When Steve Jobs said that Apple would convert its entire line of computers to Intel chips by the end of 2006, he wasn’t kidding. The past year has seen a flood of new Intel-based systems. These unremitting waves of new machines have overwhelmed some Mac stalwarts accustomed to waiting years between generations of PowerPCs. Our advice: Don’t sweat it. So what if the Mac you bought a month ago is no longer the latest and greatest? As long as it runs your software, it’s still a positive move.
Za Gentle —The Mac Pro is indeed a fast, exhilarating machine (“Inside the Mac Pro,” November 2006 )—to me, by far the best Mac ever. But for those of us who use third-party plug-ins for Apple’s Logic Pro or Pro Tools or for other professional applications, the Mac Pro presents a problem: Those plug-ins don’t yet run on Intel-based Macs. The plug-in vendors say they are working fast to come up with Universal versions for the new Macs, but most are behind schedule; several companies have failed to deliver announced updates. Please let your readers know that the speedy new Macs won’t get much done if Universal versions of their favorite plug-ins aren’t available.
Aaron Wolske —About your ongoing coverage of Intel Macs: We went six years with only three generations of PowerPC chips (not counting clock-speed increases). Now, barely a year into the Intel transition, we’ve already seen three new chips (the Core Solo, the Core Duo, and the Core 2 Duo). The former stability of the Mac platform ensured that our software would remain usable for extended periods of time. Has that era of stability ended?
Jake Purches —One of the reasons I liked PowerPCs was that Macs didn’t change all the time. Now, two weeks after you shell out your money for the latest machine, you find that it’s been superseded by something newer. It’s depressing. I deliberately bought the last, most powerful Power Mac, the G5 Quad, because I run a lot of apps that are built for the PowerPC or even for OS 9. I can’t do what I need to do on an Intel Mac. This quick progress isn’t necessarily a good thing for Mac users, even though it may be great for retailers.
Take them with you
Ian Wells —I have a suggestion for a follow-up to your article about portable applications (“Your Apps in Your Pocket,” Mobile Mac, November 2006 ): I run two Macs at work and two at home (a desktop and a portable at each location). I try to keep the same versions of Mac OS X and my applications on all of them. To do this, I currently synchronize my Home folders and sections of my Library folders between each desktop-portable pair of Macs. Now I’m trying to figure out how to take that one step further, by keeping working copies of the supporting files for Safari, Address Book, and Mail on a USB drive, accessible from any of my systems to which it is attached.
We may have a solution for you. Check here for a way to take that next step.—Dan Miller
By the books
Robert Summers —I enjoyed your article “Beyond Apple’s Photo Books” ( Digital Photo, December 2006 ). But please note that you cannot upload a Pages-created PDF file to Lulu; it will be automatically rejected. This has been a problem for a long time, and there’s no resolution in sight. You can find the details on the Pages forum and the discussion forum. I’ve published two books on Lulu. I wrote both using Pages, and then used Pages’ Export To Word feature to create a .doc file. After touching up those files in Word to get the same look I had in Pages, I created PDFs from Word and uploaded those to Lulu, which accepted them without a problem.
Tony Triolo —In your December 2006 Digital Photo column, you explained how to create a photo book without iPhoto and Aperture. You cited two online services in particular—Blurb and Lulu—but failed to mention the latest offerings from Shutterfly and AsukaBook. Shutterfly’s recent improvements make it the easiest, most intuitive, and most flexible service out there. For people who will accept only the best, AsukaBook is hard to beat. Its books are on a par with the slickest coffee-table books, complete with dust jackets, presentation boxes, and spine printing. One caveat, however: You have to be a professional photographer to use AsukaBook.
I spot the serif
Lee Graves —About the letter from Michael Myers ( Feedback, December 2006 ): I, too, miss the WYSIWYG fonts we had in OS 9. I haven’t the time to open Tiger’s font window to see what each font will look like. Please, Apple, just list type in WYSIWYG style.
Jeff Mao —I want to respond to Michael Myers’s wish for a WYSIWYG font menu in OS X. Many people may not realize that in applications that use the Font palette (Command-T), you can expand that palette to display the actual font. Above the Style pull-down palette is a dot. Drag that dot down to open the font-display area. Select a font, and you can see how it looks. This isn’t the same as a WYSIWYG font menu, but I actually like it better, because it allows you to create your own collections of type styles visible in all applications that use the Font palette.
Getting in gear
John Doyle —In “ Macworld’ s Gear Guide” ( December 2006 ), you mentioned the JBL Go + Play and provided a link to the JBL Web site. But when I went to that site, I couldn’t find that product. Is there somewhere else I should try?
The Go + Play was originally scheduled to be available by the time that story was published. But according to JBL, the product has been delayed. We’re sorry for the confusion.—Dan Frakes
Bill Gallagher —In response to your December 2006 story, “Take Your LPs for a Spin,” you don’t really need a “battery of equipment” to digitize your records. If you already have a turntable, the stereo equipment, and a computer, all you need is the Griffin iMic, which costs less than $40. The iMic plugs into your stereo with audio jacks and into your computer using the USB port. You import each song with GarageBand, then export to iTunes. No problem!
Alessandro Pedicelli —Regarding your tip “Use Screen-Saver Images as Desktop Pictures” ( Mac OS X Hints, December 2006 ): I thought this tip sounded really cool and tried it myself, but I encountered a problem. The first step is to find the screen-saver files. You said to go to the /System/Library/Screen Savers folder. When I opened that folder, it was empty. I tried this process on both my Intel iMac and my G4 tower, and both times encountered the same problem. Was I doing something wrong?
More than likely, you were looking in the Library folder in your Home directory or in the /Library folder, but not in the /System/Library folder. I guarantee that that folder isn’t empty.—Rob Griffiths