“I Would Buy a Mac if I Didn’t Work for Microsoft” Claims Microsoft Development Manager

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Date: Tuesday, December 12th, 2006, 08:57
Category: News

According to an article on Computerworld.com, Microsoft veteran software development chief James Allchin commented in a January 2004 e-mail to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and company co-founder Bill Gates that the software firm had “lost sight” of customer needs and claimed that he would buy a Mac if he wasn’t working for Microsoft.
“In my view, we lost our way,” claimed James Allchin co-president of Microsoft’s platform and services division, wrote in an e-mail dated Jan. 7, 2004.
The e-mail was presented along with evidence last week in the Iowa antitrust trial, Comes v. Microsoft Corp where Microsoft is defending itself against allegations that the firm used its monopoly position to overcharge Iowa residents for its software. The case is one of the two holdover cases brought against Microsoft by the U.S. government and multiple states from the late 1990’s asserting that Microsoft abused its position in the market.
“I think our teams lost sight of what bug-free means, what resilience means, what full scenarios mean, what security means, what performance means, how important current applications are, and really understanding what the most important problems our customers face are. I see lots of random features and some great vision, but that does not translate into great products,” said Allchin in one of the cited e-mails.
Allchin, a veteran Windows development manager since the mid-1990’s, is still with the company but plans to retire at the end of this year after the upcoming Windows Vista operating system ships out the door. Elements of the legal transcripts and e-mails were obtained and posted by Groklaw.net, an open-source legal web site.
Like much of the evidence brought against Microsoft in past antitrust litigation, transcripts from the e-mail messages of Allchin and other executives have helped construct the case.
No immediate reply to Allchin’s comments were available from Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, Inc., Microsoft’s public relations firm.


Aperture 1.5.2 Update Released

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Date: Tuesday, December 12th, 2006, 08:11
Category: Software

aperture-300.jpgMy favorite image management application, Aperture 1.5, has been updated to version 1.5.2. The 129MB update is substantial addressing a number of issues. If you have more than 5000 images in your iPhoto library or you use a digital SLR camera, you really should consider switching to Aperture in the new year. The download is available in Software Update or as a direct download.
Aperture 1.5.2 addresses issues related to overall reliability and performance in a number of areas, including:
– Contact sheet printing
– Smart Albums
– Watermarks
– Lift and stamp
– Image export
– Versions created using an external editor
This update is recommended for all Aperture users.
Note: If you haven’t already done so, it is strongly recommended that you also download the Digital Camera RAW Support Update 1.0.1, which is available on the Apple Downloads support page at http://www.apple.com/support/downloads.
The Digital Camera RAW Support Update provides RAW file format compatibility for the following digital SLR cameras:
– Canon Digital Rebel XTi / 400D / Kiss X Digital
– Nikon D80
– Pentax *ist DS
The Digital Camera RAW Support Update also addresses the following issues:
Handling of large Canon RAW files (.CRW)
DNG compatibility on Intel-based Macintosh computers
Lines sometimes appearing in images exported from Aperture


Device Problems In Search of a Solution

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Date: Tuesday, December 12th, 2006, 03:42
Category: Opinion

The problems PDAs and mobile phones suffer are comparable to the mess of incompatibility and complexity that plagued desktop computing in the 80’s. The problems aren’t all the same, but they similarly act to limit the usability and potential of consumer electronics.
Read More…
Contributed by: Daniel Eran, RDM


CoolBook Update Fixes Controller App Bugs

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Date: Monday, December 11th, 2006, 15:05
Category: Software

CoolBook author Magnus Lundholm has released an e-mail to registered users as well as download links to a new build of his shareware application.
The program, a 688 kilobyte download, allows users to monitor their MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops’ CPU frequency, voltage and temperatures with registered users being allowed to manually set their voltage and frequency. Corrected settings can significantly reduce heat dissipation throughout the laptop as well as overall fan noise and help extend the life of their batteries.
The update repairs a damaged build of the CoolBook Controller application that may result in problems activating the program or if an error occurs when clicking the “deactivate original driver” box doesn’t show a window requiring authorization.
CoolBook is available for a $10.00 shareware registration fee.


Apple: Some Intel-Based Macs May Become Unresponsive After Extended Periods in Target Disk Mode

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Date: Monday, December 11th, 2006, 13:55
Category: News

A recent article on MacFixIt.com points to an Apple Knowledge Base document detailing how certain Intel-based Macs (namely the early 2006 iMacs and the MacBook Pro laptops) can become unresponsive if used as a host for FireWire target disk mode for more than 24 hours. Also worth noting is that the display and hard disk on the MacBook Pro might not go into sleep mode when Target Disk Mode has been activated for long periods of time, so be aware of this when checking if the system has become unresponsive.
Albeit a fix (either from a hardware or firmware update end) hasn’t been released, Apple suggests unmounting the host computer and restarting target disk mode sessions every 24 hours.
Please let us know if you have any comments, suggestions or ideas regarding this issue.


REVIEW: Garmin Edge 305; GPS for your bike

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Date: Monday, December 11th, 2006, 10:00
Category: Review

garmin-edge-305-1.jpgMy top technology gadgets in order of priority are: mobile phone, GPS and iPod. I’ve previously posted in these pages that my automotive GPS is my second most required piece of tech hardware. For people that drive, a GPS navigation system is an indisputably great invention. The Garmin nuvi 660 is my GPS of choice because it combines a small profile with a large screen – and they built-in the traffic receiver. I previously reviewed the Garmin nuvi 360 in August 2006.
Garmin International Inc., makes a GPS for almost every lifestyle, as a mountain biker I jumped at the chance to test the company’s Edge 305 bicycle GPS.
You may be asking yourself what you’d use a bicycle GPS for. Think of it as a bicycle computer on steroids. The Edge 305 measures pedaling cadence, heart rate, speed, distance, time, calories burned, altitude, climb and descent. In fact it has over 300 features…


MacBook/MacBook Pro Tilt Sensors Control Roomba

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Date: Monday, December 11th, 2006, 10:57
Category: Hacks

A cool link over at the mighty digg.com describes a project over at Tod E. Kurt’s HackingRoomba.com wherein a small Perl script can be used in conjunction with a Bluetooth adapter and the built-in tilt sensors found on the MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops.
The script takes a short time to load, then allows the user to control the Roomba’s movements by tilting it forward, backward, left and right to propel the Roomba in corresponding directions.
The script is in an early version but functional. For more information, instructions and a QuickTime demonstration video of the project, go to the project page for full details.


Newton Lessons for Apple’s New Platform

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Date: Monday, December 11th, 2006, 09:00
Category: Opinion

Apple is building a new platform, and applying lessons it learned from the 90s, when tried to launch the Newton as a new platform. Like the original Macintosh from a decade prior, the Newton started as one product, and intended to branch out into a range of systems. Here’s why it failed and the lessons to be learned.
Read More…
Contributed by: Daniel Eran, RDM


The Apple Core: iPhone could be a diversion

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Date: Monday, December 11th, 2006, 09:18
Category: The Apple Core

There have been reports around the Web that Apple’s much-rumored iPhone has been delayed and/or that it’ll be a flop. Then it occurred to me – could iPhone be a diversion?
What if there’s something else that Apple wants to feature at Macworld Expo, like a full-screen video iPod or even a the already mentioned iTV? You barely hear about these two items that much any more in the build up to The Big Dance next month in San Francisco.
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.


Apple Confirms Certain Processes Can Shorten Battery Runtime

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Date: Friday, December 8th, 2006, 16:03
Category: News

An article posted on the always-useful MacFixIt.com shows Apple confirming that certain system processes can shorten battery run times according to a Knowledge Base document posted on Apple’s web site.
The document confirms that “runaway” processes (or those that use much larger amounts of CPU time than seem to be necessary) can dramatically reduce battery life on Apple laptops such as the iBook, PowerBook, MacBook and MacBook Pro.
Per the document: “Battery runtimes can be reduced if an application(s) has runaway or taken over system processes. This can cause the processor to work overtime and consume unnecessary battery power. […]
“If any process is taking more than 70% of the CPU […] verify if the process is needed. If not, quit the process by selecting the process and clicking the Quit button in the upper left corner of the window to regain CPU process control. This can lead to longer battery runtime.”
Practical advice and never be afraid of the Activity Monitor program, for it is your friend, despite residing in the slightly-intimidating Utilities folder.
If you have any comments or opinions on this issue, let us know.