Macintosh Highlights From Around the Web (Sept.-Oct. 2003)

Now that Panther has been out for four days...

Perhaps you'd like to weigh in on what you think Apple should include in Mac OS X 10.4. Want a little more Expose, a little less dock? Perhaps a few new icons or some kind of alternative to the metallic-looking Finder? OSnews has its wish list online now. Feel free to weigh in with your own ideas.

Tick, tick, tick

Unless you've been on another planet, er, platform, you most likely know that the update for Mac OS X -- version 10.3 -- will officially be out tomorrow night at 8. And if you haven't yet decided whether to take the plunge, plop down your $129 and upgrade, maybe today's story in The New York Times will help. David Pogue offers a nice overview of what 10.3, also known as Panther, has to offer. He sums it all up like this: "In Panther, Apple has taken an already sparkling, super-stable operating system and made it faster, better equipped and more secure."

Requiem for a chip

And in one fell swoop, it was gone. The G3, which Apple has been putting into its computer for, oh, about six years now, has moved onto the great processor beyond, replaced in the company's iBook laptops today with the faster G4 (see story). Already, Mac fans are weighing in with memories of their first G3-powered computers over at Ars Technica. R.I.P. G3.

Next up on our hit parade...the Powerbook 15

Although they're still not easy to find, Computerworld just got its hands on one of the new 15-inch Powerbooks now hitting store shelves and Mac users' laps. In fact, we got our hands on two, as the first one Apple sent must have been tossed out of the airplane on its way across country. (The display malfunctioned when we first fired up Powerbook No. 1.) We sent that one back to Apple and have had much better luck with No. 2. So how does the middle-child Powerbook compare to its siblings? Read the review.

Just can't get enough G5 benchmarks?

In case you're still drooling over the new Power Mac Dual 2-Ghz G5s, and you've already seen our three-part review of Apple's new desktop machine, you might want to head over to Macs Only. In a review comparing the dual G5 to a Dual 1.42-Ghz G4, Macs Only gives the machine a through once over. Their conclusion: While it didn't win every speed test, it's enough of a winner to make it worth buying.

No Coke..., Pepsi!

Not only did Apple finally take the wrapping off its iTunes for Windows service, but it unveiled a software update for its popular iPod music player today and announced a major marketing deal with Pepsi-Cola North America. The promotion begins Feb. 1 and continues through March 31 and will allow lucky Pepsi fans to download songs from Apple's iTunes Music Store using special codes found in random bottles of Pepsi products.

So does this make Pepsi the official drink for Mac fans everywhere?

SysAdmins, pay attention

Okay, so Panther is shipping on Oct. 24 (see story), and as an IT guru with a few Macs to take care of at work, you're wondering: Should I move my desktops to Mac OS X 10.3? Before you decide yea or nay, you might want to skim though this Web page on Apple's Web site. It spells out how Panther might make your job a bit easier.

By the end of the year, indeed...

Talk about beating a deadline! Apple announced this morning that Mac OS X 10.3 (a.k.a. Panther) will be available on Oct. 24, as will the new server version of the OS update. Given that Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been saying the software would be available by the end of the year, some in the Mac community assumed a Dec. 31 release. The desktop version sells for $129; the server version goes for $499 for the 10-client edition and $999 for the unlimited-client edition (see story).

Want an iMac? Go to Tokyo

The University of Tokyo, that is. According to a story in the online English version of the Asahi Shimbun, the university last week bought 1,150 iMacs for use by students, professors and instructors beginning in March. Why so many Macs? According to the story, university officials said "the decision to go with Apple computers over Windows, Microsoft's seemingly omnipresent platform, boiled down to a matter of maintenance. Mac OS X, they concluded, is easier for staff to maintain because it is based on Unix, a public-domain operating system that they are familiar with."

It's the antenna, stupid

You may have noticed that in Part 1 of our review of the new Dual 2-Ghz Power Mac G5 (see story), I whined about the lack of a strong Airport wireless signal. About a dozen or so readers promptly (and pointedly) wrote in suggesting I make sure the external Airport antenna was hooked up on the back of the tower. Sure enough, I checked later and found that I'd missed that whole external antenna thing. After plugging it in, my signal strength jumped and my connection problems stopped. So if you're getting one of the new aluminum-clad G5s, read the manual. And if you're using wireless, plug in the antenna before complaining that you can't get a signal.

You couldn't make Paris...

But that doesn't mean you can't still catch Steve Jobs' keynote appearance at last week's Paris Expo. Apple has posted a Quicktime video of the Stevenote, during which Jobs unveiled new Powerbooks and the company's new wireless mouse and keyboard. So now you can see what you missed. It's available online.

Coming soon, our first take on the Dual 2-Ghz G5

With the first of Apple's top-of-the-line Power Mac G5s now making their way into buyers' hands, this seems to be a good time to take a look at the latest and greatest (and fastest) desktop model. And that's just what we'll be doing during the next month with a Dual 2-Ghz G5 loaned to Computerworld by Apple. FYI, it's a totally tricked-out model, with 2GB of RAM and the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro video card. Just giving you an early heads up, so you can check back next week for more details.

Now that's availability

You may recall the problems people had getting the 12-inch and 17-inch Powerbooks after they were announced last January. The big boy didn't start trickling into buyers hands until late March. Not so with the latest updated 'books unveiled this week by Apple. The brand new 15-inch Powerbook was available immediately in Apple Stores and even at some online retailers. So were the updated 12- and 17-inch models. Okay, okay, so we did have to wait nine months into this, "the year of the laptop," to get them. But from comments posted in online discussion boards, newbie owners don't seem to mind.

Steve Jobs says 'oui' to new Powerbooks

So the rumor sites, it would seem, were right. Apple did indeed unveil a new 15-inch Powerbook today at its Paris Expo (see story). The aluminum-skinned mid-range 'book now matches its smaller and larger breathern in terms of looks, features and speed. Oh, and as Steve would say, just one more thing: Not only did Apple update the specs of the other Powerbooks, but it trimmed the price of its top-line model to $2,999. Year of the laptop indeed.

Apple boosts iMacs, iPods

It may be a little late as a back-to-school purchase, but if you've been holding off on that iMac purchase, your wait has been rewarded. Apple today unveiled a faster generation of the popular iMac desktop computers. The new iMac boasts speeds of up to 1.25 GHz, with the low-end 1.0 GHz model starting at $1,299. Apple also boosted the top end iPod to 40GB, meaning it will hold 10,000 CD quality songs.

Putting a Penguin in a Powerbook

Yes, it can be done, though it's not for newbies or the faint of heart. If you've always wanted to install Gentoo Linux on your Powerbook, Leonardo Giordani over at Linux Journal has written a step-by-step guide to doing just that (in this case on a Tibook 800). While it can be done, as Giordani himself puts it: "We are walking on the edge right now." Have fun.

Now that's a cluster

Virginia Tech made official yesterday what had been rumored all weekend: It's building supercomputer cluster consisting of 1,100 of Apple's new dual processor Power Mac G5s. The project is expected to cost about $5 million, according to this story in the Roanoke Times, and the school hopes to have it completed by Oct. 1. Why so fast? That's the deadline for consideration in a popular ranking of the world's top supercomputers, and the school figures this cluster would be among the top 10 fastest worldwide.

U.S. government approved

Mac OS X and Linux have been added to a government list of approved computing platforms by the Office of Management and Budget, according to a story in Government Computer News. No word yet on whether the Department of Homeland Security got the memo, though.

So many Web browsers little time. Just don't have enough time to evaluate and pick a best-of-breed Web browser for Mac OS X? You don't have to, now that Eric Bangeman at Ars Technica has done the job for you. Take a look at his Macintosh Browser Smackdown for a full rundown of the good (and bad) points of nine different browsers. Hint: If you're still using IE 5, you might want to give Apple's Safari a try.

Steve says 'oui' to Paris Expo

Looks like it's official: Apple CEO Steve Jobs will be speaking at next month's Paris Expo, according to a story by MacCentral. The expo runs from Sept. 16-20 in Porte de Versailles, and Jobs will deliver the opening keynote on Sept. 16. No word in advance of course, about what he'll be saying. But the simple word that Jobs will speak has fueled speculation about hardware announcements or perhaps more details on the upcoming release of Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther).

PCs are for boys, Macs are for girls?

At least, that's how Red Symons, a columnist for The Age sees it in his latest column, A motherboard? Not in this man's universe. His view is that men like to putter, fix things up, make them work "better." As he sees it, "...the fact that the Gatesian PC system is cobbled together and prone to disaster is exactly what makes it so attractive. The Mac is a computer that seemingly needs no maintenance. It doesn't break down and this is its failing...." Whether you agree or not, it's at least a different take on the old Mac/PC debate.

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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