced the best digital music player in the world. My own iPod will turn one next month (thanks again, sweetie!).

[via MacMinute]

posted by retrophisch at 11:29 AM -->in Macintosh
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Thursday, 17 October 2002

More on the fake Microsoft switcher

John Gruber has uncovered the lies Microsoft is putting forth to cover its previous lie of a Mac user switching to Windows XP.

What’s so hysterical is not that the fake switcher was outed as a publicist working for a Microsoft-hired PR firm, but that she was exposed through examination of a Word document, posted on the original Microsoft switcher page. Yes, “Microsoft’s own crappy file format” is responsible for their being caught in a lie to cover the previous lie. As John says, “Everyone loves a story about people fishing personal data out of Microsoft’s own Word files.” And yet another reason to not use Word for your own, or your company’s, word processing usage. There are alternatives, people…

posted by retrophisch at 1:58 PM -->in Macintosh
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800MHz Cube upgrade

Bill Fox of Macs Only! has concluded testing of the PowerLogix PowerForce G4 Series 100 800MHz upgrade card in his Power Mac G4 Cube, and has posted a full review.

posted by retrophisch at 1:24 PM -->in Macintosh
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Tuesday, 15 October 2002

Microsoft switcher lies

Apple comes out with a kick-butt ad campaign called Switch, an ad campaign that utilizes real people who have switched from Windoze-running PCs to Macintosh.

Microsoft sees said ad campaign, notices that Apple keeps bringing out more and more people to appear in its tv ads. So what does Microsoft do?

It comes out with its own switcher story. Hmm, nothing at that link, eh? That’s because since it was exposed as a load of hooey, Microsoft took the page down. Fortunately, for us, Google has it cached, and just in case, here’s a screenshot; and the HTML source. See the nice lady who claims to be a writer that switched from Mac to Windows XP? She’s a model from a stock art collection. Notice on the Microsoft switch page, there is no name for this fictitious writer, either. Note on Apple’s Switch page that there’s a name for every face, and they are all real people. Where are Microsoft’s real people?

I’m not saying that people have not switched from the Mac to Windoze; I’m just saying that apparently none of them want to admit it.

posted by retrophisch at 9:46 PM -->in Macintosh
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Monday, 14 October 2002

PGP 8.0 Public Beta

Earlier this year, the email encryption system known as Pretty Good Privacy was rescued from the nincompoops at Network Associates, and will soon be available from the PGP corporation.

The best news is that we will finally have an OS X-native version. You can try it out now through PGP’s public beta program. Highlights include: Full support for Mac OS X 10.2; full PGP Disk interoperability with PGP Disks created by all prior PGP Disk products for Mac OS, as well as with PGP Disks created with PGP Disk for Windows 7.0 and later; AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) support in PGP Disk; significantly expanded Unicode support; built-in support for Apple Mail and Microsoft Entourage X; PGP encryption and digital signature features are accessible as a Mac OS X service from Cocoa applications and Carbon applications that support services; PGP features are also accessible from the PGP’s Dock menu, providing a second ubiquitous method for accessing PGP.

This may actually get me back into the crypto game. You may very well have to finger me for my public key soon!

posted by retrophisch at 9:30 AM -->in Macintosh , liberty , tech
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Sunday, 13 October 2002

FireWire film scanner

SmartDisk has announced two new film scanners, one of which, the SmartScan 3600, is FireWire based. Now I have something else to add to my wish list as I get more into digital photography.

posted by retrophisch at 3:39 PM -->in Macintosh , tech
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