Mac News Review

PC Enthusiasts Willing to Consider a Mac, Mac mini Tips, Dell Clueless to Home Market, and More

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.02.11

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

PowerBook, iBook, iPod, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review.

Windows Watch

This week's 'Book Review: 'Books tops in reliability, support; replace or repair; PowerBook G5 still a ways off; and more. Also hopes for a lighter PowerBook, stainless steel replacement hinges for TiBook, bargain 'Books from $280 to $1,739, and more.

40% of PC Enthusiasts Would Consider Mac as Second Computer

NEWS: X-bit's Anton Shilov reports:

"A significant part of PC users would consider buying an Apple computer as their second computer provided that it is stylish and affordable, says a recent poll by X-bit labs website oriented towards PC enthusiasts. The results outline growing popularity of products by Apple Computer.

"Recently released results of an X-bit poll demonstrate about 40% of surveyed feeling positive about considering to buy an affordable and stylish Apple Mac computer in order to learn how to use Mac OS X and use it in addition to PC, however, another 60% still felt like they would rather own another PC than a Mac. While the majority is still looking into the PC universe, 40% of PC users is a significant market to address by Apple Computer, who commands only about 1% of global market of computers....

"X-bit labs readers are well-educated and typically make balanced purchase decisions based on in-depth investigations and observations. The X-bit labs poll surveyed over 1.5 thousand of respondents among technology enthusiasts in mid-January, 2005."

Mac mini: Half the Server at a Quarter of the Price

NEWS: Load test are performed by Tenon and Macminicolo.net on a low-end Mac mini to validate their claim that the Mac mini is a suitable Web server platform for 80% of the websites on the market.

The tests measured the performance of a 1.25 GHz Mac mini compared to a 1.8 GHz dual G5. Both servers were running Mac OS X 10.3.7 and the Apache 2.0.50 web server under iTools. The Mac mini had been outfitted with an extra 256 MB of memory; otherwise the system was a stock release from Apple. The dual G5 also had 512 MB of memory and a 140 GB disk - also a readily available stock Apple configuration for about $2,145.

The Mac mini topped out at 1,239 hits per second, yielding 2,502 Kbytes/sec of data served, while the dual G5 held up 2,174 hits per second, yielding 4,387 Kbytes/sec. It is probable that other testers will be able to produce improved hits per second from both machines, however most day-to-day installations will orbit around these performance levels.

While these figures aren't at the top end of the generally available ISP-class web server performance curve by any means, the economics of the Mac mini are such that for the first time ever there is a competitive Macintosh server able to handle more than 1,000 hits per second yielding 20 Mbits of data at a price that meets or beats much of the industry - and it all comes in an Apple package with their traditional emphasis on quality, style and Mac OS X's UI. A great little server for the rest of us!

mini Options

NEWS: Computerworld's Frank Hayes says:

"Will the Mac mini have an impact on us? Probably. And it'll likely almost all be good news. For corporate IT, there's no downside to the mini. And any upside will take a year or so to hit us.

Mac mini"Will it matter? Will the world really change now that Apple is rolling out a sub-US$500 Mac named after a cute little car? Will the Mac mini have any impact on corporate IT at all? The answers are pretty clear: Yes, no and sure, but not the way Mac lovers might expect.

"Let's get the obvious analysis out of the way upfront: A $500 price tag won't make corporate IT shops crave Macs. Heck, if Apple gave them away with a $500 bill taped to each machine, we still wouldn't use them. The transition costs would be too high.

"But will the Mac mini have an impact on us? Probably. And it'll likely almost all be good news.

"We're used to writing off Apple as irrelevant because Macs don't run Windows software. (Strictly speaking, they can, but it's usually not worth the trouble to make that happen.)....They're not for us. That's corporate IT gospel.

"But notice: Even at just 3 percent, there are still only seven companies in the world that sell more computers than Apple does. And most of those seven companies are sweating, because there's not much they can do to innovate or differentiate in the lock-step, beige-box game.

"Meanwhile, irrelevant Apple gets to do pretty much whatever it wants. Because corporate IT shuns Macs, Apple doesn't sell to us. . . . So if Apple wants to abandon floppy disks or sell computers in funny colors or shapes, it can. In contrast, PC makers have been trying since 1999 to get away from the beige tower and legacy features. So far, they haven't even managed to get rid of parallel printer ports."

Controlling Your Mac mini with Your Newton

NEWS: Engadget's Peter Rojas says:

"When we joked a few weeks ago in the part about VNC in our tutorial on turning your Mac mini into a media center that we'd give '300 bonus points to anybody who sends us a shot of their Newton controlling their Mac mini,' we never thought we'd actually have to pay up. Alright, Kyle Fiducia, will you take a third-party bad check?"

Mac mini RAM Upgrade Tutorial

NEWS: macsimumnews.com's Jeff Graber says:

"As an Apple Service Provider even I was surprised to hear Apple insist users take their Mac minis to a shop for memory upgrades. For years, users have been doing their own memory upgrades, and Apple has been promoting 'self-service' actively for the past few years. So what gives?

"Then it occurred to me: either Apple doesn't trust the skills of an average user with a 'modified' putty knife, or Apple is pushing for its own RAM upgrades on this low margin Mac through the build-to-order process. If you know it already, Apple's RAM is priced beyond reason.

"If you have a putty knife with a 1.5-inch flexible blade, just sand down with 150 grit paper on one side for about two minutes until the edge is slightly beveled. Then with your 'modified' putty knife in hand...."

Mac mini Service Manual Source

NEWS: Hardmac's Lionel reports:

"Apple publishes complete documentations showing how to disassemble each machine to authorized maintenance centers. It's impossible to tweak your machine with a certain success without these docs. The website http://www.smashsworld.com which had already published a video of the disassembly, now has a bitTorrent link to download this pdf. They've probably chosen this solution knowing that Apple hates to see its pdfs on the web."

Evoluent VerticalMouse 2

Evoluent VerticalMouse 2PR: The Evoluent VerticalMouse 2 has a patented new shape that supports your hand in a relaxed handshake position and eliminates arm twisting.

Right and left hand models available.

Eliminates Arm Twisting

Evoluent VerticalMouse 2The patented shape supports your hand in a relaxed handshake position that eliminates forearm twisting. You will quickly become accustomed to the improved comfort.

An ordinary horizontal mouse requires your forearm to twist away from its natural position.

The grip is the same as an ordinary mouse, just turned sideways, and the buttons are operated by the same fingers. There is virtually no retraining necessary.

The button force is light for easy clicking, but still firm enough to avoid accidental actuation. The mouse does not move sideways when clicking with normal force. Pointer control is as accurate as any other good mouse.

1200 dpi true optical resolution sensor reduces hand movements. Great for games. (Other mice have 800 dpi)

Evoluent VerticalMouse 2Five programmable buttons with 59 selectable functions each, plus special features such as:

  • Vertical scroll - press a button and drag the mouse to scroll with greater precision and control than the scroll wheel.
  • Auto click - automatically perform a double click by pausing the pointer.
  • Click lock - press and hold a button momentarily to simulate continued pressing without holding down the button.

Compatibility

Mac:

  • 1 button in OS 9, 2 buttons and scroller without additional driver in OS 10 or higher.
  • Third party driver available for extra cost at http://www.usboverdrive.com enables all buttons.
  • USB port.

Unix

  • 3 buttons without additional driver.
  • USB port.

Linux

  • 5 buttons in XFree 4.0.1 or higher without additional driver.
  • USB port.

Windows PC

  • 5 programmable buttons enabled by included driver.
  • Windows XP, 2000, NT, ME, 98SE.
  • USB, PS/2.

Specifications

  • Resolution: 1200 dpi true optical resolution
  • Length: 4.6"/11.7 cm
  • Width: 3"/7.6 cm
  • Height: 3"/7.6 cm
  • Cable: 2 m

The C-Station Relaxation Station

C-StationPR: Bluebroc's C-Station is a "relaxation station" designed to combine home computing and mobile working with extreme comfort. The launch of the chair has sparked a demand from all over the world with one of its first UK customers being celebrity Jonathan Ross.

The idea was conceived by Managing Director and designer Paul Tasker after spending five uncomfortable months riding his motorbike from London to Sydney, Australia. "Necessity is the mother of invention," he said. "Sitting on the bike, I dreamt of comfort. By the time I crossed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the concept for the 'C-Station' was formed."

The concept is simple - whether surfing the Web, working, or watching a DVD, the C-Station is designed for comfort and relaxation. The C-shaped workspace wrapped around the ergonomically designed chair provides space for a remote control, mobile phone,book and drink. In addition, a Mac or PC can be installed with adjustable flat screen monitor, wireless keyboard, and mouse for the ultimate work or relaxation space.

C-StationMore and more people are choosing to work from home, and in general we are spending increasing amounts of time surfing the Web. The C-Station is the perfect addition to a studio, office, or home and is available in a variety of colours and fabrics.

The C-Station can be seen online at or at the Bluebroc showroom at the Business Design Centre, Islington, UK.

The idea is simple - to chill out. Designed so that all you want is close to hand - the remote control, telephone, book, and drink - everything you need. By adding a flat screen monitor on an adjustable arm, a cordless keyboard, and a mouse, C-Station brings together style, comfort, elegance, and technology, perfect for home cinema, gaming, listening to music, or just chilling.

C-Station is a relaxation-station - not a workstation.

Colours: leather chamois black, light grey, cream, white, sapphire, pillar box [red]

Kanguru Solutions Releases Newly Redesigned Kanguru Quicksilver

PR: Kanguru Solutions announces the release of the newly redesigned Kanguru Quicksilver external hard drive.

Kanguru QuicksilverThe ultimate storage solution for saving or backing up data, the Kanguru Quicksilver external hard drive features a new cutting-edge design. A high strength exterior alloy casing allows for improved heat dissipation during prolonged use. It also provides the option for users to lay the product horizontal or stand vertical to economize precious storage space.

As an additional feature, a vibrant Kanguru LED glows electric blue, providing an eye-catching display when the drive is operating. The sleek and lightweight design of the Kanguru Quicksilver is also incredibly durable, and it is able to withstand up to 200 Gs of shock.

Available in USB 2.0 and combination FireWire/USB 2.0 options, the Kanguru Quicksilver transfers data at lightning speeds and now offers a high performance 7200 RPM drive and 400 GB storage capacity.

A plug and play device, it works with most operating systems including Windows 98/98 SE/ME/2000/XP. The Kanguru Quicksilver also works with Mac OS 9.1 and above and Linux 2.4.1 and above operating systems.

Addonics 'Saturn Hard Drive Enclosures Bring Mobility, Multi-Interface Compatibility to SATA and IDE Hard Drives

PR: Addonics Technologies has announced the Saturn Hard Drive Enclosure family of products, the first drive enclosure kit that enables any SATA hard drive to connect to a computer via USB, FireWire, CardBus/PCMCIA, SATA or IDE interface. Saturn is also the first storage solution that allows any 3.5" SATA hard drive, or 3.5", 2.5", or 1.8" IDE hard drive to be used as removable drive via the same drive bay in a Mobile Rack application.

Saturn Hard Drive EnclosureDesigned on a modular concept, the Saturn hard drive enclosure components can be mixed and matched to meet practically any storage application. Since all Saturn components are interchangeable, users can mix components for specialized applications. Saturn Hard Drive kit enables users to read/write to their hard drive with practically any computing device, both legacy and new systems as well as provide desktop and mobile use.

Common configurations in the Saturn Drive Enclosure kits include:

Saturn ExDrive (SED) - An external hard drive solution using a SATA or IDE hard drive. The Saturn ExDrive enclosure is designed with Addonics USIB connector to enable either SATA or IDE hard drives to connect to various interfaces by attaching different USIB interface cables. Each ExDrive package comes with one Addonics USIB interface cable and an 110/220V AC/DC power adapter. The enclosure can be expanded into a Combo Hard Drive or Drive Cartridge system with the optional IDE Drive Cradle or USIB Drive Cradle.

Saturn Mobile Rack (SMR) - A removable hard drive storage solution via an IDE Drive Cradle mounted inside a 5.25" drive bay. Either SATA or IDE hard drives can be installed or removed from the same Drive Cradle as a removable hard drive.

Saturn Combo Hard Drive (SCHD) - Combines the features of the Saturn ExDrive and Mobile Rack. The Drive enclosure, when removed from the Drive Cradle, can be used as an external hard drive system using one of the Addonics USIB interface cables and the power adapter that are included in each package.

Saturn Drive Cartridge System (SDCS) - The Saturn SDCS configuration adds a hot swappable removable hard drive system inside a 5.25" drive bay via USB, SATA, or FireWire interface with the included USIB interface cable in each package. External installation is supported with the optional power adapter and optional USIB interface cable. This is the most complete installation with room to expand as well as the option to change interfaces as needed.

All Addonics Saturn Hard Drive kits include the necessary components and hardware for users to install their own choice of hard drive. An optional kit is available for installing a 2.5" or 1.8" IDE hard drive in the same enclosure. SATA as well as IDE hard drives can also be interchanged in any system via the same 5.25" drive bay. The Saturn enclosure and cradle systems are designed with direct point-to-point connection from the hard drive to the enclosure and the drive cradles for the most reliable connection.

Almost any level of user can configure the Saturn Drive Cartridge system. No switches or jumpers or special format utility software is required to prepare the hard drive, or for switching between internal/external use once the drive is installed. Addonics Saturn Hard Drive kits can be installed in systems with practically any operating system depending on the type of interface connection.

List price of the Addonics Saturn Drive Cartridge kit starts from $74.50 for the Saturn ExDrive (SED) for SATA hard drives with USB 2.0 interface to $79 for the Saturn Drive Cartridge System (SDCS) with hot swappable removable IDE hard drive capabilities.

Addonics products are available through the company online store, major catalog companies, resellers, VARs, and distributors, including Newegg.com, Amazon.com, PC Connection, CDW, Buy.com, Provantage.com, Insight, and Ingram Micro.

Windows Watch

Dell Doesn't Understand Home Market

NEWS: BusinessWeek's Nicholas G. Carr says:

"The tech business has a lot of trash talkers, but Dell CEO Kevin Rollins isn't one of them. Reserved and circumspect, he chooses his words carefully.

"So it was quite a surprise to hear him launch a verbal attack against rival Apple Computer in a recent interview. Rollins dismissed Apple's mega-selling iPod as a 'fad,' calling it a 'one-product wonder,' and he pooh-poohed the eye-catching Mac mini as inconsequential.

"Rollins' comments are more than uncharacteristic. They're troubling - and not just for their snippiness. They raise real questions about how well Dell understands the home market.

"Up to now, Dell has been able to use pretty much the same strategy in selling computers to consumers as to business buyers: Offer functional, standard machines at cutthroat prices. Focus relentlessly on cutting supply-chain costs. Don't worry about product design."

Carr goes on to analogize how Henry Ford in the 1920s made the same blunder, sticking with the austere Model T while General Motors' President Alfred P. Sloan introduced a string of attention-grabbing Chevrolet models with smart new features. "By 1927, Chevys were actually outselling Model Ts. The market had gone, to use Sloan's terms, from 'mass' to 'mass class.'"

The once dominant Ford Motor Company never regained its market lead over GM.

"Ford's fall stands as a cautionary tale for all companies that have thrived by riding the commoditization wave of a new consumer product," Carr concludes.

Computing's Silent Revolution

NEWS: Cnet News.com's David Becker says:

"PC noise is raising a ruckus as more powerful computers require stronger and often louder cooling systems and PCs begin to move from the office into living rooms and bedrooms.

"The quest for quiet computing has inspired a cottage industry of specialist manufacturers, growing attention from major PC makers and a small underground of acoustic cultists. Will average consumers pay more to dim the decibels?

"Once a minor annoyance, noise from PCs has become a growing concern as ever-more powerful computers require stronger and often noisier cooling systems - especially with PCs moving out of the office into living rooms and bedrooms. The quest for quiet computing has inspired a cottage industry of specialist manufacturers, growing attention from major PC companies and a small underground of acoustic cultists who'll go to any extreme to eliminate another decibel of PC din....

"Most PC noise issues come down to heat. As processors and other components have become more powerful and electricity-hungry, they've required bigger and faster fans to keep them from burning to a crisp."

Matrox Dual Link Parhelia DL256 PCI Graphics Card Supports 30" Apple Cinema HD Display under Windows

PR: Matrox Graphics Inc. has announced the Parhelia DL256 PCI, a 256 MB PCI graphics card designed to power next-generation high-resolution dual link digital flat panels, such as the 30" Apple Cinema HD Display, with resolutions up to 2560 x 1600. Along with this remarkable technology, the Parhelia DL256 PCI graphics card enables users to connect a second VGA display or video monitor for convenient video output and multi-display flexibility as well as providing unique What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) video output plug-ins for a host of popular video editing, compositing and visual effects applications.

"The Parhelia DL256 PCI graphics card, when used in conjunction with the new Apple Cinema HD Display, provides creative professionals with unprecedented desktop space for viewing, editing and creating detailed graphics and video," says Caroline Injoyan, product manager, Matrox Graphics. "This solution dramatically augments workstation productivity through enhanced desktop real estate and video output support and offers Matrox's renowned digital and analog image quality for amazing results."

The Matrox Parhelia DL256 PCI is a 64-bit, 66 MHz graphics card that's slot compatible with all 32-bit and 64-bit PCI and PCI-X slots. Incorporating dual 400 MHz RAMDACs and dual TMDS transmitters, the Parhelia DL256 PCI enables dual link DVI support for resolutions up to 2560 x 1600 as well as support for an analog VGA display at resolutions up to 2048 x 1536. An included S-video and composite video output cable combines with Matrox's PureVideo Preview technology to provide full screen video playback to an NTSC or PAL video monitor. Bundled software includes the Matrox PowerDesk-HF utility suite, an intuitive and feature rich interface for adjusting board-level and multi-display parameters, and WYSIWYG video output plug-ins for Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop, Discreet Combustion 3, Discreet 3ds max, and NewTek LightWave 3D®. The Parhelia DL256 PCI is OpenGL and Microsoft DirectX compliant and ships with display drivers for Microsoft Windows XP and Windows 2000.

The Matrox Parhelia DL256 PCI graphics card is available at an ESP of $699 from authorized resellers and directly from Matrox.

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