Mac News Review

Apple Going AMD?, Drag and Drop Gmail Attachments, VLC Media Player 1.1 Preview Available, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.04.23

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

Products & Services

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Apple in Discussions to Adopt AMD Chips?

AppleInsider's Kasper Jade and Prince McLean say:

"Intel has served as Apple's sole source for the microprocessors used in its [Macintosh] computers since the company began its transition away from PowerPC in 2006, but that may soon change given the company's recent talks with Intel's chief CPU rival Advanced Micro Devices."

"It is believed that Apple is working with AMD to expand its potential sources for CPUs in order to increase its flexibility and broaden its competitive options, but also likely in response to problems it has encountered with Intel. These issues include limited availability of new processors (which is rumored to have slowed Apple's notebook refreshes) as well as new chipset designs imposed by Intel that have blocked the Mac maker's plans to continue a partnership with Nvidia to deliver a standardized chipset for use with its Intel processors across all of its consumer computer offerings."

Apple in Talks with AMD?

CrunchGear's Devin Coldewey reports:

"AMD reps have been seen zooming around the Apple campus, taking meetings and presumably hawking their wares. With the recent MacBook Pro update proudly proclaiming the power of the Core i5 and i7 processors inside, and the work with Intel and Nvidia to produce seamless hybrid graphics acceleration, it seems a rather odd time to be window-shopping with other vendors....

"So what's going on here? Is Apple jumping ship, or just teasing in order to get a rise out of Intel and Nvidia? Maybe a little of both."

Drag and Drop Attachments in Gmail with Chrome and Firefox

Google Software Engineer Adam de Boor says:

"I'm always looking for ways to save time. Suppose I want to attach some files to an email, and I already have a folder open containing those files.

"I used to have to click 'Attach a file,' find the photos, click them, etc. Starting today, if I'm using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox 3.6, I can just drag and drop the files to attach them - easy as pie.

"We'll enable this for other browsers as soon as they support this feature. For now, you can drag and drop attachments in Chrome and Firefox only."

Intel's Light Peak to Succeed USB 3.0?

The Register's Rik Myslewski reports:

"Intel sees its high-speed, long-distance Light Peak optical cabling technology as the next interconnect step after USB 3.0.

"'We view this as a logical future successor to USB 3.0,' IDG News Service quoted Intel senior fellow Kevin Kahn as telling his audience at the Intel Developer Forum currently underway in Beijing. 'In some sense we'd . . . like to build the last cable you'll ever need.'"

Editor's note: Light Peak is supposed to be twice as fast as USB 3.0, but it seems to lack one important USB feature. USB can provide power to devices. Light Peak can't do that, so it won't be able to bus-power an external 2.5" hard drive or charge your iPod, iPad, or iPhone. That's a big issue as mobile phones are universally moving to USB charging. Doubling speed may be less important than providing power to devices. dk

How to Install Windows 7 on Your Mac

DigitalTrends' Nick Mokey says:

"Here's how to get Windows 7 installed and running on your iMac in just a few quick steps by following our simple installation guide.

"Let's face it: Even the most diehard Mac fan needs a little dose of Microsoft sometimes. Whether you want to run some obscure engineering software, experiment with the dark side, or just want to fire up Modern Warfare 2 on your iMac, the ability to dip your toe in the Windows software pool is a major advantage. And these days, getting that means installing Windows 7...."

Microsoft Arc Keyboard vs. the Apple Wireless Keyboard

CrunchGear's Matt Burns reports:

"...I picked up both the Microsoft Arc Keyboard and Apple Wireless Keyboard in a desperate attempt to regain my sanity.

"My thought was that maybe, with their smaller frames and wireless capability, I could peacefully co-exist with the crap on my desk . . . But alas, I also found both have different fatal flaws and aren't able to handle my daily workload so I'm back typing on my old full-size Apple keyboard."

Editor's note: Apple has discontinued the full-size Wireless Pro Keyboard, but the company still makes a full-size USB keyboard - purchase link below. dk

Purchase Links:

Products & Services

Aluminum Mouse Pad Shows Why It's Sometimes Worth It to Go the Extra Mile

PR: With the proliferation of laptops with built-in trackpads and optical mice that can mouse over just about any surface, not many people think about the surface they use their mouse on.

Things aren't always as they appear.

When metal-surfaced mouse pads started to make their appearance, we got a lot of requests to start carrying them. Based on a number of reviews and brand requests, we chose a popular manufacturer and started working with them.

Unfortunately, the quality left much to be desired. Scratches on the top surface were the norm, and I even saw one with severe bands of discoloration on a supposedly "gray" surface. More disturbing, though, were the rough chunks out of the edges of many of the pads....

That's not the kind of product that we want to sell....

After the disappointing offering from this third-party supplier, we jumped in and decided to rebuild from the ground up, and that's just what we did. From the natural closed cell sponge rubber bottom (instead of the cheap matting usually used for shelf liners, like on other models) to the clear, anodized finish (produced with the same process as used for medical supplies), we made sure this was a mouse pad you'd be proud to display and use on your desk.

This 100% Made in the USA metal mouse pad is made from precision laser cut, aircraft-grade aluminum, and wonderfully compliments the aluminum cases of iMacs, Mac Pros, MacBooks and MacBook Pros, while fitting in with even the most stylish decors.

That's why we're proud to announce the Newer Technology NuPad Forever. It's available now, and comes in two sizes:

NuPad Forever 6 x 9 Aluminum Mouse PadNewer Technology NuPad Forever 6" x 9" Aluminum Mouse Pad

Features:

  • Made from precision laser cut, aircraft-grade aluminum.
  • 100% Made in the USA.
  • Accurate tracking surface for optical, laser or rollerball mice.
  • Natural closed cell sponge rubber underside provides non-slip stability.

Specs:

  • Color: Aluminum
  • Material: Aluminum / Natural closed cell sponge rubber
  • Dimensions: 6" x 9"

NuPad Forever 9 x 9 Aluminum Mouse PadNewer Technology NuPad Forever 9" x 9" Aluminum Mouse Pad

Features:

  • Made from precision laser cut, aircraft-grade aluminum.
  • 100% Made in the USA.
  • Accurate tracking surface for optical,laser or rollerball mice.
  • Natural closed cell sponge rubber underside provides non-slip stability.

Specs:

  • Color: Aluminum
  • Material: Aluminum / Natural closed cell sponge rubber
  • Dimensions: 9" x 9"

Software

ClickToFlash: Flash-blocking Plugin for Safari

PR: "Any crash is probably Flash"

Ever wanted to get rid of the scourge of the web that is Adobe Flash, but still retain the ability to view Flash whenever you want? With ClickToFlash, you can! Using ClickToFlash, all of those icky Flash bits that have infected most webpages on the internets are replaced with a nice, smooth gradient and the word "Flash" set in a nice, pleasing font. When you want to view the Flash, just click on it!

The advantages of ClickToFlash are numerous. Since Flash isn't loaded until you specifically ask for it, your CPU usage will stay at normal levels when browsing the web. This has tons of benefits: web browsing stays speedy, your Mac laptop won't get as hot, and your Mac's fan won't come on as often. In fact, we guarantee* that ClickToFlash will quintuple your battery life and that it will protect those precious parts of your body on which you rest your laptop! (*note: not actually guaranteed)

Although similar to Flashblock for Firefox and Camino, ClickToFlash offers features over and above what Flashblock offers, and it offers them for Safari. Best among them, ClickToFlash supports viewing all those ADORABLE meowing cat videos, annoying dog videos, and hilarious rickrolls from YouTube without using Flash at all! That's because YouTube also offers H.264 videos, which are used when viewing YouTube on the iPhone. With ClickToFlash, you get access to those same, higher quality videos.

The web is so much better without Flash.

Features:

  • Block evil Adobe Flash
  • Flash only when you want it.
  • One-click Flash loading
  • View blocked Flash with just one click.
  • Higher quality YouTube
  • Play videos in QuickTime, not Flash.
  • Website Whitelist
  • Allow Flash on certain websites.
  • Lowered CPU usage
  • Browse the web more quickly.
  • Better battery life
  • Browse the web longer on your laptop.
  • Less fan usage and heat
  • Browse the web quietly and coolly.
  • Automatic Updating
  • Download updates when they're ready.
  • Help us support other video sites!
  • Problems with ClickToFlash? Please see this page.

Usage Notes:

Contextual menu: the gear in the upper-left corner of any unloaded Flash box allows access to ClickToFlash's contextual menu. This menu allows you to do advanced things like edit ClickToFlash's whitelist, specify settings, and load all Flash on the page.

ClickToFlash menu: in certain applications, ClickToFlash will activate a menu item in the application's menu. For example, Safari has a ClickToFlash menu located at [Safari - > ClickToFlash], near the "Preferences..." menu item. This gives access to ClickToFlash's settings window and a few other features. Make sure to visit a page that has Flash on it to get this menu.

Uninstalling ClickToFlash: for versions 1.5 and later, go to the Settings window and click the "Uninstall ClickToFlash" button. For versions prior to 1.5, navigate to ~/Library/Internet Plug-ins/ in the Finder, where ~ is your home folder, and delete the item named "ClickToFlash.webplugin" (or "ClickToFlash.plugin").

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.4-10.6

VLC Media Player 1.1.0-pre1: Free Open Source Cross-platform Media Player

PR: VLC media player is a highly portable multimedia player supporting most audio and video formats (H.264, Ogg, DivX, MKV, TS, MPEG-2, MP3, MPEG-4, AAC, ...) from files, physical media (DVDs, VCD, Audio-CD), TV capture cards and many network streaming protocols.

It can also convert media files, transcode and act as a streaming server over unicast or multicast and IPv4 or IPv6. It doesn't need any external codec, program or codec pack to work.

  • Free and Open Source cross-platform media player
  • Supports a large number of multimedia formats, without the need for additional codecs
  • Features a complete streaming server, with extended features (video on demand, on the fly transcoding, ...)

Features

  • Instant pausing and Frame-by-Frame support
  • Finer speed controls
  • New HD codecs (AES3, Dolby Digital Plus, TrueHD, Blu-ray Linear PCM, Real Video 3.0 and 4.0, ...)
  • New formats (Raw Dirac, M2TS, ...) and major improvements in many formats...
  • New Dirac encoder and MP3 fixed-point encoder
  • Video scaling in fullscreen
  • RTSP Trickplay support
  • Zipped file playback
  • Customizable toolbars
  • Easier encoding GUI in Qt interface
  • Better integration in Gtk environments
  • MTP devices on Linux
  • AirTunes streaming
  • New skin for the skins2 interface

System Requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.5 or later and a Quartz Extreme capable Mac.
  • PPC/Intel

Free

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