Mac News Review

Chrome Passes Safari in US, If I Had to Use a PC, the Spy Who Loved Macs, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.07.02

MacBook, PowerBook, iBook, 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

Tech Trends

Products & Services


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News & Opinion

Chrome Passes Safari to Claim Third Place in US Browser Market

PR: Google's Internet browser, Chrome, has overtaken Apple's Safari in the US for the first time on a weekly basis, according to StatCounter, a company that provides free website analytics. The firm's research arm, StatCounter Global Stats, reports that for the week beginning 21 June, Chrome passed Safari to claim third place in the US browser market.

"This is quite a coup for Google as they have gone from zero to almost 10% of the US market in under two years," commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter. "There is a battle royal going on between Google and Apple in the Internet browser space (Chrome v Safari) as well as in the mobile market (Android v iPhone)."

Chrome, with 8.97%, took third place in the US browser market ahead of Safari, with 8.88%. Microsoft's Internet Explorer still dominates the US Internet browser market with 52%, followed by Firefox (28.5%).

Globally, Chrome has been well ahead of Safari for some time with 9.4% of the market compared to 4% for Safari. Microsoft's Internet Explorer has 53% of the global market, followed by Firefox on 31%.

The data is based on an analysis of 3.6 billion page views (874 million from the US) for the week 21 to 27 June 2010 collected from the StatCounter network of over three million websites.

Editor's note: Both Chrome and Safari, along with the Opera 10.60 beta, are formidable browsers - each with their own strengths and relative weaknesses. All three are now outstripping Firefox and its derivatives in raw speed. It's ironic that Apple released the best Safari yet, version 5, just as Chrome squeaked past it in domestic usage. cm

Worst-Case Scenario: If I Had to Use a Windows PC

TUAW's Sang Tang notes that while Joshua Piven's The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook provides instructions on how to deal with a variety of unlikely scenarios such as wrestling yourself free from an alligator or landing an airplane, it unfortunately doesn't provide information about the dire circumstances of having to go without your Mac and being obliged to use a Windows notebook, which Tang observes is a worst-case scenario for many Mac users.

Tang looks at survival scenarios for when you have no recourse but to use a PC notebook at work - or your parents will buy you a notebook, but with a purchase price ceiling of $500 and even adding the extra birthday cash grandma gave you, it won't come close to getting you a MacBook.

Tang, a ThinkPad fan, provides tips on choosing a decent PC laptop if that's the course you must take.

The Spy Who Loved Macs

Anna ChapmanCult of Mac's Nicole Martinelli reports:

"Celluloid-worthy beauty Anna Chapman, arrested by the FBI for belonging to an Russian espionage network called 'the illegals,' may also go down in history as the spy who loved Macs.

"On January 25, the 28-year-old told her 175 Facebook friends: 'My new Mac has been the buy of the year . . . Love it!'"

30 Incredible Safari Extensions Available Now

AppStorm's Joshua Johnson says:

"The release of Safari 5 brought about a new extension system that allows developers to create and distribute helpful and fun tools similar to those found in Firefox.

"Since Apple's own Safari extension list hasn't yet gone public, we've compiled a list of 30 of our favorite extensions for you to download and try. We'll also walk you through the process of how to install extensions in Safari, so everything is clear and simple™

Safari 5 Extensions Resources

New with Safari 5 is more user-friendly support for plugins or extensions. Plugins are add-ons that expand the browser's capabilities. Because it supports the standard Netscape plugin architecture, Safari works with the full range of popular Internet plugins, including Flash, Shockwave, and QuickTime, and thanks to its support for scriptable plugins, Safari lets developers create plugins that interact with standard elements on a page. For example, a plugin could allow you to customize the appearance of a car. As you add or remove options, the scriptable plugin could update the sticker price of the car. You can find selections of Safari 5 extensions at these sites:

Extensions are not enabled in Safari 5 by default, but one can easily add this functionality.

Mac mini Server's 'Enterprise Identity Crisis'

Enterprise Efficiency's Matthew McKenzie says:

"...the Mac mini wants to be a home theater gadget and a workgroup/small business server. It comes in two editions: a $699 model aimed at consumers and a $999 model for businesses....

"When it comes to the consumerization of IT, Apple Inc. is now the undisputed master. And part of me would love to see this elegant little brushed-aluminum box worm its way, not just into small businesses, but also into enterprise workgroups.

"I don't think the Mini is quite ready to make that leap, but I'm shocked that it comes so close.

"Here's how I break down the Mini's pros and cons as a workgroup server...."

Editor's note: McKenzie has an odd way of differentiating the two models. The $699 model is aimed at end users, whether at home, school, or work, while the $999 Mac mini is intended for use as a server - again, at home, school, or office. For most business uses other than as a server, the $699 Mac mini is a real option; there is no reason to provide most business users with the $999 server version. dk

Tech Trends

Why Businesses Will Be Evaluating Chrome OS PCs

InfoWorld's Savio Rodrigues says that although it's a niche offering today, the open source Chrome OS is likely to follow Android's success - so IT decision makers should plan on evaluating Chrome OS-based devices for at least some portion of their user base in the next 12 to 18 months, reasoning that "less than free" will be difficult for PC makers is difficult to ignore.

Rodrigues notes that the open source Android OS is provided royalty-free to device manufacturers and that Google goes one step further with Chrome OS, actually paying device manufacturers to adopt the operating system. He says he would be surprised if Google doesn't provide a similar offer for PC manufacturers to encourage the delivery of Chrome OS-based devices, and he thinks Google is unlikely to stop there.

Rodrigues observes that after the operating system itself, most IT buyers focus on choosing an office productivity suite that meets their business needs and employees' skills, and that's where Google can go further, by offering Google Docs for free to PC manufacturers, saving them millions of dollars over the long term in not having to pay Microsoft Office licensing fees.

Products & Services

Addonics' $34 USB-to-eSATAp Adapter: Use eSATA with Any OS X Mac

Addonics USB 3.0 to eSATA adapterPR: Addonics Technologies has announced an eSATA converter that provides a unique and easy way to connect any eSATA storage device to any USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 port.

The Addonics USB 3.0 to eSATA adapter is compatible with external hard drives, SSD, optical drives with eSATA interface, and SATA port multiplier storage. It is an ideal accessory for notebooks, desktops, servers, or any computer system

Its compatibility with port multiplier means that any eSATA RAID storage, including Addonics RAID Tower/Rack with eSATA connection, can be instantly turned into a USB 3.0 external RAID storage system.

The eSATA port on this adapter is an eSATA USB Hybrid port (EUHP), a new port commonly found on new notebooks. This port works with both standard eSATA and Addonics universal hybrid eSATA cable (Universal eSATAp cable).

Addonics USB 3.0 to eSATA adapterThe Universal eSATAp cable enables low power 5V eSATA devices, such as 2.5" eSATA hard drives, Addonics Ruby/Ruby Cipher drive kit, eSATA/USB DigiDrive, and the Micro SATA DigiDrive to be directly powered from the computer without the use of an external power adapter.

The Addonics USB 3.0 to eSATA adapter weighs less than 3 oz. and is the size of a cigarette lighter. It supports a maximum transfer rate of 5 Gbps for USB 3.0 super speed; 480 Mbps - USB 2.0 high speed, and 12 Mbps - USB 1.1. It is compatible with Windows Me, 2000, XP, 2000, 2003, Vista, 2007, Mac OS X, Linux Kernel 2.6+, and Solaris 10. No software driver is needed.

Suggested retail price is $33.95.

World's First 3 TB External Desktop Drive for Macs and PCs

Seagate GoFlex Desk external hard drivePR: Seagate has announced the world's first 3 Terabyte (TB) external desktop drive. Available immediately, the 3 TB FreeAgent GoFlex™ Desk external hard drive is claimed to be the highest-capacity storage solution available today, coupling immense capacity with the flexibility to adapt the drive's USB 2.0 interface to a USB 3.0 or FireWire 800 connection to meet varying performance and transfer speed needs - and support for both Windows and Mac OS X computer thanks to an included NTFS driver for Mac.

"Consumer capacity demands are quickly outpacing the needs of business as people continue to collect high-definition videos, photos, and music," says Dave Mosley, Seagate executive vice president of Sales, Marketing and Product Line Management. "Seagate has a tradition of designing products that break into new storage frontiers to meet customer requirements, and the 3 TB GoFlex Desk external drive is no exception delivering the highest-capacity storage solution available today."

Seagate cites a recent report by Parks Associates indicating the average consumer household will see its digital media storage needs grow to nearly 900 GB by year-end 2014, driven largely by video downloads, managed copies of Blu-ray Discs, and increasing use of DVR recording capabilities. The GoFlex Desk external drive delivers unconstrained, high-capacity storage and automatic, continuous backup with software file encryption to help keep all data safe and secure.

Additionally, the standard USB 2.0 interface can be upgraded to USB 3.0 or FireWire 800 by coupling the drive with the appropriate GoFlex desktop adapter to increase file transfer performance by up to 10x for easier copying or sharing of files.

As noted above, the GoFlex Desk external drive is compatible with both the Windows operating system and Mac computers. Each drive includes an NTFS driver for Mac, which allows the drive to store and access files from both Windows and Mac OS X computers without reformatting. The NTFS driver is simply installed once on a Mac computer, allowing it to read and write files on the Windows formatted drive. Included is Memeo Premium backup software for Mac, but it should be noted that reformatting to HFS+ is required in order to use backup software for Mac or Time Machine software on this drive.

The GoFlex's design can be oriented either vertically or horizontally to accommodate different desktop environments.

System requirements are Mac OS X 10.4.9 or higher or Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP (32-bit & 64-bit).

The 3 TB GoFlex Desk external drive with USB 2.0 adapter can be purchased on and through select retailers for $249.99. 1 TB and 2  TB models are available at $129.99 and $189.99 respectively.


SafariRestore Extension Automatically Restores Previous Browsing Session

PR: Russell Gray's SafariRestore allows you to automatically restore your previous browsing session. For best results, set Safari to open new windows with an empty page.

New in version 1.95:

  • Added a donation link on the startup page.

System requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later
  • Safari 5


Cyberduck: An Open Source FTP Client for Mac

AppStorm's Matt Hamilton says:

"Congratulations on your ownership of a Mac! Because of that you have been blessed with a mammoth range of FTP (as well as SFTP, WebDAV and Amazon S3) clients that you can use to browse and manage your files on a remote server.

"One of the main players in the FTP game is Cyberduck - a free, open-source application that is quite possibly the best solution (for its price) currently available on Mac. It can connect to FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Cloud Files, Google Docs and Amazon S3."

"Read on to find out whether it fits the bill for you."

Editor's note: Cyberduck has been the only FTP client used at Low End Mac headquarters for several years. Note that the current version requires OS X 10.5 or later. If you're still using Tiger, as we do on one production machine, stick with version 3.2.1 and do not allow the program to upgrade itself. (Version 2.8.5 supports OS X 10.3.9.) dk

Adobe Reader 9.3.3 Released

PR: New in version 9.3.3: This update addresses critical security vulnerabilities while providing more stability.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later.

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