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CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for MAC USERS #36,
01/14/02
Contents Copyright 2002 by Christopher Plummer
===============================================


THIS ISSUE
----------
MACEXPO TIME AGAIN! That means most of our fascinating Mac trivia,
insightful comments, and personal commentary of questionable merit will
have to do with NEW PRODUCTS. So without further ado... :-)

UPDATES - iPhoto
NEWS - MacExpo SF of course!
UNPREDICTABLE READER FEEDBACK - IE AutoFill Pencil
GEEK SPEAK REVIEW - Flat Panel
GET THE POINT - GIMME SOME TRUTH ABOUT OH ESS TEN
Tips - consistency
Know The Difference - No Fat Pencil
Special Bonus Keyboard Commands - To [Command]+B or not to [Command]+B
Good News Press Releases: Flat Panel iMac, 14" iBook, iPhoto (iToldu,
didn't I?), et al.



GEEK SPEAK ALERT: Flat Panel



UPDATES
-------
iPhoto 1.0 - It's brand new. It's 'iTunes' for digital photos. It's free
for OS X Mac users. It catalogs your digital photos, allows you to create
slideshows, output to 'albums' and use services to print and deliver your
photos or your album as a clothbound book for only US$29.95. (Unspoken
small print - for the FIRST ten pages. Every additional page is $3.) See
the Good News Press Release and link at THE END. I've already downloaded
it. It looks pretty good, but I still might stick with iView Media Pro,
which is a Carbon app (meaning unlike iPhoto, it still works under OS9),
and which in my initial tests is more SNAPPY than iPhoto. Media Pro is
5.5 Mb, iPhoto is 27.9 Mb - with Oh Ess Ten we are in the world of Unix,
which stands for, 'You Need Gigs of Disk Space'.

<http://www.apple.com>
<http://www.iview-multimedia.com>



NEWS
----
Okay, so I didn't cover this the day it happened and it's been all over
the news, not just the Mac media. You know better than to depend on me
for EVERYTHING!

BIG NEWS - iMac REDESIGN! It is now a 15" Flat Panel display mounted on a
bicycle helmet. (Well, that's what it looks like anyway.) This puppy
comes with a G4 processor running at 700 or 800mhz, super graphics, and
the 'high end' model also comes with the 'SuperDrive' - which means you
can BURN DVDs! Prices from US$1299.00 to $1799.00 - at UNPREDICTABLE,
we'll call that $1300 to $1800.

Does that mean that the days of an $800.00 iMac are gone? Not yet. For
now there are 'old' iMacs still available. Let's hope OUR FRIENDS AT
APPLE keep them around for awhile. Agreed, you get an awful lot of Mac
for that $1300, but there are plenty of people and institutions who, at
those prices, are just going to see Wintel machines as being CHEAPER.

A week since the EXPO, and already the WHINING crowd is complaining that
a) The new iMac is TOO expensive or b) The new iMac is TOO different, or
c) Apple didn't introduce enough new products, or d) Apple introduced too
many new products. Jeez. What is, is. Buy, don't buy, but PLEASE STOP
WHINING!!

What else? The iBook got a bigger display, iPhoto was released. iSuppose
you can read all the press releases for the details (below). MacExpo was
a giant OH ESS TEN love fest. Read 'Get the Point' (below) for more on
THAT! :-)



UNPREDICTABLE READER FEEDBACK
-----------------------------
Bob writes, "Just read your latest issue. Great job. But, you forgot my
favorite IE
feature - the little pencil on the menu to automatically fill in forms.
Windows doesn't have this feature. It's great!"

Thanks Bob! I'd call it a 'FAT Pencil Button', and it's a GREAT feature
that I'm ashamed to say I hadn't used until I got Bob's note. You can
specify the AutoFill informtion in IE Preferences. Then, when you come to
a page with a form, hit the pencil! Everything gets filled in! The more
you use this, the more you'll appreciate that it's an AWESOME timesaver.
And WE LIKE TO SAVE TIME! :-)



GEEK SPEAK REVIEW
-----------------
Flat Panel - Liquid Crystal, Active Matrix, TFT (whatever that stands
for!), these are terms used to describe 'Flat Panel' displays. The kind
of display that comes in all laptops these days. No radiation, no giant
'tube' that can implode, no 'burn-in' - the reason screen savers were
invented - and extremely low power consumption with virtually no heat
production. They just tend to be expensive, but the more people (and
smart, innovative companies like Apple) use them, the sooner prices will
go down!



GET THE POINT
-------------
>>Mac OS X is the most advanced operating system on the market today with
>>its crash-proof, secure UNIX-based architecture, stunning Aqua® interface
>>and advanced features found only on a Mac®. Mac OS X is full of
>>innovations like the Dock, which provides an instant visual shortcut to
>>applications, documents, web sites, and system controls, and features
>>like Instant-On which wakes any iBook® or PowerBook® instantly--ready to
>>work in a split-second when needed, but conserving energy when it's not.
>>And no other operating system is easier to use or comes complete with
>>Apple's award-winning digital lifestyle software.

Gak!! Um, okay, let's step outside the "Steve Zone" for a minute. For
months, the press, the pundits, and most of the techies have babbled
about Ten. The interface is awesome, it's stable, it's fast, it's UNIX,
blah, blah. At the risk of sounding like someone who prefers to use an
overrated pile of spaghetti code hacked together to meet the marketing
requirements of a giant predatory monopoly, I am going to, as John Lennon
might have said, 'give ya some truth'.

Ten. Demon or angel? In a nutshell, Apple's fantastic hardware products
and beautiful Aqua interface are enough to lure potential Windows XP
users into the 'Different' camp. Add to that the 'crash-proof UNIX-based
architecture', and Apple has many of the Eunuchs giving up their Linux,
or HP, or Sun systems to have something MAINSTREAM. I mean, let's face
it, when's the last time you heard about the HP Unix version of QUICKEN??
THERE ISN'T ONE! These people DON'T KNOW ANY BETTER. Oh Ess Ten blows
away what they are familiar with. The question for Apple, ironically, is
'What about the rest of us?' What about the hardcore, 'NINE IS FINE'
crowd?

For seasoned MacHeads, NINE is good enough! It's fast! If you don't use
poorly written software (and YOU KNOW who I'm talking about) it almost
never crashes! And EVERYTHING works with it - printers, scsi, networks,
digital cameras, and on and on.

Heck, when you're used to that, Oh Ess Ten is SLOW. I have a Titanium
PowerBook G4 with 384 Mb of real RAM. That should be PLENTY of horsepower
to push TEN around, but the truth is, it isn't. It's sluggish. I have to
WAIT for things to happen. And the wait is just long enough to make me
wonder if I really did click that button or make that menu selection. I'm
not sure how slow it really is, because the interface lacks all the
niceties and cool feedback that we take for granted in OS 9.x. No
'whoosh' sounds whenever you open a disk or folder. Not enough progress
bars. And when you do certain things, like switch your networking setup,
you MIGHT see the SILENT rolling rainbow ball while you wait for
SOMETHING to happen, and you're not sure what, because THERE IS NO DIALOG
BOX TO TELL YOU! Or you might NOT even see the BALL! For the WINIX CROWD,
that might be okay. But for THE REST OF US, it's not acceptable!

I'm updating my online banking in the CARBON version of QUICKEN 2002
DELUXE over my slow modem connection. It looks like it's done, but the
RAINBOW BALL keeps turning, and turning, and....I'll go make some
microwave popcorn. I come back, it's STILL TURNING. Has 'crash-proof' Oh
Ess Ten crashed?? Of course not. But CARBONATED QUICKEN has taken a
headlong dive into the black hole of UNIX!! Sure, I can
[Command]+[Option]+[Escape] and Force Quit Quicken. And then the Oh Ess
is back under my control, allegedly. And I can restart Quicken. And gosh,
everything looks okay. But what just happened? I DON'T KNOW!! And how is
that any better than when Quicken crashed in OS 9? Because I don't have
to REBOOT? The truth is, I have this nagging feeling that rebooting Oh
Ess Ten would be a GOOD IDEA at this point, because there's probably some
screwball Quicken process out there, eating precious memory and processor
cycles!

The upside for Apple in all this is that hardware is getting faster,
faster. Pretty soon any new Mac is going to have at least a G4 processor
running at close to 700Mhz. Speed issues will fade away with our old
equipment. The other factor is that the AQUA interface is DARN seductive.
I've been on Oh Ess Ten almost non-stop for a week, and IT'S HARD TO GO
BACK TO NINE.

OCCASIONALLY, we might have to ask, "What happens next? WHERE DO WE GO
FROM HERE??"

Don't worry NINE IS FINERS, we won't abandon you! But we will be moving
in the TEN direction, discussing the transition to a new OS. There is
MUCH TO WRITE! And take note Steve, and other FRIENDS AT APPLE, there is
also MUCH TO RIGHT. If you have TEN tips, suggestions, issues, etc.,
email me! I'll clear, clarify, answer, and disseminate as best I can,
UNPREDICTABLY.

MEANWHILE, here's a PUZZLER for the new to TEN:
From WHICH APPLICATION did I copy the mess below? Yes, as AMAZING as it
may seem, this geeky gobbledygook came from MY MAC.

>Classic Startup: Couldn't connect to the pasteboard. Copy and paste with
>external apps will not work.
>2002-01-07 12:52:22.471 X-Assist[300] An uncaught exception was raised
>2002-01-07 12:52:22.471 X-Assist[300] connection timeout: did not receive
>reply
>2002-01-07 12:52:22.472 X-Assist[300] *** Uncaught exception:
><NSPortTimeoutException> connection timeout: did not receive reply
>*** CFLog (0): /System/Library/CoreServices/Classic
>Startup.app/Contents/MacOS/Classic Startup[296] WARNING: CFSTR("Classic
>Environment starting from \322%@\323") has non-7 bit chars, interpreting
>using MacOS Roman encoding for now, but this will change. Please eliminate
>usages of non-7 bit chars (including escaped characters above \177 octal)
>in CFSTR().

REMEMBER! Please eliminate usages of non-7 bit chars!!!

TFSB!! :-)



Tips
----
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds".

This lovely Emersonian blurb is often MISQUOTED by dropping the, "A
foolish", and thereby changing the meaning entirely. But details ARE
important. SOMETIMES it makes sense to be consistent!! See the 'Special
Bonus Keyboard Commands' (below) for a perfect example.



Know The Difference
-------------------
No FAT PENCIL in the Windows version of IE.

And That's The Difference.



Special Bonus Keyboard Commands
-------------------------------
Remember [Command]+B used to toggle the 'Button Bar' in Internet Explorer?

In OH ESS TEN, you can use [Command]+B to toggle the 'Button Bar' in
Finder Windows!

Is there the beginning of a standard here? Maybe not.

In Appleworks 6.x, toggle the Button Bar with [Command]+[Shift]+X.

In EarthBrowser (more detail on that UNPREDICTABLY in a future issue),
toggle the 'ToolBar' with [Command]+T.

CAN'T WE ALL PLAY NICE TOGETHER? CAN'T WE JUST AGREE TO CALL IT A 'BUTTON
BAR' AND USE THE SAME COMMAND TO TOGGLE IT??

:-)



=========================================================================
** CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for Mac Users **
Oriented towards, but not exclusively for, Mac Users in Beautiful Western
Central New Jersey. Published Whenever - About Whatever!
=========================================================================

Non-profit, non-commercial publications may reprint articles if full
credit is given. Others please contact the editor. Accuracy of articles
is UNPREDICTABLE and not guaranteed. Caveat lector. Publication,
product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their
companies.

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**
SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION
My accountant has advised me to come clean in every issue. Yes, I am a
consultant and am available to HELP YOU on a one-to-one basis. Macintosh
Networking, Internet Connectivity, Desktop Support, Training.
Satisfaction Guaranteed. Oh, and Lotus Notes and Domino Adminstration,
Development, and Support. Interested in help from a long term MAC
Professional? Don't hire some Windows kid who tells you to get rid of
your Mac because HE doesn't GET IT! Send me an email:
< chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com>

TFSB :-)





 

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All contents copyright 2000-2008 by Christopher Plummer, ZebraTale LLC, except where noted. Accuracy of articles is UNPREDICTABLE and not guaranteed. Unpredictable was published from 2001 to 2008. Although updated occasionally, this is a historical archive - expect dead links. Caveat lector.
Publication, product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their companies. TFSB :-)