Mac News Review

Intel's New Core CPUs, Greener Electronics, Make Your PC More Like a Mac Legally, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.01.15

MacBook, PowerBook, iBook, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iOS News Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Greener Electronics

Tech Trends

Products & Services

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Intel Compares Core i5 and Core Duo at CES

9 to 5 Mac's Seth Weintraub reports:

"The likely successor to the Intel Core 2 Duo in MacBook Pros is the Core i5s which Intel introduced this week at CES. Engadget caught a video of Intel comparing their old tech to new tech. The first test was a iTunes rip which was about twice as quick. The second encode shows the advantage of virtual cores that the i5 have."

Intel Unveils 2010 Core Processor Family

PR: Intel Corporation unveiled its new 2010 Intel Core family of processors at CES last week, with variants for laptops, desktops, and embedded devices. The Core "i" series CPUs reflect Intel's $7 billion investment announced early last year in the midst of a major global economic recession.

2010 Intel Core processorThe introduction of their Core i7, i5, and i3 chips coincides with the arrival of Intel's new 32nm (nanometer) manufacturing process, which for the first time in the company's history will be used to immediately produce and deliver processors and features at a variety of price points, and integrate high-definition graphics inside the processor. [Editor's note: This is a point that could prove problematical to Apple's quick adoption of these chips in its portable models, all of which currently use Nvidia GeForce integrated graphics. cm]

At CES, Intel unveiled more than 25 processors, wireless adapters and chipsets, including new Intel Core i7, i5, and i3 processors, Intel 5 Series Chipsets, and Intel Centrino WiFi and WiMAX adapters that include new Intel My WiFi features. More than 400 laptop and desktop PC platform designs are expected from computer makers based on these products, with another 200 expected for embedded devices.

As noted, the new 2010 Intel Core processors are manufactured on the company's 32nm process, which includes Intel's second-generation high-k metal gate transistors. This technique, along with other advances, helps increase a computer's speed while decreasing energy consumption.

2010 Intel Core processors"For the first time, there's a new family of Intel processors with the industry's most advanced technology available immediately at virtually every PC price point," says Sean Maloney, executive vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Group. "These smart processors adapt to an individual's needs, automatically providing a 'boost' of performance for everyday applications. They become energy efficient to the point of shutting down processing cores or reducing power consumption to provide performance when people need it, and energy efficient when they don't."

Based on Intel's award-winning "Nehalem" microarchitecture, these new desktop, mobile and embedded processors deliver smart performance for music, gaming, videos, movies, photos, social networking and other demanding mainstream applications. In addition, ultra-thin laptops with the new 2010 Intel Core processors inside can provide a balance of performance, style and long battery life for sleek systems less than an inch thick.

Intel's Core i7 and Core i5 processors also feature Intel's Turbo Boost Technology for adaptive performance, and thus smarter computing (although OS X support for this feature is still a question mark). Turbo Boost Technology automatically accelerates performance, adjusting to the workload to give users an immediate performance boost when needed. Intel Hyper-Threading Technology, available in Intel Core i7, Core i5 and Core i3 processors, enables smart multitasking by allowing each processing core to run multiple "threads," providing amazing responsiveness and great performance, balanced with industry-leading energy efficiency when processing several tasks simultaneously.

2010 Intel Core processorSupporting the all new 2010 Intel Core processors, the Intel 5 Series Chipset is the company's first single-chip chipset solution, evolving from simply connecting components to providing a range of platform innovation and capabilities. The Intel Core family also has power-saving techniques like one Intel calls "hurry up and get idle" or "HUGI," which enable processors to finish tasks quickly, while preserving battery life.

Intel also expanded the performance-per-watt platform choices for embedded by adding error correcting code memory for applications that require a higher data integrity standard. The embedded processors, together with Intel 5 Series chipsets, offer an extended, seven-year life cycle that better matches how long these devices are in the marketplace.

Glide Launches Mac-Compatible Browser OS

Glide OSPR: Also introduced at last week's Consumer Electronics Show was Glide's new operating system for the Google Chrome browser, which is available for install now.

Glide's Write appGlide effectively transforms Google Chrome from a standard browser into an OS with a rich application suite and 20 GB of free storage. You can set up and administer up to six family member accounts including child accounts from your Glide settings panel.

Glide equips Google Chrome with file synchronization and automated file format translation to speak with multiple remote Windows, Mac, and Linux desktops and all mobile platforms, web content capture, a rights based file management system to manage data across desktops and mobile devices, and a free suite of productivity applications including a word processor that supports MS Word documents, presentation app, spreadsheet, photo editor, email client, online meeting app, drawing tool, web publishing app, contact manager, calendar and much more.

Glide's Playlist App

"Glide inserts an operating system and an unusually rich suite of productivity and collaboration applications into the Google Chrome browser," said TransMedia Chairman and CEO, Donald Leka. "Through your Google Chrome browser you can now manage your files and information and web content across devices with online and offline access. Just download the Google Chrome browser and then install the Glide OS plugin extension and you are good to go."

Cloud Computing: The Glide OS Approach Versus The Google Approach

The Glide cloud computing solution is free of advertising and comes with 20 GB of free storage.

Glide desktop with sticky notesWhereas Google's Chrome OS is hardware centric and will only run on a limited number of devices with little or no distribution, Glide runs on virtually any device and platform today.

While Glide runs on Linux and Android, it also runs on Windows, Mac, Solaris, Blackberry, iPhone, Palm Pre, Symbian, and Windows Mobile.

Glide desktopWhereas Google Chrome OS is "autocratic," requiring that you store your files in their cloud, Glide allows you the option to work locally on your desktop.

Glide makes it possible for users to work without latency by using native apps on their local desktops and automatically synching data when bandwidth is available.

Glide's Rolodex appGlide transforms virtually any major browser into an OS, not just Google Chrome. The Glide OS plugin extension is also available for Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer.

A Bootable Glide OS for Netbooks

Glide's Presenter appNetbooks and other mid-sized devices have for the most part failed to meet a clearly defined need for most consumers and business users. Furthermore, while Glide believes that Linux is an important part of the cloud computing future and supports Linux, Linux based Netbooks for the most part have failed to gain significant market share. Hundreds of such devices will emerge over the next few years. Some will find specialized applications and others will gain short-term traction. But the problem remains that while both the cell phone and laptop have clearly defined uses, the notion of users carrying a third device seems implausible. More likely, the mobile phone and the laptop will continue to evolve to meet the needs that Netbooks and other mid-sized devices seek to fill and mid-sized devices will find important specialized niche markets.

In the first half of 2010, Glide will release a bootable version of the Glide OS for Netbooks making it possible to launch the Glide OS at startup. The Glide Netbook OS will provide a unified desktop, file management system, a comprehensive suite of native versions of the Glide Application Suite, offline access to your communication and collaboration suite and data capture and sync technology to provide a cost effective alternative to Windows for specialized niche markets like healthcare and education.

Flash 9.0.124 or later support is required.

Editor's note: I can report that Glide OS 3 works in Firefox on my G4 Power Mac with OS X 10.4. It does take some time to load, and I haven't done any real work with it yet, but it does work. Since it's free, you might want to experiment with it to see if it's something you'll find useful. If you use a browser that blocks Flash, add glidesociety.com to your exception list. dk

Linux Will Save the World, Not Apple

Apple's 1984 adLinux Today's Carla Schroder says:

Apple's 1984 ad"Remember Apple's famous 1984 commercial? That is one of the most brilliant TV commercials of all time, which isn't surprising - Ridley Scott directed it, and legendary advertising agency Chiat/Day produced it. It is a superb piece of filmmaking that still gives me chills, even in the lo-fi YouTube version.

"And then the spell wears off, and I realize Orwell was a prophet, the commercial bears no relationship to the product, and the athlete's Apple shirt should have a penguin logo on it instead of the Macintosh logo...."

Mac mini a Server Surprise with Strong Sales Start

AppleInsider's Neil Hughes reports:

"While Apple's new iMac got all of the desktop-related attention when new hardware was announced in October, the new Mac mini and its debut Server companion have found early success.

"Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis with market research firm NPD Group, told AppleInsider that he was surprised by the strong performance of the Mac mini. Previously, he said, the low-end desktop had been 'dead in the water' in terms of sales."

Greener Electronics

Some Companies Really Do Make Greener Electronics

PR: Greenpeace's electronics campaigners mission: To cut through the greenwash and highlight product ranges on the market which really are free of hazardous chemicals like PVC (vinyl) plastic and brominated flame retardants (BFR).

December 2009 Greenpeace electronics ratingsCES is a major trade show where electronics companies come to demonstrate new products and jostle for industry media attention (which these days includes many technology blogs like Engadget and Gizmodo). Though it is not open to the public, CES say they expect over 140,000 attendees - that's a lot of consumer electronics industry people in one place.

"In 2010, we should see significant developments, with products free of PVC and BFRs in the PC and TV markets. Any company failing to achieve this goal is taking a big gamble with its green reputation. On a positive note, it's good to see non-ranked companies beyond the PC and TV sectors, like Cisco, committing to eliminate these harmful substances," says IIza Kruszewska, Greenpeace International toxics campaigner.

Guide to Greener Electronics 14th Edition

Apple, Sony Ericsson, and Nokia lead the way for product ranges free of the worst hazardous substances with HP following their lead. HP just released the Compaq 8000f Elite business desktop, its first completely PVC and BFR free product, at CES 2010.

Meanwhile Samsung, Dell, Lenovo and LG Electronics (LGE) pick up penalty points in the Guide for failing to follow through on a promised phase-out of toxics in their products.

Most of the companies in our ranking guide had pledged to remove toxic PVC (vinyl) plastic and BFRs from their product range by the end of 2009, which would have meant a greater show of greener, toxic-free products for visitors to see at the CES. But, for now, it's a no show for these companies, who have delayed their phase-out to 2011 or beyond. No doubt they won't mention their backtracking to journalists and bloggers they meet at CES.

What's all the concern about toxic chemicals and e-waste?

PVC contaminates humans and the environment throughout its lifecycle; during its production, use, and disposal it is the single most environmentally damaging of all plastics, and can form dioxin, a known carcinogen, when burned. Some BFRs are highly resistant to degradation in the environment and are able to build up in animals and humans.

With the growth of electronic waste, workers who deal with e-waste and the wider community are exposed to significant health risks. Burning of e-waste to recover valuable resources, as routinely takes place in the backyards of China, India and much of the global South, can form dioxins. Eliminating the substances will decrease exposure and increase the recyclability and reusability of electronic products.

Consumers want green, not greenwash

Electronics companies have been moving their "environmental information" links higher and higher on product information webpages in the four years since our first Guide to Green Electronics. Some of it is only greenwash though, and informed consumers can tell the difference.

Last year Apple cleared the final hurdle in eliminating toxic PVC (vinyl) plastic, making it the first company to completely eliminate hazardous BFRs and PVC in its computer systems. Pressure from thousands of Apple lovers and advocates turned the company green in the time it took to go from iMac G5 (2006) to iMac Aluminum (2009).

"It's time for a little less conversation and a lot more action on removing toxic chemicals." That's what our electronics campaigner, Casey Harrell, is saying at CES. Apple, Sony Ericsson and Nokia are winning this game and HP is catching up, but the lack of action from other companies is ensuring that customers and the environment are still losing out.

Ban the toxic stuff for good

Several companies see their scores reduced in this edition of the Guide with the bar being raised on hazardous substances. Having endorsed the precautionary principle, companies now need to actively support bans on PVC, BFRs and chlorinated flame retardants (CFRs) during the revision of the European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electronics Directive.

"Companies need to support legislative bans to ensure a consistent phase out of PVC and BFRs across all electronic products," said Iza Kruszewska Greenpeace International toxics campaigner. "Sony Ericsson and Apple are already calling on EU institutions to support such a ban. Other big players like HP and Dell, who have remained silent so far, and Acer need to ensure the ban is passed in the European Union parliament."

Nokia leads the ranking, with a score of 7.3 out of 10. Sony Ericsson follows closely, and is the only company to score full marks on all the toxic chemicals criteria. In third place is Toshiba, but it risks losing points if it fails to meet its commitment to market new models of all its consumer electronics products that are free of PVC and BFRs by 1 April 2010. Philips comes in fourth place, while Apple rises from ninth place to fifth.

Nintendo continues to languish at the bottom of the ranking. Sony is rewarded for its reported 17 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the period 2000-2008, with renewable energy now accounting for 8 percent of the total energy purchased globally each year by the company, up from 2.5 percent a year ago. It also gains for the reported use of 17,000 tons of recycled plastics annually in various products, representing 10 percent of all plastics used in the 2008 financial year. Almost 90 percent of this recycled plastic was post-consumer.

Samsung twitter petition

Samsung drops dramatically from second place to a tied seventh place for failing to eliminate BFRs in all its products by January 2010. With only its latest models of mobile phones free of toxic substances, it has set January 2011 as the deadline for eliminating them from new models of its notebooks and still has no definitive timeline for removing them from its TVs and household appliances.

While Samsung's marketing people are touting their wares at CES, we'll be calling them out on Twitter with this petition: petition @Samsungtweets to follow Apple SonyEricsson and HP, and eliminate harmful chemicals like PVC: http://act.ly/1l1 RT to sign #actly

Which Companies Really Sell Greener Electronics?

PR: Apple is leading the way on eliminating toxic PVC and BFRs from all it's new products with the new iMac and MacBook being the first PC's completely free of PVC and BFRs

Greenpeace's ranking guide, published since 2006, shows clearly how the 18 top consumer electronics companies line up. This new chart shows which of those companies have eliminated the most harmful chemicals from their product ranges.

Gold stars represent products free of the worst hazardous substances. Smaller stars mean there are limited products free of worst hazardous substances. A grey star means none of the products made by this company in these product categories are free of worst hazardous substances. And finally, a dash means that the company doesn't make that kind of product.

See the notes below for more information about each company.

Notes

  • Greenpeace green electronics ratingsAPPLE: Apple is leading the way on eliminating toxic PVC and BFRs from all it's new products with the new iMac and MacBook being the first PC's completely free of PVC and BFRs.
  • NOKIA: Almost all of Nokia's new models of mobile phones are free of BFRs. Nokia's new models have been free of PVC since the end of 2005, and it is now aiming to have all new models free of all brominated and chlorinated compounds and antimony trioxide from the start of 2010.
  • SONY ERICSSON: Sony Ericsson has also already banned toxic antimony, beryllium and phthalates from new models launched since January 2008.
  • HP: HP is fast catching up with Apple lead in PVC and BFR phase out and is well ahead of Dell and Lenovo.
  • ACER: Acer needs to expand this range in 2010 to all its products.
  • TOSHIBA: Toshiba has some laptops, phones and TV's partly free of PVC and/or BFRs but needs to match it's competitors products without PVC and BFRs in these product categories. Toshiba has also committed to introduce alternatives to phthalates, beryllium and antimony by 2012 in all its products.
  • DELL: Dell has postponed phase out of PVC and BFRs till 2011, only offering models with "reduced" amounts of PVC and BFRs.
  • LENOVO: Lenovo has postponed phase out of PVC and BFRs till 2011, only offering models with "reduced" amounts of PVC and BFRs.
  • SAMSUNG: Samsung needs to remove PVC and BFRs across much more of its product range.
  • LGE: Only LG mobile phones will be free of toxic PVC and BFRs from 2010; TVs, monitors and PCs have to wait until 2012 and household appliance models until 2014. LGE has launched its first mobile phone that is free from PVC and BFRs and has six models of halogen-free Optical Disk Drives.
  • FUJITSU: Fujitsu has only some reduced PVC and BFRs models and is behind competitors in removing these substances from PCs.
  • SONY: Sony has only some reduced PVC and BFRs models and is behind competitors in removing these substances from PCs.
  • MOTOROLA: Well behind Nokia, Sony Ericsson in removing PVC and BFRs from all its phones
  • PANASONIC: Panasonic has some products free of PVC or BFRs but not in these product categories and has no commitment to remove these toxic substances across its product range.

Tech Trends

How to Make Your PC More Like a Mac

Associated Content's Jared Spurbeck says:

"Some people like to make 'Hackintoshes,' where they load Mac OS X Leopard (or Snow Leopard) on their PCs. Then they've got Spaces, Exposé, the Finder, the Dock, and all the other things that make a Mac a Mac inside their PCs. This is against the terms of Apple's EULA, or End-User License Agreement, however, which says that you can only install Mac OS X on a Mac, even if you bought and paid for a copy.

"Fortunately, there is a legal way to make your PC into a Mac, or at least a very Mac-like computer! What's more, it's free. Read on!"

The Desktop Isn't Dead, Say People Who Really Hope the Desktop Isn't Dead

Gizmodo's John Herrman says:

"If you trust abstract concepts like 'trends' and 'evidence,' it's clear that the desktop is heading for extinction. But wait! There may be an upward spike in the PC's downward trajectory, according to dutifully optimistic desktop chipmakers! They're probably right...."

Products & Services

Samsung Announces Stylish, Rugged, Eco-friendly External Hard Drive Family

PR: Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has announced the G Series, its new lineup of external hard drives, designed under an eco-friendly green concept. The new G series strengthen Samsung's external drive portfolio of 1.8", 2.5", and 3.5" drives, targeting the young adult market, which are looking for a fashionably styled mobile drive but that is also reliable with high density.

Samsung's new G-Series, introduced at the International Consumer Electronics Show, consists of the 2.5" G2 Portable with 250/320/500/640 GB densities and the 3.5" G3 Station available in 1/1.5/2 TB versions.

"The market for external hard disk drives is forecasted to grow in leaps and bounds as consumers push for storage that is easy and safe to carry around," said H.S. Lee, vice president, storage marketing, Samsung Electronics. "Our G Series eco-friendly drives offer a distinctive design in an assortment of trendy colors with high densities, easy connectivity and a suite of data security software."

The G-Series, the eco-friendly drives to be halogen-free, features low-noise levels, low-power consumption and meets the ROHS regulation for eco friendliness.

The smart power management of the G3 Station enables the drive to be turned on and off by the host computer. The G3 Station reduces power consumption by over 95 percent, from the conventional level of 2.5W to 0.09W and it will automatically enter Standby Mode after five minutes of inactivity.

The new casing design, a multileveled glitter surface that reflects the image of light on a beaded surface, protects the casing from fine scratches. Four new colors inspired from the nature motif - olive green, coral blue, silver white and cobalt black - have been adopted to highlight the eco-friendly green design.

In addition, the new external drives utilize a USB 2.0 interface with data transfer speeds of 480 megabit per second (Mbps). Key features include Samsung Auto Backup for ongoing data preservation, SecretZone™ software for personal data encryption and SafetyKey for password protection.

The G2 Portable adopts a USB built-in board for a more compact dimension. The G3 Station has adopted a lightweight design and the 2-terabyte version weighs 950g, approximately 20% less than a conventional drive with comparable features.

The G Series drives will be available globally by mid-January 2010. It features a three-year limited warranty and has an MSRP of US$199 for the 2 TB G3 Station and the 640 GB G2 Portable, respectively.

SteelSeries Announces Water and Stain Resistant Mousepad, SteelSeries NP+

SteelSeries NP+PR: SteelSeries has introduced the SteelSeries NP+ Mousepad. The new, large surface was designed for gamers and mouse users who prefer a thick and rough glide surface. The pressure compressed fibers allows for extreme durability making it water and most-stain resistant.

"The SteelSeries NP+ was designed for those that prefer a rough glide and large area surface. The water and stain resistant material makes this surface, our most unique textile mousepad."

waterproof SteelSeries NP+"We work with a number of professional gamers that have a wide assortment of preferences when it comes to the surface they're playing on or the level of glide and friction they prefer," said Bruce Hawver, SteelSeries CEO. "The SteelSeries NP+ was designed for those that prefer a rough glide and large area surface. The water and stain resistant material makes this surface, our most unique textile mousepad."

Unlike any other surface that SteelSeries offers, the SteelSeries NP+ is specifically targeted for gamers that prefer a medium to rough glide and higher level of mouse to surface friction. Regardless of their preference, users can effectively operate an optical or laser mouse on the 17.7" x 15.7" surface. Its non-slip rubber base provides a firm grip and prevents the pad from sliding no matter what surface the SteelSeries NP+ is placed on.

SteelSeries NP+ Mousepad will be available at leading online retailers including Newegg.com with an MSRP of $24.99 beginning in March 2010.

Software

MacTuneUp Creates Bootable Backups, Boost Internet Performance, More

MacTuneUp is the perfect addition to your Mac tool kit. This sophisticated, yet easy-to-use utility program makes operating your Mac easier, safer and more fun. With MacTuneUp, you can easily prevent system instability and speed up your Mac with a few simple steps. MacTuneUp quickly discovers and fixes problems, restores hard disk space, creates bootable disk backups, and maximizes Internet and network connections to squeeze the best performance from your Mac.

MacTuneUp Creates Bootable Backups and Disk ImagesWith MacTuneUp, you can automatically run daily, weekly and/or monthly system maintenance. The utility software cleans system clutter to increase performance, securely removes unwanted junk and personal files to recover lost space, and creates bootable backups or disk images.

Let MacTuneUp quickly bring your Mac back to its original state.

Make your Mac as good as new...

Improve your system performance using MacTuneUp to easily maintain and secure your activity. Quickly diagnose and repair problems before they occur, securely remove unwanted junk and personal files to recover lost space, increase the speed of your Internet network connections, and create bootable backups or disk images to quickly bring your Mac back to its original state.

Create bootable backups

Create a bootable backup of your hard disk that can be used to create disk clones, move your running operating system from one disk to another (for example, when replacing a hard disk), or to backup system folders individually. You can also create a disk image of a system volume that can be recovered using Apple Software Restore (ASR).

Internet Booster

MacTuneUp completely cleans system clutterAccelerate your Internet network connection with a few simple clicks to boost the performance of your email, FTP, Internet browsing, chats, and other online activity.

Mac Maintenance

Your Mac is a computer powerhouse. Keep it running like new with an easy Maintenance Pilot that runs periodic tasks, repairs permissions and optimizes your system.

Enhanced Firewall

Add an extra layer of protection to your Mac by configuring your Mac firewall or adding a custom firewall with your own set of rules to keep harmful files off your system.

Control System Settings

Customize your Mac experience by easily managing all system settings from within MacTuneUp.

Quick Info

  • Become more familiar with your Mac by quickly finding information about your system and shortcuts.
  • Instantly run daily, weekly and monthly system maintenance
  • Completely clean system clutter to increase performance
  • Shred files to make them unrecoverable
  • Accelerate your Internet connection
  • Manage & enhance firewall settings
  • Create bootable backups
  • Create backup disk images for software restoration
  • Access hidden System, Finder and Dock settings
  • Optimize virtual memory
  • Create new shared directories (Share Points)
  • Browse hidden system files and folders

New in version 3.6.1:

  • Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard support
  • Improved stability on PPC Macs
  • Increased application performance on Intel Macs
  • Improved disk cloning process
  • Resolves an issue when displaying certain Unix manuals
  • Resolves an issue when canceling a deletion or a backup process
  • Many minor improvements and resolved issues from previous versions

System Requirements

  • Mac OS X 10.3.9, 10.4 or higher (Leopard Compatible)
  • 256 MB Ram
  • 10 MB Hard Disk Space

Some feature enhancements not available on older operating systems.

Platform Support: PPC/Intel

Price: $34.99

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