Mac News Review

Proof Macs Cost Less, Leopard Spanks Vista, Mac Pride Pins, Arabic OS X 10.4.10, and More

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2007.11.09

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

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

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Apple Updates

Products

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Proof That Macs Are Cheaper than PCs

Salon's Farhad Manjoo says:

"It's time to buy an Apple computer. Indeed, it's been that time for the past five years, at least, but only now, slowly, are people waking up to this fact....

"This simple truth is dawning: If we forget about computer-industry network effects and monopolistic business practices, if we forget Apple's various ancient missteps - if we're going just by what's better - the ages-old Mac-vs.-PC debate is over. Long over. Yell it from the rooftops: The Mac has won.

"And yet, you're not buying an Apple computer. Most of the world isn't. There is probably a single overwhelming reason you're clinging to Windows. Macs are expensive. This is what you've been told, and in your research, it's seemed to check out.

"The present article is an attempt to prove to you that, on price alone, the Mac is not the BMW of computers. It is the Ford of computers. I am not arguing that the Mac is cheaper only if you consider the psychic benefits conferred by its quality. Rather I'm going to illustrate something more straightforward: Even though you may pay a slight premium at the cash register for a Mac over a comparable Windows PC (a premium that gets slighter all the time), it will cost you less money - real, honest-to-goodness American dollars - to own that Mac than to own that PC."

Leopard Spanks Vista, Continues OS X's Reign of Excellence

Computerworld's Scot Finnie says:

"This story caps off a truly comprehensive wave of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard coverage from Computerworld. Our readers have asked for more operating system coverage, and we're delivering.

"Our Week of Leopard package covers many aspects of what's new in the latest Apple operating system...

"The questions that remain are these: Is Leopard a truly great OS? How does it stack up against its predecessor, Tiger, and Windows Vista? Should you get this thing for yourself? Should you recommend it for your company?....

"Throughout the four years of the Vista development process, I tested and evaluated at least 15 different alphas and betas of the operating system, spending hundreds of hours evaluating the late prereleases and the final editions. Likewise, I spent countless hours testing Leopard, both in prerelease form and the final version now available to the public. What I found after all that testing is that despite their similarities on paper, Leopard and Vista are nothing alike.

"Vista has a cover-Microsoft's-butt, designed-by-corporate-committee feel, while Leopard tightly adheres to Apple's well-honed user-interface design principles. In numerous small ways, Apple has improved its OS, while Microsoft has, in a plethora of ways, changed Windows - not always for the better...

"There's really no contest. Tiger is a better OS than Vista, and there are no long-term downsides to Leopard. Vista doesn't measure up...."

Macintel vs. PowerPC: New Road to Recovery Worse Than Old One

As a PowerPC holdout Luddite, I found this article very interesting. cm

InfoWorld's Tom Yager says:

"Now that an Intel-based Mac is a dead x86 PC, how do you bide your time until the replacement comes in?I always do my best to turn misfortune into opportunities for enlightenment, and oh, what enlightenment the past couple of weeks has placed within my grasp. When the MacBook Pro loaned to me by Apple slipped into a coma during a full-volume image backup and subsequently died in my arms, I was forced to deal head-on with the impact of Apple's switch in suppliers and with an irrecoverable loss of data and productivity - a hardship I've never faced in five years with Macs. I lost a full month's worth of work, research, and creative projects, along with every application that requires registration keys and online activation. I can barely conceal my glee at having so grand an opportunity as this to learn a new way.

"I'll be pilloried for this comment, but this wouldn't happen to a PowerPC Mac. You see, there was no reference design for a PowerPC notebook. Apple had to do all its own cooking, and that included the creation of an independent system management controller. It took a mummy's curse to put a PowerPC Mac in a fully unrecoverable state. A Mac's firmware could boot into several recovery states, ranging from Target Disk Mode to a firmware boot prompt, even when a Mac would not boot. It was Apple's home-brewed system management controller that gave Mac folk legitimate bragging rights with regard to reliability; you had to do something truly nasty to kill a PowerPC Mac.

"In contrast, the only way that an x86 PC, Apple's or anyone else's, can match the PowerPC Mac's resiliency is if it has a dedicated Baseboard Management Controller, which only higher-end PC servers, including Apple's Xserve, have. Otherwise, the only thing a PC does in firmware is initialize buses and catalog devices. Then it hands control to the CPU, which pulls a boot block from storage or the LAN. Intel's Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) is tidier than the old PC BIOS, but it steps out of the boot process at the same point that a PC BIOS does. A PC that can't boot is dead. A PowerPC Mac that wouldn't boot was a diagnostic challenge...."

Regular Mac Users: Wait for v10.5.1 to Upgrade

ZDnet blogger Robin Harris says:

"I've used a lot of operating systems starting with the late, great TOPS-20 on DEC's 36-bit DECsystems. Also VMS, RSTS, CP/M, MS-DOS, Windows versions 3.1 to XP, Solaris and Mac OS versions 6 to 10.5 Leopard.

"My definition of a great OS is one that makes it easy to get work done. It is consistent, intuitive and flexible. It gets out of your way when you know what you want to do. And it is stable.

"That's why I prefer Mac OS X

"However, the upgrade from 10.4.10 to 10.5.0 hasn't been as clean as I'd like. It has cost me hours of work time. I'm lucky because my work has to do with computers, I have some very smart, Mac-savvy friends and over 25 years of hard won experience figuring out workarounds.

"In short, I'm not a Mac user who just uses their Mac as a computing appliance. I'm very interested in the how and what of my Mac. I like playing with my computer. But I also know lots of busy people who don't have time to mess around. And to those people I say 'Wait for 10.5.1 to upgrade!'"

First Builds of Mac OS X 10.5.1 Pack Over Two Dozen Fixes

AppleInsider Staff report:

"Moving quickly to address issues in the inaugural version of its Leopard operating system, Apple on Wednesday tapped its developer community to begin testing the first maintenance and bug fix update to the software, labeled Mac OS X 10.5.1.

"The Cupertino-based Mac maker initiated the testing process by offering software developers access to Mac OS X 10.5.1 build 9B13, which weighed in at a hefty 267MB, according to people familiar with the process.

"Among the fixes already baked into the first test build are corrections to Leopard's application Firewall, Spotlight indexing, iCal syncing, Keychain login and text drawing corruption."

Early 2005 Mac mini: No Leopard for You!

9 to 5 Mac's Chauncey Dupree says:

"If you bought a new G4 Mac mini before July 26, 2005 with the base configuration and you are looking to upgrade to Leopard, we have some bad news for you. You can't. You see these machines only came with 256MB of warranty-voiding non upgradable RAM.

"That is unfortunate.

"Your Options:

  1. "Be content with Tiger
  2. "Get a putty knife and 3rd part memory upgrade (1Gb whynot?) then upgrade.
  3. "Start the mini it in Firewire Target disk mode and upgrade it from a newer Mac. It runs slow but ok."

Editor's note: "Warranty-voiding"? "Non upgradable"? What world is Dupree living in? First off, the warranty on Apple computers is one year. Further, replacing the RAM didn't void the warranty when the computer was covered, so even if it's under AppleCare, it's okay. dk

Apple Updates

Apple Releases QuickTime 7.3 for Leopard, Tiger, and Panther

Whether you are creating content for delivery on cell phones, broadcast or the Internet, or a software developer looking to take your application to the next level, QuickTime provides the most comprehensive platform in the industry.

For detailed information on the security content of this update, see Apple security updates.

QuickTime 7.3 for Leopard

With a rock-solid foundation that you can trust and a host of innovative features that create the most cutting-edge multimedia experiences for your customers, QuickTime is the obvious choice for all of your digital media needs.

QuickTime 7.3 addresses critical security issues and delivers:

  • Support for iTunes 7.5<BR>
  • Updated support for creating iPhone-compatible web content
  • Updated JavaScript support in the QuickTime Web Plug-in
  • Numerous bug fixes

This release is recommended for all QuickTime 7 users.

52.6MB

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.5 or later

QuickTime 7.3 for Tiger

QuickTime 7.3 addresses critical security issues and delivers:

  • Support for iTunes 7.5
  • Updated support for creating iPhone-compatible web content
  • Updated JavaScript support in the QuickTime Web Plug-in
  • Numerous bug fixes

This release is recommended for all QuickTime 7 users.

49.3MB

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later

QuickTime 7.3 for Panther

QuickTime 7.3 addresses critical security issues and delivers:

  • Support for iTunes 7.5
  • Updated support for creating iPhone-compatible web content
  • Updated JavaScript support in the QuickTime Web Plug-in
  • Numerous bug fixes

This release is recommended for all QuickTime 7 users.

51.5MB

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.3.9

Apple Releases iMac Software Update 1.2.1 (Tiger)

This update is for 20-inch and 24-inch aluminum iMac computers with 2.0, 2.4, or 2.8 GHz processors running Mac OS X Tiger.

It improves the performance and reliability of graphics-intensive games and applications and fixes an issue that some customers encountered when installing Mac OS X Leopard after applying iMac Software Update 1.2.

For further information on this Update, see About iMac Software Update 1.2.1 for Tiger.

13.3MB

System Requirements

  • Mac OS X 10.4.10
  • iMac (Late 2007)

Apple Releases Hard Drive Update 1.0 for Core 2 iMacs, Mac Pro

The Hard Drive Update 1.0 includes bug fixes and important updates for the following systems:

To complete the firmware update process, please follow the instructions in the updater application (/Applications/Utilities/Hard Drive Update 1.0.app). The updater will launch automatically when the Installer closes.

File Size: 1.4MB

System Requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.4.7 or later
  • iMac Core 2 Duo
  • Mac Pro

IMC Middle-East Releases Mac OS X 10.4.10 Tiger Arabic as Free Download

Apple's Middle-East distributor has released a free download of the Arabic localization of Mac OS X 10.4.10 Tiger.

Products

Mac Pride Pin

vintage MacPR: Apple recently rolled out an amazing looking keyboard with the new iMacs that is thin, thin, thin! Like, insane thin. It's almost frightening....

Mac Pride pinIt's time to embrace the big bulky Apple keyboards of the 80's and 90's. Wear your vintage Apple keyboard pin as an ode to the most bulky, detached keyboards our friends at Apple ever produced.

Rescued from a life in the e-waste pile at our local landfill, these mud-covered keys have been transformed into Mac-Pride pins for wearers to show their religion wherever they deem fit.

Very limited quantities

$4.95 each

Peachpit Announces Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Books

PR: Peachpit has announced the launch of new titles designed to enable readers to get the most out of the powerful features of Leopard, Apple's latest Mac operating system upgrade. The new books are aimed at all levels of users and cover all that's new in the OS, including Time Machine, Spaces, and Quick Look.

The first two books to be available are:

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: Visual QuickStart Guide by Maria Langer (ISBN-10: 0-321-49600-0), the visual guide to Leopard's groundbreaking capabilities. With hundreds of screenshots to clearly illustrate step-by-step techniques, this guide is a great reference to the essentials of Mac OS X Leopard, including new and revamped applications.

Download Chapter 7 for free now at http://www.peachpit.com/leopard.

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: Peachpit Learning Series by Robin Williams (ISBN-10: 0-321-50263-9), an essential training book for getting started with Leopard and capitalizing on all the new features. This book allows readers to learn in their own way - whether it's working through the lessons start to finish, jumping straight to step-by-step exercises about new features, or looking up just what they need to know at that moment.

The following books and ebooks will be available soon:

The Little Mac Book, Leopard Edition by Robin Williams (ISBN-10: 0-321-50941-2) adopts a back-to-basics approach to introduce users to Leopard. In a gentle, friendly style, this Mac community classic shows readers how to dive in and start working with the Mac and OS X Leopard.

Automator for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: Visual QuickStart Guide by Ben Waldie (ISBN-10: 0-321-53935-4) uses a combination of task-based instruction and strong visuals to teach intermediate Mac users how to automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks with the Automator application that is included with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.

For Leopard users who can't wait for the printed book, Automator for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard will be available as a Rough Cut through Safari Books Online beginning November 2, 2007. While the book is in progress, users can choose to purchase electronic access with unlimited viewing and PDF downloads of each revision, pre-purchase the print book, or get the best of both worlds - electronic access immediately and the printbook later. Free trials of Safari Books Online are available now.

Visit peachpit.com/leopard for detailed descriptions, pricing, availability, sample chapters, and articles, including "How to Get the Most Out of Leopard's Spaces," by Ryan Faas, "Top Ten Leopard Features That Will Change How You Use Your Mac," by Maria Langer and "Robin Williams's Guide to the Most Overlooked New Leopard Features," by Robin Williams.

Software

Dashboard KickStart Speeds Widget Loading

PR: Eliminates long Dashboard startup sequence

Dashboard KickStart is not a widget. With Dashboard KickStart, you'll always have the Dashboard ready to use the first time you want. Without it you'll have to wait for a complete Dashboard start-up sequence as soon as you are ready to use it for a first time, making its quick accessibility rather useless.

This application runs in the background and reacts to the starting or re-starting of the Dock. When that happens it initiates the starting of the Dashboard. This prevents the delay you'll experience when launching Dashboard the first time you want to use it.

This application can only fullfil its purpose when it opens at login, it will ask you to allow it as a login item the first time you start it up.

What does it do ?

Within moments after startup, Dock restart or awake from sleep, the application will quickly open and dismiss the dashboard, allowing all of your widgets to initiate their start-up sequence. When you are ready to use them, only minimal initialisation time will remain.

New in version 2.3:

Changes since 2.2

  • Added Leopard Compatibility, please note that the previous 'Dashboard effect' has been extended with a quick 'Exposé effect' in order to make it work in OS X 10.5 Leopard.
  • Graphics updated for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.
  • Under Leopard the settings window will no longer display the number of widgets currently active.

Changes since 2.0

  • Fixed the delay after startup, the program now correctly responses to 'Wait until activate'
  • Added Korean localization, Thanks to Dong Sung Kim
  • Interface updates
  • Extended the 'Wait until activate' to a maximum of 90 seconds
  • Extended the 'Wait after awake' to a maximum 10 seconds
  • Added French localization, thanks to Thomas Didrel
  • Added Japanese localization, thanks to Yuzuru Shiraiwa

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

System Support: PPC/Intel

Free

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