Some MacBook Pros get batteries replaced.
Apple replaces batteries of the "A1175" series, where the serial number ends with U7SA, U7SB or U7SC. The reason for these replacements has nothing to do with them going up in flames, though. This is about the batteries losing capacity too quickly.
Newton MP2K vs. Samsung Q1 UMPC has a 10 round battle between the devices, and the good old Newton wins. :) ... Sure, it might not really be fair to kick the UMPC's nether regions with the old man's battery life, but hey: It certainly _does_ count. While I personally wouldn't really consider switching from my Nokia Communicator 9500 back to a Newton device, I have to admit that if I try to imagine where Newton could be today, had its development never been halted, I can only laugh at what PDAs/smartphones we have today. It certainly died an untimely death in 1997. Maybe one of the things Steve Jobs _should_ have reconsidered at some point...
Something's wrong with whomever's in charge... :)
Okay, this is not entirely about Apple, Macs etc. - this is just my personal gripe. One I'd like to share - and one I hope you share as well.
So... There's tons of television, right? Mankind has, in the past couple of decades, produced a lot of "video with sound". You could probably say, there's an "infinite amount of television". At least it's such a mindboggingly huge amount of video-minutes that you'll probably never have the time (or the language-skills) to watch and grasp it all. Most of it is bad television. But 10% of infinity is still infinite, or more specifically: There's still incredibly much good television, probably still too much for you to view.
Now, if you go get "democracy", a free client which allows you to get videos via some kind of funky RSS and BitTorrent magic, you'll see that it'd easily be possible to give the good (and bad) television a very nice, super user-friendly front-end with an integrated - and good - video playing software. Of course with this free solution, you only get to see a very small subset of "infinite television", mostly the stuff you don't really want to see. There's also the - probably illegal - sharing of regular TV, and somehow you might even get this (probably illegally) to work with "democracy". However: It already gets difficult here again.
So let's go back to the title. "Something's wrong with whomever's in charge." I don't want my MTV. I want my MTV, I want the newest Stargate season when it premieres in the US or the UK, I want to watch my favourite news show when *I* am ready and of course I want all of this for free or for a reasonable amount of monthly fee regardless of how much I watch. I want to watch this on my MacBook, on my video beamer (from my MacBook) and on a video iPod. Call me a whiner, but hey! The technology is there. The content is there. But it seems that capitalism can't sort this one out for me.
Yes, this is a rant. And I might reconsider it and remove it tomorrow. But right now, it feels right to put it up. Feel free to comment. :)
Finally: A real look at OS X security
So far, we've always heard two loud voices: Those who thought that Mac OS X is "going down now as well", and those who always claimed "no threat to OS X yet". Of course both versions are wrong. Here's a good report, comparing the security issues OS X had in the first half of 2006 with those of the first half of 2005.
Apple releases BT Mighty Mouse
Apple finally has released the Mighty Mouse. And made the old Mighty Mouse the standard mouse in that it doesn't sell the old Mighty Mouse separately anymore (as soon as stock of packaged ones in stores are gone).
Official: Microsoft's iPod/iTunes competition
For years now, Microsoft has largely left Apple, the iPod and iTunes alone. Sure, it tried to sell "free market" and call Apple a "closed market" and offered Apple's competitors online stores, but it hasn't directly competed with Apple. People often said: "This will be the iPod or iTunes killer!" - but Apple prevailed. But now that Microsoft has officially announced they'll release "Zune", a competitor to both iPod and iTunes, things might look a little different. If all goes well for Apple, it won't matter much. Apple is prepared to offer the 6G iPod around the same time (late 2006/early 2007), which will be "the" iPod video, which will have the full front as both screen and input device - as well as full movies through iTMS (which'll mean iTunes Media Store by then). Sources say that Apple won't do rentals, though, as has been widely rumoured. Instead, Apple is continuosly persuading the biggies to offer good pricing for full movies, so iTMS can sell them with similar conditions as songs, i.e. you can keep the movies, copy them to all your iPods (although I guess you won't own many that can play video), burn them to (lower quality) DVDs and share them among some of your Macs.
The important thing here would be to "simply" tell the market that the iPod is the market leader because of features, content and price. And Microsoft can try and claim to be as "open" as they want: It won't matter much if the music (and obviously the movies) actually plays on Apple's side.
Good numbers, bad reasons?
Apple has announced good numbers for the past financial quarter. That's a good thing. But I stumped at something Steve Jobs said about the good numbers, and I have an explanation for him that he might not particularly like. He said: "We're thrilled with the growth of our Mac business, and especially that over 75 percent of the Macs sold during the quarter used Intel processors. This is the smoothest and most successful transition that any of us have ever experienced." - Well, why is it that this transition went so smoothly? That's easily answered, Mr. Jobs: It means that the products which were replaced with intel-processor equipped ones, sucked. Apple themselves have pointed it out... If the MacBook Pro really is four to five times as fast as the last PowerBook G4, this doesn't only mean that the MacBook Pro is one heck of a fast computer. It means that when Apple told us that the PowerBooks were good computers, they actually sold us relatively slow ones instead. Maybe this transition should simply have happened sooner. Even the previous generation notebook processors made by intel - you know, those "Centrino" Pentium M notebooks - were simply better than what Motorola was feeding Apple.
But I don't want to dwell on it. At least Apple has made the big step. And my motto shall be: Better late than never. I just hope that Apple doesn't defend intel as long as they've defended the PowerPC, should intel ever slide. If AMD should come back with a vengeance in 2007/2008 - right now it doesn't look like it, intel looks good with the Core 2 Duo families coming up -, I hope Apple has the guts to say that they adopt the best processor family for any given product, wherever that comes from. Certainly a good and healthy relationship with one vendor can be more important in some cases, but I for one don't buy "intel" or "AMD" or "IBM", I buy a Mac.
Heat. Apple?
It's rarely a day that passes without "news" about how hot the MacBooks (Pro included) get. When Apple releaed the MBP in January, we heard of quick revisions, of firmware updates fixing stuff etc. - however we have yet to see a firmware update for the MacBook.
What truly gets me... The intel core duo processor in my MacBook can scale between 1.0 and 1.83 GHz. Yet I've only very rarely seen CoreDuoTemp showing the 1.0 GHz number. Smirkingly, some might say that CoreDuoTemp probably actively hinders the processor to go below 1.33 GHz, but I doubt that. Yet: Even when I'm only using my MacBook in a café to write a few articles in TextEdit, quite often I find the cores running at 1.67 or 1.83 GHz. They _do_ go down to 1.5 and sometimes 1.33 GHz, but I only see 1 GHz when the screen goes dark and I wake it up again. Then, for a fraction of a second, it sometimes shows that number.
What I really, really want is an Energy Saver setting that lets me set that machine to the lowest possible setting. I mean: I want to restrict it to using _one_ core running at _one_ Gigahertz. It's surely enough for TextEdit, right? (At least as far as I remember, I _did_ write stories even in Mac OS X Public Beta on my 300 MHz blueberry iBook, so...) I'd actually *bet* that my MacBook could let me write more than 6 or even 7 hours if I could restrict it that way. Is there any *real* reason Apple doesn't allow such a setting? Anyone got such a reason?
Merom MacBooks sooner?
Some Chinese site has info about intel releasing Merom on July 23rd (link goes to TheRegister). If the information comes true, the MacBook Pro could soon use the T7200, T7400 and T7600 parts (2, 2.16 and 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo) and the MacBook could move to the T5500 and T5600 (1.6 and 1.8 GHz Core 2 Duo). The highend parts use 4 MB of L2 cache, the lower-end parts 2 MB. They still would increase the performance while keeping the same energy levels, whereas the highend parts would certainly increase performance even more. Theoretically, *all* these processors could be bought separately and used as a processor upgrade for the intel Mac mini. But if you dream about putting a 2.33 GHz T7600 into your 1.6 GHz Core Solo Mac mini, keep in mind that in badges of 1'000 pieces, the processor costs over 600 USD already. I'd say the 2 GHz part, costing roughly 45% of that, might become a better deal.
But back to the MBs: With both the MacBook Pro and the MacBook models having earned the "too hot to handle" badges by early adopters, some people might want Apple to use lower voltage parts in their notebooks even *if* it'd mean waiting a little longer and being a little slower. I certainly wish Apple would take a closer look at intel's ULV parts for some sort of subnotebook. But Apple's not been known in the past years to be fans of the subs. (Or simply considered the 12" PB already a subnotebook.)
Previously, our sources claimed that the MacBook Pro would be updated to use the Merom processor line this Autumn, probably at AppleExpo Paris - together with the iMac, which would also use the Merom processor.
Leopard's coming. Was Tiger good?
Yes, this will be a rant. A small one. Someone asked me what I expect from Leopard. Actually, quite a few people did. And before I answered, I thought to myself: "It's important to look at what Tiger gave us, really, first."
And the short answer is: Dashboard and Spotlight. If you've read these pages at the time Tiger was new, you have seen that I don't really like Spotlight. Well: I do like it in, but I don't like it as the "Finder"'s finding tool. It's just not good. From not finding "sideration" in "consideration" to opening a very bad choice as the default when you hit Cmd-F in Finder to not giving users the choice to search by file-name by default (or rather: not at all, really) - it certainly wasn't all it wanted to be. And Dashboard: Yeah, it's nice. I never use it. Well, sure, I do. I have my Calculator there. But 50% of the time I actually open and only afterwards remember that I would have had a Dashboard widget for that. So... Actually, Tiger was bad. It needs more RAM than Panther, generally runs slower and its main features take away some of my productivity. Don't get me wrong: There are a lot of little things I prefer in Tiger which wouldn't let me go back to Panther, anyway. But overall, I think it was the first big OS X update which didn't deliver. If you look at the earlier updates, it was like this: Puma (10.1) was faster and had better/more features than Cheetah (10.0). Jaguar (10.2) was faster ad had better/more features than Jaguar. Panther (10.3) was faster and had better/more features than Jaguar, although giving the Finder "Brushed Metal" was a bad idea in my opinion. And then Tiger... It wasn't faster. And its main features simply weren't that good.
I'm aware that under the hood, many important things were done and that Spotlight was an important first step towards a mature operating system's search technology.
So Leopard's coming. What do I want to see? I want to see a fixed Finder. Actually, I want to see a really, really good Finder. Tabs are in? That's okay. But please also fix the many shortcomings already there. More importantly: Fix Spotlight. Give users a choice, too. I want to be able to fire up Spotlight, enter "sideration" without the quotes and get a list of files that contain "sideration" in their file name. And no I _don't_ want to see Photoshop files with text layers that have the word consideration in them. Because _my_ default, if I had a choice, would be that Spotlight only searches in files' names. Of course a _little_ more flexibility would grant my wish. And it's still my main beef with Tiger.
Oh and yeah: If you include over 400 funny widgets with Leopard, please do *not* bloody count them among the "500 new features" in Leopard, m'kay? I rather want to hear it's got 10 new features, and that those 10 are really, really useful features. You may even count "stability and performance improvements" as 2 among those 10, Steve. ;)
Antivirus software makers: "Switch to Mac!"
This linked article is in German, but shortly said: Both Symantec and Sophos, makers of antivirus software, in reports basically tell users to switch to Macs in order to be safer. Although 2006 saw more threats to the Mac platform, none of the worms/exploits actually made it into the wild thriving. We're still virus-free on the Mac platform.
The article asks why antivirus software makers tell users to walk to a safe place, which would basically eliminate the need for antivirus software on first sight, but the reason could very well be that Microsoft is more and more entering this market themselves, and if so, there's only linux and Mac OS X to go right now, if you need customers in the desktop client market. Either way: Good news for Apple and Mac users, I'd say.
You can get the PDF report by Sophos here. It says about "Macintosh" in a block called "what lies ahead": "Although the first malware for Mac OS X was seen in February 2006, it has not spread in the wild and not heralded an avalanche of new malicious code for Apple’s operating system. Hackers remain happy to primarily target Microsoft Windows users and not spread their wings to other platforms. It seems likely that Macintosh will continue to be a safer place for computer users to be for some time to come." Lucky me.
iMac replaces eMac.
Apple has replaced the venerable eMac with an iMac. The new iMac model (educational market only) costs 899 USD/938 EUR and uses integrated GMA950 graphics, has no remote control, only a combo drive and an 80 GB harddrive. I guess such a model could make a good deal for home users as well, but then that's what the Mac mini is aimed at.
CodeWeavers "news"
The web is crazy over CodeWeavers' nodding about them developing a Mac version, which we've talked about over a year ago, btw., but it's understandable, it'll certainly be even better than Parallels Desktop, at least for those who only want one or two applications that are known to run via WINE/CrossOver.
Talk is, we'll see a beta release in late July, early August.
apple stories with common sense™

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