Hidden treasures

Some things in the Mac world are predictable, others not so much. Take the August issue of Macworld. Dan Frakes’s monthly Mac Gems column is one of our most popular regular features. So you didn’t have to be Jeane Dixon to predict that our August feature, in which Frakes collected 82 of his all-time favorite Gems, would be a big hit with readers. On the not-so-predictable side of the ledger was Apple’s last-minute release of its MacBook laptops. While that might have been a surprise, your strong responses to our coverage of it weren’t.

Gemology

Robert Orlando —You included the typing utility Text Expander (   ) in “Software Jackpot” ( August 2006 ). I was surprised and disappointed that you did not also include TypeIt4Me. TypeIt4Me has been around for a long, long time, and the current version is outstanding. It deserves at least a mention. If you aren’t aware of this gem (and I’d be utterly surprised if you weren’t), you should give it a look-see.

Thanks for the note. That article was meant to be a “greatest hits” of Mac Gems (the monthly magazine column and the Weblog). As such, I included only those products that I’ve previously covered in Mac Gems. That includes TextExpander but not TypeIt4Me. That said, TypeIt4Me is a solid program, and I hope to give it a look in the future.—Dan Frakes

Martin Hellman —Thank you for covering two of my favorite little-known software gems: HairerSoft’s Amadeus audio processor (   ) and Lemke Software’s GraphicConverter (   ) for photo editing. A bit of advice about GraphicConverter: when purchasing, you have the option of ordering Hagen Henke’s third-party manual. Do it! The built-in manual is only marginally useful, and Hagen’s is excellent. Without it, you might not understand many of the program’s options.

Graphics pros, Intel Macs

Bob Hoot —I recently decided I needed a new laptop and opted for the 2GHz MacBook Pro (   ). I am a graph-ics professional and use Adobe Creative Suite 2 and QuarkXPress 7 regularly. This machine runs both apps noticeably faster than my old G4 PowerBook. True, the MacBook Pro is not as fast as my G5 tower—but I didn’t expect it to be. My biggest lament about the MacBook Pro is the loss of Classic. I ran a couple of printer utilities in Classic on my old PowerBook, but I now have to run them on an old G4 machine. Otherwise, I have no complaints.

Jennifer Hughes —I wish I had read Matt Blitz’s letter “No Reason to Switch” ( Feedback, August 2006 ) before I switched to an Intel MacBook. I was so looking forward to the speed increase of a new 2GHz processor versus the 700MHz in my old iBook. But the MacBook runs my Adobe apps so slowly that my productivity has gone down. It’s extremely frustrating. I wish Apple and Adobe had synchronized their releases.

Opening the Windows

Jim Schwartz —The “Emulation, Virtualization, and Dual-Booting” table in “Living in a Windows World” indicates that Virtual PC 7 won’t run Linux. That is not true. I run it all the time. As proof, check out the screenshot.

Barbara Italie —One more bit of advice about sharing files between Macs and Windows PCs: Windows file names are case sensitive. So not only do you have to make sure you’ve added the appropriate file extension, but you also need to make sure it’s lowercase. If the extension is uppercase, it won’t work.

Write yourself a note

Chris Manke —About your tips in “How to Do a To-Do List” ( Working Mac, August 2006 ): I’ve found it quick and convenient to keep my lists using Stickies notes. I create a note for each category and context (computer, for example), and then type my to-do lists inside the appropriate note. That way, I can color-code the notes, collapse them to just see the note title, sort them, edit fonts, and so on. I often just leave the pile of Stickies notes collapsed in a corner of the screen.

Personality crisis

Mel Beckman —Tony Thompson’s letter in Feedback ( August 2006 ) states that it is OK to give somebody else a copy of a copyrighted work as long as it is “for personal use.” This is a common misconception, but it’s dead wrong. Acting on this mistaken belief could subject you to civil fines and possibly even imprisonment. The “person” in “personal use” is the original purchaser of the copyrighted work, not friends and acquaintances of that purchaser. The fair use privilege lets the original purchaser make backup copies, change media formats and playback times, and create compilations (mixes), but only for his or her personal use—not for anyone else’s. For a concise account of what fair use is and isn’t, see the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s article “Understanding Your Rights: The Public’s Right of Fair Use”.

Death to iPod killers

Steve Basile —When will the media stop calling every new MP3 player from Sony, Creative, and others “iPod killers”? Since none of them has even seriously challenged the iPod so far, wouldn’t “iPod challenger” or “iPod competitor” be more accurate?

The small, small screen

Bill Shaw —Regarding Jason Snell’s blurb about HandBrake ( Hot Stuff, August 2006): I do not like watching videos or films on my iPod. That doesn’t make me a skeptic. That makes me a realist.

Raw versus JPEG

Scott Hoober —In “Weighing the Pros of Raw” ( Digital Photo, August 2006 ), author Ben Long mentions that some cameras offer a Raw + JPEG mode. My camera, a Nikon D50, offers that choice. But the only type of JPEG allowed in that mode is what Nikon calls Basic. That means 16:1 compression, as opposed to 8:1 for Normal or 4:1 for Fine. In Raw + JPEG, the JPEG copy is only for backup, for downloading and looking at images online, or for quickly sending images via e-mail.

You’re right about the D50. But a lot of cameras give you full-quality JPEGs or a choice of any JPEG mode alongside the Raw mode. Many photographers actually shoot both formats, because they ultimately want high-quality JPEGs. But if an image comes out with bad white balance, they can fall back on the Raw copy.—Ben Long

For the record

Scott Davisson (MYOB US) —Gary Stein’s letter in Feedback ( September 2006 ) incorrectly claimed that MYOB offers no customer support for FirstEdge. While FirstEdge is a straightforward product, accounting can still be intimidating for a small business. So, since August 2005, we’ve offered 30 days of complimentary support to help our customers get started. We even call each new FirstEdge customer to let him or her know about this benefit. Thanks for the opportunity to set the record straight.

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