The Low End Mac Mailbag

Replacing Claris Home Page and How Apple Could Slash $900 from Macintel Prices

Dan Knight - 2006.05.15

Can Nvu Replace Claris Home Page

Responding to my comments about Claris Home Page in Why I Will Probably Buy Another Mac, Ruffin Bailey writes:

On the off chance you haven't seen it, you might give Nvu a shot. It's got some show killer bugs for me when you edit a page too much (just adds new lines in your source like crazy when you edit a few times. No idea why), but otherwise gives great WYSIWYG editing, simplistic HTML, and real-time spell checking in an OS X native, quick-performing application.

I have to imagine you have plenty of hardware running Classic somewhere; would love to help you get rid of the Classic partition on your new Macs. I've started carrying around vMac (but you've gotta buy an SE!) as a very small Classic replacement for MacWrite docs and older games. *Very* happy with the extra hard drive space savings of vMac over Classic.

I've played with mini vMac on and off, digging out my ancient copies of Wizardry and Bard's Tale. A very nice emulator.

I have Nvu on my Mac, and I have used it a few times to write or edit articles. It has potential - and two glaring drawbacks:

1. It's slow. Home page in Classic runs circles around it.

2. It doesn't work the way I like and the way I'm used to from Home Page. It defaults to using body text instead of paragraphs, and this means it puts <br><br> between paragraphs instead of delimiting them with<p> and </p>. That's just stupid, yet it's also very common behavior with HTML export (e.g., AppleWorks) and other WYSIWYG HTML editors. A paragraph is a paragraph and should be marked as such. Just one of my pet peeves.

If I have images or pull quotes in an article, I'll usually open it in Nvu after writing/editing in Home Page. It's far easier to apply styles such as "rightimg" and "pullquote" than fiddle with editing raw HTML in Home Page and having to worry about typing them in just right.

If Nvu were twice as fast and didn't have that pesky <br> problem, I'd probably switch.

Have You Tried RapidWeaver?

Scott Ragland writes:

I noted that you're hanging onto Claris Home Page - I have a fond spot for it, too.

But have you tried RapidWeaver? It generates nice, standards-compliant pages with minimal fuss on your part. It's theme-based but gives you enough flexibility to customize your site. And, if you know CSS, you can take the customization to another level. Perhaps best of all, it's cheap - $35. Check it out:

http://realmacsoftware.com/rapidweaver/index.php

And this looks interesting, though I haven't tried it:

http://www.karelia.com/

Last, what do you think of iWeb?

Take care,
Scott

Thanks for writing, Scott.

My primary task is writing and editing, so my demands are something fast and transparent that generates good, usable HTML (ideally XHTML, but Home Page died long before it). I'm essentially looking for an HTML word processor. Almost all of the design is handled by CSS.

I hadn't looked at RapidWeaver since 2.1.1, and I gave up on it pretty quickly when I discovered it wouldn't open any of the pages I'd already created. At your suggestion, I downloaded 3.2.1, and that problem persists. It might be a wonderful tool for creating a brand new website, but if I can't open my existing HTML files, I can't use it.

Sandvox seems to be site-based as well, rather than page oriented, and it won't open existing pages either. I had the same issue when I tried Freeway years ago, and iWeb suffers from the same thing. (I had high hopes for iWeb; it's the only reason I bought iLife '06.)

The only tool that comes close to Home Page is Nvu - it's XHTML compliant, handles CSS nicely, but it's pretty sluggish and has the annoying behavior of using body text for paragraphs and putting breaks <br> between paragraphs instead of enclosing each paragraph between <p> and </p>.

How Apple Could Shave $900 off Power Mac and iMac Prices

Alvin writes:

I really can't wait to save up through the PC and get back to the OS X this year, God willing.

Power Macs and iMacs could be made way cheaper if they put the Pentium D 805. This is only $130 (the fastest AMD and Intel desktop CPU is $1,000) and runs at 2.66 GHz, its 64-bit ready and dual core. Tom's Hardware, using the Intel chipset 955x and 975x series, got it to run well at overclocked 4.1 GHz by increasing the FSB [front side bus], core and memory voltages, in which the ideal memory is a DDR2 PC833 with maximum wattage of 200w (because of the increased voltages).

It does need liquid cooling, which Apple is an expert at. Since the Macs have efficient parts being premium parts most of often than not, and the OS is energy efficient, the 200w could be engineered by Apple to be lower. OS X is more stable, which mean there'll be lesser reboots, which means more power is saved.

It would be good to tell Apple now, before Intel recalls it. It would be possible to shave $900 off the Power Macs and iMacs and at the same time have the most powerful CPUs for a desktop.

If they can build it in PowerBooks, it's also possible to streamline their computer to three, as three is already a crowd. They could introduce bigger PowerBooks to house the liquid cooling - 17" and up, have rebates on newly bought PBs. And as the price being very low, there would be no need for the compromised iBook. It'll all be PowerBooks.

If they like, they can still go for the One-Computer-Per-Child program by building a version of an iBook with this overclocked CPU. Instead of handcranked, it should be using gyros like the Seiko Kinetic (handcranked is good too though) to charge the rechargeable batteries a little at a time.

The program's main concern anyway is cost more than power usage, power which it has in abundance through unlimited supply using the gyros and/or handcrank. The speed would compensate for the lack of features of these computers. Using this would allow the less fortunate and fortunate (later just like what happened to the eMac) to have a very fast computer, the fastest at the moment, the cheapest and a have unlimited power supply, on the go.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Alvin,

I can't imagine Apple ever putting a Pentium inside a Mac. For one, it's obsolete technology. The new Intel Core architecture is significantly more efficient, both in terms of computing power and energy consumption. The Pentium brand will probably be history within a year.

The second factor is power consumption. Pentium CPUs are already energy hogs compared to PowerPC, and you make the situation far worse when you overclock the processor. Tom's Hardware measured 260W power consumption at 4.1 GHz! (At 2.66 GHz, their testbed computer had a 170W draw.)

That's a lot of power to supply and a lot of heat to dissipate. Yes, Apple does have liquid cooling experience, but a big cooling system is something that's not practical to put in an iMac or a notebook.

While it could trim Apple's parts costs to use the Pentium D 805 (a dual-core design), the time invested in overclocking and testing each CPU to reach 3.6-4.1 GHz would be expensive, probably offsetting any savings from using a $130 CPU. There's a lot more to factor in than the cost of the CPU itself.

As for the iBook, I don't see Apple discontinuing their consumer notebook line. It's not just less expensive than the MacBook Pro, it's also more rugged. That plastic body is designed to take a lot of abuse from students, whereas you have to treat the thin, aluminum-clad PowerBooks and MacBooks more carefully.

Regarding the Seiko Kinetic technology, that's used to drive a wristwatch, the kind of device than can normally run for years on a tiny 3V lithium battery. To provide sufficient power for a notebook computer, this technology would have to be scaled up significantly. Capturing energy from keystrokes and from motion when transporting a laptop could help keep a battery charged, but backlit screens and hard drives more than offset anything a kinetic power source could provide in a notebook computer.

For extended battery life, the Pentium D is out of the question. Apple made a wise choice with Intel's Core technology, and lower power versions are already making it to market.

How Apple Could Shave $900 off Power Mac and iMac Prices

In follow-up, Alvin writes:

That's a good thought. I think it's not the power that's the burden nowadays but having those fuel cells to power the portables up. If Toshiba launches a 10 or 20 hour fuel cell now, an overclocked Pentium D 850's hunger for power in all would still equal a current 5 hour energy efficient PowerBook.

I dunno' - that $130 CPU is such a bargain for everyone, and to further momentum of people trying out a Mac, stronger. Even if they launched an iBook form factor Pentium D 850 and skimp on everything (800 x 600 max resolution like the Nindento Wii, CD-RW, no FireWire, very big plastic or regular GI sheet casing that can house the water coolers) but save on weight by making it 12" (or lower) to 13" a lot would still buy it anyway.

Because I think if Apple should adjust holisticly to lifestyles, we really don't need a light laptop - we just want it to fit in our bags with our digicams, cellphones, mouse, and CD-Rs. All the lightness of the PowerBook and thin laptops, like Samsung's, becomes irrelevant once you put them in your much needed backpack or laptop casing with those digicam, cellphone, mouse, CD-R pockets.

I think I can get back to OS X just to get back to it to surf (not for doing 3D). My iMac 350's been dismantled. I have two 512 PC133 memory made for the iMac, a modified iMac keyboard (soft touch), the iMac mouse, the OEM OS 9, a boxed OS X Panther, and untested picture tube, logic board, flyback transformer, other guts, and old software and books (the casing I'm gonna' attempt to make as an iMacquarium; if I fail will try to trade or sell it in out local MUG here).

I have to ask: Can I attempt to exchange one stick of memory for a basic iMac or any Mac that will run OS X (I don't know which Mac)? Should I bundle related items like one 512 memory and OS 9 OEM for a to trade for a working iMac or OS X capable Mac (without keyboard or mouse, which I have already)? Should I just sell everything by bundle grouping related items together or sell everything individually? What is the best way to find prices of secondhand Mac goods, coz' I want it fair and square :)

Thanks.

Apple will never release another Mac with 800 x 600 resolution because some of the iLife apps requires 1024 x 786. Besides, 1024 x 768 screens are cheap these days, and anything less would seem very constricted.

As for your iMac parts, selling the untested components won't be easy except to someone who likes to tinker with iMacs. You can probably sell the memory, mouse, keyboard, OS 9 disc, and software individually to get the best price.

You might want to check the LEM Swap List archives to see what used Mac gear is going for user-to-user these days.

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Dan Knight has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. Mailbag columns come from email responses to his Mac Musings, Mac Daniel, Online Tech Journal, and other columns on the site.

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