Weekly Wrap: Firmware updates, Thunderbolt gadgets, iCal gripes, and more

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It’s been another busy week here at Macworld, and not just because of a steadily escalating prank war between editors Philip Michaels and Dan Miller. We’ve covered interesting iOS and Mac apps; Lion tricks and issues; accessories; Windows 8; and plenty more. In case you missed any of the good stuff this past week, here’s a roundup of our biggest and best stories (in easily-digestible list format!) to bring you up to Thunderbolt speed.

  1. How to make Lion’s iCal less annoying In both article and podcast form, senior contributor Kirk McElhearn complains that iCal in Lion feels dated. Well, that’s not quite his complaint, but “dated” fits well with iCal, so it was worth a shot. In reality, his complaints are focused on its interface and usability—and he provides tips on how to make things better. And so, Lion iCal users, you have a date with destiny! Or Kirk’s article. Either/or.

  2. Windows 8, iOS, and the future Editorial director Jason Snell takes a look at the recent excitement over Windows 8. He’s not exactly out to crash the Windows 8 party—probably because Windows can always handle crashing on its own—more to point out that Microsoft’s approach with Windows 8 is decidedly different from Apple’s with Lion and iOS. But at least we can all agree on one thing: RIM’s PlayBook still stinks.

  3. Thunderbolt strikes at 2011 Intel Developer Forum Senior editor Roman Loyola reports on a long-awaited slew of Thunderbolt-compatible accessories. Meanwhile, Roman has yet to report on his forthcoming concept album, also titled Long-Awaited Slew.

  4. As we do every week, we covered numerous iOS apps. Among them:

    • Early Bird for iOS—a fun game where the birds’ focus is on punctuality, and not vitriol

    • Posterous—we now refer to the era before this iOS app was available as pre-Posterous

    • Pear Note—a pear, on an Apple device… the mind reels

    • NFL Rivals—strike while the gridiron is hot

    • Saver—we spared no expense in reviewing this app that tracks your, well, you know

  5. MacBook Air firmware update fixes Thunderbolt issues And Apple wasn’t content to rest on its firmware-updating laurels, either; it quickly released firmware updates for Mac minis and MacBook Pros, too. We love these updates so much, we’re thinking of starting a new line of clothing called Firmwear.

  6. Jobs’s resignation won’t stop people from buying Apple products Surprisingly, this study wasn’t published by The Research Group That Asks Questions With Rather Obvious Answers, but rather ChangeWave Research. Apparently, people buy great products regardless of who sits in the CEO’s office. Well, unless two people sit in that office.

  7. Review: Rugged iPhone 4 cases Face it: If you’re holding your iPhone 4 in hand when Apple finally unveils the iPhone 5, you’re liable to hurl your suddenly detestable older phone to the ground in frustration and disgust. To protect your long-beloved 4 from your 5-lust, consider cladding it in one of these iPhone shock absorbers.

  8. Cloud-based image library backup Before digital photos, backing up your pictures meant making sure you grabbed your photo albums if your basement started flooding. Thus, where clouds used to threaten your family portraits, they now can protect them instead.

  9. Filter Google news Senior editor Chris Breen discovered that he could customize which sources Google pulled from to assemble his headlines. Given his luscious locks, one can only assume that he now sees a lot more stories from the Vidal Sassoon newsletter.

  10. Quick Reads in iBookstore Apple launched a new section of the iBookstore, seemingly inspired by Kindle Singles. Quick Reads offers shorter, cheaper items to read in iBooks—the perfect size for reading in between turns in Words With Friends.

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