Mac News Review

USB 3.0 Will Kill FireWire and eSATA, Apple IQ Test, Former MacUser Editor Goes Linux, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2009.01.16

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


Products & Services


Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

USB 3.0 Will Crush eSATA, FireWire

ZDnetZDNet Australia's Alex Serpo says:

"Intel demonstrated a working version of USB 3.0 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. Here's why it will make eSATA and FireWire obsolete....

"...USB 3.0 promises a theoretical maximum rate of 5 Gbps, meaning it's 10 times faster than USB 2.0. USB 3.0 is also full duplex, meaning it can upload and download simultaneously (it's bi-directional); USB 2.0 is only half duplex.

"Put side by side with eSATA and FireWire 800, USB 3.0 is far superior. eSATA, an external connection that runs at the same speed as the internal SATA 1.0 bus, has a maximum theoretical of 3 Gbps. This makes USB 3.0 faster than eSATA and about six times faster than FireWire 800 (full duplex at 800 Mbps)...."

A Post-Macworld Apple Event?

All Things DigitalAll Things Digital's John Paczkowski says:

"Macworld 2009 is over, but the rumors that prefaced it and were then left unaddressed remain. Two in particular: an updated iMac and a redesigned Mac mini - both of which failed to make an appearance during Phil Schiller's Macworld keynote, though it was widely believed that they would. After all, both are long overdue for a refresh....

"And they may get one, yet. Apple has on many occasions uncrated new products on the heels of Macworld...."

2009 Apple IQ Test Posted

InfoWorldInfoWorld says:

"You take calls on an iPhone, watch your Apple TV, never leave home without your MacBook Air, and still grin with satisfaction when you fire up your Mac Pro with dual 30-inch Apple displays. But how well do you really know the house that Jobs and Woz built? Answer these 20 questions and find out how you stack up on all things Mac...."

How Green Is Apple?

Tech RadarTech Radar says:

"Macs are built to last but even Apple kit can and does die.

"If it's beyond repair, that means you need to dispose of it. You wouldn't dump an old computer in landfill, but many people do.

"Every year, mountains of electronic waste are shipped to Asia where they're broken down to their component parts in shocking conditions, with heavy metals and hazardous chemicals leaking into the Earth.

"Back in 1997, the average lifespan of a computer was six years. By 2005, that had dropped to two years and the lifespan of a mobile phone is even shorter, with many people upgrading or replacing their phones every 18 months....

"Greenpeace estimates that up to 50 million tonnes of electronic waste is dumped each and every year....

"So how green is Apple and is there anything we can do to make it greener still?"

Former MacUser Editor Switches to Ubuntu

Cult of MacCult of Mac's Giles Turnbull reports:

"Ian Betteridge is a brave man. Not only is he a Mac user who has switched to Ubuntu running on Dell hardware, he's also decided to say so in public.

"Some of you may recognize his name: for some years, he was a writer for, and then editor of, the UK version of MacUser magazine.

"Why did he do it? Partly because of price, partly because he cares about open software running on open platforms...."

Editor's note: Low End Mac's Dirk Pilat interviewed Ian Betteridge in 2002. dk

Switching from Mac to Ubuntu

TechnoivaTechnovia's Ian Betteridge says:

"You might have gathered from some of my more recent posts that I've switched platform. My main machine is now a Dell laptop, running Ubuntu 8.10.

"I've been using Macs since 1986, and have owned one more or less continuously since 1989. Machines that have been through the mill of my day-to-day keyboard bashing include the Mac Plus, LC 475, PowerBook Duo, iBook and MacBook Pro. I've earned a living writing about Macs and attended more Macworld Expos than I can count.

"But unless Apple has a change of direction and creates some very different machines, I think that I've probably bought my last one."

How My Computing Needs Affected Switching to Linux

TechnoivaTechnovia's Ian Betteridge says:

"In response to my post about switching to Ubuntu Linux, Charles Arthur tweeted a question asking about my computing needs. It's a good question, because - obviously - how you use your computer will often determine your platform of choice."

Apple Products on List of 'Stuff White People Like'

Christian Lander, creator and author of the smash hit blogsite "Stuff White People Like" (in this context, "white people" are probably not what you may be thinking and may not even be white) and spinoff book says:

"It is surprising that it took all the way to #40 to call out Apple products. Initially, we were planning for an entire week on Apple products, but that would just be over kill.

"Plain and simple, white people don't just like Apple, they love and need Apple to operate.... white people NEED to meet people who use Windows to justify themselves spending an extra $500 for a pretty looking machine.... and remember you need a Mac to creatively check email, creatively check websites, and creatively watch DVDs on planes.... White people also need iPods, iPhones, Apple TV, AirPort Express stations, and anything else that Apple will produce."

Snow Leopard May Arrive with Unified 'Marble' Interface

Apple InsiderAppleInsider's Katie Marsal reports:

"With the release of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, Apple may be planning to rid its flagship operating system of the various user interface inconsistencies that have materialized in recent years, according to a pair of reports...."


Apple Ditching Macworld in Favor of CES?

Cult of MacCult of Mac's Ed Sutherland reports:

"Apple is ditching Macworld to instead exhibit at CES next year instead, according to one source.

"The source, citing 'friends who work at Apple,' insisted the company is ditching Macworld because it will 'go large' at CES, which typically runs concurrently with Macworld in early January.

"The International Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, is the big annual gathering of the consumer electronics industry. Held in Las Vegas over several days, it attracts more than 2,700 companies from all over the world, including technology giants like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo...."

CES 2010 Will Have an Apple-related Area, but What About Apple?

MacworldMacworld's Dan Moren says:

"One of the more persistent rumors on the Expo show floor this past week - besides the one saying that Jobs would parachute onto the stage during the keynote in order to prove that he's fit as a fiddle - was that Apple would be ditching Macworld next year for the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which also took place last week.

"Adding fuel to that fire comes news from the Consumer Electronics Association, the organization behind CES, that they're planning an area of the 2010 show focused around 'Apple-related CE [consumer electronics] manufacturers.'"

Macworld Vows to Carry On

Internet NewsInternetNews' David Needle reports:

"What's Macworld without Apple?

"That was the question that the long-running tech trade show's organizers sought to answer this week, which marked the last time the event could count Apple as a participant and its chief exhibitor.

"Representatives from show producer IDG Word Expo were joined by several hundred of the Macfaithful, who crowded into a hall here at the Moscone Center this week to discuss and debate the future of the event.

"And IDG stressed that the Macworld expo does have a future - at least as far as next year...."

Apple at CES? Unlikely

C-netCnet's Tom Krazit says:

"A report that Apple is planning a visit to CES next year had eyes rolling Friday morning from Las Vegas to Cupertino.

"Cult of Mac reports, citing a source with 'friends at Apple,' says that Apple is planning to 'go large' at CES 2010, now that Macworld is out of the way. The source called it a 'done deal,' noting that since Apple is really more of a consumer electronics company these days, the Consumer Electronics Show makes more sense.

"Too bad nothing else in this report makes sense...."

CEA Confirms Apple-related Exhibits at CES 2010

C-netCnet's Tom Krazit reports:

"The Consumer Electronics Association has confirmed plans to host a Mac-centric area at CES 2010, but Apple has still not commented on whether it plans to participate.

"Jason Oxman of the CEA confirmed Saturday that the group 'dedicated a special area at the 2010 CES to Apple-related CE manufacturers.' That immediately sets up an alternative for companies thinking about exhibiting at Macworld 2010, which will not have Apple present for the first time in 12 years...."

Apple Dropping Macworld Expo Makes Sense

Creative ProCreativePro's Gene Gable says:

"This month represents the 25th anniversary of the Macintosh computer, and with Apple pulling out of the Macworld Expo show, perhaps the end of an era of how the Mac community gathers and celebrates each year....

"But first, let me shed a little light on Apple's announcement that it would no longer participate in Macworld Expo. I was employed by IDG World Expo, the producers of Macworld Expo, and I worked very closely with Apple during my years running the Seybold Seminar events....

"I can also attest to the tension that has existed for years between Apple and IDG World Expo over the Macworld event, which Apple does not own or control. It should be no surprise that Apple prefers to control its brand experience completely.... And of course Apple (and all the exhibitors at Macworld Expo) have always hated the early January dates of the show. Not only is it a poor time to introduce new products (right after the Christmas buying season), but the expense of putting up a booth is often higher because of overtime holiday labor rates and travel costs....

"...I am actually surprised Apple didn't make this move sooner...."

Editor's note: If you're a trivia buff (far beyond Macworld Expo lore), don't miss this article - fascinating. cm

Products & Services

BackJack Raises the Bar for Mac Online Backup with New Business Version

PR: Synectics Business Solutions, Inc. today announced a new version of their software to complement their well-established online backup service. Built upon the same modern infrastructure as their Enterprise version, BackJack's Business version delivers more cost-effective, simpler and more secure online backup for business Mac users. BackJack remains the most trusted name for the online protection and recovery of critical files.

Synectics Business Solutions, Inc., developer of the BackJack( Online Backup Service, has announced a new version of their software to complement their well-established service. For those whose use of the Mac generates income, or supports key business activities, BackJack remains the most trusted name for the online protection and recovery of critical files.

BackJack's new Business version (v5.1) follows their highly successful flagship Enterprise version (v5.0) which has been in use, since 2007, by some of the world's largest Mac installations. The Business version was built from the Enterprise version so that small to mid-sized businesses and educational institutions can benefit from more cost-effective pricing, simplified backups, more efficient uploads and enhanced security. Also included in their Business version is an improved web-based account manager which gives administrators greater control over their account information, internal support, storage, and user management.

The company has long been recognized for its personal client care, quality software and ongoing focus on Mac-only solutions. "Since 1998, we have catered exclusively to the Mac online backup market", states President Chris Brown. "As a result, we offer tremendous advantages for our clients including mature software, unmatched experience with the technology and a solid business practice where business clients know that BackJack will exceed their expectations. We have earned the trust of the Mac business community through years of service and are proud that our longevity and Mac-centric solution continue to set us apart", states Brown.

Their new Business version confirms Synectics' commitment to the storage needs of Mac business and enterprise users where the highest standards for backup and recovery must be set and met. Synectics' upcoming solution, known as Continuum, will complement Leopard's Time Machine® so that both onsite and offsite backups can be performed conveniently and cost effectively.

15-day Free Trial Available Now

BackJack's Business Version is available for download immediately via their 15-day free trial. Mac users need 10.4.10 or greater (Leopard compatible)


BackJack's Enterprise version is their flagship Version 5 solution built to satisfy the unique backup needs of Macs in larger environments. Some of its highlights include client-specific customization, centralized management of users, world-class support, high security and high performance, as well as full integration into the client's environment.


Currently in development, BackJack's Continuum version will complement Leopard's Time Machine® so that both the onsite and offsite components of an effective backup strategy can be met conveniently and cost effectively.


New Postbox Email Client Announced at Macworld

PostboxPR: Could this be a worthy successor to Eudora?

The new Postbox email application's developers say:

"Postbox is a new way to manage online communication. It lets you spend less time managing messages and more time getting things done. But what makes Postbox really useful is the way it lets you find and reuse all kinds of content hidden deep within your email. After all, it's your email. Make the most of it.


Postbox lets you organize your mail by topic so you can focus on one thing at a time. Incoming topic-related messages are automatically displayed. Anything else stays in the background until you need it. Don't worry, an unobtrusive counter displays incoming messages by topic so you can still keep an eye on things without losing your focus.


Postbox works behind the scenes to catalog everything in your email. We mean everything: every bit of text in the body of your messages, every contact, address or web link. Every picture, document or attachment. It's all in the catalog and it's all searchable. To make what you've found easier to use, search results are delivered in context. Text is displayed in multi-sentence abstracts, messages in threads, and images and documents as thumbnails with associated information.

Free Your Mail

PostboxOnce you've found it, you can really start doing things. Postbox is designed to break down barriers. Any mail content can be annotated or combined with information from the web to create new mail messages. Want to get the information out of Postbox? No problem. You can post content to online communities and sharing sites right from the Postbox window. Want to get web content into Postbox? Just as easy. A handy sidebar lets you pull in information directly from Internet search engines, reference sites and photo-sharing or other online communities.

Postbox will support all popular email protocols including IMAP, POP3, SMTP, Mobile Me, Gmail, RSS and Newsgroups, as well as integration with web services like Google, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and Delicious.

Postbox is currently in beta build. You can register on their Website to be notified of developments.

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