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CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for MAC USERS #31,
10/31/01
Contents Copyright 2001 by Christopher Plummer
===============================================

THIS ISSUE
----------
Reading the last issue 'Rick' writes, "What no bashing?" That's right
Rick, normally, I want to write about Macs, but reality requires
reporting the news about Microsoft. So although I DON'T leave Microsoft
alone this issue, I will keep them PENNED in the 'Know the Difference'
section. :-) As usual we have stuff I can't get to yet, and lots of
catching up, enhanced with fascinating Mac trivia, insightful comments,
and personal commentary of questionable merit. :-)

UPDATES - PrintToPDF
NEWS - First New Jersey Apple Store to open!
UNPREDICTABLE READER FEEDBACK - Take my newsletter, PLEASE.
Occasional Hardware Recommendation - External Hard Drives
Get the Point - Fun stuff with 10.1. SORRY, not this issue!
Tips - Firewire, USB, and Hybrid Drives
Know The Difference - MS Intros XP - No tricky pronunciation!
OCCASIONAL Favorite WEB SITE
Special Bonus Keyboard Commands - Force Feed DVD
Good News Press Releases - Too much Good News to list!!



GEEK SPEAK ALERT: PDF, Solitaire


UPDATES
-------
PrintToPDF 2.3 -
Shareware author James W. Walker frequently updates this great utility,
an inexpensive alternative to Adobe's Acrobat PDFWriter, which allows you
to print PDF files using Mac OS 9.x. Try it for free. If you like it, pay
the $10 shareware fee. (Similar capability is built into Oh Ess TEN.)

<http://www.jwwalker.com/>



NEWS
----
Apple to open first NEW JERSEY Apple Store - Grand Opening November 3rd!!
It's at Tice's Corner. Not exactly in Beautiful Western Central New
Jersey, it's WAY UP NORTH at 441 Chestnut Ridge Road in Woodcliff Lake.

Apple bumps up the Titanium G4 Line with faster processor and graphics
chip set.

Apple bumps up the iBook line.

Apple introduces a low-end iMac for $799 - Thank goodness.

Apple Announces iTunes 2 -
Not available yet, but it will be a free download!

Apple introduces 'Revolutionary' iPOD MP3 Player -
Well, it is neat, but 'revolutionary'? STEVE decided that if BILL could
call XP 'The most important product ever introduced' or some such drivel,
that HE could call the iPod a 'breakthrough product'. It's an MP3 player.
It's an external 5 gig Firewire drive. Maybe it has some hidden features
that will make it more of a 'Newton' replacement down the road?

Find partial Good News press releases and all the URLs at THE END.



UNPREDICTABLE READER FEEDBACK
-----------------------------
'Joan' writes, "I love reading your stuff! <snip> What's
the best way to introduce people to your newsletter? I know a couple of
people who would really enjoy it and get a lot out of it."

Thanks Joan,I couldn't have written a better pitch for new subscribers!
(This is AUTHENTIC, I SWEAR!)

Feel free to FORWARD an issue to friends. The BEST way to introduce
people to U&O is to get them to request a sample issue. Directions are
always at the newsletter 'signature':

Sample Issue - email with "Sample Unpredictable" in the Subject.
Subscribe - email with "Start Unpredictable" in the Subject.
Unsubscribe - email with "Stop Unpredictable" in the Subject.

Email requests go to < chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com>.



Occasional Hardware Recommmendation - EXTERNAL DRIVES
-----------------------------------------------------
Need more disk space? Here are a few recommendations.

If you can, buy Firewire. (Also see 'Tips', below.) A few points to be
aware of: Firewire is 'daisy chainable'. That means from one Firewire
port on your Mac, you can plug in a Firewire peripheral, say a 40 Gig
drive, and then that peripheral should have a spare port so you can plug
in another Firewire peripheral, maybe a CD-RW, and so on. So every
peripheral should have TWO FIREWIRE ports. One to go toward your Mac, the
other to go to the next Firewire peripheral down the line. (I've never
seen one with only ONE port, but it's possible.)

Unlike USB, which uses odd 'A' and 'B' connectors, FIREWIRE connectors
are generally the same on both ends. Which means that if you have a bunch
of FIREWIRE devices, be careful that one end of your cable goes OUT from
one device and IN another (not unlike a string of holiday - formerly
known as Christmas tree - lights.) I think Firewire is smart enough not
to toast your equipment if you end up plugging it all back into itself in
a potential 'feedback loop', but why would you ever do this on purpose?
It's a simple rule. Don't break it.

FIREWIRE is 'powered.' That means that devices (such as the new iPod) can
'draw' their power from the Firewire port. But they can't draw a lot. If
they want TOO MUCH, they have to GET THEIR OWN POWER. (Kind of like the
whole California thing.)

This explains why that little bitty 10 Gig Firewire drive costs $400.
It's super efficient. It draws power from the FIREWIRE port. Only one
cable! Neat. But that's why you're paying a premium for it. The big 40
Gig drive is only $250! It has more storage, and it needs it's own power
supply. Not so neat, but less money.

In the past I recommended the Maxtor external drives. Although they
initially had some problems, these are good fast drives at competitive
prices, and they are easily purchased at just about any consumer
electronics outlet or office store.

When I got around to buying a drive I almost bought a Maxtor, but instead
I chose the EZQuest Cobra because of price (40Gig for $229), speed (7200
rpm), and warranty (3 years). My only complaint is that they're a little
noisy. But that's because they have a big motor to spin the platter at
7200 rpms, and a fan to keep them cool. I've recommended them to several
clients and so far everyone is happy!

Check them out (and other hard drives) at Small Dog Electronics:

<http://www.smalldog.com>



Tips
----
Want to add an external drive? I would always recommend a FAST FIREWIRE
drive. These puppies smoke! And EVERY recent Mac has Firewire right??
Absolutely not! Early iMacs and 'clamshell' iBooks had NO FIREWIRE, just
USB. If you have one of these, your only choice may be the slower USB. In
that case I recommend a 'crossover' drive, which some vendors also call a
'plus' drive, meaning that the drive comes with TWO interfaces, USB plus
FIREWIRE. These hybrids might cost a bit more, but you'll thank me when
you buy that new G4 or iMac, because your pokey USB drive can now be
plugged into the FIREWIRE port of your new Mac, and it'll smoke along
with the rest of your new system!

[BTW Don't even think about using both ports at the same time with two
different computers - you'll fry the drive, and maybe your Macs too!]



Know The Difference
-------------------
Microsoft Introduces Windows XP - No tricky pronunciation!
Bill Gates has assured the world that XP is the easiest version of
Windows yet. "We've outdone Apple this time," Gates announced proudly in
an interview on 'the Howard Stern show', "And to prove it, the OS name is
pronounced, 'EX PEE', not 'TEN PEE'." Stern's assistant, Gary Delabate, a
known Machead, explained to a puzzled Stern that Apple's 'OS X' is
pronounced "OH ESS TEN". Gates finished, "We expect a lot of Macintosh
users would rather buy our product than try to understand Roman numerals,
which is what Apple requires. And when they see the new card
backs...Apple is in big trouble."

Gates was referring to one of XP's major innovations. All fifty people in
the 'Alternative Cursor Department' at the Redmond software developer
were temporarily reassigned from their cursor work to redesign the backs
of the cards in the most popular Windows application of all time,
'Solitaire'. Yes a new pack of electronic cards is bundled with XP, along
with Instant Messaging to crush AOL, Windows Media Player to kill
Quicktime and RealAudio, Internet Explorer to finish off any other web
browsers, no JAVA, and the much touted required online registration to
enhance Microsoft's global marketing database, and advertising for .NET
(pronounced 'DOT NET') everywhere, Microsoft's unabashed initiative to
secure the Internet with its own proprietary technology.

Microsoft claims XP has more built in 'opportunities' for users to obtain
Microsoft products and services and fewer security holes. But Internet
security expert and known 'hacker' Steve 'The Butcher' Layswell is
skeptical, "How many holes in a wheel of Swiss cheese? It depends how
thin you slice it! I've only found about 250 advertisements built into
the XP interface - they're dynamic of course, based on who pays for
advertising - but I've already documented 180 back doors, and that's just
in Solitaire and Internet Explorer! I haven't even played with the Raw
Sockets yet!"

Let's see what other people are saying...

The London Evening Standard, quoted from the EvangeList of 10/25/01
wrote, "Let's kick the Microsoft habit".

"The most striking thing about XP ... is not the way it tightens
Microsoft's stranglehold on its hapless customers, but its flagrant
escalation of the aggressive, anti-competitive behaviour which earned it a
conviction in the US courts as an abusive monopolist. ... Windows XP takes
the embrace-and-destroy strategy to new heights. For bundled in the new
system are Microsoft's own, proprietary media and MP3 players. ..."


Brian Livingston, InfoWorld columnist and author of many Windows
"Secrets" books, writes:

"After looking at the changes Microsoft has made in its forthcoming
Windows XP, I'm recommending that most companies and individuals avoid it. I won't
be adding to my line of books a Windows XP Secrets (although someone else
will inevitably write a work with that title, and if it's good I'll
recommend it). Instead, I'm planning to keep Windows 2000 running on my
office network indefinitely."

<http://www.infoworld.com/articles/op/xml/01/10/08/011008oplivingston.xml>


Sun Microsystems Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy stated:

"Microsoft doesn't even flirt with the truth anymore. They
used to flirt with the truth. They used to, like, get near it. You know,
kind of do a flyby. Now, there's not even a flyby."

McNealy said Microsoft's new operating system, XP, which supports its own
Web services initiative, Passport, "allows MS to suck out all your
personal data and store it on a Passport server."

"That's the big innovation in XP; make no mistake about it," he said.

<http://www.crn.com/sections/BreakingNews/breakingnews.asp?ArticleID=30504>



The European Union may fine MS and demand it drop features from XP. The
EU report alleges that MS, "deliberately designed its Windows 2000
desktop software and companion products so that they would not work well
with rivals' software." It also accuses MS of using its dominance to
illegally muscle into the corporate and Internet software market, and to
dominate music and video for the web. Gosh.
<http://money.cnn.com/2001/10/10/international/microsoft/>

Consumer Federation of America and Consumers Union write report blasting
Microsoft XP
<http://www.nwfusion.com/news/2001/0926mscon.html>

Former Federal Agent Calls Windows XP a Threat to National Security
<http://www.nwfusion.com/news/2001/1015threatxp.html>

Consumer/privacy groups urge FTC action on MS XP
"EPIC and a coalition of consumer and privacy organizations have
renewed their calls for Federal Trade Commission action to protect
consumers from the privacy risks associated with Windows XP and
Passport."

<http://www.epic.org/alert/EPIC_Alert_8.21.html>

Letter to Timothy Muris urging action on Windows XP and Passport:
<http://www.epic.org/privacy/consumer/microsoft/ftcletter10.23.01.html>

EPIC Page on Microsoft Passport:
<http://www.epic.org/privacy/consumer/microsoft/>


Elsewhere in the Microsoft news:

80,000 Microsoft servers 'disappear'
By James Middleton, vnunet.com
"The impact of Code Red and related viruses such as Nimda has caused over
150,000 IIS-based websites on around 80,000 different machines to
disappear from the internet. It has also resulted in the closure of one of the most
visible proponents of Microsoft technology for mass hosting."

Microsoft suffered a further blow on the back of this when analyst Gartner
Group issued a strongly worded advisory recommending IIS users to evaluate
alternative products.

<http://www.vnunet.com/News/1125766>


Novell is forging ahead with a lawsuit against Microsoft, even though
the software giant has agreed to stop sending out letters to
customers criticizing Novell and NetWare 6.

<http://nwfusion.com/news/2001/1016msnovell.html?nw>


Microsoft's User License for 'FrontPage 2002' restricts you from
using the software to create content that "disparages" Microsoft or
it's subsidiaries like MSNBC etc...

<http://www.infoworld.com/articles/op/xml/01/09/17/010917opfoster.xml?0920tham>

And That's The Difference.

AND THAT'S ENOUGH OF THIS FOR AWHILE!! :-)



OCCASIONAL Favorite WEB SITE
----------------------------
How about a site just for fun? 'Where's George' tracks the movement of
currency. Type in serial numbers from your money and (if someone else has
already entered the bill) see where it came from. This is fun if the bill
is in the system. It's not a big thrill if all your serial numbers are
new to the site, but you can enter the zip code and location and make
comments about where you obtained the bill. If you get a bill that's
stamped with this URL, someone has already entered it.

<http://www.wheresgeorge.com/>



Special Bonus Keyboard Commands
-------------------------------
Force your Mac to read 'difficult' DVDs.
Your Mac has a DVD player right? No? Skip this tip, or get a new Mac!
Some DVD movies won't play properly on a Mac DVD player. This is because
some GENIUS somewhere formatted the DVD in a dumb Windows-only-way,
giving the Mac the impression that the DVD is dirty, scratched, or
otherwise unplayable. You can try forcing the Mac to read it:

Hold down [Command] + [Option] + I while you insert the disk.

TFSB! :-)




=========================================================================
** CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for Mac Users **
Oriented towards, but not exclusively for, Mac Users in Beautiful Western
Central New Jersey. Published Whenever - About Whatever!
=========================================================================

Non-profit, non-commercial publications may reprint articles if full
credit is given. Others please contact the editor. Accuracy of articles
is UNPREDICTABLE and not guaranteed. Caveat lector. Publication,
product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their
companies.

Sample Issue - email with "Sample Unpredictable" in the Subject.
Subscribe - email with "Start Unpredictable" in the Subject.
Unsubscribe - email with "Stop Unpredictable" in the Subject.

Back Issues available to subscribers upon request.
**
SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION
My accountant has advised me to come clean in every issue. Yes, I am a
consultant and am available to HELP YOU on a one to one basis. Macintosh
Networking, Internet Connectivity, Desktop Support, Training.
Satisfaction Guaranteed. Oh, and Lotus Notes and Domino Adminstration,
Development, and Support. Interested in help from a long term MAC
Professional? Don't hire some Windows kid who tells you to get rid of
your Mac because HE doesn't GET IT! Send me an email:
< chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com>

TFSB :-)


 

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All contents copyright 2000-2008 by Christopher Plummer, ZebraTale LLC, except where noted. Accuracy of articles is UNPREDICTABLE and not guaranteed. Unpredictable was published from 2001 to 2008. Although updated occasionally, this is a historical archive - expect dead links. Caveat lector.
Publication, product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their companies. TFSB :-)