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Looking back on the future

Flash memory, as described in “What’s Next” ( January 2007 ), is old hat. I still regularly use three HP handhelds—a 100LX, a 200LX, and a Jornada—each of which relies on flash memory for storage. The HP Omnibook 300—the big brother of those handhelds—was about the size of a large paperback, yet it featured Windows, Lotus 1-2-3, Quicken, cc:Mail, and a database program in ROM; one version of the Omnibook used flash PC Cards for storage.— Lawrence Zeitlin

In your ongoing coverage of Parallels Desktop for Mac, you neglect to mention one of its disadvantages when compared with Boot Camp: running two operating systems at the same time means splitting your system resources between them. If you run Windows XP in Parallels on a MacBook with the standard 512MB of RAM, each OS gets a measly 256MB, which isn’t enough. With Boot Camp, you get a fully capable Mac or a fully capable PC; I think that’s worth the few extra minutes it takes to reboot.— Mike Szekely

Upgraded Apple Cinema Displays should have been on your list of technology trends for 2007. Once Apple introduces HD optical drives to the Mac (as you predicted in the article), the company will have to upgrade its displays as well, so that they can display movies encrypted with HDCP (High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection).— Scott Cromwell

I can’t believe you didn’t spread the content of your January issue over the space of two or more months. I don’t know if it really contained that much more information than usual, or if I just felt inclined to read it cover to cover. I’m not saying past issues have been bad, but I usually skip over a lot of the content because it doesn’t pertain to or interest me. This issue was different. It covered a lot of different technologies, the direction in which they’re likely going, and how they affect me, a Mac user. Phenomenal.— Bryce D. Berg

Input on input devices

I’m disappointed that you neglected to include keyboards with built-in trackballs, touchpads, or touch-sensitive cursor pads in your roundup of input devices (“Mac Keyboards and Mice at Your Fingertips,” Reviews, January 2007 ). I know of at least six models, including the Belkin MediaPilot and several by Adesso. Having the keyboard and mouse together in one unit has many advantages. For one thing, you can use the keyboard on your lap without needing a desk. In our living room, we have a Mac mini connected to a rear-projection TV. With the keyboard in our laps, we can edit iMovies, check our e-mail, and so on from across the room. With the push for making computers multimedia living-room appliances, building the mouse into the keyboard is a better idea than ever.— Benjamin Miller

We’ve covered a few combo keyboards. But in my experience, keyboards with integrated pointing devices tend not to be good at either job: the combined devices are generally lower-quality than individual components would be. Unless you really need an all-in-one product—say, for living-room com-puting—you’re generally better off with a separate keyboard and a mouse or trackball.—Dan Frakes

Reading your review of keyboards and mice, I had the same visceral reaction I get when I read about Macs in the PC press. I am a lefty who refuses to use a right-handed mouse. As I read your otherwise excellent article, I looked carefully to find out whether these mice work left-handed. I found just one reference to the issue in the entire story. I know that only 10 percent or so of us are left-handed, but I chafe at being ignored. In my book, any pointing device that’s available only in a right-handed model should have that shortcoming listed among its cons.— C.N. Ashley

You make a good point. We should have spent more time on the lefty issue. The original draft of the story had a sidebar on that topic, but we had to cut it for space reasons; it survived online.—Jackie Dove

I can’t be the only Mac user who does not use a numeric keypad. And I can’t be the only one who prizes desk space. So why do none of the keyboards reviewed in your article give up that keypad in exchange for compactness? True, the Key Ovation Goldtouch Apple Compatible Keyboard omits the numeric keypad, but its unconventional design puts it in a category of its own. I still use a Datadesk TrackBoard, which replaces the numeric pad with a smaller-footprint trackball. It’s a great solution, but the company has been painfully slow in revising the product for compatibility with new versions of OS X.— Terry Dunham

Your review of the Logitech Cordless Desktop S 530 Laser for Mac missed one critical factor: the Logitech Control Center (LCC) software is compatible only with OS X 10.2.8 through 10.4.7. It doesn’t work with 10.4.8, which renders the LCC unusable if you have that OS.— Tony Cervo

I wrote that review before the release of OS X 10.4.8, and other than the laptop issue mentioned in the review, I had no problems with the S 530 in 10.4.7. In late December, Logitech released a new version of LCC that the company claims is compatible with 10.4.8.—Dan Frakes

Who wants their Apple TV?

After reading your article about the coming Apple TV (“iTV FAQs,” Mac Beat, December 2006), I have one question: Why in the world would I want one of these things? I’m not averse to new technology—I own both a MacBook Pro and an iPod—and I’d like to think this new product could be of some benefit to Mac users. But I just don’t see how it can be.— Via the Internet

Harshing on the lamers

Your article about the iPod’s fifth birthday (“Live at Five,” Mac Beat, January 2007) made my day, particularly the quotes regarding the original iPod. My personal favorite: “No wireless. Less space than a Nomad. Lame.” As a high-school student who has been brought up in a Mac-only family and who thinks the only thing cooler than my pink mini is my sister’s iPod video, I wonder what that person thinks of the iPod now.— Katie Greene

Park your widget

In his reply to the question about putting Dashboard widgets on the desktop ( Mac 911, January 2007 ), I can’t believe Christopher Breen failed to mention this simpler way: activate Dashboard, click on the plus-sign (+) icon to reveal the widget bar, hold down the 1 key, and drag any widget off the bar. While still holding down the 1 key, press your Dashboard hot key again to close Dashboard. You can then drop your widget anywhere on the desktop.— Dave Silvan

Several readers suggested this technique. I specifically didn’t mention it because it doesn’t really put the widget on your desktop. Rather, the widget will float above your other applications and above the desktop until you next invoke Dashboard, when it returns to its widgety home. If you truly want the widget on the desktop, you need to use the method I described.—Christopher Breen

Restoring Windows

Regarding the letter about Time Machine ( Feedback, January 2007 ), Windows has indeed had a System Restore feature for years. But I never considered it a serious tool for system repair. I worked in Windows tech support for three and a half years. More often than not, some random malware crippled System Restore, and it didn’t work when I needed it most. If it did happen to work, I would often find that it resurrected previously defeated spyware and such. Hopefully, these problems won’t plague our Macs.— Justin Memmott

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