Charles Moore's Mailbag

New 'Books Have Better Displays, Digital vs. Analog Audio I/O, Craigslist Restrictions, and More

Charles Moore - 2009.07.15 - Tip Jar

Better Display Quality on Newest 'Books

From Brett in response to Are Close-out MacBooks a Better Value than the New Models?:

I think you may be leaving out another substantial advantage to the new models: the display is supposed to be much better (wider gamut, etc.) than the previous version. That's one thing that kept me from considering a MacBook until now: When compared to my wife's MacBook Air display, the MacBooks looked markedly inferior. Not sure about the model you have, but I seem to recall the new MacBooks all got the screen upgrade to the same display as the MBA. Since I stare at that screen all day, an improved display is a critical feature for me.

Hi Brett,

I think my MacBook has the older type display, since it was purchased as an Apple Certified Refurbished unit back in February. The screen is very nice - the best I've ever had in a laptop, but I don't gainsay that the improved one in the latest models is even better, and I should have included that point in the article.

Charles

Digital Audio Input and Output

From Ed:

In your recent column, you say, "However, if digital audio ports are important to you, the 13" Unibody MacBook has them, while the 13" MacBook Pro doesn't."

Very slight correction: The Pro does have digital audio out, just not in. (And the analog in is shared with the digital/analog out, so even for people for whom lack of digital in isn't a deal killer might find that the shared port is a deal-killer. Like me. Digital out required, digital in not; but in and out simultaneous is.)

Ed

Hi Ed,

You're right, and I should have articulated that point more clearly. The angle I was coming from is that users for whom digital audio is a priority don't seem to be very happy about the iPod-style combination in/out port on the 13" MacBook Pro. It would not be a significant issue for me, although I do have separate ports on my 13" MacBook.

Charles

Opera, Stainless, and Cruz Browsers

From Matt in response to 2 Promising Browsers: Opera 10 Turbo and Stainless:

Hello Charles Moore,

I just read your article on Opera 10 Turbo. The speed increase from the turbo feature sounds quite impressive. I just recently started using processor specific builds of Firefox, which are available here. I noticed a slight increase on my eMac 1.25 GHz, but a rather significant increase on my iMac G3 600 MHz.

I did try Opera 9 for a while, but I couldn't find a way to make a new tab open to my home page rather than the speed dial. I know it sound trivial, but it's a big deal for me. Also, My iMac really lags on any banner ads, so AdBlock Plus is pretty crucial.

I did just start using two new browsers, Cruz and Stainless, on my G4. [Editor's note: Both require Mac OS X 10.5 or later. dk] Both have an impressive feature set, but Stainless is growing on me fast. The bookmark shelf is great, and I love that the icons can be customized with a simple drag and drop. Cruz is also an up and coming alternative, with the Browsa-Browsa Plugin allowing you to run different credentials in the same window side-by-side.

After reading your article, I think I'll give Opera another chance. For now, I will probably stick with special builds of Firefox, but that might change when Cruz and Stainless hit their 1.0.

Keep up the good work,
Matt Gordon

Hi Matt,

Yes, optimized builds of Firefox do seem to improve performance to varying degrees. You can also get Intel optimized builds.

Opera 10 has a popup blocking feature with several configuration options built-in.

It's not something I ever thought about before (I keep the home page selection blank), but you appear to be correct about the new tab issue.

The extra speed with Opera Turbo will be realized on dialup and low-bandwidth WiFi connections. Opera recommends keeping Turbo turned off when you're on regular broadband.

I agree with your assessment of both Stainless and Cruz. My favorite Stainless feature is the bookmarks shelf too. Why didn't anyone think of that before?

Thanks for the comments.

Charles

Hi Charles,

I tried out Opera 10 and saw the Popup blocker you mentioned. Unfortunately, my main problem is banner ads, rather than pop ups. Also, I noticed that Opera has an option to put bookmarks into a sidebar, just like Stainless. Pretty sweet.

Matt

Installing Tiger on DVD-less iBooks

From Nancy in response to Installing OS X 10.4 'Tiger' on DVD-Challenged Macs Using FireWire Target Disk Mode:

Hi Charles!

I followed your steps to install OS X 10.4 onto an iBook G3 from an external iMac with DVD.

Everything was going along fine until I came to the install option. I chose the iBook as the destination, but I got a message saying I couldn't do that because it required 15.5 GB of space to install - and the iBook only has 14.1 GB of space.

In your instructions, you indicated the "new" system only took up 1.5 GB of space. Did I misunderstand?

I have another iBook G3 with 10.4.11 on it, which I purchased that way. It only has 9 GB of space, so I am sure this can be done but I must be doing something wrong.

Please help, if you can and have the time.

Thanks.

Nancy

Hi Nancy,

14.1 GB of free space should be ample for an OS X 10.4 install. Apple specifies at least 3 GB of free disk space - and only 4 GB if you install the Xcode 2 Developer Tools.

Something is not working right.

Installing OS X 10.4 via Target Disk Mode is endorsed by Apple for machines with no DVD drive for OS X Server, as described in Mac OS X Server 10.4.7 or later: How to install if you have no DVD drive.

However, they advise going the opposite direction from the method I used, booting the machine containing the DVD drive into Target Disk Mode with the Tiger install disk inserted and mounted, which is probably a better way to go, since the installer will tailor any necessary machine-specific system resources to the boot machine.

I've posted a more detailed discussion in a follow-up article, Using FireWire Target Disk Mode to Install OS X on Macs without DVD Drives.

I'm not sure which direction you went with your attempt, but I think it would be worth a shot trying the alternate configuration to see if that would render success.

Charles

Big Fan of Firefox 3.5

From David in response to Safari 4: 'I Actually Like Safari Now':

Thanks for this info. I am still running Mac OS X 10.5.6 on my G4; I don't really have a compelling need to upgrade at this time. so I am holding off. So I guess I will have to hold off on Safari 4 until then. Actually I find that I am using the new Firefox 3.5 more and more.

We are still in the Philippines. I am still doing my best to convince my fellow missionaries to go Mac. Two of our older missionaries made the jump to MacBooks, and they are so glad they did. Also, we got a new Mac mini for the Sonshine Center, so we are almost completely Windows free.

God bless you brother,
Dave

Hi Dave,

Glad the info was helpful.

I just reinstalled the Security Update 2009 002 and Safari 4 on my Pismo, and now that I know how to work around it was able squash the looping "Your Network preferences have been changed...." bug in OS 10.4.11.

Good work on both your main ministry and your "other evangelization" efforts.

Charles

Craigslist Terms of Service

From Ed:

Charles

In a recent column, then followed up in your current column, you have a letter from "Scott",

Hey Charles,

Would you mind asking your readers if anyone knows of any software to automatically list items on Craigslist? I can find software like that for Windows, but not for the Mac.

I have a competitor who constantly deletes my listing, which I constantly relist. He's obviously got software that automatically deletes my listing . . . Craigslist really ought to change their system. Oh well, I don't have anything better to do! (laugh)

Scott

A couple notes:

  1. It is essentially impossible for a single person to delete a post on Craigslist. It takes many, many flags (from different IP addresses) to remove a Craigslist post. Craigslist won't say how many, but does state that the exact number varies based on many factors, including how often the poster has had postings removed, the exact location (it takes many more to remove a posting on the New York City Craigslist than it does on the Duluth, MN Craigslist), and even the subsection (an ultra-busy section such as cars takes many more flags than a very infrequently-used section).
  2. It is against the Craigslist terms of service to use an auto-poster. (See section 7y )
  3. Scott writes as if he is a business ("a competitor", "automatically list items", which sounds like many items, not just an occasional item). Most sections of Craigslist prohibit the placement of commercial ads. Some of the few exceptions are in the cars section (in which you must state that you are a dealer) and in the "services" section. If Scott is posting business ads in the nonbusiness sections, he will get flagged and removed no matter how often he posts.

Ed

Hi Ed,

Thanks for the info. My personal ignorance of Craigslist is pretty encyclopedic. I've never used it either as a seller or buyer.

While we're on the topic, Dan Knight noted that none of the Craigslist apps listed on MacUpdate allow you to post to Craigslist. They are all for searching it.

Charles

Yeah, any of the post-capable apps on Windows are even a violation of Craigslist's terms of use.

Ed

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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at Applelinks.com and a columnist at MacPrices.net. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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