Charles Moore's Mailbag

DEVONthink Power, Blocking Content in Opera, USB 2.0 to Ultra SCSI Adapters, and More

Charles Moore - 2009.07.22 - Tip Jar

DEVONthink Pro Is Powerful

From Rick in response to Hell Freezes Over: Dvorak's Son Buys a Mac:


I noticed in your latest 'Book column on LEM [Low End Mac], you made reference to the Dvorak piece in which he revealed his son bought a Mac. What stood out to me as I read both your post and Dvorak's original piece was the reference to DEVONthink. I just started using DTPO about three weeks ago for a number of things, but especially for organizing and keeping track of the thousands of PDF files I've collected over the years on various subjects in which I'm interested.

I ran a search on LEM and noticed you'd written a review of DEVONthink Pro back in 2006. Since the software is now in beta version 2, I'd be interested to know your thoughts about the software now. Just in three weeks of use, I wonder how I ever got along without this before. The beta is very stable and not only does everything the previous version did, but more as well. Although I had my own system of filing articles in the Finder, I can actually find things much faster in DTPO. I'm also having fun using the built in OCR to add a text layer to documents I'd scanned in the past which were just static images.

Do you use the software regularly? What are your thoughts on version 2?


Hi Rick,

Short answer, I do use DEVONthink Pro Office, and Version 2 is the best iteration yet. It's a superb tool for the sort of file organization you describe - and so much else. A killer app on the Mac if there ever was one.

Other cool and convenient capabilities are opening PDFs as text, and opening Microsoft Office documents. The built-in OCR is extremely slick.

However, I'm not as keen on DEVONthink Pro as a word processor or Web browser, although it's neat to have those functions built-in.

Having everything stored in a single database makes DTPO convenient to back up or mirror content on another computer.


Apple's Hardware Up-To-Date Program Covers Refurbs

From Torie:

I enjoyed reading your article, as usual, and wanted to let you know that when I ordered my MacBook and MacBook Pro recently, I was informed that I would qualify for Apple's Hardware Up-To-Date program. Both units were refurbs, and I'm not sure if this applies only to certified refurbs purchased directly from the Apple Online Store or not. I hope this helps.

Another aspect to consider is that if you purchase one of the current generation MacBook models before Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" is released in September, Apple will let you upgrade for a $9.95 handling fee for the installer disk instead of the $29.95 that other registered Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" users will have to pay (or $49 for a family five-pack) to upgrade to Snow Leopard. A small thing, but it should be factored into the value equation, since, as far as I know, it doesn't apply to leftovers or refurbs.

Hardware Up-To-Date

Customers who purchase a qualifying new Mac computer or an Apple Certified Refurbished computer from the Apple Online Store on or after June 8, 2009 that does not include Mac OS X Snow Leopard can upgrade to Snow Leopard for US$9.95 plus tax. Remember your completed order form must be postmarked or faxed within 90 days of the date of your purchase of a qualifying computer (described in this offer) or by December 26, 2009, whichever is earlier.

If you purchased your computer directly from the Apple Online Store, follow one of these links to participate in the program. Subject to terms and conditions.

  • US Customers
  • Canadian Customers (English)
  • Canadian Customers (French)

Multiple Qualifying Computers on a Single Invoice

If you purchased multiple qualifying systems on a single invoice, you can either (1) purchase a Single-User Upgrade Kit for each qualifying product, at a cost of US$9.95*; or (2) purchase fewer Single-User Upgrade Kits and request the Right to Copy for the remaining qualifying products.

Hi Torie,

Thanks for this information.

I remember when I bought my WallStreet back in 1999, it came with Mac OS 8 preinstalled, but Apple had tucked an OS 8.5 installer disk in the box, gratis. A classy policy that makes the $9.95 they charge today (concededly better than $29.95) seem like nickling and diming. The WallStreet came with a whole raft of cables too, including a VGA video cable and and ethernet and modem cables.

My inference, although I'm not 100% certain, is that the upgrade discount doesn't apply too refurbs from other sources.


Blocking Ads and Other Content on Opera

From Bikalpa:

Hello Charles.

In your most recent Miscellaneous Ramblings mailbag, Matt reports how he is not able to block banner ads in Opera that cripple down his iMac G3.

There is a built-in tool that may act as a makeshift solution. The Opera Content Blocker.

One has to navigate to the page with those banner ads, right click on an "empty" area and select "Block Content". Then all content of the page will be highlighted. From there the page's images, banners, flash, etc. can be selected, and they'll be blocked in future. And probably even from other websites, if the ads are the same.

It might be time consuming, but if he visits limited websites, it could be a pretty viable solution. As is the case with me.

Firefox is hugely popular for its extensions, say the AdBlock-ing solution, but the Opera community is no less. Opera might not be open-source but there are many extensions, add-on modules available. [Editor's note: Opera calls them Widgets. dk] I am pretty damn sure there is an ad blocker in there somewhere.

You could forward this to Matt.

Bikalpa Paudel
Dharan, Nepal

Hi Bikalpa,

Thanks for the comments and information.


Craigslist Postings Too Easily Nuked

From Scott:

Hey Charles,

In response to Ed, I'm an individual trying to sell a used item on Craigslist. I'm not a business, and my ad doesn't violate any of Craigslist's rules. This has happened to me before, when I was selling an item very similar to someone else's item, especially when the price of my item is much lower than the others. One person can delete any Craigslist listing anywhere for any (or no) reason at all using one of these websites:

or any of the Craigslist auto-flagging software widely available for download on the Internet. Go ahead and create a listing, and then flag it yourself with one of those sites to see how easy it is.

This is what I'm up against. One of my "competitors" is selling a similar item and asking a lot more for it, so he deletes my listing repeatedly all day long, day after day. I keep reposting it. I'm looking for a Macintosh auto posting software to make the job easier.

Really, Craigslist should just change their flagging rules, but I doubt they will.


Thanks for the observations, Scott.

USB to SCSI Help

From Philippe:


Dear Charles,

I came across these letters when looking for info on my wife's MacBook. I don't know if my input is relevant, as more than a year has passed since Jeff Mork wrote you, but I had bought the Microtech USB to SCSI adapter that the letters refer to on eBay many years ago, when I was in a similar predicament with my Lime iMac.

I was curious, so I pulled it off the shelf and plugged it between a 1 GB SCSI Iomega Jaz drive and the MacBook running 10.5.7. It mounted perfectly.

If this information can help anyone feel free to use it.

Very best regards,

Thanks, Philippe. The information could be helpful.


Editor's note: The Microtech XpressSCSI has been discontinued. One suggested current device is the Ratoc U2SCX USB 2.0 to Ultra SCSI Converter, which retails for $99, supports up to 7 SCSI devices. For even better throughput than USB 2.0 offers, the Ratoc FR1SX FireWire 400 to Ultra SCSI Converter retails for $109 but only handles one SCSI device.

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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 and a columnist at If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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