Mac News Review

Trapped on the Dark Side, Kodachrome and PowerPC Obsolescence, Graphic Software Overview, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.09.03

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

Mac Lover Trapped on the Dark Side

The Springfield News-Sun's editorial page editor Tom Hawkins unapologetically proclaims himself a Mac fanboy who, when Steve Jobs says "buy", opens his wallet and flings money toward Cupertino.

Hawkins says that he's run Macs since owning a 1984 Fat Mac - and even even owned an Apple Newton. Today he's a broken man trapped "in the hell of the Windows universe" using a Dell Latitude E6500 laptop his employer's IT department is forcing on him despite "you'll have to pry my Mac from my cold, dead hands" protestations on his part that did not receive a sympathetic hearing from the IT commissariat.

Hawkins likens working with Windows on the Dell to coming home and finding that someone has come into your house and rearranged all the furniture. Badly.

He concedes that the Dell does everything his Mac does, "but without grace."

Kodachrome and PowerPC Obsolescence

MacGroup.org's Jack Beckman says:

"The last roll of Kodak Kodachrome film was produced earlier this year and given to a famous photographer to shoot with. In addition, the last place you can even have Kodachrome processed will stop at the end of the year. For anyone still wondering - film photography is dead. Can you buy other brands? Sure, but just as the song Kodachrome says 'I can read the writing on the wall.'"

"What's this have to do with Macs? Mozilla is hinting that the next version of Firefox, now in beta, won't run on PowerPC (PPC) Macs. Now, I know a lot of people are still using PPC machines, and they're doing a great job for them. But If you continue to hold out on buying an Intel Mac, you're going to slip further and further behind . . . (Apple will probably drop PPC support for Safari at some point next year I'm guessing)."

* Publisher's note: We've been covering this story for some time (see Firefox 3.6 Probably the Last Version for PowerPC Macs). For the record, Firefox 3.6 was the last version to support Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, and although early betas of Firefox 4 (through Beta 3) did support PowerPC Macs running OS X 10.5 Leopard, Beta 4 and later do not. In my opinion, we've had a good run and have excellent browsers for PowerPC Macs running 10.4 and 10.5. Being left behind at this point isn't a big deal (for more on my view, see Firefox 4 Drops Tiger Support: So What?). dk

How Do I Love My New Mac? Let Me Count the Ways...

ZDNet blogger Christopher Dawson says:

"Remember that old Joan Jett song, 'I Hate Myself for Loving You'? That about sums up my relationship with my new Mac.

"I thought about calling this post 'How a FOSS advocate ended up loving a Mac with Windows 7 running in a virtual machine and a thousand bucks worth of proprietary software cranking alongside it', but it was longer than headlines should generally be, so I figured I'd just steal from Browning for a title. She wouldn't mind, although her classic sonnet doesn't manage to capture the mixture of love and self-loathing that my Mac manages to conjure up."

The Complete Overview of Indie Graphics Software for Mac

AppStorm's Jonas Wisser says:

Everyone knows about the big guns in the graphics field. Adobe is pretty much the unchallenged master of image editing with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks. Adobe's InDesign shares the digital publishing field, albeit grudgingly, with Quark's Quark XPress. Serious graphic designers find themselves stuck between these two large corporations, due in part to format lock-in and in part to features that other pieces of software just don't have.

For those of us who don't need things like the ability to switch from right-to-left text to left-to-right text with one click of the mouse, or even more obscure features, there are a number of other third-party applications out there that may meet our needs . . . One thing is true in all of them: they're less expensive than the Adobe alternative!

Raster (Bitmap) Applications

  • Acorn
  • DrawIt
  • GIMP
  • Opacity
  • Photoline
  • Pixelmator
  • Seashore

Vector Applications

  • Inkscape
  • Intaglio
  • Lineform
  • VectorDesigner
  • ZeusDraw

Others

  • GraphicConverter
  • Picturesque
  • Prizmo

Editor's note: There are more of them than I had imagined. cm

Products & Services

Smartfish ErgoMotion Mouse Tilts, Rocks, and Rolls

Smartfish ErgoMotion MouseThe Smartfish ErgoMotion Mouse features a patented pivot base that for the first time allows the mouse to move with your natural hand and wrist positions, adapting to your unique movements while you work.

A Mouse that Rocks and More

The ErgoMotion Laser Mouse doesn't just rock, but swivels and pivots, too. The ErgoMotion Mouse redefines what a true ergonomic product should be by actually reducing your risk of Smartfish ErgoMotion MouseRepetitive Stress Injury (RSI). How? By adding motion. The ErgoMotion Mouse utilizes a patented motion-base that adapts to your natural hand and wrist positions while you work. The mouse will rock, swivel or pivot with your movement so your hand and wrist are never in a fixed position, creating a more comfortable and healthy mousing experience.

'ErgoMotion' - A Technology Movement

ErgoMotion is a revolutionary technology that applies motion to experiences, a solution that is claimed to actually reduce the risks of Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI). The ErgoMotion Laser Mouse challenges other fixed-position mice by utilizing a patented pivot base that adapts Smartfish ErgoMotion Mouseto your natural hand and wrist movements. The mouse conforms to your unique positions, alleviating discomfort and encouraging productivity while you work. ErgoMotion technology has been developed in collaboration with the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York - the #1 rated Orthopedics Hospital.

Wireless Connection

The ErgoMotion Mouse connects wirelessly to your computer using 2.4 GHz USB nano-tranceiver. No software is required. The nano-tranceiver is an intelligent plug-and-play device that provides instant and uninterrupted connection, wire-free. The nano-tranceiver is also small enough to leave plugged into your laptop so you are ready to mouse all the time, wherever you are. Saving battery life is easy enough by switching the power on/off while traveling.

Laser Tracking

The ErgoMotion Mouse uses a high-resolution laser for precise mousing control. The 800 dpi laser provides superior response over traditional optical tracking, allowing you to mouse on practically on any surface without a mousepad.

Ambidextrous Design

The Smartfish ErgoMotion Mouse is a symmetrical design created for both left and right-handed users alike, making the ErgoMotion™ Mouse the most comfortable device for everyone.

System Requirements

Mac

  • Mac OS X (10.2.8 or later)
  • USB port

PC

  • Windows XP, Windows Vista™, Windows 7™
  • USB port

The Smartfish ErgoMotion Mouse sells for $49.95

Software

Back-In-Time 2 Restores Time Machine Data

Time Machine is a great basic backup tool, but the options for locating and restoring data are quite limited. Back-In-Time gives you total flexibility in locating and recovering your data to any location on your Mac.

Back-In-Time browserTranscend Time Machine restoration possibilities

  • See the number of versions of each document, the deleted items, etc.
  • Drag and Drop Time Machine data to any location in your Mac.
  • Access Time Machine backups from multiple disks and from other Macs.

Back-In-Time offers an easy access to all data that was backed up by Time Machine. With Back-In-Time, you can discover any available data in the backup, and easily copy files and folder to any location of your choice.

Back-In-Time shows all your backed-up items in the left pane. Select an item to see all the backup versions in the right pane.

To see all the backups of a file or folder on your Mac, simply drag it from the Finder and drop it in the Back-In-Time item list. Choose the version you want with the date slider, and restore it with a single click. Or drag and drop to restore to a different location on your Mac (including external disk drives).

Restore anything from a single file to an entire disk. Back-In-Time can rename the current versions of your items to avoid overwriting them.

You can even browse and restore from Time Machine backups created on another Mac.

With Back-In-Time, you browse in the Time Machine backups. You select the date of the backup to display via the slider.

Back-In-Time provides a quick view of the contents of the Time Machine backups, indicating the number of versions available for each document, as well as the items that were deleted.

You can recover and copy a file or an entire folder with a drag and drop to the location of your choice.

Back-In-Time restore and copy your data, from a single file to an entire disk. Recovered data can be copied at their original location (to replace current data), or anywhere else in your disks, internal as well as external.

The recovery module compares the contents of the backup with the one of your disk and displays a preview before/after restoration.

Calculates The Space Occupied By The Backups

Back-In-Time calculates the space really occupied on the backup disk by the different versions of a file, an application or a folder. When your backup disk is full, rather than letting Time Machine to delete the oldest backups, you can determine which elements occupy the most space and remove some unnecessary versions to free space on your backup disk.

Compare The Contents Of Files

Back-In-Time calendarBack-In-Time offers a preview function to check the contents of two files, or two versions of the same file.

To help you finding what part of a file did change between two versions, Back-In-Time also offers a build-in comparison tool that graphically shows where the contents are different or identical.

Removing Time Machine Data

To free up space on your Time Machine backup disk, you can selectively remove temporary files and other unneeded items. (Use this option carefully!)

Note: Of course, only items within the Time Machine disk are removed. Your original items in your working disks are not modified.

Important: As for any removing operation, use this carefully (always keep in mind that a backup's goal is to recover data in case of necessity).

Comparison with Time Machine

Back-In-Time does everything Time Machine does and much more.

Main Features

  • Access and preview the contents of any Time Machine backup.
  • Handle multiple Time Machine backup disks.
  • Restore data to its original location or anywhere else.
  • Copy data to any location of your choice.
  • Drag and drop restore.
  • Restore files, folders, or entire disks.
  • Build-in graphical comparison function to compare the contents of two files, or two versions of the same file.

Preview different backup versions with QuickLook.

  • See how many backed-up versions are available for each file.
  • See deleted items, with date of last backup.
  • Delete selected items from a Time Machine backup.
  • Browse through all Time Machine backup.
  • Open multiple browser windows.
  • Access backups made on other Macs.
  • See history of each backup (how much data was copied).
  • Calculate the space really occupied on the Time Machine disk by the backups of each file, application and folder.
  • Combine the backups of multiple disks to display and handle the backups of different disks or Mac as a unique set of backups.

A trial version is available for evaluation. It is fully functional and not time-limited, but can only restore from the latest Time Machine backup.

System requirements:

  • Universal binary for Intel and PowerPC Macs with Mac OS X 10.5 or higher.

InerziaThings 1.0 Free Personal Database for the Mac

InerziaThings is your personal database for the things you own. It's always important to keep a list of what you bought and when you bought it, but making it with a simple database it's not as easy as using InerziaThings/

InerziaThingsEverybody knows that it's useful to keep track of what we bought and when we bought it: this application is born to make this tracking as easy as possible. Forget complicated databases without special features, and meet InerziaThings.

With InerziaThings you'll be able to store a lot of information, such as the Purchase Date, the Brand, the Serial Number (required to get support on most products) and even notes about it. Moreover, InerziaThings lets you to split your products into categories, to make your database more organized.

Forget organizing your database.

InerziaThings keeps your database automatically organized: in addition to Categories, you can order your things for Brand, Title and Purchase Date. And if you have a lot of things in it, and you want the one called "Mac", just insert some text in the search field and immediately you'll see the results.

InerziaThingsUse Notes to give your things a brief (or long) description or to remember something happened when you bought or thanks to that thing. And don't forget to format your notes like you do in TextEdit or don't be afraid to use special characters.

InerziaThings uses the latest technologies for storage included in Mac OS X to save your data. You don't have to worry about it, because it's fast, light and smart and it works just like every other application. Its User Interface is written from the ground taking care of the Apple Human Interface Guidelines, so it works just as you expect to.

Moreover you can use InerziaThings in every situation without worrying about compatibility: it just works!

Categories and Search Feature

It's one word: "categories". You can organize your things in categories, so will be easy to find the one you want; and if you can't find it, just start typing and InerziaThings will search in your entire library: you can search for title, brand and even for category.

Warranty is not a thing to worry about

Electronic products have 2 years of warranty. No: this has 1 year. Oh! That has 3 years.... Stop worrying about it: just insert the warranty duration in InerziaThings and the End date will be calculated automatically.

Built in the Mac way

InerziaThings uses the standard technologies built in Mac OS X to ensure the best user experience. So it's organized as every Mac application and uses the same graphic; you'll feel at home with this software.

Automatic Update System

InerziaThings cxalendarWith the built-in Automatic Update System (based on Sparkle, to ensure the maximum level of security and reliability) you won't miss an update anymore.

InerziaThings is donationware: you can use it as you want without limitations; but if you think that it's a good software and you use it almost every day, you could consider to contribute the development with a small donation (using PayPal).

System Requirements

  • Any Mac (with Intel or PowerPC processor) running Mac OS X Leopard or Snow Leopard (32- or 64-bit).
  • This software is compiled at 64-bit and it's fully compatible with Snow Leopard

PhotoLine Version 16.10 Image Editor

PhotoLineAnother image editor application, this time from Germany. Information in the Website isn't terribly prolix, but past experience with German software implies that PhotoLine is likely a solid and well-sorted performer.

Photoline features

  • 32/64 bit application

Image Processing

  • 16 bit per channel, support of CMYK and Lab
  • Color management with ICC profiles
  • Lossless imaging
  • Process digital photos
  • PhotoLineRetouch, correct, ...

Browse

  • IPTC and EXIF data handling
  • Rotate images lossless
  • Rename images and create catalogues
  • Create HTML galleries
  • Add and edit keywords
  • Powerful search capabilities

DTP/Layout/Text

  • "Real" PDF Import and Export (not just a big image)
  • Multipage documents
  • Calendar and barcode creation
  • Rich text functions

PhotoLineInternet/Animations

  • Create Flash and GIF animations
  • Web Export
  • Tile images, create buttons and image maps

Many More

  • Batch conversion
  • Create slideshows
  • Record actions
  • Print multipage documents, flyers and labels
  • USB-Stick support
  • Multiprocessor support

PhotoLineNew in Version 16:

  • Better user interface
  • Adjustment Layer Palette
  • Palettes improved
  • Image processing
  • Liquify Tool
  • Color Filter
  • New Filters
  • Miscellaneous
  • Morph Vector Layers
  • QR-Code
  • Ghostscript Import
  • OS X: Scanning With Image Capture

PhotoLineSystem Requirements

  • Mac OS X 10.4/10.5/10.6
  • 512 MB Ram
  • 50 MB hard disk space
  • 1024 x 600 screen resolution

System Support: Universal Binary

PhotoLine sells for 59 Euro.

Limited-time Discount from Logos Bible Software

Logos 4 Mac will be shipping soon, marking a major milestone for Mac Bible study software, and Logos is having a huge Mac-related giveaway to celebrate. You could win one of 100+ prizes, including:

  • 1 iMac
  • 1 MacBook Pro
  • 1 iPad
  • 1 iPod Touch
  • 1 iPod Nano
  • 20 Apple gift cards ($25 each)
  • 30 iTunes gift cards ($15 each)
  • 50 Logos.com gift cards ($10 each)

Pre-released versions of Logos 4 Mac have been available for months, and now Logos has announced

that the finished product is almost ready. If you ZDNet seen Logos 4 Mac for awhile, it's worth checking out.

Enter to win at the Logos 4 Mac Giveaway page.

Mac Upgrade Discount for a Limited Time

In addition to more than a hundred prizes, you can take advantage of special discounts on all Logos Mac base packages and Mac upgrades.

Many users decided to wait while we worked on the Alpha and Beta versions of Logos 4 on the Mac. But now that the full version is almost ready to ship, you can upgrade to Logos 4 on your Mac. With discounts of up to 20% off, you can save big on an upgrade to Logos 4 Mac for a limited time. If you've been waiting for the 100% stable, full-release Mac version of Logos 4, now is the time to upgrade.

How to proceed:

  1. Visit Logos.com/mac
  2. Pick the base package that's right for you.
  3. Download the beta version today and start using it right away.
  4. Logos will have some more goodies to add between now and the end of September. They'll automatically download for free - you don't need to do a thing.
  5. When the final version is released on October 1, you'll get the free download automatically.

Visit the Logos Mac page for full details on the discounts and the prizes.

Or call 800-875-6467 to order.

Desktop Mac Deals

For deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro, 17" MacBook Pro, 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4, 17" PowerBook G4, titanium PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerBook G3, and iBook G3 deals.

We also track iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle deals.

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