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Chris's UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for MAC USERS # 65, 11/13/03
Contents Copyright 2003 by Christopher Plummer

OBLIGATORY ADVERTISEMENT... Ready to get rid of the mess and make your little network 'wireless'? Want to share your Internet connection? Convert your LPs and cassettes to CDs, set up an MP3 jukebox with an old Mac, or pick out a new one? I can do this for you, or show you how. Read the details in the SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION section at the bottom. Or email me now: < chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com> Enjoy the newsletter! :-)

This Issue
I must once again break my promise to finish up "Hard Times for Hard Drives" - and push back the mysterious solution to that dilemma for yet another issue. I'm riding the Black Cat at Borders tonight and have much to say about Panther :-) There's been much feedback after last issue, but I think I'll have to hang onto it. I'm not sure I've got All Kinds of Time to complete this issue. (A song about a QUARTERBACK in the middle of a football game?! UNPREDICTABLY, it is, and you should hear it. They call "Fountains of Wayne" a New York band, but Wayne is in New Jersey, isn't it? "All Kinds of Time". < wa/viewAlbum?playlistId=2743701>). Now that I've cleverly inserted the traditional music reference found in every issue, we can get down to fascinating Mac trivia, insightful comments, and personal commentary of questionable merit...

UPDATES - More Panther Compatibility, more iTunes for Windows (W)
GEEK SPEAK REVIEW- IMS, Wi-Fi, HiFi, Scroll Wheel
NEWS - Apple Boosts iTunes Support
WEIRD NEWS - Out of uControl
Dirty Little Secrets - iTunes Doesn't Support 50 Billion Windows MP3 Players
UNPREDICTABLE READER FEEDBACK - Just the usual accolades!
Know The Difference - Lost Spots In Panther
Special Bonus Keyboard Commands - Next time

GEEK SPEAK ALERT: IMS, Wi-Fi, Hi Fi, MP3, IMS, AAC, Scroll Wheel

(X) Apple Updates, use Software Update System Preference.
Security Update 2003-11-04 v.1, For Panther, and self-explanatory, right?
OS X Update 10.3.1 - Panther fixes, including a fix for FireWire 800.
iDVD - 3.0.1 - Stability update.
AirPort Software 3.2 -"Improved AirPort wireless networking software",
support for the Wi-Fi Protected Access(TM) (WPA) specification, etc.

(W) iTunes for Windows 4.1.1 released.

(X) Business Card Composer 1.1.3 Mostly Panther update, adds German.

(X) Salling Clicker 2.0.1 - Panther compatibility, additional phone
support, etc. Software worth an article. :-)

(X) uControl 1.37 - Another Panther compatibility update. What the heck
is uControl? Another article sometime down the road. If you're a
PowerBook user, it's essential. Gives you 'Scroll Wheel' capability on
your Track Pad.

(X) Watson 1.7.5 - Update.

Check for more updates at <>.

Geek Speak Review
DLS - Dirty Little Secret. This term is currently suffering massive media
over use. It means..."the hidden truth behind the story".

IMS - iTunes Music Store. COOL, Internet-savvy people don't bother with
THREE words when THREE letters will do.

WiFi- Catchy little name for Wireless Networking, what Apple calls
"AirPort", for most people the 802.11b or g networking standard. Derives
from the term HiFi, that your parents, or grandparents, used to use.

HiFi - Or High Fi, for "High Fidelity", the term used in the forties and
fifties of the last century of the previous millennium to describe the
sounds that emerged when a tiny hard rock was dragged through grooves
scratched into a plastic disk and then amplified through an analog device
that produced enough heat to warm a cabin on the outskirts of Anchorage
in February. Paradoxically, in those days they thought such sounds were

Scroll Wheel - A little 'wheel' on your mouse, which gives you an
incredibly easy way to scroll through pages on your screen. No mousing
around to scroll arrows or "elevator" boxes. Everybody on Earth who has
tried one, except Steve Jobs, agrees that Scroll Wheels are
indispensable. I think the Steve Man has never used a Scroll Wheel. :-)


(X, W) Apple Beefs Up iTunes Support - With Windows users flocking to iTunes and the IMS in DROVES, Apple has decided to provide Tutorials, Support Articles, and all kinds of other information on pages specifically for Windows or Mac users. This probably says more about the not-so-intuitive-brushed-aluminum interface than it does about the capabilities of Windows users. ;-) <> <>

More News: <>

Weird News
Out of Control - Useful Open Source trackpad utility uControl didn't work on Panther. "Somebody" posted a fix on VersionTracker. But, as one of the reviewers on the site put it, "So let me get this straight... The guys at <> wrote ucontrol and have been actively supporting it up to 1.3.5 (and from what I hear were about to release a version that supports Panther) and haven't even asked for a single penny. Now <> has forked the code, updated it for Panther and 'hijacked' the entries on versiontracker and macupdate and are now asking for cash donations!!! Seems very unethical to me." C'mon you open source folks, can't we just have a little Peace and Hawmony?? [See Updates above for the 1.37 Panther compatible official release.]

Dirty Little Secrets
Long time U&O Readers may recall that I once had a section called 'Dirty Little Secrets', and I let go of all that. But just for this issue, I'll bring it back to reveal how the phrase is being beaten to death. Strangely in every case it's used in relation to iTunes for Windows!! Unfortunately I don't have links to all these references, so if you really need to find the original material, use the GOOGLE search built into Safari. Each of these items was listed as a "Dirty Little Secret" in the media where it appeared:

DLS #1 - iTunes for Windows is Apple's Secret Weapon to take back the Media high ground that it pioneered with QuickTime. How? Well, heck, in case you didn't notice, QuickTime is the engine behind all the iTunes stuff! It's QuickTime that does the translation to and from MP3, AAC, and Audio CD format. And when you get QuickTime, you get the QuickTime player which you can use instead of Windows Media Player!! iTunes is a TROJAN HORSE!! Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes! [From Slate, I think.]

DLS #2 - iTunes for Windows only synchs automatically with iPods!! This revelation came from someone Scott Kelby might identify as a "fake Mac user" [posting on the MacInTouch web site?]. What a terrible thing! How dare Apple? Give away a TRULY FREE and elegant piece of software that you can use on your Windows computer to RIP MP3s and play and burn CDs, and never give Apple a dime, and not write it to support all the CLUNKY MP3 players that Windows users might already have out there! The nerve! Trying to sell their own iPods!! What is Apple doing? Trying to make a profit? Jeez! The writer complains that this attitude will almost certainly prevent some Windows users from EVER buying an iPod. Whoa! Better re-think your marketing Steve!!!

DLS #3 - iTunes Music Store doesn't make any money. So says Time magazine, which declares the IMS the "Invention of the Year". That's right, the record industry monsters get 65 cents of every 99 cent song, and marketing and distribution costs eat up most of the rest of it. BUT the Steve doesn't care because the IMS SELLS IPODS, which have GREAT MARGINS!! Especially, when iTunes doesn't synch with all those other MP3 players. :-)

(X) Panther Issues & Impressions: Danger, Will Robinson!
SKIP THIS ARTICLE AT YOUR OWN RISK!! FireWire 800 Drives - Officially, the potentially disastrous conflict between Oh Ess Ten 10.3 (aka: "Panther") and FireWire drives has to do with only "FireWire 800" drives using a certain ROM version of a certain Oxford controller chip set. Supposedly this issue does not affect older FireWire 400 drives. However there have been some reports of troubles with those too... <> There are fixes and warnings. [See Updates - above]. Every Mac site on the planet is covering this controversy, so if you're interested, read about it. <> <>

File Vault - Now that we've gotten past that alarmist bit of far as I can tell, that is the ONLY BIG and potentially harmful issue with Panther. Except for "File Vault", which you can use to encrypt ALL your data. Difficulties arise because it wraps your whole user folder into one GIANT file. This makes backups very problematic and gives you the opportunity to lose ALL your data if the one file is damaged. Some programs have trouble with it right out of the box, but I'm just not going to use it, and so, am not going to do a lot of research. Be warned if you use this feature. Some of these issues have supposedly been addressed in Panther 10.3.1, but use use File Vault at your own risk. UNPREDICTABLY NOT RECOMMENDED.

Installation - Now that we've gotten past those two alarmist bits of rhetoric...My experience with installing Panther was just a hair short of FLAWLESS. I removed all my goodies from starting up at login, booted from the Panther CD, and did an "Archive and Install". I even used the customize [Options] to select ALL the Epson printer drivers and to unselect most of the additional language support, and to NOT install Internet Exploder. I was pretty sure I had current versions of the iApps, but since I wasn't sure if the Panther versions were newer, I let the installer load them anyway. It took 30 minutes or so, and when my Mac rebooted (the second time - there's one restart in the middle of the install), it came up clean with no complaints.

The installer did an excellent job of moving all my User files, my Locations, and my Network settings. I'd heard that some people had troubles with AirPort, but mine worked great.

Unfortunately ALL my printers disappeared - and I have about ten defined using various protocols. A call to Apple Support confirmed that there was NOTHING we could do to get them back. So I re-installed them with the new Printer Setup Utility.

Expose - What is Expose? Nothing short of mind blowing. "Eye candy" is what one reviewer called it. To understand it, you really have to see it in action or try it. In a way, it's sort of silly, because it seems as though there ought to be something fundamentally better about the way windows are handled by the OS, but Expose is so elegant that it's irresistable. When you combine multiple open applications and the inherent multiple window clutter of Oh Ess Ten, you end up with an unmanageable PILE of overlapping windows all over your screen, no matter what its size. We didn't have this mess in NINE, did we? Expose is sort of like having a huge desk and being able to separate all the windows into organized little piles - or clearing off the desk completely to see what's underneath the mess!! Despite reports I'd read of problems with the Expose keys on PowerBooks, my PowerBook was able to use the F9, F10, and F11 function keys as is, without modification and without requiring use of the [fn].

Speed Thrills - Menus, windows, dialogs, just about everything is faster. Peppier. More responsive. What a nice change. In the Macazoic Era every new update meant a slower Mac (or a new Mac!). Will TEN just keep getting faster?? :-)

Fast User Switching - This is another visual treat. Leave everything open on your desktop, select a different user from the menu on the far right of the menu bar, and log in as that user. You've got to try it at least once just so you can show it to ENVIOUS Windows users. (And when they see that animated cube, containing your screen on one side and someone elses on the other, they will be ENVIOUS, believe me!). What happens when you have more than six users? I DON'T KNOW, and really, who cares? What if you have multiple monitors?? You lose the cube effect. It just switches cleanly from one users desktop to another.

Print Center - Now called Printer Setup Utility. You can get to it in any print dialog from the "Printer" popup menu or in your Utilities folder inside Applications. It's still not on the Apple menu or the Go menu where it belongs.

Address Book - which I use a great deal, has some nice improvements - unfortunately, these seem to have slowed it down quite a bit. And it's lost the ability to tell you what day of the week someone was born on when you enter their birthday in the birthday field! Oh well. There are lots of new fields available, including my personal request, a "Middle Name" field. It supposedly can synchronize with the Address Book of a Microsoft Exchange server - which doesn't matter to you or me, but may matter to somebody who works for a BDC (Big Dumb Corporation). Panther has some ODD new elements, such as in Address Book in [Edit] mode, there are all these Red and Green dots next to field definitions, which I CAN ONLY GUESS, SINCE IT'S NOT OBVIOUS, mean "Add a field" or "Delete a field". Pretty LAME.

Oh and GET THIS, after my article about "Confusing Button Conventions" [U&O #63] where I SPECIFICALLY ranted about the [Edit] button in Address Book, they have changed it. Whereas it used to look illuminated from behind by a blue backlight, now I THINK it's supposed to look as if it is pushed in. But it's not very obvious. It's weird, it's like Apple has people designing the interface who are completely unaware of the developments of the last 20 years!! I feel like I've fallen into a rift in the time-space continuum. Back, back, to Klingons without brow ridges and shoulder pads, back to buttons that are vaguely but not completely 3- dimensional..Yes, I remember back then...replaced by SUPERIOR 3rd Party Shareware...Greg's Buttons, Greg's Buttons....what does that mean??? Ug.

Heard enough? It's a good upgrade. Buy it!

** Buy Panther from Amazon using this link, get free shipping, and support UNPREDICTABLE!

If you have more than one Mac at home, buy the Family Pack (for up to 5 Macs).

Unpredictable Reader Feedback

Just the usual Accolades (Thanks!)

Know the Difference
Lost Spots in Panther, or 'How to Make Windows XP Look Even Better'

A long, long, time ago, when people were just starting to use the Internet, there were all kinds of new settings that had to be set. What is my browser? What is my FTP client? What is my Mail program? What is my purpose? At first, EVERY application had to establish these settings on its own. If you had a browser that needed to know what mail program it should start when there was a 'mailto' link on a web page, it had to create a setting for that. The result was CHAOS. Or at least, the annoying reality that you had to type in the same information over and over in EVERY program. And Holy Dogcow! What if you decided to switch to a different mail program?? You had to hunt down that reference and change it in EVERY program.

Things stayed this way for quite awhile in the Windows world. But Microsoft finally solved it by declaring that EVERY PROGRAM or operating system call that required an Internet program would ALWAYS refer to another Microsoft program. And heck, where do you make all those settings? In MS Internet Explorer of course!

Meanwhile over on the Mac side of the Help Desk, the shareware authors, led by a revolutionary named "Quinn" (the Eskimo) and some others who deserve credit, decided that it made sense for all this Internet information to go in one place. They created a standard and got other software developers to support it. They tied it all together with an extension called "Internet Config". You launch the IC application, and fill it out once. Tell it what all your Internet apps are, and ALL your other Internet apps read the IC settings and that's that!! If you change your favorite browser, you tell Internet Config, and EVERYBODY knows. All your applications play nice!! How Mac like!!

After the IC concept became so incredibly overwhelmingly supported by every Mac user and developer on the PLANET, Apple decided it might be a good idea. They eventually included it in a Control Panel called "Internet Config". It really fit right in with the Macintosh concept of the user having CHOICE and CONTROL of her own system. And everyone was happy with this [except Microsoft, who made Internet Explorer on the Mac arbitrarily make itself the default browser, FTP client, whatever, and of course IE even had its OWN Microsoft Internet Settings Control Panel. But most Mac users ignored it, and we will too.] When Oh Ess Ten came out and right through the release of Jaguar this sensible tradition was continued with the "Internet Settings" System Preference.

"But WAIT!" You say, "I have Panther, and I don't see 'Internet Settings' System Preferences! Where'd they go?"

Yes, this standard, pioneered by Apple and present in the Mac OS for many years as a System Resource accessible to everyone is now in....Safari!! \Preferences [General]. Does it really make sense to choose your favorite browser from within a browser?? "Default Mail Application" is buried in Apple's Mail application Preferences. The other settings? Who knows? You'll have to get a shareware application to find and change them!!

Does that mean that every mail client is going to have to include an option in it's own Prefs to make itself the Default Mail App? Is Apple going to allow 3rd party apps to do that? Or will we all be coerced into setting up Mail just so we can have the choice not to use it? It seems like we've gone back about 10 years. Back before "Internet Config" put all the Internet configuration in one place, at the System level, outside of applications. Back to Klingons without brow ridges.

We could call this the "Microsoftation" of the Mac OS, but guess what? If you take a look at the latest version of Windows there is what can only be described as an 'Internet Settings Control Panel'. A centralized location for all your Internet related settings! What a great idea!! While Apple was learning to be more like Microsoft, Microsoft was learning to be more like Apple. The question is, WHOSE CUSTOMER IS BETTER OFF???

Rush to your web browser, and send Apple feedback. Go to the feedback page. In "Feedback Characteristics" "Feedback Type"- select "Design/Ease of Use" "Feedback Area" - select "Internet/Web" "Comments" copy this whole article and paste it. Tell them UNPREDICTABLE sent you!!! <>

And That's The Difference.


:-)TFSB :-)

* 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. (Please provide UNPREDICTABLE with a copy.) 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.

SEND requests and feedback to < chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com>.

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Shameless Self-Promotion
Ready to get rid of the mess and make your little network 'wireless'? Want to share your Internet connection? Convert your LPs and cassettes to CDs, set up an MP3 jukebox with an old Mac, help you pick out a new one. I can do this for you, or show you how to do all kinds of cool things with iApps. Big projects or little jobs. Maybe you'd just like to know that you have someone knowledgeable to call for support and encouragement when you finally go to OH ESS TEN? I've worked with computer novices, small businesses, and large corporations. I'd prefer not to do WINDOWS, but I've got more experience with MS operating systems than many PC consultants! I'm IBM Certified in Domino Development and Administration. I can teach you how to share files with PC users, use common fonts and printers, connect to their networks, and send them email with attachments that they can read. And I can write and edit. Reasonable rates, 20 years experience, satisfaction guaranteed.
Email: < chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com>.

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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 :-)