Our writers and lab testers sweat over every detail in Macworld's reviews and other stories. Our editors and copy editors check facts and labor mightily to make all the elements of our magazine readable and error free. And our designers wrangle each editorial page into beautiful readability. Still, every month the letters pour in with helpful hints, things we forgot to mention, further information, differences of opinion, gentle correction, and sometimes even words of praise. And that's exactly why we have a Feedback section: to share with the world what you have to say.
Macromedia, May I?
The review of Macromedia Studio MX 2004 (January 2004) should have stated that Macromedia now uses "product activation" to authorize the software to run beyond 30 days from the time of installation. This is for purchased, full versions. I find the timing of this to be especially bad, with the new G5 hardware and the newly released Panther upgrade. It's way too much turmoil for users to be authorizing, unauthorizing, and then phoning Macromedia's customer support to request additional authorizations.
I won't be installing any software that makes me ask permission over the Net or by phone to use it.
When We're Right, We're Right
Jason Snell's review of Eudora 6.0 ( ; January 2004) stated exactly what I've been saying: Eudora's interface is really outdated and has been for some time now. It needs a major overhaul to look and feel like a Mac OS X application.
Jeffery Battersby's review of Nisus Writer Express ( ; January 2004) is painfully accurate. As a registered user of Nisus Writer under OS 9, from version 3.X to 6.X, I had great expectations for an OS X–compatible Nisus Writer at least as good as its forebears. (I'm currently running Panther 10.3.2.) But Nisus Writer Express is way off the mark.
Dr. Jeffrey Chajes
I would like to broaden Ben Boychuk's discussion of the issues faced by classical music listeners using iTunes and an iPod ("Appreciating the Classics," Mac Beat, January 2004).
Extrapolating from my own experience, it would seem that most serious classical-music listeners use iTunes and their iPods to work with their own CD collections. I ripped tens of CDs in anticipation of an overseas sabbatical, preferring to take my collection along on the iPod. This experience proved frustrating, at least initially. The cataloging of classical music is flawed in the iTunes Music Store and, to an even greater extent, in the CDDB database, from which iTunes gathers track information when you insert a CD. Rock or jazz listeners rarely have more than album, track, and artist names to enter, and these usually show up accurately in iTunes when they rip an album. A classical listener wants to know more: composers, soloists, ensembles, and movements' names, for example.
In my experience, much of CDDB's information for classical CDs is inaccurate or was entered in a different template. Therefore, in the Composer column, the artist's name will appear, and vice versa. The problem of mixed-up columns is so great, and solving it is so time-consuming, that I wrote to Doug Adams, who graciously created and adapted a number of his AppleScripts for iTunes to address these problems and others (www.malcolmadams .com/itunes/).
Another gripe: If you're a classical music listener, the iPod buds are not for you. Frustration with their poor sound quality led me to discard them quickly.
" Leave Your Laptop at Home " (Mobile Mac, January 2004) is very thorough with regard to synchronizing the mailboxes of two Macs using a mechanism where messages and their attachments are stored on the client and not the server. But there are two errors in the article with regard to IMAP. A client using IMAP doesn't need a network connection to display previously read messages. You can have the e-mail client cache the entire message or just the header. In the case of Apple's Mail, you set this option via the pull-down menu under the Advanced tab in the Accounts preference pane. I recall that Eudora had something similar and I'm sure the other clients do, too. Choosing this option makes everything (even the attachments) available for viewing even when you're not connected to a network.
Second, you can configure IMAP to store only your in-box on the IMAP server; this leaves you free to store your saved messages on your local Mac. The article implies that you have to store the in-box and your mail folders in a single location. Usually, an ISP will limit only your in-box size, and users can save their messages in mailboxes located elsewhere on the server. Unfortunately, this depends heavily on the configuration of your ISP's mail systems, and setting up your mail client appropriately depends on your site's configuration. Usually you must have entered the correct IMAP path prefix in the Advanced area of the Accounts preference pane.
I say that IMAP can do things better than POP. It offers the flexibility POP lacks (namely, folders within folders, SSL, multiple authentication methods, online and offline operation, anonymous shared mailboxes, and more). I switch between a Macintosh, a PowerBook, a Sun, and an SGI, and I have three e-mail accounts. IMAP has kept my mailboxes in order. Using POP would have been a nightmare.
I Love Mac
I am a teacher. Yesterday at a faculty meeting, our principal gave everyone in the building a present: a Gateway 64MB USB drive.
Like a kid, I rushed to my Gateway computer on my school desk to try it. "It's plug and play. This will be easy!" I thought. So I go into My Computer to look for the drive, but it's not there. Seems we have so many hard drives on our network that there were no letters available for it. To access it, I had to log off the network and log back in to just my workstation.
I finally got it working and transferred some files to it. I brought it home, plugged it into the USB port on my G4's keyboard, and instantly saw an icon on the desktop!
I love my Mac.
" Bring Old Photos to iPhoto " (Digital Hub, January 2004) suggests that the only criterion for scanning resolution is simply what you want to do with the result -- whether you're printing via an ink-jet device (180 to 240 dpi) or ordering prints (in which case 300 dpi should be sufficient). In so doing, however, the article ignores the desired size of the final product. When I scan a full-frame 35mm color negative, I really don't want to wind up with a 24mm-by-36mm print (although you could certainly hang a lot of them on a wall). I'd rather expand it to an 8-by-10-inch print. Accordingly, I must allow for an (approximate) 8x increase in resolution to get reasonable quality in the final product. So I most often scan at 2,400 to 2,700 dpi (sometimes a bit more, if I know
I'm going to crop the picture a lot and thereby lose pixels). It creates a large file, but you wind up with something you can see without squinting.
In " Leave Your Laptop at Home " (Mobile Mac, January 2004), we say that you can purchase a Palm Bluetooth card that fits in the expansion slot of the Tungsten E. In fact, the Tungsten E is a Palm OS 5 device, and currently no driver for the Bluetooth card supports that Palm OS.
In " 20 Years of the Mac " (February 2004), we stated that Claris released FileMaker Pro in 1985. In fact, the program, called simply FileMaker, was at that time owned by Nashoba Systems, and was released by Forethought.
Also in "20 Years of the Mac," we referred to the StyleWriter as a laser printer. It was an ink-jet printer.
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