Mac News Review

Mac Hater Now Loves Macs, Apple Slows Mac Upgrades, Opera Turbo Boosts Browser Speed, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2009.02.20

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

Former Mac-Hater Says 'I Can Admit It: I Love Macs'

Computerworld's David Ramel says:

"I once wrote about how much I hated Macs - but now I see the error of my ways....

"I once wrote they could take my PC away when they pried it from my cold, stiff fingers in a blog titled 'I hate Macs.'"

"But . . . I'm typing this on a . . . um, a . . . wait, I can say it . . . on a . . . give me a second . . . yes, on a . . . Mac.

"I've been assimilated. Resistance was futile...."

What If Apple Never Updates the iMac?

Macworld UK's Mark Hattersley says:

"I'm serious. What if Apple has decided that the iMac that is currently on sale is the final update to the range. That's yer lot kids . . . buy them until there's no more left.

"There was a lot of chatter recently regarding an impending update to the iMac, but it still hasn't happened. Where is it? As the chatter dies down I'm strangely reminded of the Mac mini. This hasn't been updated since August 2007 and for a long time there were rumours of an impending update; in retrospect based upon nothing other than the fact that people believed that there was an update coming. Simply because it hadn't happened yet.

"Apple is clearly simply selling off a back catalogue stock of Mac minis. It can't really be making them any more, the Intel GMA 950 graphics processor isn't being produced, which is why the MacBook was updated to the X3100, then when that wasn't available any more it was upgraded to the new Nvidia 9400m."

Apple Slows Down Mac Upgrades in Sync with Economy

Wired's Brian X. Chen reports:

"Apple isn't going to roll out a revamped Mac desktop anytime soon, because you wouldn't buy one anyway, analysts say.

"Tough economic times, a shrinking desktop market and strong notebook sales make the idea of a sexy, aluminum Mac Mini an unwise investment for Apple, said Trip Chowdhry, a Global Equities Research analyst.

"'In this environment where nobody is buying anything and you come out with a kick-ass product, you might get a lot of wows and woos, but that does not convert into sales,' Chowdhry said. 'So that's a wasted effort.'"

"'iMac sales went to hell in December,' said Charlie Wolf, a Needham & Company analyst."

January Figures Suggests a Recession-resistant Quarter for Apple

AppleInsider's Prince McLean reports:

"Despite the red ink flowing from retailers and PC makers, Apple is expected to ride out its second fiscal quarter ending in March with respectable numbers nearly in line with its performance last year.

"Citing its own market research and numbers from NPD, research analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray has released a report estimating Mac shipments at 2 to 2.2 million units for the three-month period ending March, in line with the Street consensus of 2.2 million units.

"That's -6% growth compared to the nearly 2.3 million Macs Apple sold in its year-ago quarter...."

Opera Turbo Promises 'Game Changing' Browser Speed

The Register's Cade Metz reports:

"Opera will soon equip its desktop and mobile browsers with a mystery data compressor designed to significantly improve download speeds.

"'I really believe this will be a game changer when it comes to browsing on mobile broadband as well as fixed broadband in the emerging markets,' Chief Strategy Officer Rolf Assev tells The Reg....

"Predictably, Assev and company refer to this browser booster as Opera Turbo . . . [which] compresses network traffic by as much as 80 per cent. On laptops, speeds rise 71 per cent...."

Opera Unveils Compression Service for Speedier Browsing

IDG News Service's Elizabeth Montalbano reports:

"Opera Thursday unveiled a compression service it said speeds up browsing the Web on its mobile and desktop browsers.

"Opera Turbo compresses the bandwidth of text and data files on Web sites by 80 percent, the company said. It is now available to business customers, such as mobile handset providers and network operators, through the Opera Desktop, Opera Mobile and Opera Devices software development kits, so they can build the service into browsers on PCs and mobile devices.

"Delivered via Opera's servers, Opera Turbo is best suited to improve browsing on mobile devices and on the desktop when using low-bandwidth connections to the Internet, said Julie Sajnani, a communications manager for Opera...."

Products

SwiftStore RAID Storage Systems Connects via Gigabit Ethernet

PR: SwiftStore hard drives connect using Gigabit Ethernet ports to operate at faster speeds than hard drives that connect using USB or FireWire, making them a superior alternative to adding yet another USB hard drive to your computer. Enjoy phenomenal speeds that are at least twice as fast as any USB hard drive, even those with so-called "High-Speed" ports. How is this possible?

Because SwiftStore uses much faster Gigabit Ethernet connections that provide 1,000 Mbit performance while the fastest USB hard drives are limited to 480 Mbit speeds and FireWire 400/800 to their nominal speeds respectively. Also, SwiftStore includes the best available disk drives to ensure peak performance, while USB hard drives usually include the cheapest drives possible. They also use multiple hard drives to provide huge storage capacities. Plus, they offer other unique advantages over USB or FireWire hard drives.

With SwiftStore, you can choose whether to dedicate all storage capacity to a single computer by connecting to it directly or divide the storage capacity among multiple computers by connecting to them via a network router. With USB or FireWire, you need a separate hard drive for each computer that needs storage capacity resulting is wasted capacity.

SwiftStore combines the capacity of four hard drives into a single drive letter for massive storage space beyond what is possible from single-disk USB hard drives. All of this storage capacity can appear as a single drive letter for convenience instead of multiple drive letters from too many USB hard drives.

Enjoy the flexibility of SwiftStore networking by connecting it to your computer, an internet router, or a wireless router. With SwiftStore, you choose how to connect so you can place SwiftStore wherever you want - even if it's far from your computer. With USB hard drives, your hard drive is never more than a few feet away.

Have multiple computers? No problem. SwiftStore divides into multiple drive letters that can be individually assigned to different computers. You can even assign multiple drive letters to the same computer. This allows you to use one SwiftStore for multiple computers. With USB hard drives, it's always one unit per computer.

SwiftStore features include:

  • Faster speeds than USB 2.0 or FireWire 800 hard drives
  • Large capacities of 2 TB, 3 TB, 4 TB, or 6 TB that are expandable
  • Automatic LAN and WiFi support when connected to a router

Specifications

  • External P/S
    • Voltage:
      • Input: 110-220 VAC
      • Output: +12.0 VDC
    • Input Current: 2.0 A
    • Output Current: 8.33 A
    • Power: 100W
    • Input Freq: 50 - 60 Hz
  • Disk Drives: 4 x 7200 RPM SATA-2
  • Network Connector: 1 x 1000 Base-T (RJ-45)
  • RAID: 0, 1, 0+1
  • Physical:
    • Height: 6.9" (175 mm)
    • Width: 5.6" (142 mm)
    • Depth: 10.2" (259 mm)
  • Operating Temp: 40 - 95 deg F (5 - 35 deg C)

System Requirements

  • Mac System
    • Mac with Intel or PPC CPU
    • Mac OS X 10.4 or later
    • 512 MB of memory or more
    • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • PC System
    • PC with Intel or AMD CPU
    • Windows XP SP2 (32-bit), Vista, or Windows 2003.
    • 512 MB of memory or more
    • Gigabit Ethernet port

The Newt Data SwiftStore high-speed hard drives are now available in 2 TB, 3 TB, 4 TB, or 6 TB capacities from the Newt Data online store. Suggested retail prices range from $649 to $1,799 and limited quantities of refurbished systems are available at a discount.

Software

Postbox Launches Public Beta of New Desktop Email Application

PostboxPR: A new desktop email application, Postbox lets people spend less time managing email and more time using email to get things done. Powered by the Mozilla platform, Postbox automatically detects, analyzes, and catalogs all types of content, including text, documents, images, and URLs. As a result, it's easier to find, organize, and take action on content typically hiding deep within email applications.

San Francisco-based startup Postbox has announced the general availability of its public beta. Based on Mozilla technology, this new desktop email application helps users make the most of email, offering powerful new ways to find, use, and view email messages and content, organize work life, and simply get stuff done. Postbox was selected from more than 1,000 entries to launch at September's industry-leading TechCrunch50 2008 event. Since that preview the company has been operating a private beta. Beginning today anyone can visit www.getpostbox.com to start using the Postbox beta.

Postbox "Today's email applications no longer fit the realities of how we use them, neither personally nor professionally," said Sherman Dickman, cofounder of Postbox. "We developed Postbox to act as a communications-enabled command center, combining easy-to-use content search and organizing tools with the power and efficiency of the web. After the overwhelmingly positive feedback from our private beta, we are opening our public beta today, so a larger audience can wrest back control of their inboxes."

Find anything and everything regardless of where it's filed

Postbox works behind the scenes to catalog everything in your email: every bit of text, every contact, address or link, every picture, document or attachment. It's all in the catalog and it's all searchable. Users simply click the Images tab to see a thumbnail gallery of every picture from every message, or the Attachments tab to browse through documents, files and more. And since Postbox does all of its cataloging on the computer, the privacy and confidentiality of email information is preserved.

Focus on what's important, not what's new

Overloaded inboxes contain hundreds, if not thousands, of messages - and pull users in different directions. Postbox lets users organize messages by topic, so they can focus on one thing at a time while minimizing interruptions from unrelated messages. A topic can be anything - a project, important client, event, or a custom tag. Within a topic, users can send and receive messages, create to-dos, annotate messages, and search for relevant content regardless of file type or location.

Postbox also provides a simple and lightweight way to use email messages to manage and track To-Dos, perfect for people who live out of their inbox. Mark messages "To-Do," and they will appear at the top of the message list, so important items won't get pushed out of view. Create new To-Dos directly within the inbox, without having to email yourself reminders.

"After a decade of developing the Mozilla Thunderbird and now Postbox email platforms I've come to understand that the data trapped inside our email is the closest thing many of us have to a personal database," said Scott MacGregor, cofounder of Postbox. "We've designed Postbox to make it easier for users to find, prioritize and use their information in a personally relevant way."

Postbox Find

Postbox works behind the scenes to catalog everything in your email. We mean everything: every bit of text in the body of your messages, every contact, address or web link. Every picture, document or attachment. It's all in the catalog and it's all searchable. To make what you've found easier to use, search results are delivered in context. Text is displayed in multi-sentence abstracts, messages in threads, and images and documents as thumbnails with associated information.

Free Your Mail

Once you've found it, you can really start doing things. Postbox is designed to break down barriers. Any mail content can be annotated or combined with information from the web to create new mail messages. Want to get the information out of Postbox? No problem. You can post content to online communities and sharing sites right from the Postbox window. Want to get web content into Postbox? Just as easy. A handy sidebar lets you pull in information directly from Internet search engines, reference sites and photo-sharing or other online communities.

Postbox Breaks down barriers to promote effective communication

Postbox's integrated web functionality puts the power of third-party web services and search directly within email. Instead of cutting and pasting or dragging and dropping between applications, found data is displayed in context and can be easily repurposed in new messages or web searches, or even shared online - all from within Postbox. Postbox is service neutral and can connect content from multiple email accounts (including secure work accounts) to third-party services, including search, photo sharing, bookmarking, and social networking services.

Postbox beta for both Mac and PC is available now for free download via any web browser.

Postbox will support all popular email protocols including IMAP, POP3, SMTP, Mobile Me, Gmail, RSS and Newsgroups, as well as integration with web services like Google, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and Delicious

System requirements::

  • Mac OS X 10.4 and later
  • Macintosh computer with a G4 or G5 processor
  • At least 512 MB of RAM
  • At least 200 MB of available space on your hard drive
  • iPhoto 5 strongly recommended

System support: PPC/Intel

PictureItPostage Create USPS Postage from Any Photo on Your Mac

PictureItPostagePR: PictureItPostage lets you create real US Postage with your own photo, artwork, or business logo. It's perfect for holiday cards, birth announcements, wedding invitations, or business mailings that you want to get noticed and opened.

PictureItPostage seamlessly integrates with iPhoto or your iSight, giving you easy way to create postage from any photo on your Mac. Zoom, rotate, crop and apply filters to make your postage perfect.

Turn your letters into personalized works of art!

News for Business Users.

PictureItPostage isn't just for babies and puppies, anymore. Updated postal rules now allow the printing of your company logo or advertising message.

Imagine a wedding invitation with a color picture of the happy couple! When you send out invitations for your child's birthday why not have his or her color picture on the postage stamp! How about making your faithful family dog famous, or showing off this year's championship Little League team?

Your new stamps will feature:

  • 46% more area for your photograph than other services.
  • An elegant serration design on all four sides of the stamp.
  • The option to print your photograph in either portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Your photograph, logo or design on real US Postage.

Called "a joy to use" by MacHome Magazine, PictureItPostage is versatile, intuitive and simple to use on a Mac. That's because it's fully integrated with iPhoto, including smart albums and photocasts.

To make your own postage, just select a picture or graphic from your iPhoto library, or any other folder on your Macintosh, and then adjust it to create the perfect design. We give more...

New in version 2.2.2:

  • Version 2.2.2 features iSight integration, cool rotation animation, multiple sheet discounts and fine-image control. The best application for making customized postage just got better.
  • Endicia's PictureItPostage makes all of this possible....
  • You provide the image and select the denomination of stamp you want, and Endicia will ship you sheets of beautiful color stamps in a matter of days. Each sheet contains 20 stamps in a convenient peel and stick format.

System requirements: PictureItPostage requires Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger", an Internet connection, and a Mac that supports Quartz Extreme. iPhoto 5 is not required, but is recommended.

$17.95 demoware

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