Mac News Review

Next iMac May Have Blu-Ray, Shop Going Mac Hits Unexpected Snag, Steampunk mini, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2008.03.07

PowerBook, iBook, MacBook, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iNews Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Products

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

An Enterprise PC Shop's Move to Apple Isn't as Easy as Expected

Computerworld's Julia King reports:

"Hindsight, as they say, is always 20/20.

"Less than five months after going public with plans to immediately start replacing its Windows-based PCs with Macs, Auto Warehousing Co. was forced to push back the project by more than a month. That was last December. The reason was not a lack of money, manpower or executive support. Rather, what stymied the project were protests from workers and objections from customers who perceived the technology switch as unnecessarily costly.

"'I didn't see this coming at all,' says Dale Frantz, CIO of the Tacoma, Wash.-based company. 'We never before had any of the workforce question our technological initiatives.' But with the Mac project, 'there was a perception that the equipment was much more expensive than traditional Windows PCs and that we were purchasing Lamborghini-level equipment with the company's profits,' he says."

"As Frantz saw it, fully disclosing costs was the best way to do that. He spent the next month explaining to everyone who would be affected the many reasons for the technology swap. Among those is the more than $1.82 million the company calculates it will save over the next three years."

George Fox University Going All Macintosh

Portland Business Journal reports:

"Beginning next fall, George Fox University will supply every incoming traditional undergraduate student with a MacBook laptop.

"The university has provided a computer to each undergraduate since 1991. After initially offering a Macintosh Classic computer to all incoming undergraduates, the university transitioned to all PCs in the late 1990s. For the last several years, it has offered both options and seen an increasing preference for the Mac. Last year, about 70 percent of freshmen chose Macintosh computers over PCs."

Next Gen iMacs May Be First Macs with Blu-ray

9to5Mac's Cleve Nettles says:

"Apple's next generation iMacs might not just be Penryn updates as speculated earlier. If they are one of the first computers to recieve [sic] the Intel Eaglelake motherboard (which support Penryns), they could also have some Blu-ray configurations as well...."

Steampunk Mac mini

steampunk Mac miniMac Observer's Jeff Gamet reports:

"The Macintosh may be cutting edge technology, but that didn't stop Dave Veloz from giving his mini a fantastic Steampunk work over. The mod included a redesigned keyboard, display, computer, and power supply - all suitable for any proper Victorian household wanting the latest in mechanical marvels."

Digitising Vinyl with an Old Mac

vulcanhammer.org reports:

"A recent offshoot of The Ancient Star-Song, the Christian music blog, is http://learntodigitizeyourrecords.blogspot.com/, which is a forum for 'tips and tricks' on getting your vinyl (or tape) into a digital format. Having done some of this (no where near what The Ancient Star-Song or Heavenly Grooves or the secular blogs have done,) I thought I would outline how I get this done on my old, low end Mac. Most this can be accomplished in pretty much the same way on a PC with a few modifications.

"The Mac I'm using is a Titanium G4 PowerBook. This laptop has an line audio input (as opposed to a microphone input, which won't do for this job,) which makes digitising easy. That's one of the main reasons I bought the PowerBook to start with. The manufacturers' inclusion of a line audio input on a computer has traditionally been an on-again, off-again proposition, and now it's almost mandatory to use some kind of USB appliance for line audio input on most computers."

NetApplications Posts February OS and Browser Market Share Stats

February 2008 OS shareOver the weekend, NetApplications posted market share statistics for February, 2008

The Mac OS (including iPhone and iPod) held its own but didn't make any gains over the month, while Safari is still solidly in third place in the browser market.

Editor's note: Interesting that the Mac OS share (7.46%) is over half that of Windows Vista. dk

Tips for Connecting to Shared Computers with Leopard

Maria's Guides says:

"What you might see when you connect.

"One of the things that threw me for a loop when I started using Leopard on my computers was the way Leopard identified folders on shared disks when a shared computer is set up to synchronize with an iDisk. Here are two examples...."

Is Time Capsule's Hard Drive Really 'Server Grade'?

Register Hardware's Tony Smith reports:

"Apple's Time Capsule, which went on sale last week, may not be quite what the Mac maker maintains it is, in the storage department at least.

"Time Capsule is Apple's 802.11n Wi-Fi router with an integrated 500 GB or 1 TB 'server-grade hard disk drive', to use Apple's words.

"But when one buyer took his Time Capsule apart, he found his machine contained a Hitachi Deskstar 1 TB, a hard drive designed not for servers but for desktop computers...."

Products

Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Leopard Edition

PR: Is Windows giving you pause? Ready to make the leap to the Mac instead? There has never been a better time to switch from Windows to Mac. O'Reilly Media has the incomparable guide to help you make a smooth transition - Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Leopard Edition ($29.99). In this indispensable and timely resource, New York Times columnist and Missing Manuals creator David Pogue gets you past the three major challenges of switching: transferring your stuff, assembling Mac programs so you can do what you did with Windows, and learning your way around Mac OS X.

Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Leopard EditionWhy switch now? Upgrading from one version of Windows to another used to be simple. But now there's Windows Vista, a veritable resource hog that forces you to relearn everything. Learning Leopard is not a piece of cake, but once you do, the rewards are oh-so-much better. No viruses, worms or spyware. No questionable firewalls, inefficient permissions, or other strange features. Just a beautiful machine with a thoroughly reliable system. And if you're still using Windows XP, we've got you covered, too.

"When you get right down to it, the job description of every operating system is pretty much the same... In other words, Mac OS X offers roughly the same features as recent versions of Windows. That's the good news," Pogue says in the first chapter.

He continues, "The bad news is that these features are called different things and parked in different spots. As you could have predicted, this rearrangement of features can mean a good deal of confusion for you, the Macintosh foreigner. For the first few days or weeks, you may instinctively reach for certain familiar features that simply aren't where you expect to find them, the way your tongue keeps sticking itself into the socket of the newly extracted tooth."

And Pogue is more than willing to walk you through every step until there is no chance of finding your tongue in the wrong place ever again. So if you're ready to take on Mac OS X Leopard, the latest edition of this best selling guide tells you everything you need to know:

Transferring your stuff. Moving files from Windows to Mac by cable, network, or disk is the easy part. But how do you extract your email stash, address book, calendar, Web bookmarks, buddy list, desktop pictures, and MP3 files? Now you'll know. Recreating your software suite. The big-name programs are available in both Mac and Windows versions. But hundreds of other programs are available only for Windows. This book identifies the Mac equivalents, guides you through moving your data into them - and tells you how to run Windows on the Mac, just in case. Learning Mac OS X "Leopard." Once you've moved into the Mac mansion, a final task awaits: learning your way around. Fortunately, you're in good hands with the author of Mac OS X Leopard: The Missing Manual, the #1 best selling Mac book on earth.

Moving from Windows to Mac successfully and painlessly is the one thing Apple does not deliver. Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Leopard Edition is your ticket to a new computing experience.

David Pogue is the weekly personal-technology columnist for the New York Times and an Emmy award-winning tech correspondent for CBS News. With 3 million books in print, he is also one of the world's best selling how-to authors. In 1999, he launched his own series of complete, funny computer books called the Missing Manual series, which now includes more than 30 titles.

Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Leopard Edition
David Pogue
ISBN: 0-596-51412-3,
608 pages,
$29.99 USD, £18.50 GBP
1-800-998-9938
1-707-827-7000

Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Leopard Edition is also available from Amazon.com for $19.79.

SlimKey Apple Keyboard/Laptop Stand

PR: Slim is in the name!

No matter which Mac you own, this SlimKey seems to be designed and made for it. While serving as a keyboard's tuckaway, its slim and flat profile is so surprisingly versatile, you can use it with any Mac. On iMac and Apple Display, it provides better ergonomics for your back, neck, and eyes by raising the monitor up an additional inch. On MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air, this stand is a wonderful cooler. The laptop will up off the desk, and that should provide better air flow for the machine. On Mac Mini, it is a great accessory as well.

The SlimKey Stand is constructed of 0.1085" thick steel, powder-coated in aluminum color matching that of the iMac or Apple Display. This stand spreads out the entire length of the slim keyboard and 9" deep, creating a sturdy structure, which can support any size of Apple Display or iMac, or any LCD up to 35 pounds.

You can pick and choose your Mac, but a SlimKey Stand is a must have.

Features:

  • Slim keyboard's best accessory.
  • Sturdy yet elegant and contemporary design.
  • Perfect for any size of iMac, or Apple Display, and LCD up to 35 pounds.
  • Great cooler for MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air.
  • Powder coated in aluminum color to match iMac and Apple Display, or Mac Mini.
  • Optional Apple Display Power Grip bracket.

Dimension: 18"(W) x 9"(D) x 1.0"(H)

Now shipping.

Price: $39.99

Corsair Announces 16 GB High Performance USB 2.0 Flash Drive

Flash Voyager USB drivePR: Corsair has announced a new 16 GB high performance "GT" Flash Voyager USB 2.0 drive. The new Corsair 16 GB GT Flash Voyager USB drive will be debuted at the CeBIT 2008 Show next week in Hanover, Germany on Corsair's stand (Booth 40 in Hall 21).

The new Flash Voyager GT USB drive provides data transfer rates that are up to 4X faster than standard USB 2.0 drives. Whether transporting office files, pictures or even full-length movies, you can "store-n-go" faster with the Corsair GT USB line. The drive has been optimized to take full advantage of its advanced flash controller technology as well as the screened and hand-selected NAND flash chips.

"People expect Corsair to deliver the highest performing products," said Jack Peterson, VP of Corporate Marketing at Corsair. "That's why our latest Flash Voyager GT offers both higher speeds and higher capacities than standard USB drives, making them ideal for discerning customers."

Performance data shows:

Capacity

  • 20 office files (1.06 MB)
  • 60 pictures (279 MB)
  • One movie (1.63 GB)

Corsair 16 GB GT USB Drive Features:

  • Maximum durability - proprietary all-rubber housing
  • Drive integrity - water resistant and shock resistant
  • Data security - TrueCrypt encryption software offering AES 256-bit encryption
  • User warranty - 10 years with on-demand customer support

The new 16 GB Flash Voyager GT utilizes Corsair's proprietary water and shock resistant all-rubber casing, meaning that users with busy and active lifestyles can be confident that their data is secure and protected from damage.

Corsair's 16 GB Flash Voyager GT USB drive is available through Corsair's authorized distributors and resellers worldwide. The drive is bundled with a lanyard, security software preloaded, and a USB extension cable. Corsair flash products are backed by a 10-year Limited Warranty. Complete customer support via telephone, email, forum and TS Xpress is also available. For more information on Corsair USB drives, visit :

Corsair 16 GB GT USB drives are immediately available:

Flash Voyager 16 GB GT ~ $169.99 USD MSRP

iMac Fans Hit the Road with CaseCruzer's Travel-Safe Pelican Carrying Case

PR: Tempted to Travel Cross Country with Your Prized Apple iMac Desktop Computer but Fear the Damage That Unfriendly Byways and Skyways May Deliver? Now Graphic Artists, and Media Professionals Can Power up with Peace of Mind When Hitting the Road with This New Pelican Case.

iMCruzerThe iMCruzer Apple carrying case creates a sigh of envy among iMac owners who fear a data crash when transporting the delicate high-end 20- and 24-inch computers.

The indestructible Pelican iMCruzer airline safe shipping case is designed to protect your expensive and delicate Apple iMac 20- and 24-inch computer with aluminum keyboard and mouse. The revolutionary design is another CaseCruzer travel solution.

This breakthrough Pelican carrying case with its custom foam interior protects slim monitors against the jolt and impact of rocky roads, careless baggage handlers and bustling trade shows. The case is 27.38 inches in length and width, and 16 inches high. It weighs about 38 lb. when empty. And like all Pelican products, the iMCruzer is watertight, airtight - and arrives with an unconditional lifetime guarantee.

The ingenious concept of the iMCruzer carrying case ensures an ideal fit for your elegant desktop because it was inspired by the compact, disposable packaging your iMac arrived in. You know Apple wants your computer to arrive safely. But a shipping box really only needs to succeed once - upon delivery. Now add CaseCruzer's Pelican Plus mindset and quality control takes on a whole new dimension. The iMCruzer design provides safe arrival not once or twice - but every time you hit the road or lift off.

Also, the iMCruzer's retractable handle and wheels make it easy to roll through any airport, convention hall or business presentation with flying colors. And the two mangle-proof fold-down side handles provide safe lifting into or out of a car or airport transport vehicle. This lightweight yet crushproof case is the natural choice for professionals who cannot be without their powerful computers while on business or vacation trips.

Jim Wilson, deputy director of photography at the Boston Globe, had a special destination in mind for his two 20-inch Apple iMacs - the 2008 Super Bowl in Arizona. He was disappointed that the New England Patriots lost, but thrilled with the reception of his iMCruzers.

"They were the envy of the Super Bowl. We showed up with these things and everybody was like, 'Wow. Where'd you get those?' The other photographers and editors wanted one," he said.

Wilson configured the two iMacs to edit images the six Boston Globe photographers shot during the big game. "I've done a few Super Bowls, and in the past other cases have broken in transit. Or I'm used to shipping equipment in boxes with gaffers tape. I shipped the iMCruzers FedEx and they arrived at my hotel without a problem. I'm a happy customer," he said.

It's no riddle why "Have Apple Will Travel" has emerged as a new irresistible way of life.

Trusting a flimsy laptop and notebook bag is no way to treat a legend. Owners of the sleek and revolutionary Apple iMac have grown accustomed to quality performance and excellent service. And that's the long and short of why CaseCruzer began developing the iMCruzer carrying case: Before the new iMacs were even available, the firm received inquiries about its intentions to create an exclusive travel case that lived up to its reputation for innovation and superior strength and design, all coupled with crowd-pleasing reliability.

Like other CaseCruzer products, iMCruzer is an excellent example of a unique and timely response to the special needs of a population on the move. Ready to roll with your Apple iMac? Think iMCruzer carrying cases. Where one legend meets another.

Call 800-440-9925 in the US or 909-613-1547 internationally

Software

Free TimeMachineEditor Changes the Interval of Time Machine Backups

PR: TimeMachineEditor is a utility for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard that lets you change the default one-hour backup interval of Time Machine.

You can change the interval or decide to make a backup once a day, once a week or once a month.

This is useful if you don't need to backup every hour and don't want the performance penalty. This is also especially useful if you manipulate lots of data within one hour as you would spend the whole day backing up.

TimeMachineEditor merely updates a system configuration file to change the Time Machine scheduling.

Nothing is installed in your system and you can easily revert back to the default settings (using the 'Show Default Settings' menu item from the 'Settings' menu).

Once you have changed the scheduling, you can still use the Time Machine preference pane from "System Preferences" as you did before. However the next backup date in the Time Machine preference pane may not be correct, this is just the user interface not being aware of the new scheduling and can be ignored without risk.

TimeMachineEditor is free software. Use at your own risk.

New in version 1.2.1:

  • Application Icon
  • French localization

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.5 or later.

System Support: PPC/Intel

Free

app4mac Releases CheckUp for Mac OS X

PR: app4mac has released CheckUp 1.0.1, an update to the innovative tool that allows you to check the health and monitor the behavior of a Mac computer (even from a remote computer). Built from the ground up with Mac OS X technologies, CheckUp features an amazing user interface. CheckUp is first designed to monitor the usage of CPU, Memory, Disk Drives and Network Adapters. CheckUp works with any Mac with a PowerPC G4, G5 or Intel Processor.

app4mac has released CheckUp 1.0.1, an update to the innovative tool that allows you to check the health and monitor the behavior of a Mac computer (even from a remote computer). Built from the ground up with Mac OS X technologies, CheckUp features an amazing user interface. CheckUp works with any Mac with a PowerPC G4, G5 or Intel Processor.

CheckUp is first designed to monitor the usage of CPU, Memory, Disk Drives and Network Adapters. You can display detailed information about all running processes and pause or terminate these at any time. By adding rules that will be triggered when certain conditions are met for a specified resource on the computer, you can receive visual notifications.

For example, CheckUp can alert you when a certain resource exceeds a certain value or when a hard drive seems to have hardware failures, even when the application is not opened (thanks to an innovative background process and the use of S.M.A.R.T. technology). CheckUp can also help you to determine if your computer is able to run Mac OS X Leopard or determine if your computer have enough memory to run all your Applications at the same time.

The graphical user interface is designed with a top priority on high usability in mind. Unlike other competing products it takes a very short time to setup your environment. CheckUp is lightning-fast on the latest Intel-based Macs. One of the most innovative feature of CheckUp is the ability to monitor a Mac on a network or via internet. It's a powerful feature for IT administrators interested to check a remote computer or a remote server.

New with version 1.0.1 :

  • better communication between CheckUp and CheckUpAgent * better compatibility with Intego Products
  • better compatibility with Parallels and Fusion
  • better network management
  • better stability
  • support of new MacBook and new MacBook Pro
  • Help improvements
  • Bugs fixed

System requirements: CheckUp Requires Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger or Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, a PowerPC G4, G5 or any Intel processors (Universal Binary).

A user license of CheckUp costs $49, and can be installed on two computers. Discounts are available for education and volume licensing.

A trial version of CheckUp is available at app4mac.com. Some features are free and will stay free like the Tools that allows you to repair authorizations of Mac OS X or run maintenance scripts.

Faronics Power Save Mac 2.0 Helps Leopards Go To Sleep

PR: Faronics advances the energy management capabilities of Mac computers by announcing the release of Power Save Mac 2.0. The showcase feature in this release is the Report Generator, which allows organizations to see exactly how much they've saved by measuring energy-use both before and after deploying Power Save. The 2.0 release of Power Save Mac now also provides support for Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.

Power Save uses non-disruptive computer energy management to ensure workstations are available when system resources are required, while conserving power during productivity downtimes. Power Save provides organizations with real financial and energy savings on every computer deployed, centralized workstation power status control, real-time savings reports, and policy scheduling.

Audit Mode reports on the energy and cost savings gained from the standard power saving actions that are already in place on a workstation. This serves as the before snapshot for the computer. The Power Save report provides the financial and energy savings that were generated from Power Save's intelligent energy management. By comparing these two reports, anyone can easily see the positive impact that Power Save Mac is able to provide. The Report Generator also helps IT administrators manage their deployment with the ability to organize workstations into groups.

"With all the concerns over global warming, carbon footprints, and rising energy costs, using Power Save makes perfect sense," says Vik Khanna, Vice President and COO of Faronics. "After all, you wouldn't leave your car running day and night, so why do it with your computer?"

What makes Power Save Mac superior than the standard power saving settings that come with every Mac computer is the fact that the energy-saving measures revolve around user activity, rather than fixed time values. With Power Save Mac, organizations can set computers to look at CPU, disk, and application activity before activating any energy-saving measures.

Power Save has been extremely popular with IT personnel that manage large computer deployments, such as Sung Lee, Director of Computer Support for HCC. "We've deployed Power Save enterprise-wide on all our workstations, which is saving us over $50,000 per year in energy costs. That's $50,000 that we now have to buy new IT equipment and software, hire more personnel, or invest into employee training."

Faronics is a recognized Energy Star partner and is also a member of the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, a non- profit group dedicated to developing, deploying, and adopting smart technologies that improve the efficiency of a computer's power delivery and reduce the energy consumed when the computer is in an inactive state. A free, fully functional 30 day evaluation version of Power Save can be downloaded from faronics.com for both Windows and Mac computers.

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