The Next X

In a year that has been chockablock with big announcements from Apple (the MacBook and MacBook Pro, Intel versions of the iMac and the Mac mini, the Mac Pro tower, and a bunch of new iPods—and that’s just the hardware), one announcement attracted more attention than any other: Steve Jobs’s preview of OS X 10.5, also known as Leopard, at last summer’s Worldwide Developers Conference. Even though Apple says that Leopard won’t be out until spring 2007, it’s already a heated topic among Macworld readers.

Leopard spotted

Christian Beleña —Time Machine looks like a great feature in OS X 10.5 (“10 Things You Need to Know about Leopard,” October 2006), but I don’t know how good it will be for laptop users. You’ll need a dedicated internal hard drive, or an external drive, for it to work well. Since I travel constantly with my MacBook Pro, I don’t want to carry an extra hard drive.

Bill Zinn —Your item about Time Machine was interesting and makes it sound like some great Apple idea. Too bad you didn’t mention that it’s just a long overdue copy of a feature Windows users have had for years: System Restore. While Time Machine certainly seems more advanced than the Windows feature, the fact remains that it is just an improved version of a Windows program that Mac users have long been asking for.

Dario Desantes —The announcement that the next version of iCal will do group calendaring is welcome news. But I’m curious: What good is group calendaring without shared contact management? Steve Jobs didn’t mention any changes for Address Book.

It’s always possible that there will be more to the next version of Address Book than Jobs let on in his WWDC preview of Leopard. And in the meantime, check out Address Book’s Sharing preference pane.—Dan Miller

Eric Pollitt —I applaud the new Spaces feature that will appear in Leopard. But let it be known that Unix windows managers have had a Spaces-like feature since the mid-1990s.

Alan Kull —I agree that Leopard’s full 64-bit support will primarily benefit niche users. But to those users, it is a critical feature, and it may represent Apple’s best shot at getting deeper penetration into the corporate market. I agree that Apple can’t make huge inroads into the front office, which typically relies on Windows PCs. But if it can offer a 64-bit machine at a good price, it could grab a larger share of R&D and engineering departments.

Secret sharers

Ian Wallbrech —About the “Surf Smarter” section of “Your Mac’s Secrets Revealed” ( October 2006 ): I’m surprised you didn’t mention AcidSearch. It’s an essential tool for me, allowing me to search different sites from the Google search bar in Safari. It also lets me create my own search channels and keyed or typed shortcuts.

Barbara Mehlman —I like your suggestion about saving online receipts as PDFs in a Web Receipts folder. But for me, if something is in a folder, I forget it. When I purchase something online, I want the receipt on my desktop, where I can find it, until I receive the product and have decided that I’m happy with it. So I use Command-shift-4 to take a screenshot of the receipt. Works for me.

Jess Winfield —Your tip “Better iWeb Counting” recommends StatCounter as an improvement on iWeb’s rudimentary hit counter. It certainly would be an improvement if iWeb let you insert the HTML code required to implement StatCounter into your site. The inability to edit or even view HTML is one of iWeb’s biggest drawbacks. Fortunately, there are workarounds. My favorite is iWeb Enhancer ($13),which, among other things, lets you insert StatCounter code in an iWeb page. Here’s hoping Apple makes iWeb a little more flexible in its next release.

The family Mac

Ted Slawski —I think you really missed the mark when you included the Mac Pro in your list of Macs for the family (“Get Smart,” October 2006 ). The Mac Pro is clearly aimed at professional customers who need gobs of power, lots of storage space, and ECC memory. Unless your family works for the National Security Agency, the Mac Pro does not belong in that lineup.

Letha Alvis —Regarding the “Teen Hot Spots” section in your guide to family computing: I’m disappointed at what you consider safe or appropriate for teens and younger kids. I’m glad I checked out these sites before handing over the list to my 12-year-old. I was astounded at how easy it was to get from the sites you recommended to games and videos that I’d consider adult in content. Please check the content of Web sites more carefully before you label them as kid- or teen-friendly.

Of course, we did check out all the sites on our list, in consultation with the folks at Common Sense Media and WiredSafety. I’m sorry you found them inappropriate—but I applaud you for checking them out before your kid did.—Dan Miller

Geeky extensions

Kenn Marks —I’m really disappointed in the “Private Surfing” sidebar that appeared in the October 2006 Geek Factor ( Firefox Extensions for Geeks ). Configuring your Web browser to hide your identity from Web sites might be fine if you’re visiting disreputable sites. But it’s a bad practice for general browsing. The information Web sites gather about you helps them to tailor their content and marketing. For example, I use that kind of data to encourage my Web-site clients to pay more attention to Mac users.

David Nicklay —I don’t think any Top 10 list of Firefox extensions is complete without Gomita’s ScrapBook. It makes other bookmark managers and page-saving features look positively medieval.

Which camcorders?

Tracy Mallory —I’m greatly disappointed that you didn’t choose to compare apples with apples in your review of MiniDV camcorders (September 2006). Why, for instance, did you choose to review a cheap Canon camcorder (the Elura 100) alongside two of Panasonic’s more-expensive models (the PV-GS300 and PV-GS500)?

In this case, we asked the leading camcorder vendors to provide us with MiniDV camcorders that have built-in still-camera functions. Beyond that requirement, we left it up to the vendors to decide which spefific models best represented their product lines.—James Galbraith

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