Credit Where It's Due
The November issue of Macworld brought the debut of our new and improved Secrets section, as well as some changes to the overall look of the magazine. And our readers have been taking notice (thanks for your kind words). Readers also wrote to commend the new Adobe Creative Suite and to sing the praises of some iPod adapters we didn't include in our Las Vegas road-trip roundup. Not all readers wrote in with accolades, though. As always, some wrote in with helpful corrections. Our Feedback editors welcome both your kudos and your criticism.
In response to your article about the new Adobe Creative Suite ("Adobe Changes Everything," November 2003): Illustrator's "new" 3D Effect feature seems to incorporate something Adobe abandoned years ago -- namely, Adobe Dimensions. While Dimensions wasn't the most in-depth 3-D program, it had all the features I needed (image mapping, vector export, and so forth). I still use it on a regular basis to wrap images around odd shapes -- such as cylinders and cones -- in both Illustrator and Photoshop. I'm glad that someone at Adobe finally had the idea to resurrect this simple but powerful tool.
I like your new Mobile Mac section and the November installment on iPod adapters. But I noticed that you didn't include a DLO Transpod. I use a Transpod for my scroll-wheel iPod, and it works great.
My job has me traveling in different cars, and occasionally I'm in a car where the cigarette-lighter socket is in the way of the shifter, steering wheel, and so on. But the Transpod will fit in most cars. Here's a tip I learned by accident: if you always keep the backlighting on, you get less hum noise between the tracks. As soon as I get a new iPod, a Transpod will be the first accessory I get. Keep up the good work!
The authors didn't give the Griffin Technology iTrip enough of a chance in their Mobile Mac review. I mean, sure, they tried it in Barstow, Baker, and Fresno, and for many miles in between, but they did not realize the true potential of the iTrip. I, too, decided to try it out for the first time on my own road trip from Santa Maria, California, to San Francisco and back. The iTrip worked like a champ. We had to change the station once in each direction, but this was quite simple. The sound quality was great and there was minimal interference. The coolest thing was that it could transmit its signal to our friends' car as well. All they had to do was pull alongside us and stay within a car's length, and voilà! It made the six-disc changer in their brand-new Ford Explorer look a little obsolete. You can't find a cooler gadget to increase the utility of your iPod.
I was surprised at your conclusions in the November 2003 article on iPod adapter options. I got an Arkon SoundFeeder SF121 adapter for a drive from Sacramento, California, to San Diego, and I had pretty good luck with it. It uses FM frequencies between 88 and 95. The cassette adapters I tried were noisy.
Nothing More to Contribute
I read your fine review of Contribute 2.0 (November 2003). I have attempted to use the trial offering of the program with my Apple .Mac account and have found Contribute 2.0 to be worthless, because it fails me in the respect that David Sawyer McFarland notes: it won't let me add QuickTime movies to my pages.
I can't believe that the Contribute 2.0 David Sawyer McFarland tested is the same program I have. Contribute is a great idea -- an inexpensive Web editor with which average users are comfortable. It is not, however, worthy of a mmmmh rating. Besides being painfully slow --
it runs slower than Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Dreamweaver -- it makes Web changes a guessing game. The edit browser doesn't show text font and color, so when you publish, you have no idea what you're going to get. Tables are especially tricky. Text location in a table in the edit browser often has no relation to what you get when you publish. McFarland says Contribute couldn't be easier to use, but a WYSIWYG edit browser would make it easier!
Bravo on the recent changes to your magazine's Secrets section, including Help Desk. These are welcome and much-needed changes. The magazine now has a more reader-friendly approach -- so goes the word around the office. I know I dig it. Keep it up and props on the clean layout. I look forward to each issue.
Safari, Not So Goodie
Safari is good, but it doesn't go far enough for me (Reviews, November 2003 ). I frequently print a page or two and find it exasperating that the URL and date do not print out as well. It's been suggested to me that I write that information on the printed page. Excuse me! Do I have a $2,000 computer so that I have to revert to pen and paper? I would gladly sacrifice a little speed for URL information on my printed Web pages.
There Is Another Way
In the December 2003 Working Mac section, you stated in ".Mac Goodies" that Apple's iDisk Utility for Windows XP is "the only way to work with an iDisk from a computer running Windows." This is not true. I have successfully accessed an iDisk with the following process:
1. In Windows XP, open My Computer.
2. Choose Tools: Map Network Drive.
3. Click on Web Folder Or FTP Site.
4. When Windows asks for the URL, enter http://idisk.mac.com/accountname (accountname is where your .Mac member name goes).
5. When you are prompted for a user name and password, type your .Mac member name and your account password.
The disk should mount in My Computer under the category Network Drives.
You're correct; in fact, you can also connect to another member's iDisk Public folder by including his or her member name in the URL. If that person has set a Public-folder password, provide the password when prompted. -- Dan Frakes
Your review of Orbis's Easy Grade Pro 3.6 grade-book software ( November 2003 ), positive as it was, failed to mention some of its most useful features. Orbis makes a companion title for PDAs that lets teachers enter grades while they move around a classroom. When the teacher syncs the PDA with the computer, the assignments and grades are entered. Grade-book files are completely platform independent. Easy Grade Pro also gives you instant student rankings for a subject or assignment, as well as the freedom to create and assign specialized grading scales -- with different scales for students in the same class. The software, including site licensing, is very inexpensive, with liberal allowances for use on multiple computers at home and at work. Technical support is free and fast. The company listens to its customers. Updates bring new features they've requested. I've been using Easy Grade Pro for 11 years. It's the most valuable software on my classroom computer.
In " Easy Mac Maintenance " (Secrets, December 2003), step 2 of the "Schedule Repair Permissions" section instructed users to select Task: Run Now in CronniX to test a newly scheduled event. A bug in CronniX prevents this action from working for some users. However, if you correctly followed the article's steps, your new event should function as expected. To test it, you must wait until its scheduled execution time. For more information, go to www.danfrakes.com/writing/EasyMacMaintenance.html.