Welcome to the April issue of ATPM. Before we introduce the columns and reviews for this month, let’s focus upon an important milestone for Apple:
Mac OS X Ships!
Apple’s future has been uncertain at various points over the past few years. With talk of concepts such as NeXT, OpenStep, Objective C, Copland, Rhapsody, Darwin, Cocoa, and Carbon many users were unclear as to where Apple was going, and for what reasons. The nay-sayers and their kin published countless tidings of doom, and Apple’s stock mimicked a Six Flags ride.
But Apple’s goals became increasingly apparent and focused under Steve Jobs, and finally it seemed as if the press was on Apple’s side. Anticipation was appeased somewhat when the earliest demonstrations of OS X were presented. Thereafter the Mac community’s confusion was displaced by eagerness and anticipation. The one question on every Mac user’s lips was “When do I get my copy of OS X?”
On March 24, Mac OS X officially shipped. The greatly anticipated release of Apple’s new operating system was greeted with much enthusiasm. Off-the-bat sales were high, and the initial release appears to be quite promising, significantly improving upon the already impressive Public Beta.
Keep your eyes peeled for future ATPM coverage of Mac OS X.
Last month’s reader poll asked what type of Internet connection you use. Respondents were evenly split between modems and cable modems(31% and 32%), with DSL a close third (26%). The remainder were evenly split between ISDN and T1 (or better).
This month we want to know which retro color motif you would choose for the next iMac line.
Tom Iovino tells us about Mac OS X and what it means to the Macintosh community, and the future and directionality of computing in general.
“Think about what a sea change this has been from earlier thinking about the Mac OS. As the Internet has flattened barriers between computers and their users, the goal has changed from offering only Mac-specific technology to providing information to each and every computer user, regardless of platform.”
David Ozab has a shocking rumor to share with us, regarding a new iMac concept that will captivate us all!
“According to a well-placed anonymous source at the MIT Media Lab (actually a personal friend, but I can’t divulge names), Apple has recently embarked on a project that will forever change the way we look at computers.”
This month, Paul Fatula shares some useful sites regarding OS X applications, zip codes, online gaming, maps of the world, and virus prevention.
ATPM’s new contributing editor, Dierk Seeburg (everybody say “Hi Dierk!”) provides a most thorough report on the Microcomputers in Education Conference and shares some great photos with us too!
This conference is the biggest teaching technology conference in the Southwestern United States. It takes place three and a half months before the biggest teaching technology conference in the United States, the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC). Apple Computer is the Premiere Sponsor of the MEC and one of the sponsors of the NECC.
Matthew Glidden discusses the ins and outs of the Macintosh Cube and its networking capabilities—including Ethernet, Airport, and software routing.
Ah, the Mac Cube. It’s small, it’s easy to understand, and it’s getting really, really inexpensive. Buy the basic model, drop $99 on 256 MB of RAM, and you’ve got a heck of machine for $1400. From the network perspective, life is even easier (is that possible?) with the Cube’s built-in Ethernet and optional wireless networking.
Mike Shields reviews a major player in the screen writing software arena.
“Recently in these pages, I reviewed similar software. The trap when getting a piece of software like this is to compare it to others, as the box would suggest. It has always amazed me how the product I’m thinking of purchasing seems to beat the one that I currently have, and MMS makes no exception here on its impressively printed box art. The problem I have with that is that some of the claims aren’t true, or could at least be more up-to-date. So, instead of attempting to compare this to a product I reviewed a little over a year ago, I’ll simply talk about it itself and provide a conclusion at the end.”
Paul Fatula reviews a neat gadget from Sony that generates real photographic prints!
“Unlike a lot of ‘photo printers’ on the market, this one actually prints photos, of the same quality you’d get if you took a roll of film to a developer. That’s because the printer isn’t an inkjet (whose tiny dots you can see on the page if you look close enough), but a dye sublimation printer, which prints continuous tones. The detail is positively stunning. After the image itself gets printed, a layer of what Sony calls ‘Super Coat 2' is added to protect your images. This should give them the same lifespan as a regular photograph, avoiding the problems inkjet prints have with fading after only a few years.”
David Zatz checks out the latest version of a leading statistics tool for the Macintosh.
“SPSS is designed for people who know something about statistics, with brief instructions that assume you understand the tests, or at least that you know statistical lingo. The menus are built differently depending on the options you have installed, with tests grouped together. It takes some experience to figure out exactly which tests go with which label, though the function names are more clear than in, say, MINITAB. (For example, Factor Analysis is listed by name under a ‘Data Reduction’ submenu). The data, output, and syntax views also all have different sets of menus (as they do in Windows), so, for example, you have to be in the data window before you can use a menu to split the file.”
Eric Blair likes this add-on for Bare Bones Software’s Mailsmith.
“Although Bare Bones Mailsmith is a fully-featured and highly customizable e-mail client, it does lack one feature that can be found in competing products like Outlook Express and Eudora: a palette or button bar that users can modify to suit their needs. Yes, you can write or download various AppleScript files for Mailsmith that can reside in the Scripts menu, but this solution is less than ideal for many people. I tend to suffer from the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ syndrome when I add items to the Scripts menu. Sweet P fills this void with a small application that essentially attaches itself to Mailsmith and provides a floating palette.”
Gregory Tetrault has mixed feelings about Virtual PC 4.0.
“With version 4.0 Connectix has completely rewritten VPC, in effect making this new version twice as fast as its predecessors at CPU-related tasks. Users with RAM to spare can run multiple different VPC emulations simultaneously, and each ‘virtual machine’ can have unique RAM and hard drive allocations. VPC 4 also allows expandable drive images that act like normal PC or Linux drives, but take up only the amount of Macintosh drive space used by the actual files. VPC 4 has improved support for drag and drop file exchange and greatly increases its AppleScript support…. [But] because VPC 4 is a complete rewrite, it behaves more like a 1.0 version of a product. There are many bugs and problems that do not affect prior versions.”
Desktop Pictures: Icicle Formation and Winter in South Hampton
Winter is almost over, but as a last reminder of the colder times of the year, Daniel Chvatik took the following pictures of an icicle formation on a tree after a snow storm in Boston, MA. In our second set of pictures this month, Jens Grabenstein shares his winter visions with us. The pictures were taken at a beach in South Hampton, Long Island.