Mac News Review

Psystar Software Updates, Apple Rules $1,000+ PC Market, Myths About Macs, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2008.05.23

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


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News & Opinion

Apple's Curious Failure to Act Against Psystar

Mac Observer's John Martellaro says:

"When Psystar, a Miami, Fla. company, started selling Mac clones pre-loaded with Mac OS X last month, everyone assumed that Apple would take immediate action. However, nothing has happened to date.

"Several things may be going on, and no one is sure. Several theories are floating around."

Link: Apple's Curious Failure to Act Against Psystar

Psystar Ships First 'Service Pack'

InformationWeek's Paul McDougall reports:

"Not only is systems integrator Psystar continuing to defy Apple's no-cloning rule by selling Leopard-based knockoffs, it's now supporting the machines with a service pack that includes multiple bug fixes - some of which address problems inherent in Apple's software.

"'Safe updates, as well as bug fixes and workarounds, are now available,' Psystar said in a note Monday on its Web site."

Psystar Offers 13 Software Updates

The Apple Core's Jason D. O'Grady says:

"Yesterday, Mac cloner announced a series of Software Updates for their Open Computer:

"Safe updates, as well as bug fixes and workarounds, are now available in our Support section. We have released a couple of fixes for things like Time Machine as well as a fix for DHCP issues that some customers are having. Computers shipped as of today have all updates available preinstalled with Leopard. Please check our website regularly as we will begin releasing safe updates through the operating system's Automatic Updates and will require all of our existing users to download a small update manually and install it to enable this functionality."

Apple Rules Retail in Over $1,000 Range

MacUser's Dan Moren reports:

"It's long been argued that Macs are the luxury cars of the PC market: they might cost a little more, but you're paying that premium for something that's better put together and has higher performance than the bargain bin options. And while we all know that the Mac has been achieving huge growth in the past few years, Apple's overall market share tends to remain on the low side.

"Unsurprisingly, their retail share (read: brick-and-mortar stores) is a little higher, at 14% for the first quarter of 2008. But what if we slice out those bargain bin computers favored by so many (including most businesses)? eWeek did just that with numbers from NPD Group and found something rather interesting...."

Apple's Market Share of PCs over $1,000 Hits 66%

Apple 2.0's Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports:

"Here's a new way to slice Apple's growing share of the computer market.

"Last March, the NPD Group reported that Apple's retail market share - its cut of the computers sold in brick-and-mortar stores - had climbed to 14%, a figure that's roughly double its overall share of the U.S. market and reflects the power of the Apple Store to draw customers and move product.

"What NPD didn't report at the time was the huge growth in Apple's share of the so-called 'premium' computer market - machines that cost more than $1,000....

"Apple's share of the $1,000-plus retail market was less than 18% in January 2006 according to NPD. By September 2007, it had grown to more than 57%. And in the first quarter of 2008 it hit a record 66%."

Apple Dominates $1,000+ Retail Computer Sales

Macworld UK's Jonny Evans reports:

"Apple holds two-thirds of the retail market for computers costing $1,000 or more, NPD figures claim.

"The research reveals Apple dominates the market for premium computers in the US, though it only holds 14 per cent of the market for computers costing less than $1,000, eWeek reports....

"Mac desktop sales are up 45 per cent - meanwhile the overall market for desktop sales is down 20 per cent, while the market for Windows desktops contracted 25 per cent."

Avoid the Potholes When Switching from Windows to Mac

David Alison says:

"Thinking about switching from Windows to Mac? Got a shiny new Mac and you want to learn the ropes quickly after spending years on Windows? Got a friend that just converted and they say the Mac doesn't work like Windows? This quick guide should help overcome the most common problems new switchers encounter."

Puncturing Common Myths About the Macintosh

David Alison says:

"There are lots of reasons that people don't want to switch from Windows to Macintosh. I assume the most common reason is simply because Windows works for the people that are using it. The old adage 'If it ain't broke don't fix it' tends to apply here. These people are not upgrading to Vista either, they're staying with Windows XP or even Windows 98 and are just fine.

"There are however an increasing number of people that are moving to Macs now - many of them people like me that hated Macs at one time. I believe there are lots of reasons for this, not the least of which is that people that are running Windows XP are faced with an upgrade to Vista as their next logical step and feel that maybe it's okay to consider a Mac since they have to go through a full operating system refresh anyway.

"One of the reasons I was not interested in Macs for a very long time was that I clung to many facts about the Mac that I felt eliminated it from contention. Well, as with many things in life it turns out the facts that I knew about the Mac were either hopelessly outdated or simply myths. What I wanted to do was tell you the ones that I was aware of and often cited when I dismissed Macs in the past....

  • Macs only use a single mouse button
  • There are not that many applications for Macs
  • Macs are closed machines that cannot be expanded
  • Macs don't work well with Windows machines on a network
  • Macs are more expensive
  • Macs can't run my Windows software
  • Macs are mouse centered machines. You constantly have to grab the mouse."

Create Good Queries in Spotlight

Macworld's Kirk McElhearn says:

"On the surface, searching with Spotlight is pretty straightforward. In our previous installment, we covered the basics of using and customizing the Spotlight menu. But if your search involves multiple terms, or if you need to narrow down your results to dig up a particularly elusive file, knowing how to put together a good search query will pay off. By mastering a few simple tricks, you can limit your search to specific types of data, exclude terms, and more - helping Spotlight locate exactly what you need. and then take you inside some of its lesser know features - including how to use keywords to limit your search to specific dates, authors, or file types."

Google's Mac Efforts Begin to Bear Fruit

Macworld's Philip Michaels reports:

"Amit Singh thought something was missing from OS X. The Google engineer - and author of Mac OS X Internals - took a look at what the Mac operating system didn't have that Linux and Solaris did.

"'One thing stood out,' Singh said. 'There was no easy way to do file systems.' So Singh decided to create one, even though he worked for Google's search team at the time and wasn't part of the company's Mac development efforts.

"The reaction of his bosses to this use of company time? Go for it.

"Singh's project, which became the open-source file-system utility MacFUSE, is just one of the many employee-driven efforts that go on within the walls of the search-engine and text-advertising giant all the time. Google calls it '20-percent time,' encouraging its engineers to pursue other Google-related interests for up to 20 percent of their work hours - even if that interest has little to do with their regular duties at the search and software company....

"Many 20-percent projects have wound up becoming major Google products: both Google News and Gmail, for instance, started that way. Among the Mac-specific efforts that began as 20-percent projects are Notifier, which offers Gmail and Google Calendar notifications, and the Google Mac Developer Playground, an online collection of open-source Mac projects created at Google."

Eject Stubborn Disk Images via AppleScript

Mac OS X Hints contributor RickoKid says:

"Leopard sometimes can be a little reluctant to eject disks and disk images in the Finder. It doesn't matter if you click the Eject button in the Finder's sidebar, drag the disk to the Trash, or right-click and choose Eject, the Finder just silently ignores you. You can open Disk Utilty though and eject it fine that way (unless there are files open on the image, of course). This AppleScript will eject those troublesome disks...."

When Leopard Can't Eject an External Drive

MacFixIt says:

"Several users have experienced an issue in which an attached FireWire or USB drive will not eject. Instead, an error message pops up claiming the drive cannot be ejected because it is in use. This may occur with hard drives, flash drives, or any other storage system...."

Muffling Noisy Optical Drives

MacFixIt says:

"Various Macs' DVD drive can get exceptionally loud, especially when playing movies, even though it sounds like the fans and parts of the DVD drive are working normally (no odd clanking or buzzing noises). This problem appeared on some of the first PowerMac G5 and Mac Pro units (running Pioneer DVR-106 through DVR-111D drives), and seems to have persisted through to more recent systems running updated Pioneer DVR-112 drives."


Fedora Core 6 Linux Distro Supports Intel Macs

OS News' Philipp Esselbach reports:

"The Fedora Project announces the third and final test release of the Fedora Core 6 development cycle, available for the i386, x86_64, and ppc/ppc64 architectures, including Intel based Macintosh computers."

Take Control of Apple Mail and Spam - 2 New PDFs from TidBITS

PR: Mail 3, the free email client that Apple ships with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, is full-featured and popular. However, once users need to go beyond the basics, many fail to use it effectively due to minimal documentation and interface confusion. Help is now at hand in the form of a pair of electronic books from email expert Joe Kissell: the brand new Take Control of Apple Mail in Leopard, and the newly updated Take Control of Spam in Apple Mail. Both titles sell for $10 separately, or they may be purchased together for $15 at:

Take Control of Apple Mail in Leopard looks carefully at how to set up different kinds of email accounts and where email from various accounts is stored, plus what to do if Mail can't successfully send or receive mail. After covering account setup, the ebook thoroughly covers the ins and outs of addressing, composing, and sending email. And, it helps readers get organized so they can read their most important messages first, plus find old messages easily. Plus, it examines making Time Machine backups of email, Address Book integration, Notes and To-Do items, archiving messages, rules, basic spam management, and more.

Questions answered in the book include:

  • What are the most important changes in Leopard Mail?
  • How can I read my email on more than one computer?
  • How do I use Mail as an RSS reader?
  • I attached a note to an email message, but where did it go?
  • Are there third-party tools that extend Mail's capabilities?

Take Control of Spam with Apple Mail covers everything an Apple Mail user might need to know about zapping spam. After providing readers with basic background on types of spam and how spammers perform their annoying tricks, the ebook gives readers advice and specific steps for maximizing how Apple Mail filters out spam. And, if a reader follows all those steps and still has too much spam, the ebook takes it to the next level with a detailed look at third-party software designed to help Mail users eliminate spam. The ebook also includes a coupon for $5 off SpamSieve, the author's top pick for a third-party spam fighting utility.

Questions answered in the book include:

  • How can I optimize Mail's junk mail filter?
  • What's a Bayesian filter?
  • How should I handle fraudulent or malicious messages?
  • How can I fine-tune my Previous Recipients list to help zap spam?
  • What third-party utilities work best to help Mail better filter out my spam?

Take Control editor in chief Tonya Engst said, "Whether you're just getting started with Mail or you want to tune your Mail know-how so you can take it to the next level, these ebooks have a lot to offer. I just switched from Eudora to Mail, and I found Joe's advice to be extremely valuable."

Joe Kissell has written numerous books about the Macintosh, including many popular Take Control ebooks. He's also Senior Editor of TidBITS, contributes frequently to Macworld, and previously spent ten years in the Mac software industry. Joe Kissell joined the TidBITS staff in 2006 as Senior Editor and currently lives in Paris. He has written more than a dozen Take Control ebooks, including the best-selling Take Control of Mac OS X Backups. He's also the author of numerous print books about Mac OS X and a frequent contributor to Macworld magazine. Joe runs a business called alt concepts, which publishes such Web sites as Interesting Thing of the Day and Truffles for Breakfast.

Take Control of Spam with Apple Mail
PDF format,
72 pages,
free sample available
PDF Price: $10
ISBN: 9781933671031
Take Control of Apple Mail in Leopard
PDF format,
95 pages,
free sample available
PDF Price: $10
ISBN: 9781933671383

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