Hot Stuff

iMix

iTunes' iMix feature, part of the version 4.5 update, lets you publish playlists at the iTunes Music Store, so you can expose other online music shoppers to your eclectic tastes. And Macworld is getting into the iMix act, with our very own playlist of Apple-themed songs.

"Big Apple," by Molly Hatchett
"Mack the Knife," by Louis Armstrong
"The Apple," by Bill Cosby
"1984," by David Bowie
"Apple," by Rick Monroe
"Mac Attack," by Go-Go Fightmaster
"Apple Honey," by Woody Herman & His Orchestra
"I Don't Do Windows," by Carry Ann
"Think Different," by 10 Cents

Kensington Noise Canceling Headphones

Nothing is more annoying than background noise when you're trying to concentrate on your work (and the music blasting out of your Mac). Kensington's Noise Canceling Headphones help silence chattering colleagues. The adjustable, foldable headset covers your ears entirely and delivers crisp, clear sound. An on/off switch controls the headset's noise-canceling capabilities. Kensington's $40 headset doesn't completely block out sound, but it does muffle noise and voices to less-distracting levels ( www.kensington.com ).

AirPort Express

Whether it's sharing printers, streaming music, or serving as an Internet bridge, Apple's miniature wireless base station boasts the flexibility of a contortionist -- it bends over backward to meet your needs, for only $129. On-the-go Mac users who've ever tried to work near an inconveniently placed broadband hookup in a hotel room will embrace AirPort Express's greatest asset -- its portability. And since it fits in the palm of your hand, AirPort Express can easily accompany you on the road. Just hook it up to your hotel room's broadband connection, and you can enjoy the same wireless freedom you experience in the comfort of your own home ( www.apple.com ).

WHAT'S HOT: A Quick Look at the World of Macs

1. BMW inks a deal with Apple to equip its cars with integrated iPod connectors. Because, really, haven't BMW owners deprived themselves of enough of life's luxuries?

2. The iTunes Music Store makes a successful debut in three European countries. But Apple continues to ignore Canada as part of that country's ongoing punishment for giving the world Gordon Lightfoot.

3. Apple unveils Tiger's features but won't release the updated OS until 2005. And this Christmas, Steve Jobs will give his family elaborate descriptions of presents that they won't be allowed to open until August 2005.

4. After vowing in June 2003 to deliver 3GHz Power Mac G5s a year later, Apple misses its target. But on the bright side, Apple continues to add artists and songs to its online music store. (Offer not available in Canada.)

A CLOSER LOOK: Casual Games

If you want to know how deep the Mac gaming world is, check out casual games, which don't have A-list game system requirements but also don't skimp on the fun. Our current faves are Varmintz (left), from Skunk Studios; Power Chips and High Roller, from MumboJumbo; and Flip Words, from Red Marble Games.

GBoard5

What's faster than a dual-processor Power Mac G5? A dual-processor Power Mac G5 on wheels. Plop your G5 on this $130 Plexiglas platform from AstroAge ( www.astro-age.com ), and you'll enjoy rollaway access to the tower under your desk -- ideal for anyone who needs to reach the connectors on the back of the tower. (An integrated cable guide on the back of the GBoard5 keeps all those cables in place.) AstroAge also sells a GBoard5 equipped with a brake, for $140, as well as a G4 model, for $100 ($110 with brakes). If you're more interested in a metallic version, check out Power Support's $129 G5 Skateboard ( www.drbott.com ).

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