Don’t let this happen to you

Conventional wisdom says you just don’t put images of smoking, battered Macs on the cover of a Mac magazine. To which we say phooey. Let’s face it: Mac maintenance—like flossing your teeth and changing your oil—may not be scintillating, but it really is important. So excuse us for slightly exaggerating the consequences of neglect on our February cover. Judging by your responses to “Prevent Mac Disasters,” a little editorial license on the cover didn’t keep you from reading what was inside.

Disaster Response

Kimberly Barnes I just wanted to say thanks for the great info in “Prevent Mac Disasters” ( February 2005 ). Although I’m not new to Macs, I didn’t know where to start my cleanup chores with this latest beast (OS X 10.3.5). Thanks to your tips, the spinning beach ball is packed away and my Mac is running like a new one. (Too bad—I needed a good excuse to order a G5 iMac.)

Skip Blunt Just got the February issue and got lost in “Prevent Mac Disasters.” The “eight simple steps you can take now to keep your Mac from falling apart” were too techie for me. For example, in the section about preferences, you recommend we “use the Unix utility plutil.” What is a plutil and where is it? Sherlock can’t find any plutils! Then you go on to tell us to type some text in Terminal. Sherlock found that one, but I couldn’t use it, thanks to all my fat-finger typos. Generally, I really appreciate the articles in Macworld and look forward to every issue. But this one should have come with a techie warning for regular computer users.

Kevin Churchman I was surprised to find no mention in “Prevent Mac Disasters” of a wonderful product I use: Marcel Bresink’s TinkerTool System. It runs maintenance scripts, repairs permissions, and deletes cache and log files. It can also verify the integrity of preference files, lock and unlock groups of files, remove foreign-language files, silence the startup chime (thank you!), and much more. I evaluated some of the other products you mentioned, but Ifound TinkerTool System to be superior. I think it should be mandatory issue for the Mac newbie. I know your article should be.

Ryan Hannan I was surprised not to see Anacron, a free open-source utility that runs daily, weekly, and monthly cron jobs while using practically no system resources.

Donald Tucker I’m surprised you didn’t include Dicom Datautveckling’s Cocktail, which received four mice in Macworld (August 2003), has more features than the Titanium OnyX program you included, and costs just $14.

We tried to provide a cross-section of apps, but we didn’t have room to mention them all. Some of the aforementioned apps were in the original draft but were cut for space reasons.—Ed.

Underpowered Power Mac?

Ron Stewart As the owner of a Power Mac G5/1.8GHz, I must take issue with your lukewarm review of this Mac (   ; February 2005 ). Your criticisms might be valid for someone to whom price is no object—but for someone looking to upgrade, this is a great unit. An 80GB hard drive and a SuperDrive are nothing to sneeze at if you’re coming from an old iMac with a 6GB hard drive and a CD-ROM drive. Sure, graphics pros who really need dual processors might find this Mac lacking, but the average user won’t.

Steve Dunlap Stop encouraging Apple to eliminate the bottom end of the Power Mac lineup! I just read your review of the Power Mac G5/1.8GHz single-processor desktop. I think it’s great that Apple has a machine in the Power Mac lineup that fills this particular price, performance, and expandability slot. Because budget buyers like me typically keep machines longer, expandability is more important than top speed. In the real world, people do use computers for things other than desktop publishing and rendering movies. To say that a 1.8GHz 64-bit processor is good only for file serving and driving multiple terminals is ridiculous.

Hatin’ on Quicken

Philip Meissner I’ve noticed that Macworld consistently gives Intuit Quicken high ratings (   ; February 2005 ). If you only knew the torture that Quicken has put its users through! Like QuarkXPress, this is the program people love to hate. Adobe InDesign gave QuarkXPress users an out. Quicken users have not yet been so lucky.

Chet Durnal As a registered user of Quicken 2002, I recently received a letter from Intuit that stated, “As of April 19th, 2005, in accordance with the Quicken sunset policy, Online Services and live support will no longer be available for Quicken 2001 and 2002 users.” So a product I’ve been using for just two years will no longer have support, and many of its features will be broken. This is the first time I have experienced a company virtually breaking its product in order to get me to buy a new version ($69.95 minus $20 for being a good customer). I plan to look elsewhere for personal finance software.

Readers’ Choice

David Wasson After reading “The 20th Annual Editors’ Choice Awards” ( February 2005 ), I have to say you really blew it with your “Games of the Year” selections. You chose a four-year-old port of Bungie’s Halo over Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft, a massively multiplayer game that had a simultaneous Windows and Mac launch. Waiting four years for a port is not as good as playing the same game at the same time that our Windows peers are playing. The Mac community should applaud Blizzard for giving us a current game that plays so well on our chosen platform. And the game rocks!

To be eligible for this year’s Eddys, products had to be released between November 1, 2003, and November 1, 2004. That’s why World of Warcraft wasn’t eligible: it wasn’t released until around Thanksgiving 2004—well past our deadline. (We reviewed it in our February 2005 issue.) Bungie released Halo in December 2003. We’ll certainly consider World of Warcraft for the 2005 awards.—Ed.

Mac Off the Web?

Tom Dalton I generally prefer my old Macs to my PCs (two new Dells and a Gateway laptop). But those Macs have a big problem: a growing number of Web pages use ASP (Active Server Pages) apps that don’t work on the Mac. Try using a Web-based WYSIWYG Web editor or NetSuite on a Mac; chances are it won’t work. These sites require the latest version of Internet Explorer, but Microsoft stopped developing Explorer for the Mac several years ago.

The Internet promised to level the OS playing field. Has Apple noticed that the Mac is becoming increasingly incompatible with the Net? Is Apple doing anything about it? And what will happen in a few years when all software (including Microsoft Office) is Web-based? Where will that leave the Mac if it’s compatible only with basic HTML Web pages?

Cover Arts

Matt Little On the cover of your February 2005 issue, there’s a picture of a broken Mac G5. In the picture, the Apple logo on the side of the computer is peeling off like a sticker. But isn’t the logo etched into the metal?

Jim Gleeson I could never bend my G5 Mac’s case that way. In fact, I think whatever it’s made of could replace the Kevlar in bullet-proof vests. The thing is a fortress. And when its chip got fried, there was a click, some smoke, and an interesting smell, but no extensive damage. Still, kudos on the amazing cover.

As noted in “About This Macworld” (From the Editor’s Desk, February 2005 ), “no Macs were harmed in the production of this issue’s cover.” Our artist rendered the abused Mac with NewTek’s LightWave 3D.—Ed.

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