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Old 10-21-2008, 02:27 PM   #1
ktinkel
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Default Mac news

Apple news

According to Macintouch, Apple posted pretty good results, given the state of many businesses today, with increases in units sold and profits over the same quarter a year ago. Not huge ones, and the stock market seemed not too pleased: Apple was down 7% today.

Macintouch also has a review of the new solid-body MacBook and other new products, along with user comments.

FireWire R.I.P.?

Apple’s sexy new solid aluminum laptop lacks support for FireWire, and the web is aghast. (So far as I know, the iMac still has FireWire built in, and so does the Mac Pro tower system; if not, it is easy enough to add a card to the Pro.) Not everyone uses FireWire (or uses it regularly, anyway) — many hard drives do better with USB2, especially if they are meant to be bootable. Maybe this doesn’t matter?

The issue seems more important to users of high-end photo and video equipment. Do the rest of us need FW? (I don’t use mine.)

Some think Apple is trying to differentiate product lines, reserving FW for “pro” equipment. Others figure FW is a bust, and Apple plans to eliminate it.

Have Windows users taken to FireWire?

Ugh: glossy display screens

New Mac systems announced last week have glossy screens. I was so put off by the glare when I was shopping last year that I bought one of the previous machines so I could avoid it.

I do not think anyone could evaluate color or image detail on that screen — not that serious users believe in the screen in any event, but matte is easier to use than gloss when it comes to considering color and image, at least IMHO. At least you do not see stuff behind you on the screen; that glossy thing is like a mirror.

There are ways to reduce the gloss: anti-glare multi-coating; or a plastic anti-glare sheet (Photodon is one supplier of those). Seems silly though — I thought making the display glossy requires another step in production; why not leave it off, offer it as an option (at extra cost, even), and please more users?

No more Mac Mini?

When I was shopping last year, I was entranced by the tiny Mac Mini, but learning that it offered only slow, low-end video chilled my ardor. Today rumor site Gizmodo reports that it may be on the way out altogether. This is only a rumor, but it is based on reports from “two major retailers in Europe [who] have confirmed to [the Gizmodo reporter] that they can’t order any more of the little computers.”

Granted, it has never sold all that well, especially considering that it was a real Mac that cost only $500 or $600. And rumors of its death have been alive on the web for a year or more. But it was a neat idea, and it is sad to think it may be gone.

   
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Old 10-21-2008, 02:43 PM   #2
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kt: Do the rest of us need FW? (I don’t use mine.)
I used to prefer it but that was because I didn't have USB2 and then when I got a USB2 card on my old (pc) system and of course have it on my new (pc) system, I don't miss it that much...

I found that it's harder to find firewired devices or even firwire/usb devices as most everything is now USB. I was very grateful that my Epson 4000 printer and my Epson 2450 scanner had both firewire and usb ports when I inadvertantly fried the firewire ports on both devices because the USB ports still worked--not that big a deal for the scanner but it would have cost about $800 to fix the 4000 because the entire motherboard would need to be replaced.

After this experience, I'd prefer to buy a device with both ports but it's hard to find that now...


>> I do not think anyone could evaluate color or image detail on that screen

You can't...no one who is seriously into imaging/color critical work would use a glossy screen...

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Old 10-21-2008, 03:03 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ktinkel View Post
Apple posted pretty good results, given the state of many businesses today, with increases in units sold and profits over the same quarter a year ago. Not huge ones
I would have thought a 21% rise in Mac shipments is close to huge in these times. Heck, they even sold more iPhones than RIM sold Blackberries.

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and the stock market seemed not too pleased: Apple was down 7% today.
That fall was *before* the results were released. I gather after-hours trading has seen it rise back.

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Originally Posted by ktinkel View Post
Some think Apple is trying to differentiate product lines, reserving FW for “pro” equipment. Others figure FW is a bust, and Apple plans to eliminate it.
It probably reflects the move to nVidia chipsets; adding FW to them is more expensive, whereas Intel supports it directly.

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I thought making the display glossy requires another step in production
Not with these models, which have a glass front.

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Old 10-21-2008, 04:01 PM   #4
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All of my external hard drives (4 of them) on my Intel Mac mini are Firewire. Of course I bought all but 1 of them back when I was still using my Cube which only had USB 1.1. I will be very upset if I ever want to upgrade to a new Mac and can not bring them along.

I also will be sad if the mini goes away. As you can tell by my history of Cube to mini, I like silent machines (no fans).

   
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Old 10-21-2008, 07:12 PM   #5
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All of my external hard drives (4 of them) on my Intel Mac mini are Firewire. Of course I bought all but 1 of them back when I was still using my Cube which only had USB 1.1. I will be very upset if I ever want to upgrade to a new Mac and can not bring them along.

I also will be sad if the mini goes away. As you can tell by my history of Cube to mini, I like silent machines (no fans).
There is a chance they have some replacement in mind. Just seems less certain than once upon a time.

   
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Old 10-26-2008, 09:43 PM   #6
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many hard drives do better with USB2, especially if they are meant to be bootable

Really? A couple of years ago when I was trying to keep a UMAX Supermac clone limping along with OS X, USV drives were NOT bootable, but Firewire externals were, kinda/sorta.

Now that I have a MacBook Pro, I have the LaCie external drive on the Firewire connection (it can go on either Firewire 800 or USB2), partly because I read that Firewire is technically faster, partly because it saves me from buying another USB hub.

Actually, the first computer I had with Firewire was a Sony Windows box. It didn't call it Firewire, but I believe it was the same protocol. At one time, I think Firewire was the preferred connection for digital video cameras, but perhaps that has changed.

Losing the Mac Mini would be sad, indeed, especially if Apple does not replace it with something comparably priced. I have not used one, but, as an illustration of its capabilities, I know that David Brooks, who writes on digital photography for Shutterbug Magazine, reports being very happy with his.

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Old 10-27-2008, 08:30 AM   #7
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Losing the Mac Mini would be sad, indeed, especially if Apple does not replace it with something comparably priced. I have not used one, but, as an illustration of its capabilities, I know that David Brooks, who writes on digital photography for Shutterbug Magazine, reports being very happy with his.
It is elegant, modest, useful, and flexible. Sure would be sad to drop it. Maybe they have another device in mind.

   
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Old 10-27-2008, 08:48 PM   #8
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many hard drives do better with USB2, especially if they are meant to be bootable
Yes, that comment raised my eyebrows, too. Current Macs (that have FW) will boot readily from FW external drives. I have two external HDs: one has FW and USB2, the other has FW400, FW800, USB2 and eSATA; I use FW400 on both, and use the 4-interface drive as a bootable backup (with SuperDuper!).

USB2 is sure no guarantee of bootability. My only Windows (XP) PC is a Sony Vaio laptop that has USB2 and FW (Sony's flavour--uses a mini connector). It won't boot from either. In fact, a couple years ago, when I was trying to come up with a strategy for a bootable backup--in case the laptop's internal HD went kaput when I was in a remote location--I found a Microsoft technical note that said flat out that Windows wouldn't boot (or at least they didn't recommend trying) from external USB hard drives. I don't know if this has changed with Vista--I would certainly hope so, because the lack of an external boot option seems to me a very serious shortcoming.

   
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Old 10-30-2008, 05:50 AM   #9
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Yes, that comment raised my eyebrows, too. Current Macs (that have FW) will boot readily from FW external drives. I have two external HDs: one has FW and USB2, the other has FW400, FW800, USB2 and eSATA; I use FW400 on both, and use the 4-interface drive as a bootable backup (with SuperDuper!).

USB2 is sure no guarantee of bootability. My only Windows (XP) PC is a Sony Vaio laptop that has USB2 and FW (Sony's flavour--uses a mini connector). It won't boot from either. In fact, a couple years ago, when I was trying to come up with a strategy for a bootable backup--in case the laptop's internal HD went kaput when I was in a remote location--I found a Microsoft technical note that said flat out that Windows wouldn't boot (or at least they didn't recommend trying) from external USB hard drives. I don't know if this has changed with Vista--I would certainly hope so, because the lack of an external boot option seems to me a very serious shortcoming.
Whether a machine can boot from a USB drive is a matter of the BIOS, not the OS. My poor old Grace PC's BIOS does not know there would be things like external HDs on USB, and cannot boot from it. My MacBook, less than 1 year old and fitted with both USB2 (2) and Firewire (1) is perfectly able to boot from my external USB2 drive, though.

   
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:49 PM   #10
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Whether a machine can boot from a USB drive is a matter of the BIOS, not the OS.
It actually has to be supported by both.

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