Mac TV

Every month, we get letters from readers complaining about excessive coverage of iPods and digital cameras, and arguing that Macworld should stick to covering Macs. But strangely, we didn’t get any such complaints about our September issue, which was all about digital video. Maybe you were in the market for a new video camera or were suddenly curious about editing video on the Mac. Whatever the reason, we didn’t get any guff—just more questions. Come on, folks, can’t someone out there suggest we change our name to Digital Video World ? Please?

Straight to video

Glenn Koening —Your latest review of video camcorders ( Reviews, September 2006) is good to see, but I think you neglect one important feature: sound. The review barely mentions audio features. Which models have microphone jacks? Can you attach any brand of microphone or just that camcorder’s brand? What about headphone jacks? If you’re just recording shots of the kids frolicking at the beach, you may not care about the answers. But if you’re working on more-involved projects, you will.

Kenneth Watson —In “Digital Video Essentials” (September 2006), you write that Macs don’t support burning HD DVDs. But DVD Studio Pro 4 has a preset for burning DVD-Rs in HD DVD format, and it works just fine. You do have to limit yourself to 30 minutes of video per disc, and you must use the MPEG-2 encoder. You can find out more in the DVD Studio Pro discussion forum on Apple’s Web site.

You’re correct. DVD Studio Pro 4 does let you burn high definition content in MPEG-2 format to a standard DVD-R disc—but the result isn’t a true HD DVD. Many people have reported problems with audio and menus, as well as the limitations you mention. And you need an HD DVD player, which costs around $500, to play the discs.—Jonathan Seff

Jim Reed —Having recently purchased a Core Duo Mac mini, I read and enjoyed Christopher Breen’s article “The Multimedia Mac Mini” (September 2006). However, I’d add a couple of other points about the mini. First, storage: The mini’s small drive can hold only a limited amount of media. That’s why I added an external 400GB SATA hard drive, connected to the mini via USB, to handle my movies and music. I don’t have to worry about streaming from my main Mac, and the drive doubles as a backup device. Second, the remote control: The Apple Remote is limited to line of sight, and Front Row won’t let you access your ripped DVD movies. The Salling Clicker (   ) minimizes both shortcomings. With a little work, it can interface with Apple’s DVD Player and play movies I ripped from my own discs, using the open-source HandBrake. Now if I could only find an HD LCD TV to replace my aging set. Thanks, Christopher, for another great article.

Wireless wandering

David D. Edgington —Regarding “Get Online from Anywhere” ( Mobile Mac , September 2006 ): I have been using the Kyocera KPC650 EV-DO card with Verizon service for several months now, and it works like a charm. I shuttle between three different offices, so the flexibility of having one always-on broadband connection has been really important. Overall, Verizon’s EV-DO service is an excellent package that works well on the Mac. I hope we see more like it soon.

Wish list

Conrad Flynn —In “10 Wishes for Leopard” ( Mac Beat, September 2006), Christopher Breen writes that he wishes Apple would implement a system-restore feature in OS X, similar to the one in Windows XP. As a veteran Windows user turned Mac user, I’d like to be the first to discourage this. System Restore in Windows is a quick temporary fix at best. OS X users, don’t be jealous.

Michael Myers —Your list of features you wanted to see in Leopard missed a major one for those of us in the design field: WYSIWYG font menus. This feature was so helpful in Mac OS 9, but it disappeared in OS X. Now it seems to be available only for AppleWorks. We need to have it available for all programs.

Robert Shelton —After reading and rereading “10 Wishes for Leopard,” I have come to the following conclusions: one, if Apple implements your ten suggestions, I’d like to have a single preference pane where I can disable all ten of them; two, if these “improvements” are the best you can come up with, Apple has already created the perfect operating system; and three, there is no real need for Leopard, just a service release to fix the bugs in Tiger.

The truth about Treos

Chad de Haan —In your review of the Treo 700p, you say that it can be used as an EV-DO modem with a Mac only if you connect via Bluetooth, and that the Treo’s USB connection works only with Windows. But I’ve been able to connect my PowerBook G4 and my Intel Mac mini to my Treo via USB, using a utility called USB Modem, and it works great.

While it’s true the Treo can connect to a Mac via USB if you use a third-party utility like USB Modem, it can’t do so out of the box. That’s why we dinged it.—Jackie Dove

Backup caution

Fiedotin Arnoldo —In “Back Up Photos on the Road” ( Digital Photo, November 2006 ), you recommend considering a backup service. I would offer a word of caution. Over the years, I have subscribed to three such services. All three have gone out of business. My data was not compromised, but I’m now wary of them.

Better iTunes printing

Dan Geniton —The picture accompanying your story about printing jewel-case inserts from iTunes (“Printing from iTunes,” Playlist, September 2006 ) perfectly illustrates one of the biggest complaints about the program. As far as I can tell, you can’t edit the song or artist information you’re printing on those inserts. As a result (and as the picture showed), that information often comes out truncated. My solution: Software MacKiev’s $60 The Print Shop for Mac, which prints iTunes playlists and allows fine control over all the information you want to display.

Multiple Masters: Who cares?

Alan Sanders —I’m puzzled by Bill Troop’s enthusiasm for FontLab Studio’s support of Multiple Master fonts, because OS X essentially doesn’t support such fonts. One can use the canned instances that come with a Multiple Master font, but there is no way to create new instances—which is what Multiple Master fonts are all about—without ATM Deluxe, and ATM Deluxe runs only in OS 9. Unless I’ve missed something, you can’t manipulate Multiple Master fonts on Intel-powered Macs, which do not support Classic mode.

There are actually several ways to create new Multiple Master instances on an Intel Mac (without Classic mode or ATM). You can create custom Multiple Master instances with the $649 FontLab Studio or $349 Fontographer 4.7. You can also use FontLab’s TransType 3 font-conversion utility (SE, $87; Pro, $179). Using TransType to produce new instances is only slightly more cumbersome than using ATM to do the same thing in OS 9.—Bill Troop

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