Mac News Review

Jony Ive Knighted, Mac mini Lion Server Great for Small Offices, Insync Takes on Dropbox, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2012.01.06

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in iOS News Review. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

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News & Opinion

AppleDesigner Jonathan Ive Knighted in Queen's New Year Honours List

The Register's Iain Thomson reports that Apple's chief designer Jonathan Ive, who is a British citizen, has been appointed a Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) in Queen Elizabeth II's New Year's Honours list.

The award, which will allow Ive - who was described by the late Steve Jobs to biographer Walter Isaacson as his "spiritual partner," and who characteristically shuns the limelight - to call himself Sir Jonathan, and will be bestowed personally on Ive by the Queen at a future date.

Why Sir Jony but Not Sir Steve?

Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt notes that news that Apple's chief designer Jonathan Ive being made a Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) raises again the question of why his boss and closest collaborator was never likewise honored.

Two reasons, says Elmer-DeWitt: Steve Jobs' birthplace, and, reportedly, also due to a speaking invitation he blew off in 2009 after nearly getting his own KBE a year before Ive, citing a Telegraph report that Jobs was nominated for an honorary knighthood in that year, but his candidacy was blocked by then Prime Minister Gordon Brown because Jobs had declined an invitation to speak at the Labour Party's annual conference.

However, Elmer-DeWitt explains that even had he not been blackballed by Brown's apparent pettiness, Jobs would never been Sir Steve, since KBE recipients who don't have the British monarch as their head of state can append the letters KBE after their name, but not the honorific Sir. Actually, some folks who do have the British Monarch as their head of state can't be known as Sir either. QE II is Canada's official head of state, but Canadians have been effectively blocked from accepting British knighthoods, baronetcies, and peerages since the so-called 1919 "Nickle Resolution" of Canada's parliament, which was carried but never formally passed into law by the House of Commons.

Ironically, Americans are under no such restrictions, and US citizen KBEs include Bill Gates, Billy Graham, and Rudolph Giuliani.

Mac mini with Lion Server Ideal for Small Office/Home Office

Macworld's John C. Welch says he was fairly positive in his review of the original 2010 version of Apple's smallest server, and can now say its very easy to be happy with the 2011 edition Mac mini with Lion Server - not for big enterprise service of course, but for its primary target markets; the small office/home office (SOHO) and small and medium-sized businesses (SMB). Welch notes that the Mac mini Server is bereft of redundant power supplies, hot-swappable components, and other features found in enterprise servers, but for the same price as Apple's discontinued Xserve enterprise server with the proper specifications, you can buy several Mac mini servers and get your redundancy by alternate means.

"...the only major weakness of the Mac mini with Lion Server is, well, Lion Server (), which, as I noted in my review of that product, is a good start on a major revamp, but has some serious issues."

Is Technology Rendering the King James Version Redundant?

No, the King James Version itself has nothing to do with Apple, Macs, or even iOS, but almost every Bible app ever written, whether free or commercial, includes a free copy of the KJV. With the majority of modern translations under copyright and only available for a fee, it's a starting point.

400th anniversary of the King James staffer Andy Johnson notes that invention of the printing press in made it possible for the 1611 King James Version (KJV) of the Bible to become the most widely distributed book on the planet and the definitive English language translation for nearly 400 years, becoming a cultural and social unifier, widely regarded as the most influential piece of literature ever written that has exerted profound influence on how English-speaking people thought and viewed the world, and artists interpreted it, and on development of the English language itself, with many English speakers today unaware that popular idioms they use daily are quotes from the KJV.

400th anniversary of the King James BibleHowever, in the 400th anniversary year of the KJV's original publication, Johnson reports that technology is dramatically changing the way the Bible is read and interacted with, and even the way Christians interpret their faith, with one commentator observing that "technology is taking the Bible to new levels of convenient access and interactive understanding" via online sites, computer applications, e-readers, tablets, and smartphones, and with many other translations as easily accessible as the KJV, predicting that electronic Bibles will become even more interactive and integrated, with links to interactive resources and social networks.

KJV 400 logoBut will the KJV's influence as a cultural unifier be lost?

Publisher's note: Redundant is the correct term, as the KJV, while a literary masterpiece, can be as difficult to read and understand as Shakespeare's plays, which were contemporaneous with the translation. There have been several attempts to update the archaic English of the KJV and even more attempts to create fresh new translations based on more authoritative Greek and Hebrew manuscripts discovered since 1611, each with is strengths and weaknesses. But as long as some hold that the KJV is the only true and accurate translation, it's going to stick around. And it's influence on our daily speech is never going to vanish - which can also be said of Shakespeare. dk

Products & Services

Insync: 'It's OK to Cheat on Dropbox'

ZDNet's Charlie Osborne says that free Cloud storage and file sync service Insync's reopening includes many improvements to its Google Docs storage locker, and the company is also using cheeky slogans to entice Dropbox users to switch.

Insync, a Google-oriented alternative to Dropbox, has been completely revamped. It has now reopened for registration as a free storage facility.

Philippines-based Insync uses your Google account as a storage locker and offers a desktop application so you can access your files in the same manner as you would with a local directory or folder.

Insync's homepage displays insouciant slogans to entice users to defect from Dropbox. These include: It's OK to break up with Dropbox, It's OK to cheat on Dropbox, 10x 8x cheaper than Dropbox, and resistance is futile. In the updated Insync 2.0 version, synchronization limits have been completely removed.

But is switching from Dropbox a sensible move?

Osborne thinks it could be if you rely heavily on Google Docs, but there are some limitations both on allowable file sizes (unlike Dropbox), and only 1 GB of free storage capacity (with Google) - while Dropbox gives you 2 GB, and you can boost your free Dropbox space via referrals.

Publisher's note: Dropbox has changed the way I work with my three production Macs (running OS X 10.4 Tiger, 10.5 Leopard, and 10.6 Snow Leopard), and thanks to referrals, my original 2 GB of free storage space has ballooned to over 10 GB. Also, Dropbox supports OS X 10.4 and PowerPC Macs, while Insync is currently Intel-only. Insync says it is considering PowerPC support. Insync does not appear to list system requirements anywhere on its website, so it's going to be hit-and-miss if you want to run it on older versions of OS X. Not that Insync probably isn't a bargain at $5/year for 20 GB, but thanks to bonus space from referals, Dropbox already provides more space than I need and works with my older Macs. dk


Zoom It: View Your Screen Through a Magnifying Glass Whenever Needed

PR: Appatit announces Zoom It 1.0 for OS X, their new utility that allows users to easily view their Mac's screen through a virtual magnifying glass. Ideal for artists, designers, engineers, photographers, presenters, project collaborators, laptop users, and those who wear corrective lenses, Zoom It is a simple Menu Item, which for many Mac owners can significantly enhance the usability of every one of their applications. Far superior in flexibility and convenience to the screen zoom built into OS X, the app's virtual loupe can magnify from 5-45% of the screen and up to a maximum of 5x.

Zoom It for OS X

The onscreen magnifier in Zoom It is always available to provide a closer look at whatever the user is doing on their Mac. The magnifier, with a circular or rectangular shape, can be effortlessly accessed through simple keyboard shortcuts that do not interfere with any shortcuts, commands, trackpad controls, or mouse buttons the user may be accustomed to. Alternatively, the app's magnifying glass icon in the Menu Bar can open to display a dropdown menu of commands and preferences. Users maintain the ability to click, type, or select inside the magnified area.

Applications with numerous palettes, tools, controls, and design elements, such as drawing, painting, CAD/CAM, 3D graphics & animation, and design & layout software will all benefit from the ability to Zoom It, anytime. Project collaborators will especially like the app's feature that allows saving and sharing detailed, close-up screen shots. And presenters will find Zoom It's realistic, onscreen magnifying glass the perfect means of highlighting any part of a screen viewed by an audience. With 5-Star ratings from MacUpdate and HotMacApps, this is one simple, inexpensive Utility that every Mac owner should consider acquiring.

Zoom It for OS XFeature Highlights:

  • Set the app to open when you start your Mac so that the magnifying loupe is always available but stays hidden until you want to use it
  • Use all of your usual keyboard shortcuts, trackpad controls, and mouse clicks at the same time as the loupe
  • Show the loupe temporarily with a simple keyboard shortcut
  • Keep the temporary loupe onscreen just by holding the Z key, and make it disappear by simply releasing the key
  • Use a simple shortcut to make the loupe stay onscreen permanently, without holding the Z key
  • Click, type, and select inside the magnified area
  • Choose between a round or rectangular loupe
  • Quickly change the size of the loupe
  • Easily adjust the amount of magnification, up to 500%
  • Customize keyboard shortcuts for all Zoom It functions
  • Take a screenshot of what the Zoom It loupe is showing (with or without the loupe border)

Appatit co-owners Joel Kraus and Moshe Samet recently commented, "We are a couple of artists, strong believers in the Mac platform. After doing graphic design for many years, we piled up ideas on how to make life easier on the computer, from the end user's point of view. Zoom It, a simple utility that does one thing very well, has become our flagship app."

System Requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.5 or later
  • 1.5 MB

Zoom It 1.0 is 99¢ and available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Utilities category.

Free Scribus 1.4.0 Desktop Publishing Application

PR: Scribus 1.4.0 is a multiplatform, open source page layout program that can produce press-ready output. It includes vector drawing tools, rendering of markup languages such as LaTeX, color-blindness emulation, CMYK support, spot color, ICC color management, PDF output, and other features.

Scribus 1.4.0

This release is based on the Qt4 application framework and includes install files for Mac OS X 10.5 or later, enhancements for object handling, extended support for text and typography, (including character styles, optical margins, and glyph extension), a line style editor and vector effects for vector objects, a Render Frame frame type for rendering the output of other programs, export to PDF 1.5, and more. Scribus is free for Mac OS X 10.5 and up (Intel), Windows, Linux, and OS/2.

With Scribus' full-featured desktop publishing package, you can create newsletters, brochures, greeting cards, CD covers and more.

Operating Systems: Linux, Mac OS X 10.5 or newer on Intel Mac, Windows 2000, Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows XP

Languages: English, Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Basque, Breton, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, Estonian, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Slovak, Slovenian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukranian, Welsh


Publisher's note: Jason Walsh took a look at Scribus here on Low End Mac back in 2004.

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