It might look like a small boom box, but the output of the PictureMate -- the latest photo printer from Epson (www.epson.com) -- is what really rocks. The $199 six-color printer produces 4-by-6-inch glossy prints that look and feel just like the ones you'd get from a photo lab. And because the PictureMate uses pigment-based inks instead of the more common dye-based inks, your prints are less likely to experience water damage, smudges, and fading; according to Epson, framed PictureMate prints resist fading for more than 100 years.
Topo State Series
Mac users in need of mapping software may have felt as if they've been wandering around aimlessly for the past few years. Fortunately, National Geographic (www.nationalgeographic.com) is offering a way out of the wilderness; it has added long-awaited Mac compatibility (for OS 9 and OS X) to its Topo State Series topographical maps. Each $100 state CD-ROM contains complete topographic map coverage; National Geographic also offers Mac users forced to make do with the Windows version a $10 conversion disk that will make their PC data Mac compatible.
PocketMac iPod Edition
Information Appliance Associates (www.pocketmac.net) has expanded the power of the iPod beyond simply storing iCal calendar and Address Book contact information. With the latest version of its $23 data-synchronization tool, PocketMac iPod Edition, you can copy and convert Microsoft Entourage data -- including contacts, calendars, tasks, notes, and e-mail -- from Mac to iPod. The utility also reformats Text, RTF, PDF, and Word documents for viewing on the iPod.
San Francisco Apple Store
Not every Apple Store opening attracts Steve Jobs and San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom. Then again, with its two stories, 14-seat Genius Bar, 39-seat theater, and Internet café, the new San Francisco outlet is different from most other Apple Stores. Like its counterparts in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Tokyo, the San Francisco Apple Store is a celebration of the Mac community. For Mac fans visiting any of those five cities, Apple's flagship stores are must-see destinations.
Apple's Lucky Bag
At San Francisco's Apple Store opening, grab bags of merchandise -- containing AirPort Extreme Base Stations, the iLife suite, and many other goodies -- were sold to the first 200 folks willing to pay $249 for them. A few hours later, a handful of them popped up on eBay.
Mini's Many Colors
We can tell you all about the iPod mini's compact size and modified scroll wheel, as we did in our recent review (; May 2004).
But all people seem to care about are the colors that the miniature music player's anodized aluminum finish is available in -- and what colors Apple might add to the lineup of silver, gold, green, pink, and blue. (New minis will be purple and orange if Apple heeds the pleas of certain Macworld staffers.) This clamoring over colors is understandable -- after all, Apple revived its fortunes five years ago with a rainbow of iMac and iBook flavors. Let's just hope any plans for Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power iPod minis never make it past the drawing board.
What's Hot: A Quick Look at the World of Macs
1. The European Commission slaps Microsoft with a record $610 million fine. A defiant Microsoft retaliates by purchasing Belgium.
2. Dell complains to the Better Business Bureau about the claims in Apple's Power Mac G5 advertising. Michael Dell also complained to the Cupertino home-owners association about the state of Steve Jobs's lawn.
3. Adobe discontinues FrameMaker development for the Mac. How many other page-layout programs will die before someone stops InDesign's murderous rampage?
4. Pepsi's distribution woes cause the iTunes Music Store to fall short of its download goal. If Pepsi handled Apple's distribution, Apple Store shelves would be stocked with G3 iBooks and CRT-based iMacs.