Mac News Review

Pixelmator Sells $1 Million on Mac App Store, Video of Steve Jobs' Original Mac Demo, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2011.01.28

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPad, 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

Pixelmator Rakes in $1 Million on the Mac App Store

Pixelmator cofounder and developer Saulius Dalide says in a blog entry:

"I am ecstatic to announce that Pixelmator grossed a gigantic $1 million on the Mac App Store. And that happened in only 20 short days.

"What is even better is that the app is getting rave reviews on the Mac App Store (4.5 stars with over 275 ratings on the US store, 5 stars with over 128 ratings in the UK, and 4.5 stars with over 129 ratings in Germany). And, thanks to the Mac App Store, more people than ever are choosing to download Pixelmator.

"Such an amazing success feels fantastic. Thank you so much for your enthusiastic support.

"We can't wait to hit your Macs and the Mac App Store shelves with the hot new updates (1.6.5, 1.7 Geneva and the outstanding Pixelmator 2.0) that are currently in the works."

Also see Charles W. Moore's review of Pixelmator.

Link: Pixelmator Grosses $1 Million on the Mac App Store

Video of Steve Jobs' Original Macintosh Demo Posted

The Atlantic Online's Nicholas Jackson has posted a link to a fascinating YouTube video of a very young looking, uncharacteristically smiling, tuxedo-clad Steve Jobs demonstrating the original Macintosh computer on stage on January 24, 1984 to a five-minute-plus standing ovation two days after the legendary, one-time "1984" commercial aired during Super Bowl XVIII and introduced the world to the Mac.

Link: Steve Jobs' Original Apple Macintosh Demo Video Posted

The Gospel of Steve Jobs

Christianity Today's Andy Crouch notes that while Steve Jobs' medical leave of absence dominated IT and even general media headlines last week, he's more interested in the health of our culture - and what will happen to it when (not if) Steve Jobs departs the stage for the last time.

Crouch observes that as remarkable as Steve Jobs is in so many ways - designer, innovator, ruthless and demanding leader - his most singular quality is his ability to articulate a perfectly secular form of hope. Under Jobs' guidance, Apple has done one thing almost no one else does: Put the fruits of complex engineering into accessible form, making products that work beautifully, without fuss, and with a great deal of style.

However, Crouch says that ultimately Steve Jobs' gospel amounts to a set of beautifully polished empty promises.

Link: The Gospel of Steve Jobs

Products & Services

Cropmark Numeric Keypad for Bluetooth-Enabled Macs

Cropmark LMP Bluetooth KeypadPR: Other World Computing (OWC) has announced the Cropmark LMP Bluetooth Keypad for Apple wireless keyboard users. Cable/driver free and Plug & Play ready, the Cropmark LMP Bluetooth Keypad adds the crucial numeric capability missing from Bluetooth enabled Macintosh keyboards for convenient entering of figures, tables, and calculations.

Just in time for tax season, the 28-key Cropmark numeric keypad is important for anyone that works with numbers, from small business owners, accountants, restaurateurs, financial analysts, stock brokers, bookkeepers, and spreadsheet users. These people that work with numbers prefer using a numeric keypad than the number keys across the keyboard, since the numeric keypad is similar to a calculator, featuring the ability to enter numbers with one hand for increased speed and accuracy.

Can be Used as Standalone Wireless Keypad - Reduces Typing Fatigue

Designed with the same cylindrical base and brushed aluminum finish as the Apple keyboard, the Cropmark LMP Bluetooth Keypad includes a custom linking connector that snaps in, integrating the keypad elegantly and seamlessly with the Apple Wireless Keyboard. Priced at only $39.99, the Cropmark LMP Bluetooth Keypad features a full set of number keys, including forward delete, page up, page down and five additional function buttons. Scissor-type membrane keys provide high comfort typing and reduced typing fatigue. The keypad can also be used as a standalone device with the USB connected Apple keyboard; as well as with MacBook and MacBook Pro notebook Bluetooth enabled computers.

Cropmark LMP Bluetooth Keypad Features:

  • 28 key wireless Bluetooth keypad for easy and fast working with figures, tables, calculations, spreadsheets, and more.
  • Keys include figures 0-9, operation keys, hotkeys, page up/down, arrow up/down, delete forward, enter function key.
  • Scissor-type membrane keys for high comfort typing and reduced typing fatigue.
  • Linkage bar connects the keypad seamlessly and elegantly with the Apple Wireless Keyboard.
  • Can also be used as a stand-alone wireless keypad with MacBook, MacBook Pro, and other Bluetooth-enabled Macs.
  • Power on/off, pairing button, power on bar for activating Apple Wireless Keyboard, LED status signal.

Cropmark LMP Bluetooth Keypad with Mac keyboard"The Mac community has been asking for a product like this ever since Apple's mainstream shift to non-extended wireless keyboards," says Other World Computing Founder and CEO Larry O'Connor. While a wired extended keyboard is still standard with the Mac Pro, there are plenty of mini, iMac, and Mac notebook users that want this functionality - even Mac Pro owners who want this with an Apple wireless keyboard, and we're pleased to offer them this high quality solution.

The Cropmark LMP Bluetooth Keypad normally retails for $45.99, but is available immediately at the special discounted price of $39.99 from Other World Computing.

OWC is also offering distribution to dealer/resellers with quantity pricing available. The keypad is compatible with Bluetooth enabled Macintosh computers running Mac OS X 10.5.x and higher. It includes two AA batteries, as well as rechargeable batteries for a clean, cable-free desktop.

Link: Cropmark LMP Bluetooth Keypad

Software

Camino 2.1 Alpha 1 Released, Still Supports OS X 10.4 Tiger

PR: Camino 2.1 Alpha 1, an early preview release of what will become Camino 2.1 is available for download at the Camino Website.

The developers include the customary caveat that Camino 2.1 Alpha 1 may be unstable and may not be suitable for day-to-day use.

Known Issues include:

  • The multitouch "pinch" gesture to zoom a web page currently does not work if invoked over the web page.
  • If "Ask me before accepting each cookie" is checked, Camino will display a cookie dialog for each cookie request from a web page.

Also note well:

The first time you launch Camino 2.1 Alpha 1, your history will be converted from the old history.dat file to the new places.sqlite file; which may take some time if you keep a large history. The new history format is not backwards-compatible with older versions of Camino, so make a backup copy of your Camino support files before proceeding to test the Camino 2.1 Alpha 1

Major New Features in Camino 2.1 Alpha 1

  • Enhanced Location Bar Autocomplete: The location bar's autocomplete feature now searches both bookmarks and history and matches against page titles as well as page URLs.
  • Improved Plugin Control: Camino now disables Java by default, and a new hidden preference allows disabling arbitrary plugins.
  • Status Bar: The status bar can now be hidden by choosing "Hide Status Bar" in "View" menu.
  • Offline Mode: New "Work Offline" and "Go Online" items in the "Camino" menu allow Camino to enter offline mode and provide a more useful experience when no network connection is available.
  • Certificate Errors: The certificate error page in Camino 2.1 Alpha 1 is both friendlier and more informative than the one in Camino 2.
  • Gecko 1.9.2: Camino now uses version 1.9.2 of the Mozilla Gecko rendering engine, which has enhanced support for web standards and improved JavaScript performance.

Camino 2.1 Alpha 1 shares the same code base as Firefox 3.6, both being based on version 1.9.2 of Gecko, and thus shares many of the security fixes and Gecko improvements that are in that version of Firefox.

System Requirements:

  • Camino 2.1 Alpha 1 is available for Mac OS X 10.4 and later.
  • New "Work Offline" and "Go Online" items in the "Camino" menu allow Camino to enter offline mode and provide a more useful experience when no network connection is available.
  • Camino will now speculatively look up DNS entries for links on web pages.
  • Switched the AppleScript property for the page title to "name" from "title" in order to be more compatible with other browsers.

Bookmarks & History

  • The location bar's autocomplete function now searches bookmarks in addition to history.
  • Autocomplete will now provide results based on page titles as well as page URLs.
  • Site icons for Bookmarks and History will now display properly the first time they are loaded during a browsing session.

Downloading

  • Completed downloads for files that do not have a content-length header will no longer appear as canceled downloads after restarting Camino.
  • The Downloads window now uses the correct selection colors.

User Interface

  • The autocomplete window has been redesigned and its appearance more closely resembles that of Safari.
  • The status bar can now be hidden by choosing "Hide Status Bar" in "View" menu.
  • Command-Arrow key combinations can now be reassigned as shortcuts for other menu items.
  • On Mac OS X 10.5 and above, double-clicking on the splitter between the location bar and search field will collapse or expand the search field.
  • The warning displayed when closing multiple windows will also report the number of tabs in the windows.
  • The "Search" context menu item will now open search results in a new tab or window.
  • Many toolbar buttons and menu items are now only enabled when appropriate.

Link: Camino 2.1 Alpha 1

The Document Foundation Launches LibreOffice 3.3 Free Office Suite

PR: The Document Foundation's Florian Effenberger announces that the first stable release of the LibreOffice 3.3 free office suite is available for download, and that in less than four months, the number of developers hacking LibreOffice has grown from less than twenty in late September 2010 to well over one hundred today. This has allowed a release ahead of the aggressive schedule set by the project; not only does it incorporating a number of new and original features, but LibreOffice 3.3 is a significant achievement for a number of other reasons:

  • The developer community has been able to build their own and independent process, and get up and running in a very short time (with respect to the size of the code base and the project's strong ambitions);
  • Thanks to the high number of new contributors having been attracted into the project, the source code is quickly undergoing a major cleanup to provide a better foundation for future development of LibreOffice;
  • The Windows installer, which is going to impact the largest and most diverse user base, has been integrated into a single build containing all language versions, thus reducing the size for download sites from 75 to 11 GB, making it easier to deploy new versions more rapidly and lowering the carbon footprint of the entire infrastructure.
  • Caoln McNamara from RedHat, one of the developer community leaders, comments, "We are excited: this is our very first stable release, and therefore we are eager to get user feedback, which will be integrated as soon as possible into the code, with the first enhancements being released in February. Starting from March, we will be moving to a real time-based, predictable, transparent and public release schedule, in accordance with Engineering Steering Committee's goals and users requests."

LibreOffice 3.3 brings several unique new features. Effenberger says the most-popular among community members are, in no particular order:

  • The ability to import and work with SVG files; an easy way to format title pages and their numbering in Writer.
  • A more-helpful Navigator Tool for Writer
  • Improved ergonomics in Calc for sheet and cell management.
  • Microsoft Works and Lotus Word Pro document import filters
  • Many great extensions are now bundled, providing PDF import, a slideshow presenter console, a much improved report builder, and more besides.

A more-complete and detailed list of the new features offered by LibreOffice 3.3 is viewable online.

LibreOffice 3.3 also provides all the new features of OpenOffice.org 3.3, such as new custom properties handling; embedding of standard PDF fonts in PDF documents; new Liberation Narrow font; increased document protection in Writer and Calc; auto decimal digits for General format in Calc; 1 million rows in a spreadsheet; new options for CSV import in Calc; insert drawing objects in Charts; hierarchical axis labels for Charts; improved slide layout handling in Impress; a new easier-to-use print interface; more options for changing case; and colored sheet tabs in Calc. Several of these new features were contributed by members of the LibreOffice team prior to the formation of The Document Foundation.

LibreOffice hackers will be meeting at FOSDEM in Brussels on February 5 and 6, and will be presenting their work during a one-day workshop on February 6, with speeches and hacking sessions coordinated by several members of the project.

The LibreOffice 3.3 Final (2011-01-25), after a three-month beta and release-candidate phase, is considered safe for production use.

The following notes apply:

  • This release is bit-for-bit identical to the Release Candidate 4, so you don't need to download or reinstall if you have that version already.
  • The distribution for Windows is an international build, so you can choose the user interface language that you prefer. Help content is available via an online service, or alternatively as a separate install.
  • For Windows users that have OpenOffice.org installed, we advise to uninstall that beforehand, because it registers the same file type associations.
  • If you run Windows 2000, you may require this update before being able to install LibreOffice.
  • If you run Linux, the GCJ Java variant has known issues with LibreOffice, we advise to e.g. use OpenJDK instead.
  • There are a few non-critical issues still contained in this release, which will be addressed soon with upcoming bugfix versions:
  • If you install third-party extensions that bring their own help, you may only be able to view that after installing the separate helppacks on Windows.
  • On Windows, Python-based extensions cannot be registered with LibreOffice.

System requirements - Macintosh:

  • MacOS X 10.4 (Tiger) or higher;
  • Intel or PowerPC processor;
  • 512 Mb RAM;
  • Up to 800 Mb available hard disk space;
  • 1024x768 graphic device with 256 colors (higher resolution recommended).

System requirements - Windows

  • Microsoft Windows 2000 (Service Pack 4 or higher), XP, Vista, or Windows 7;
  • Pentium-compatible PC (Pentium III, Athlon or more-recent system recommended);
  • 256 Mb RAM (512 Mb RAM recommended);
  • Up to 1.5 GB available hard disk space;
  • 1024x768 resolution (higher resolution recommended), with at least 256 colors.
  • Administrator rights are needed for the installation process.

System requirements - Linux:

  • Linux kernel version 2.6.18 or higher;
  • glibc2 version 2.5 or higher;
  • gtk version 2.10.4 or higher;
  • Pentium-compatible PC (Pentium III, Athlon or more-recent system recommended);
  • 256 MB RAM (512 MB RAM recommended);
  • Up to 1.55 GB available hard disk space;
  • X Server with 1024x768 resolution (higher resolution recommended), with at least 256 colors;
  • Gnome 2.16 or higher, with the gail 1.8.6 and at-spi 1.7 packages (required for support for assistive technology [AT] tools), or another compatible GUI (such as KDE, among others).

Editor's note: LibreOffice is a rebranded fork of OpenOffice.org beta 3.3. Both LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org are free, open source programs distributed under the GNU LGPL Version 3 license. dk

Link: LibreOffice 3.3 (download link)

MiniTool Mac Data Recovery 2.0 Free Limited Edition for Intel Macs

MiniTool Mac Data RecoveryPR: Extending its solutions from its proven Windows OS data recovery experience and expertise to the Mac, MiniTool Solution Ltd. has announced another free data recovery application - MiniTool Mac Data Recovery 2.0. Designed for Mac OS and once again free for home users to restore Mac OS data up to 1 GB.

MiniTool Mac Data Recovery is an all-in-one file recovery software application for home and business users. It can recover deleted files and folders, restore lost data even if the partition is formatted or deleted and restore data from a corrupted hard drive, virus infection, and other unexpected system shutdown or software failure.

The application supports IDE, SATA, SCSI, USB hard disk, memory card, USB flash drive, and iPod. MiniTool Mac Data Recovery includes four data recovery modules: Undelete Recovery, Damaged Partition Recovery, Lost Partition Recovery and Digital Media Recovery. Each data recovery module focuses on different data loss cases. With MiniTool Mac Data recovery 2.0 Free Edition, the user can restore lost data up to 1 GB in size.

System requirements:

  • Operating System: Mac OS X 10.5 and above;
  • Mac CPU: Intel CPU;
  • Hard Disk/Device: 1 GB and above.
  • File System Supported: HFS+, FAT16/32, NTFS.

A MiniTool Mac Data Recovery Boot CD is also available. With our Mac Data Recovery Boot CD, a user can boot a Mac computer directly to recover data after system crash, hard drive crash or have a boot problem.

Also available is the MiniTool Mac Data Recovery Boot CD, a boot disk version of MiniTool Mac Data Recovery. Users can boot a Mac computer directly with this rescue CD, which can be very useful when the operating system is damaged.

After bootup, users can scan and save recovered data to an external hard disk or USB disk. Mac Data Recovery Boot Disk supports four data recovery modules: Undelete Recovery, Damaged Partition Recovery, Lost Partition Recovery and Digital Media Recovery.

Link: MiniTool Mac Data Recovery

Imagerie 1.0 Image Editor for Mac OS X Snow Leopard

PR: San José, California based app4mac app4mac announces the release of Imagerie 1.0, a new image editor built for Mac OS X Snow Leopard. Designed for the most daily tasks, Imagerie was built with a very modern core engine featuring layers management, vector tools, gradient editor, and an innovative history navigator.

Imagerie"We have not written Imagerie to have another Photoshop or competitor clone," the company explains. "We had the other 80% of our daily image editing tasks in mind. Like enhancing, cropping, and exporting a picture for a weblog entry, an article or a presentation and how this basic and time consuming tasks could be improved and simplified.

"We built Imagerie to have a quick and easy-to-use image editing application for everyday use. You don't have to be a professional image editor to use it.

"First of all, speed matters. We built a very modern engine ready to manage a lot of pictures and powerful tools. Because of this modern core, we can now add new features very quickly. Version 1.0 is just the beginning!

"Second - all tasks need to be as easy to perform as possible. Imagerie is especially made to be flexible, very speedy and clear while doing common editing. No complex windows or hidden features. Everything is simple and clear.

"And third - only because editing becomes a no-brainer with Imagerie, this doesn't mean the results are ordinary. Quiet the opposite is true. With Imagerie everyone can come up with world-class results in a blink.

"In these times everyone needs to edit an image from time to time. You have to edit it quickly for a blog entry, a presentation or your grandma, who learned to send emails.

"Nobody needs Photoshop for these kinds of tasks. And nobody should take an evening course to learn how to do it. Definitely nobody has to use underdone or very limited tools, just because they pretend to be easy to use. That's because Imagerie is here™

Imagerie makes it easy and speedy to edit images. Its features range from basic and effective pimp-up to high-class filters for sophisticated stuff. The better your graphics card, the faster Imagerie polishes your image or applies a filter. This is due to the fact that a fast graphics card handles all the calculations utilizing OS X's Core Image engine.

Key features:

  • Modern and intuitive interface
  • Layers management with composition effects
  • Open, edit, export, save almost any image
  • RAW image support
  • Drag-and-drop everywhere
  • Quickly add annotations
  • Unlimited undo
  • Innovative History navigator
  • Sophisticated quick edit tools
  • Simple image resizing
  • Vector tools integrated
  • Fast export for web with FTP option
  • High class filters built right in (HDR, Lomo etc.)
  • Optimized for speed
  • Quick reset
  • High class enhancement tools with presets
  • 64-bit power
  • Uses Core Image
  • Powerful gradient editor
  • Lots of more nifty features

System Requirements: Imagerie 1.0 requires Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. It's available in English only.

Imagerie is available for 29 Euros (around $38) until end of March - a special introductory price. Updates are always free for lifetime. Imagerie is also coming soon to the Mac App Store.

Link: Imagerie (download link)

VLC Media Player 1.1.6

PR: VLC (your editor's favorite media player application) is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVD, Audio CD, VCD, and various streaming protocols.

VLC Media Player is simple to use, yet powerful and extendable, plays everything - files, discs and streams, and supports Windows, Linux, Mac, and Unix.

New in Version 1.1.6:

  • Security updates in codecs and demuxers
  • Support for RTP/PCM 24-bits, audio/L24
  • Support for MPC SV7/SV8 on Windows and MacOS builds
  • Faster Webm/VP8 decoding
  • Support for Midi on MacOS
  • Major updates in most language translations
  • Support for projectM visualisation on Windows
  • KDE and PulseAudio integration improvements
  • Subtitles fixes and improvements
  • Improvements in visualisations and interfaces
  • Codecs updates
  • Many miscellaneous fixes

Mac System Requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.5 or later
  • Intel or PowerPC
  • Quartz Extreme capable Mac

Freeware.

Older versions remain available for Mac OS X 10.3 and 10.4.

Link: VLC Media Player

OnyX 2.2.3 Freeware System Maintenance and Tweaking Utility

PR: Joel Barriere's OnyX is a multifunction utility for Mac OS X which allows you to verify the Startup Disk and the structure of its System files, to run misc tasks of system maintenance, to configure some hidden parameters of the Finder, Dock, QuickTime, Safari, Mail, iTunes, Login window, Spotlight and many Apple's applications, to delete caches, to remove a certain number of files and folders that may become cumbersome and more.

New in OnyX 2.2.3:

  • Misc display bugs corrected
  • Deleting the Fonts Cache improved
  • Deleting the logs improved
  • Help improved and updated
  • Individual deleting the .DS_Store files in the hidden folders
  • Restore Defaults Option in the Parameters > Dock panel improved
  • Bug corrected while checking the volume in some cases
  • Bug corrected in the Parameters panel (Mac OS X Server)
  • Bug corrected when OnyX quit all the applications

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.6 or later.

Legacy OnyX versions also still available:

  • OnyX 2.0.6 for Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard)
  • OnyX 1.8.6 for Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger)
  • OnyX 1.5.3 for Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther)
  • OnyX 1.3.1 for Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar)

Link: OnyX (download page for all versions)

Desktop Mac Deals

For deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro, 17" MacBook Pro, 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4, 17" PowerBook G4, titanium PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerBook G3, and iBook G3 deals.

We also track iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle deals.

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