It's easy to understand why FM transmitters have become the accessory of choice for iPod users on the go -- these attachments allow you to play your iPod library over your car radio. Trouble is, too many FM transmitters make it sound as though your music is broadcasting from a boat several miles into international waters instead of an iPod several feet away.
Cutting through this noisy dilemma is the PodFreq, one of the newest FM transmitters and also one of the best. Designed by Sonnet Technologies to fit dockable iPods perfectly, the $100 PodFreq features an easy-to-use interface, minimal power requirements, and a USB 2.0/FireWire port for charging or syncing your iPod. More important, its telescoping antenna produces a crisp signal that comes through loud and clear whether your iPod is riding shotgun or just along for the ride in the backseat (www.sonnettech.com).
Power tweakers who live to create custom menus have found their dream tool in You Software's You Control (; April 2004). The $70 utility features modules for building menus to display news feeds from your favorite Web sites, up-to-the-minute weather reports, or stock prices. You can also display the contents of a specific folder, manage your calendar, assign hot keys to any menu item you create, and even control iTunes. Trying a few modules at once will give you a feel for what this utility can do. Think of it as the ultimate menu-construction kit (www.yousoftware.com).
Kevin Ames's new book Adobe Photoshop CS: The Art of Photographing Women (Wiley, 2004) shows us just how those physically flawless women in magazines got that way -- not through plastic surgery or endless trips to the gym, but through extreme makeovers performed by a Photoshop expert. Ames's skills are impressive, but we found what the book says about our ideas of beauty unsettling.
A Quick Look at the World of Macs
1. Apple creates new Hardware and iPod divisions. Steve Jobs settled on Hardware and iPod divisions after considering an organizational split between "shirts" and "skins."
2. The iTunes Music Store wins two Webby Awards. And the honors keep coming -- for Father's Day, Steve Jobs received a coffee mug recognizing him as World's Greatest Dad.
3. Steve Jobs is among the campaign advisers for presidential candidate John Kerry. Jobs's advice to the senator: voters love free iPods.
4. Apple plans to slow down the pace of OS X updates after it releases Tiger. "Quite frankly," says Chief Software Technology Officer Avie Tevanian, "we're running low on really cool cat nicknames."
Sorry, Mac haters -- those aren't real vultures circling over this iPod billboard on the Marina Freeway in Los Angeles. Instead, the simulated scavengers are part of an advertisement for cable TV's Animal Planet on the opposite side of the billboard.
Network Play on Halo
Playing games against computer opponents can be fun, but taking on flesh-and-blood people is simply better. And no game in recent memory offers as big a kick when played on a network as MacSoft's $50 Halo ( ; February 2004), which features numerous challenges beyond just mowing down your opponents. One game of team Capture the Flag or Oddball, and you'll be hooked (www.macsoftgames.com).