Mac News Review

20 Year Old Mac IIci Dies, Mozilla for Classic Mac OS, USB 3 on Mac This Year?, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2009.07.10

A real blast from the past this week - one story about a Mac IIci that finally died after 20 years of use, another about Classilla, an adaptation of the Mozilla code base to the classic Mac OS. And on the cutting edge, the revelation that we just might see the new superspeed USB 3.0 protocol implemented on Macs before the end of the year. USB 3.0 is 10x faster than 2.0, can handle incoming and outbound data simultaneously, and provides up to 80% more power to USB 3.0 devices - that means faster charging for your iPhone, iPod, etc.

MacBook, PowerBook, iBook, 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 & Services

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Macintosh IIci Mac IIci Finally Dies After 20 Years

Cult of Mac's Leander Kahney reports:

"Apple rightly has a reputation for making quality gear. The company doesn't make junk that breaks down in a few months, or even years. Or even 20 years.

"MacMedics, a repair shop in Millersville, Maryland, recently serviced a Macintosh IIci, which was on the blink after two decades of faithful service."

Why Get a Mac Instead of a PC?

The New Zealand Herald's Mark Webster comments:

"As TechRadar in Britain puts it, 'Macs are beautifully designed and engineered, not simply from an aesthetic perspective but, more importantly for many, in usability terms too. The operating system is generally fast, elegant and - thanks to its Unix pedigree - secure and incredibly powerful as well.'

"[Many] think they're paying too much for products with Apple badges on them . . . But despite any real or perceived price differentiation, Macs still score very well on reliability....

"Once someone comes up with the money, they tend to keep sending it Apple's way. Strangely, even a search on Microsoft's new search engine Bing tells you to use a Mac if you type in 'should I use a Mac or a PC?'...

"Apple also polled best in New Zealand for after sales service . . . 99 per cent of NZ Apple desktop computer owners reported 'satisfaction' with their Macs . . . 15.91 per cent of the respondents in NZ owned (or used) Macs . . . And all but 1 per cent of them would buy Macs again."

Macs Could Have USB 3.0 This Year

Macsimum News's Dennis Sellers thinks Apple will be one of the early adopters of USB 3.0 (also known as SuperSpeed USB), which will theoretically offer transfer throughput up to 10 times faster than USB 2.0, but Sellers suggests that FireWire (including the upcoming FireWire 3200) still has several advantages over USB 3.0 citing a 2007 comparison of the two technologies by Tech-Blorge's Triston McIntyre, and noting that there's no reason Macs can't have both FireWire and USB 3.0 ports.

Can an SD Card Startup Disk Be Used with Any Mac?

Macworld's Roman Loyola says:

"Last week, I posted a video on how-to create an SD card startup disk for the new MacBook Pros, the ones with the built-in SD card slot. I got several e-mail responses to that video, all of them asking . . . can an SD card startup disk be used on any Mac?"

Loyola did some informal testing found that in some cases it can but many others not.

30" LCD Showdown: Apple vs. Dell

The Apple Blog's James Dempsey says that in his quest to upgrade an aging dual-monitor setup for his Mac Pro, the only real decision to make was choosing between an Apple 30 Cinema Display and a Dell 30 UltraSharp Widescreen. He ended up going with the $800 cheaper Dell and explains why (not just because of the price).

Products & Services

Take Control of Safari 4

PR: Close on the heels of Apple's release of the Safari 4 Web browser, TidBITS Publishing Inc. has published Take Control of Safari 4 ($10) by Sharon Zardetto.

The 92-page book helps beginning and intermediate Mac users learn new Safari 4 features like Top Sites and searching the page content of bookmarks and history, and it provides essential advice on smart ways to manage bookmarks, load multiple Web pages at once, fill out forms automatically, keep track of passwords, download files, keep up with favorite Web sites via RSS, and manage Web-browsing history.

Readers will find answers to common questions like these:

  • Take Control of Safari 4How do I load six Web pages at once?
  • Now that I've loaded six pages, how do I best work with them?
  • What are all the keyboard shortcuts for working with tabs?
  • How do I bookmark a page I want to return to?
  • How do I import Firefox bookmarks?
  • I have 1,042 bookmarks. Is there a sensible way to search or organize them?
  • What are the default keyboard shortcuts for the bookmarks bar?
  • Can I search for text on the currently active Web page?
  • How do I erase my history to prevent someone snooping through it?
  • Where does Safari store Web site user names and passwords?
  • Help! However Safari stored my password, it doesn't work any more!
  • How do I use Safari to read RSS headlines from different sites?
  • How do I "snip" a Web page to make it into a Dashboard widget?

Sharon Zardetto has been writing about the Macintosh professionally since 1984, including nearly a thousand articles in Macintosh magazines and over 20 books. She's best known for writing several editions of The Macintosh Bible, along with The Mac Almanac.

Take Control of Safari 4
Publisher: TidBITS
Sharon Zardetto
Take Control of Safari 4,
PDF format,
92 pages,
free 30-page sample available
PDF Price: $10

OWC Memory Upgrades for 2008 iMacs Offer up to 70% Savings over Factory Upgrade

PR: Other World Computing (OWC) announces OWC DDR2 800MHz Memory Upgrades are now available up to 6GB for iMac Core 2 Duo Aluminum (Early 2008/Penryn) models. OWC Memory Upgrades offer these iMac model users the advantages of two upgrade options not available from the factory and a cost savings up to 70% on the same size 4GB Kit upgrade, plus a Lifetime Advance Replacement Warranty and Money Back Guarantee.

OWC Memory Upgrades up to 6GB for Apple iMac Core 2 Duo (Early 2008/Penryn) models:

  • OWC 1GB DDR2 800MHz Memory Module - $15.99
    68% lower cost than factory 1GB upgrade.
  • OWC 2GB DDR2 800MHz Memory Module - $29.99
    70% lower cost than factory 2GB upgrade.
  • OWC 4GB (2 x 2GB matched memory modules) DDR2 800MHz Memory Kit - $59.97
    70% lower cost than factory 4GB upgrade.
  • OWC 4GB DDR2 800MHz Memory Module - $149.99
    Add to existing 1GB or 2GB factory module for up to 6GB total memory.
    Available from OWC only - Not offered by factory.
  • OWC 6GB (2GB + 4GB matched memory modules) DDR2 800MHz Memory Kit - $167.99
    Available from OWC only - Not offered by factory.

For more information on OWC Memory Upgrades for every iMac model produced since 1998, visit <https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/apple/memory/iMac>

FireWire External Storage Solutions up to 4TB Starting at $165.99

OWC also offers iMac Core 2 Duo (Early 2008) owners a wide choice of Plug and Play, fully bootable, high performance FireWire 800 external storage solutions up to 4TB for faster system performance and higher capacity over the stock internal drive. Prices start at $165.99 for the award-winning 1TB OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro™ "Quad Interface" FireWire 800/FireWire 400/USB 2.0/eSATA storage solution.

For more information on OWC FireWire External Storage Solutions, visit <https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/>

OWC memory upgrades are available from 16MB up to 32GB for nearly every current and past Apple notebook and desktop computer manufactured during the past twenty years, including Mac Pro Xeon, iMac, PowerMac, Xserve, iBook, and PowerBook computers. By maintaining an active state-of-the-art test lab, OWC can ensure its memory upgrades offer the highest product quality and reliability and backs them with a Lifetime Advance Replacement Warranty and Money Back Guarantee.

OWC's independent memory benchmarks testing on a wide variety of Mac computers consistently demonstrates having more memory provides higher real-world performance. OWC memory performance gains are even more apparent when using memory intensive applications, such as audio/video, photo, 3D modeling, gaming and other applications, where OWC memory upgrades offer the best performance for the investment.

Software

Classilla: A Modern Browser for Mac OS 9

PR: Classilla is a free, open source browser for Mac OS 9 (and where possible Mac OS 8.6), bringing back web browser support to your classic Macintosh - built on WaMCoM, a port of Mozilla to classic Macintosh systems, using the same technology underpinning the popular Firefox browser. It's completely free, it's open source, and it's standards-compliant. Use it without cost or restriction; or, if you've got the skills, hack it and make it your own. Classilla brings your wonderful old Power Macintoshes back to life and back online.

Classilla browser
Classilla: The look of classic Netscape with Mozilla (adapted for OS 9) under the hood.

It's worth repeating: Classilla isn't finished. WaMCom's last update was in 2003, and that means six years of Mozilla patches and updates to catch up on. While Classilla has a lot of critical patches applied (which is why it's being released, even in unfinished form, since WaMCoM is now not present on its mirrors), there are still security, stability and compatibility issues yet to be fixed and many sites still won't work, or worse. You will be using software that is still in evolution. Exciting, right? Yes. And quite possibly unstable. Know what you're getting into. Using Classilla is at your own risk. There are still many bugs!

Remember: the Classilla maintainers and administrators are not responsible for any damage to your computer, data or operating system that Classilla may do. Again, you use Classilla at your OWN RISK. We eat our own dog food, but that doesn't mean it always tastes good.

Classilla is exclusively for the classic MacOS

While Mozilla is a cross-platform environment, and Classilla is based on its XPFE system, Classilla's highest priority is whether it works on classic Macintosh, and any features that get added all have the same requirement. If it'll work and it'll help, it'll be in Classilla. If Mozilla's code won't work as is and Classilla needs that feature, it'll be rewritten, even from scratch if possible. Classilla isn't designed as an application where MacOS support is an afterthought; it's built to be Mac first and always.

Classilla isn't a replacement for other browsers or iCab

Classilla doesn't replace, and isn't designed to replace, the excellent iCab. While it will of course replace Mozilla and WaMCoM, if that's what you're using, and has much better support than Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, there are still many sites you may need to use a combination of browsers to view. Classilla is much faster, and its JavaScript is much more robust, but iCab still has the edge for CSS and layout. And at least for a while, that's how it's going to be.

Support those who still support the classic Mac; if you're serious about using the Web on an OS 9 system, let Alexander know by registering iCab. Then use Classilla where you can, and iCab where you must, and get all your bases covered.

Classilla is a browser with a future

Classilla has two purposes: first and foremost, to get a modern web browser running again on classic Macs. But secondly, it's a seed: not only does it get a process established for building itself, it establishes a template for other free open-source projects to follow. By putting the ability to maintain our own software in our own hands, as users of classic Macs, we ensure that OS 9 will continue to survive. Classilla has a path for maintenance and a means to improve based on a solid foundation. It's not a dead end.

Classilla isn't going to get there without your help

Classilla sure needs users: Users appear in server logs and remind site owners that the whole world isn't using Windows or Internet Explorer. But to continue to advance, Classilla needs contributors - and you can help out even if you don't know the first thing about developing for OS 9.

Can't code in C or OS 9, but you know a lot about HTML and CSS? Become a distiller and help turn malfunctions into test cases, so that coders can devise specific, targetted fixes. Find out how on the Classilla Wiki.

Know enough C/C++ to be dangerous? Become a coder and help integrate Mozilla patches into Classilla, or even write completely new features. You don't even have to know much about Mac programming to be helpful - if you know CodeWarrior at all, come help out. Find out how on the Classilla Wiki.

GrandReporter Automatically Searches the Web for You

PR: GrandReporter lets you automate searches over the Internet. Create your own queries in GrandReporter, and it will scan for new web information periodically.

As soon as a new page on one of the subjects that you want to survey is detected on the Internet, you will be warned, and you can view and classify it and save interesting pages in bookmarks.

GrandReporterHandle Searches on the Web

  • Automate your searches on the web.
  • Create your own queries.
  • Surveys and detects any new page for the subjects that you are looking for.
  • Preview, save, mark, share, and classify the found pages.
  • Bookmarks, smart lists, etc.
  • And much more...

GrandReporter makes your life easier to search over the internet. You can create your own queries in Grand Reporter for each of the subjects you are interested in and want to be surveyed. You will be informed as soon as a new page related to one of your queries is detected on the Internet. New pages are added in the request results.

GrandReporter displays and saves the pages found for each query. New pages as added as not yet read items. You can view each page in the internal browser, give a quote to interesting pages, delete or classify pages. You can also exclude certain websites of your results.

Pages that you are interested in can be stored as bookmarks, so that you can retrieve them easily later. You can create multiple lists and group them by themes. Classify is independant of the request that found the pages.

GrandReporterYou can also create smart lists. Smart lists contents are automatically updated, based on the criterias you have set for each smart list.

Pages added in bookmarks are saved and can be viewed in GrandReporter, even if the original page no longer exists on the Web.

Pages in bookmarks can be shared with other persons, send by email, etc.

GrandReporter vs. Search Engines

Google and other web search engines are fine to search over the web, but you must restart the same request from ground again and again to find new pages with the desired contents. Another annoying point is that new pages are mixed with previously found pages, and you have to go through all results to detect the new ones.

GrandReporter does the job for you, and does it automatically, warning you when new pages are found.

GrandReporter vs. RSS Feeds

RSS Feeds are created and fed by persons about various subjects. They are very interesting, but sometime RSS Feeds are not accurate enough, or too specific for your own needs.

GrandReporter can bring to you all information about your specific needs. It is like your personnal RSS Feed provider for subjects you are looking for.

Examples of Use

  • You start presenting a new product over the Web and want to detect all the pages that are talking of your product on the Internet, day after day. GrandReporter warns you and displays the new pages.
  • You want to be automatically informed of the apparition of any new page talking about a subject that interest you, regardless of where the information comes from. GrandReporter detects the new pages and saves the links.
  • You survey a particular website, and want to know when an information will be published. GrandReporter will warn you as soon as a new information is available.
  • You want to buy a product on line, and want to keep track of its price and how it evolves. GrandReporter shows the changes, and saves the links.
  • You want to find again a person, and want to launch a wide search on the web. GrandReporter saves the links of the pages related to this person.
  • You prepare a travel, and want to constitue documentation and information about it. GrandReporter saves the links of the found pages.

Main Features

  • Create unlimited number of requests.
  • Create search requests for all websites, or limited to certain websites only.
  • Search and survey is done in background (no need to have GrandReporter launched permanently).
  • Warn of new pages found, even if GrandReporter is not launched.
  • Web pages preview in integrated browser.
  • Manage, classify, remove found pages.
  • Bookmarks to store your prefered web pages.
  • Smart lists.

A trial version is available for evaluation. The trial version is fully functional and has these limitations:

  • A maximum of 3 requests can be created.
  • A maximum of 3 lists of bookmarks.

Final version available at the end of July 2009

Universal Binary

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.5 and later

€29/$29

BatchPhoto: Free Online Image Converter and Editor

PR: Convert, resize, crop, and rotate images easily from any computer connected to the Internet and without the need to install a software program.

Bits&Coffee, the creators of batch image converter program BatchPhoto, introduces today an online application designed to perform common image processing operations on pictures.

BatchPhoto
BatchPhoto lets your edit images on the Net.

The online application can perform operations like: convert, resize, crop, and rotate. The tool is designed to be easy to use and easily accessible from any computer connected to the Internet without the need to install a software program. This is a free, no-frills service offered by Bits&Coffee as a complement to its commercial image converter program, BatchPhoto.

The online image converter can read about a dozen graphic formats and convert the uploaded images to almost 100 image formats, including popular formats such as: JPEG, PDF, TIFF, GIF, PNG, TGA, and BMP. Users can easily resize photos based on predefined profiles or custom specified dimmensions in either pixels or percentages.

Users can also crop pictures with the crop feature of the online application. The cropping rectangle can be visually adjusted and also manual fine-tunings can be made to the coordinates. The rotate feature allows the correction of portrait photos that were saved as landscape, by rotating with 90 degrees clockwise or counterclockwise.

The online application can be accessed from any computer or device connected to the Internet.

Bits&Coffee will continue the development of this tool with the addition of new and useful features. Bits&Coffee SRL is a privately held software company from Craiova, Romania (European Union).

For more information, contact Bits&Coffee, street Spania P6-3, 200726 Romania. Phone: +40(722)242-277 Fax: +40(351)430-046.

XMenu 1.9 and EasyFind 4.5 - Snippets at Your Fingertips

PR: DEVONtechnologies releases updates for the popular freeware find utility EasyFind and the menu bar application and file launcher XMenu. The updates add a number of useful features to the freeware utilities EasyFind and XMenu and fix a few minor bugs. EasyFind finds files, folders, or contents in any file without the need for indexing. XMenu adds one or more global menus to the right side of the menu bar.

DEVONtechnologies, LLC releases updates for the popular freeware find-find utility EasyFind and the menu bar application and file launcher XMenu. The updates add a number of useful features to the freeware utilities EasyFind and XMenu and fix a few minor bugs. EasyFind 4.5 now supports Quick Look, highlights occurrences in file and folder names, and offers the same extended Boolean operators that are used by DEVONthink and DEVONagent. EasyFind 4.5 can conduct searches using fuzzy logic, ignores umlauted characters if desired, and comes with a standard toolbar now.

XMenu 1.9 adds a new 'snippets' menu that lets the user insert the contents of plain and rich text snippets, clippings, and Internet location files with a single menu choice. By using folders (creating sub-menus) users can store virtually unlimited numbers of text modules and still access them quickly and conveniently. New menu icons make the XMenu menus easier to distinguish.

"The new Snippets menu makes XMenu even more useful. All your frequently used text bits, even web addresses, are now just one click away. We are happy to support the great Mac user community by offering XMenu and EasyFind free of charge", comments Eric Bohnisch-Volkmann, President of DEVONtechnologies.

Background: Easyfind

EasyFind finds files, folders, or contents in any file without the need for indexing. This is especially useful if you are tired of slow or impossible indexing, outdated or corrupted indexes, or if you are just looking for missing features like case sensitive or insensitive search, Boolean operators, wildcards, or searching for phrases. EasyFind previews files using QuickLook on Mac OS X 10.5 or later.

Highlights:

  • Boolean operators, wildcards, phrases
  • Extended Boolean operators, similar to DEVONthink and DEVONagent
  • Immediate searches, no indexing required
  • Finds invisible files and files inside packages (something Spotlight doesn't do)
  • Displays the location of each file in a separate column
  • Previews files using QuickLook (Mac OS X 10.5 or later)
  • Provides contextual menus and services
  • Supports drag-and-drop
  • Very responsive, thanks to multithreading
  • Uses very little memory

Background: Xmenu

XMenu adds one or more global menus to the right side of the menu bar. They give you access to your preferred applications, folders, documents, files, and snippets. Launch any application or insert text snippets or URLs into your email messages or Pages documents with a single menu choice.

Highlights:

  • No need for configuration
  • Six predefined folders: Applications, Developer Applications, Home, Documents, User-Defined, and Snippets
  • Keeps all your snippets and text modules handy
  • Operates as a menu extra, requires no hacks or extensions
  • Ideal replacement for Dock folders in Mac OS X 10.5

EasyFind 4.5 and XMenu can be used free of charge and are available on the DEVONtechnologies website.

Cornerstone Bible: 15 Bible Translations Plus Bible Study Tools

choose a translation in Cornerstone BiblePR: Cornerstone Bible has 15 translations and 3 commentaries

  • KJV - NKJV - AMP - ASV - DBY - The Message - NKJV - LIV - RSV - CEV - Webster's Bible - NCV - Young's Bible - Spanish - French
  • One Year Bible, TNIV
  • Matthew Henry's Commetary - Wesley's Notes - Scofield Reference Notes -
  • Strong's with Greek and Hebrew Lexicons
  • Encyclopedia - Easton's and Fausset's Dictionary - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
  • Devotionals - Bible Toons - Bible Maps and Time Lines

Outline of Cornerstone Bible 7.1

  1. Cornerstone Bible Bibles
    1. King James Version
    2. The Amplified Bible
    3. American Standard Version
    4. Darby Bible Translation
    5. The Living Bible
    6. New King James Version
    7. The Message
    8. New Century Version
    9. Revised Standard Version
    10. Today's New International Version
    11. Webster's Bible Translation
    12. Contemporary English Version
    13. Young's Literal Translation
    14. Spanish - La Biblia Reina-Valera
    15. French - Louis Segond
  2. Commentaries
    1. Matthew Henry's Commentaries
    2. Wesley's Notes
    3. Scofield Reference Notes
    4. Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
  3. Strong's Concordance
    1. Concordance
    2. KJV with Strong's Numbers and all versions
    3. Greek Lexicon
    4. Hebrew Lexicon
  4. Dictionaries
    1. Easton's Bible Dictionary
    2. Fausset's Bible Dictionary
    3. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
    4. Naves Topical Bible
    5. Names of God
  5. Bible History and Maps
    1. Bible Maps
    2. Time Lines
    3. Diagrams
    4. Bible History
    5. On This Day in Church History
    6. Cities - Mountains - Rivers
  6. Bible Toons
    1. Four Different Bible Toons Every Day
  7. Devotionals
    1. Today's Word
    2. Spurgeon's Devotional
    3. Every Day Light
    4. Living Water for Your Soul
    5. Daily Disciples
    6. One Year Bible - TNIV

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

System Support: Intel

Price:

  • $25 Shareware - Download Price
  • CD by Mail - $35

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