Tiger talk

The last time we checked, more than 60 percent of you had upgraded to OS X 10.4, also known as Tiger. If our reader surveys about the October issue are to be believed, pretty much every one of you who has made that switch—plus a goodly number who haven’t—read that issue’s cover story, Tiger Secrets Declassified. And judging by the volume of mail we received, pretty much every one of you Tiger switchers wrote to tell us what you thought of the new OS and our story.

Burning bright

Roseann Hanson —One of your tips in “Dashboard Confidential” (“Tiger Secrets Declassified,” October 2005 ) promised a way to “pull as many widgets into the Finder layer as you like.” I followed the directions, but I can get only one widget at a time to stay in the Finder. Even then, I can’t manage the widget’s functions. For example, when I drag World Clock (which I use to remind myself what time it is in Nairobi, where I have business) onto the Finder layer, it reverts to my default city. Same with Phone Book. Also, if I pull up Dashboard using F12, the widget I added to the Finder layer shows up there, and then I have to drag it to the Finder all over again. This seems like a wonderful idea, and I’d love to make it work. Any fixes?

What you’re describing is what happened in versions of Tiger prior to 10.4.2 if you didn’t successfully switch to devmode first (which, as the original instructions pointed out, you get by launching Terminal and typing

defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode YES

Alan Oppenheimer (President, Open Door Networks) —I have to disagree with what you say about Stealth Mode and the Mac’s security in your tip “Hide Your Mac from Hackers.” Although there are a few potential advantages to using it with any firewall, it really won’t prevent most hackers from discovering a Mac—or any other machine, for that matter. It will block ICMP pings, but most hackers aren’t using those anymore. They’re mainly just looking around for specific open ports, so if those ports are opened on your Mac, that’s when you might be in trouble (although usually, of course, the attack assumes that a Windows machine is attached to the opened port).

William E. Parberry —I appreciated “Tiger Secrets Declassified,” but some of those “secrets” needed more explanation. For example, in the tip “Get Networked On-the-Go,” the explanation of how to set up a Fire-Wire connection between two computers omitted a step or two after you activate Personal File Sharing. I thought Connect To Server would automatically make one computer find the other, but it was not that simple. Neither computer could find the other until I enabled Using DHCP With Manual Address (in the Network preference pane) on each and supplied separate IP addresses to them.

We don’t doubt that additional steps are required in some cases; because network setups can vary so much, it’s hard to cover all the possibilities in one short tip. But that tip should work as written for most users.—Ed.

What are we losing?

A. W. Labrador —I think you need to do more than regurgitate Apple and Intel PR about why the Mac transition to Intel processors is such a good thing (“Intel’s Road Map,” Mac Beat, October 2005). What I’d like to see in Macworld is an article explaining what we will lose when Apple stops using PowerPC chips. For example, as IBM’s recent announcement of low-power PowerPC chips demonstrates, just because there isn’t a PowerBook G5 now doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to make one, or that a PowerBook G6 is just a dream. Why didn’t you mention that Sony and Microsoft are using PowerPC-related chips in their next-generation game consoles? I don’t care how Intel’s future CPUs compare with IBM’s current PowerPC chips. I want to know how Intel’s future CPUs will (or may) compare with IBM’s future PowerPC chips. (Just because IBM had problems in delivering on its road map in the past doesn’t mean that Intel won’t have or hasn’t had similar problems.) And while performance per watt is a valid metric for laptops, what does the Intel move mean for future workstation-class desktops, where pure performance matters most? As a scientist and a Mac user, I’d like to know about the implications of the Intel transition for scientific and other high-performance computing. Knowing what we are giving up in this transition is as important as what we stand to gain.

Not really “pro”

Lee Carroll —Yikes! You gave Soundtrack Pro your highest rating ( Reviews, October 2005 ). As a professional videographer and member of the Audio Engineering Society who uses Final Cut Pro, I find Soundtrack Pro almost unusable. Importing a multitrack video project from FCP into STP for mixing simply isn’t viable. STP doesn’t recognize the configuration of stereo and mono tracks and assigns these attributes any way it wants. Also, STP doesn’t let you group or create stereo tracks “after the fact,” as FCP does. Mixing, creating effects, and so on are then moot: your tracks are everywhere, not linked as you would expect. I’m waiting for an upgrade to fix this. It’s a great program concept, and I’m certain it works well in the areas you tested. But it’s not ready for prime time for those of us who thought it would work well with FCP, and it’s not worth five mice just yet.

Off base

Grant Kielczewski —In his review of Griffin Technology’s AirBase ( Mac Gems, October 2005), Dan Frakes justifies spending $25 for what he admits is a “glorified power cable” just so he can place his AirPort Express on a desk, a shelf, or another accessible location; see the indicator light; and have a cable-management loop. I must be missing something. The AirBase provides no advantages that couldn’t be had by buying a 10-cent nylon wire tie and moving the AirPort Express to a different location. Reviews like these are an attempt to justify the existence of a glut of useless products that offer no advantage to a Mac user beyond aesthetic appeal. I expect more from Macworld.

Dan Frakes’s initial reaction to the AirBase was similar to yours. But after using it for a while, he changed his tune. Sure, you can buy an extension cable for $5 or $10 that would let you put your AirPort Express on a shelf, and you can wrap your power, Ethernet, and USB cables together with a wire tie. But if you’ve ever had to retrieve your AirPort Express after it fell behind your desk, you’ll appreciate the weighted, nonslip AirBase. Plus, extension cords and twist ties aren’t very attractive. Many Mac users—and we include ourselves in that group—are willing to pay a few extra bucks for good design.—Ed.

Don’t forget Safari

Josh Locker —Reading about Taboo ( Mac Gems, October 2005), I was surprised that anyone at Macworld would admit to preferring Safari over Firefox. Almost everyone I know who has tried Firefox now swears by it. For the record, I tried Firefox before it had reached version 1.0, but I switched back to, and have stayed with, Safari 2.0 ever since.

Super error

Richard Stovall —On page 74 of the October issue (“Which Mac Is Right for You?”), you said that all PowerBooks come with a SuperDrive. I found that odd since, at the time, I was reading that very issue on a PowerBook with a Combo drive. Dreading the possibility that perhaps Apple had made the SuperDrive a standard feature on all PowerBooks, I hopped on over to www.apple.com and discovered that the 12- and 15-inch PowerBooks are still available with Combo drives. Fortunately for my obsessive nature, you guys were mistaken, and I can rest well in the fact that I didn’t buy my PowerBook too soon.

You are correct. We apologize for the error, which was introduced during editing and is not present in the Adam C. Engst e-book on which the article was based.—Ed.

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