Mac News Review

Mac Sales to Business Up 51%, Dual Boot Your Mac, Free CCleaner Drive Cleaning Utility, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2012.03.02

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in iOS News Review. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Tech Trends

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Mac Sales Grow 51% in Business Sector

SlashGear's Mark Raby reports that Mac sales at year-end 2011 were up substantially from the previous year, and that a closer look from analyst group Needham & Company reveals where the bulk of that growth came from - business customers. Specifically, Mac sales that were sent to businesses were up by 50.9%, according to analyst Charlie Wolf, and enterprise sales are also soaring.

Has Apple Lost Its Rebel Reputation?

AppStorm's Adam Williams notes that despite Apple's operating within the profit-driven world of consumer technology, the company has often cultivated a distinctly rebellious public persona, forging its own path by ignoring the status quo and offering such innovations as the first widespread GUI and desktop publishing software that was easy for anyone to use.


Images from the 1984 ad, where Apple stood up to Big Brother.

However, Williams observes that as the late Steve Jobs guided Apple back from it's mid/late '90s brink to renewed success, a perception has gelled that perhaps the company lost something of its freethinking spirit along the way, with Apple having become part of the establishment that it once so gleefully ignored.

A couple of years ago, I noted that while Steve Jobs had once declared that it's better to be a pirate than to join the navy, he had ironically become one of the navy's biggest admirals.

Williams cites the almost maniacal control Apple insists on wielding over designers, developers, and even users in its iOS App Store, so clearly Apple has either had a change of heart, or perhaps the rebel act was just that, an act.

He concludes that Apple computers and devices have become steadily more closed, and whether the tradeoff is worth it is subjective evaluation, although he's inclined to think it is, at least so long as OS X doesn't go the way of iOS and become a completely closed platform.

Dual Booting Your Mac

The EggFreckles blog says that maybe you want to try a new developer preview OS X, or maybe you still need an older version of OS X for running legacy applications that haven't been updated for the latest version of OS X. Perhaps you want to try Linux without resorting to the performance hit of a virtual machine, or you need to boot into Windows with full hardware compatibility, but without disturbing your main install of OS X. The solution is to install more than one OS on your Mac to facilitate dual (or even triple) booting, and that can include different versions of Mac OS X.

While there are an range of options for doing this, the neatest and most convenient is to partition your hard drive, which no longer requires backing up, wiping, reinitializing, and restoring the hard drive as it once did (although doing a global backup beforehand is always a good idea).

Your editor and publisher have very seldom had fewer than two Mac OS versions installed on their Macs since the 1990s, and each can vouch for how well this can work.

Rush Limbaugh's First PC Was an Apple, but Not a Mac

Rush Limbaugh's Website has posted a transcript of a February 24, 2012 on air conversation thread after a caller asked longtime high-profile Apple computer fan Rush what his first home computer was.

Rush replies that his first home computer was an Apple IIc, noting that one thing he remembers about the IIc is that Roy Scheider used one in the 2010, the 2001: A Space Odyssey sequel.

He further recalls that the Apple llc used the ProDOS system as opposed to MS-DOS, and he was like a kid in a candy store. Then a year later he went to the Mac, and since then he's had every top-of-the-line Mac desktop.

Tech Trends

$35 Raspberry Pi Computer

PR: The Model B Raspberry Pi is the basic credit card sized computer board with a Broadcom BCM2835 System-On Chip running Linux, that plugs into a TV and a keyboard to create a miniature ARM-based PC that can be used for many of the things a desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays High-Definition video.

Raspberry Pi ComputerThe Raspberry Pi will initially be sold in one, uncased configuration - the Model B which has two USB slots, 256 MB of RAM, an HDMI connector, an SD memory card slot, and an ethernet port. It costs $35 (£22). This will be followed later in 2012 by the $25 (£16) Model A, which has a single USB port.

element14.com says that following the launch of Raspberry Pi Board B this week, they've seen incredible levels of interest, and that initial stock quickly sold out, but that they will be one of the first sites to have more Raspberry Pi's in stock for those who haven't ordered yet. If you haven't pre-ordered yet you can register your interest on their Website so they can let you know as new units become available.

Features

  • Broadcom BCM2835 700 MHz ARM1176JZFS processor with FPU and Videocore 4 GPU
  • GPU provides Open GL ES 2.0, hardware-accelerated OpenVG, and 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
  • GPU is capable of 1 Gpixel/s, 1.5 Gtexel/s or 24 GFLOPs with texture filtering and DMA infrastructure
  • 256 MB RAM
  • Boots from SD card, running the Fedora version of Linux
  • 10/100 Base-T Ethernet socket
  • HDMI socket
  • USB 2.0 socket
  • RCA video socket
  • SD card socket
  • Powered from microUSB socket
  • 3.5mm audio out jack
  • Header footprint for camera connection
  • Size: 85.6 x 53.98 x 17mm

Price: £21.60 (about $35)

$199 Linux PC as Small as a USB Flash Drive

PR: Cotton Candy from Norway's FXI Technologies, Inc. is a USB stick-sized computing device that allows users a single, secure point of access to all personal cloud services and apps through their favorite operating system, while delivering a consistent experience on any screen. On display at this week's Mobile World Congress 2012 trade show in in Barcelona, Spain at the Innovation Norway Booth, Cotton Candy is claimed to be the world's first "any screen" cloud computer, weighing only 21 grams. Its unique architecture will allow the device to serve as a companion to smartphones, tablets, and notebook PCs and Macs, as well add smart capabilities to existing displays, TVs, set top boxes, and other media that supports USB mass storage.

FXI Technologies, Inc. also announced at the Mobile World Congress the launch of cstick.com, a community website and technical forum where Cotton Candy development units are immediately available for preorder.

"The world is anxiously awaiting Cotton Candy's release," says Borgar Ljosland, CEO and founder of FXI. "We've had interest in the any screen computer for everything from portable set top box gaming and entertainment to mobile any screen computing, in addition to a host of specialized medical, automotive and other applications. The size, raw horsepower and combined HDMI, USB and MicroUSB connectivity bring unprecedented flexibility to the portable market."

Cotton Candy specifications include an ARM Cortex-A9 (1 GHz) CPU from Samsung, an ARM Mali-400 MP (Quad-core, 1.2 GHz) GPU, WiFi and Bluetooth, HDMI output, and the Android operating system. It decodes MPEG-4, H.264, and other video formats and display HD graphics on any HDMI equipped screen. Operating systems supported to date include Android Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich, as well as Ubuntu. Onscreen content can be controlled a wide variety of ways - wirelessly using smartphones with an app, Bluetooth peripherals like mice and RF remote controls, or by leveraging a notebook's integrated keyboard and touchpad.

Make Any Monitor Smart

Dust off that display and turn it into a PC. Just connect an HDMI monitor to Cotton Candy. Plug a USB power cord into an electrical source, then navigate your media with a Bluetooth or WiFi mouse and keyboard. Access Cloud apps and documents, play games, surf the Web, and view photos and HD video. For work or play.

Make Any TV Smart

New or old, any TV can become smart. Connect Cotton Candy with an HDMI TV, plug in a USB power cord to an electrical source, then manage your onscreen media with a smartphone, Bluetooth/WiFi mouse and keyboard, or a remote control. Access Cloud apps and documents, play games, surf the web, view photos and HD video on the big screen with friends, colleagues and family. our personal media can be shared and enjoyed on whatever screen is convenient.

Extend Your smartphone

New or old, any TV, projector, or screen can display your smartphone's media. Connect Cotton Candy to an HDMI connected screen, plug in a USB power cord, then access and enjoy onscreen HD media right from your phone via WiFi. Access Cloud apps and documents, play games, surf the web, enjoy photos and HD video on the big screen with friends, colleagues, and family. Your personal media can be shared wherever you go.

Make Your Mac Even More Friendly

Enjoy a Mac, but use an Android smartphone? Plug Cotton Candy into the USB port, and instantly access the Android or Ubuntu operating system and navigate your media with the keyboard. Use the Cotton Candy as a USB stick and drag your local pictures and movies over to it for later enjoyment on the TV screen. The Cotton Candy is your private computer within your - or anybody's - computer. Experience the freedom of mixing.

Make Your Laptop Multi-OS Capable

Blend the best of two OSes on a single laptop. Plug Cotton Candy into the USB port of a Windows laptop and instantly access the Android or Ubuntu Operating System. Use the notebook's keypad to navigate your favorite apps. Retrieve and use Cloud apps and documents, play games, surf the web, view photos and HD videos on the screen of the laptop. Mix and match the benefits of Windows PCs and smart mobile devices with one simple companion device.

Features

  • World's smallest computer serves as a companion to CE devices
  • Displays personal content on any screen
  • Interfaces with any USB/Bluetooth peripheral
  • Connects to Internet via WiFi
  • User Upgradeable memory

Benefits

  • Great for gaming, video, photos, Cloud apps, and more
  • Provide consumer-friendly access to the cloud Accelerate the adoption of smart screens Extend the life of consumer hardware like laptops, monitors, TVs, STBs, tablets and more by accessing the latest O/S, software and apps
  • Enjoy a consistent experience across all screens
  • Create a single point of content storage
  • Consolidate and organize personal digital content
  • Share media from mobile devices on large screens, projectors, displays
  • Drive down the cost of the secure personal computer

Cotton Candy can be pre-ordered for $199.

Software

Free CCleaner Drive Cleaning Utility Ported to OS X

PR: CCleaner, a popular PC optimization and cleaning tool with millions of users, is now available for your Apple computer for protecting your privacy online, reclaiming disk space, and making your computer faster and more secure.

CCleaner

Publisher's note: I just ran this on my Mac mini with System 10.6 Snow Leopard and cleared over 1 GB of space while leaving browser caches and cookies intact. Under Options, you can tell it which cookies to keep and which to delete. CCleaner also includes an uninstaller that lists all of your apps - you may find several listed that you no longer use.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.5 or later, Intel only

Freeware

iMissal for OS X

PR: iMissal is already the top selling Catholic App for iPhone & iPad, and is now also available for your Mac.

A Complete Missal

Liturgical Calendar: Full calendar displaying all of the liturgical seasons. The calendar is color coded based on liturgical season and shows Holy Days of Obligation, Solemnities, Major Feasts, Saints, etc. Calendar is currently available for years 1990 - 2050.

iMissal for OS X

Mass Readings: All the Mass Readings for every liturgical cycle (A,B,C,I,II) are included! This includes First Reading, Psalm, Second Reading, Alleluia, and Gospel for all Sunday and Weekday Masses. Reading text is always available for every day, no WiFi connection necessary. Uses translations officially approved for Mass in the U.S. Great resource for Lectors.

Note: The liturgical texts provided in iMissal are used with the permission of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine and the International Committee on English in the Liturgy. They are the official texts approved for use in the dioceses of the United States by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Other applications may use other translations and cost more.

iMissal now includes New Mass 3rd Edition and Facebook integration that allows you to share your favorite verses and prayers on your Facebook Wall.

Audio of the Mass Readings - Audio is only available for more recent dates (sliding window of appr. 30 days).

Order of Mass - Ever wish you could follow along in Mass and have all the prayers, responses, etc. available. Now you can. Great for RCIA candidates that are new to the faith.

Mass Videos - Cantcha, Inc. has teamed up with CatholicTV.com and now provides videos of the Mass for you to watch.

My Daily Bread

Get a unique Bible verse for every day of the year displayed on 20 plus beautiful backgrounds.

These verses have been hand selected from some of the most popular. Also included are some obscure verses you may have not seen before.

Choose from three different Bible translations:

  • NAB Bible - New American Bible
  • NIV Bible - New International Version
  • KJV Bible - King James Version

Bible translations can be easily switched to compare differences between translations.

Features:

  • Save your favorite verses for later reference.
  • Search on any word across all verses to quickly find your favorites.
  • If you miss a day you can easily go back to view previous verses.
  • Mix it up by pushing the random button to get new verse each time.
  • Email any verse (w/o background) to your friends and family with a push of a button.

Prayers

Over 80 of the most popular Catholic prayers are included.

You can email your favorite prayers to your friends.

Thousands of pages of scripture. Buying the equivalent text in your book store could cost a lot more than the price of this application.

New in Version 1.20

  • New Mass 3rd Edition - change Mass editions but going to Preferences in iMissal.
  • Few Bug Fixes (Lion, etc.)

iMissal sells for $4.99 on the App Store

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.6 or later

Tex-Edit Plus 4.9.12 (beta 3) Released

PR: Trans-Tex Software's Tex-Edit Plus X 4.9.12 is a scriptable, styled text editor ASCII text editor that fills the gap between a Apple's bare-bones TextEdit and a full-featured word processor. It's fast, efficient, and has a clean, uncluttered interface, and is also great for cleaning up text transmitted over the Internet. Tex-Edit Plus can read and write RTF documents and support pictures in common formats (TIFF, JPEG, GIF, PICT, PSD)

Another Tex-Edit Plus specialty is its integrated support for AppleScript, Apple's wonderful, Mac-only technology that allows ordinary people to create automated shortcuts with minimal effort. Doug Adams maintains the official AppleScripts for Tex-Edit Archives, filled with scripts for download, hints, tips, examples, and step-by-step instructions for those of you interested in saving time, impressing the boss, and avoiding repetitive stress injuries.

Tex-Edit Plus also supports Apple's new Automator, which has been drastically enhanced for OS X 10.7 Lion. With 36 custom Automator actions and unrivaled AppleScript recordability, Tex-Edit allows you to create custom scripts and workflows with the push of a button. Of course, if your time is of little or no value, please feel free to ignore AppleScript and Automator.

Natural-sounding OS X voices are now available. If you use Tex-Edit's speech facilities to proofread documents (or if you want to find out what Eliza really thinks about you), check out the high quality voices produced by Cepstral. The Version 5.2 voices, including the new Callie voice, are extremely cool.

New in version Version 4.9.12 (beta 3):

  • Added Check Spelling of Selection contextual menu command.
  • Justification buttons in the Tools panel actively display the justification of the current selection.
  • Fixed bug that prevented closure of Tools panel in non-English localizations.

Tex-Edit Plus is $15 shareware, and is not locked, crippled, time-limited, or ad-infested.

Publisher's note: See Charles W. Moore's review, Tex-Edit Plus: Powerful Styled Text Editing for OS X and the Classic Mac OS. dk

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