When you discussed satellite as an access method ( “Kill Your Modem,” November 2000), you left out one detail that’s important to me: latency. Satellite access methods are very fast, but there’s a large time delay (compared with DSL, cable, or ISDN) when information travels to your dish from the ISP. Internet gamers call this high ping . Effectively, the information addressed to you is delayed before it reaches your dish. Once it gets there, however, you do get the full 400 Kbps. For surfing the Web and exchanging e-mail, it’s fine. But for games such as Quake or Unreal Tournament, satellite is fast enough only for losing matches. Todd Beaubien Houston, Texas
There is hope for people who can’t get cable or DSL service in their homes: it’s called wireless broadband. My ISP installed a TV antenna on my roof, similar to those used for local radio-frequency transmission of “wireless cable” television. You must have line-of-sight to one of your ISP’s antennas, but that’s the only restriction. Speed is based on what you’re willing to pay for, and there’s a setup fee that covers the needed hardware.
Aside from some start-up glitches, my service has been very good. It’s 24/7, it’s fast, and it doesn’t interfere with or even require a phone line. David S. Angal Medford, Oregon
Another high-speed alternative is IDSL, a service good for anyone outside the three-mile limit of coverage for DSL. Unfortunately, IDSL does not provide concurrent voice capability, as DSL does; it imply provides high-speed Internet access (in my area, a maximum of 144 Kbps in both directions). Also, ISDN provides an important option that was not fully explained. One copper wire pair into your home, connected to an ISDN terminal adapter (router), provides two “channels.” Each can be used as a voice line (you actually get two phone numbers) or a data/Internet line (at speeds up to 64 Kbps per channel). ISPs charge either for a single-channel (64 Kbps) or dual-channel (128 Kbps) dial-up. With dual-channel, you can make or receive phone calls while online. The system automatically drops one channel to handle the phone call, and then re-establishes the full Internet connection when you’re done with the call. Ben Levi Boulder, Colorado
IDSL is a useful alternative if your home or office is too isolated for DSL. However, you can expect to pay two to three times as much for IDSL’s drastically slower speed around (144 Kbps). ISDN’s voice features can be useful, providing you purchase equipment that utilizes them. To learn more about ISDN’s voice capabilities, see “Connect with ISDN” (October 1997).–Ed.
Despite Apple’s claims to the contrary, connecting the Cube to its external power supply, monitor, headphone adapter, speakers, keyboard, and mouse results in a morass of cables littering your desk. I’d much prefer a headless PowerBook with built-in UPS (the battery), expandability (PC card slot), infrared to talk to my Palm (without a cradle), and accessible media bays for quickly adding a Zip, DVD, CD-R, or hard drive. Then the detachable display could be clipped on for portable use.
Of course, I’m biased. I’ve used the G3 Series PowerBook as my desktop machine since it was introduced. Best of all, when I’m done computing, I close it up, slide it out of the way, and get my real desktop back. Try that with a Cube. Anthony BurokM Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
One of the cons that was listed in Macworld ‘s review of the Apple Pro Keyboard was its lack of a power key ( November 2000 ). To compensate, I created three simple AppleScripts and assigned them to function keys (F13, F14, and F15) so I could use my keyboard for sleep, restart, and shutdown commands. To boot up, I still use the power button on the front of my iMac. A template follows (you can replace sleep with restart or shut down as desired): J.S. Brooklyn, New York
Coincidentally, your November 2000 issue arrived the same morning as my (back-ordered) Apple Pro Keyboard from the Apple Store. While Franklin N. Tessler’s review was right on with respect to the short USB cable, I discovered that the box contained an extension cable (about one meter long), apparently at no extra cost. Thanks, Apple, for doing the right thing for a good “out of box” experience without even being asked! Lou Kreig Colchester, Vermont
Surely a magazine such as Macworld , with its devoted and discerning readership of graphic artists, would know better than to reverse a photo without correcting asymmetrical elements (like the Apple logo). And surely it would know better than to place such a photo on the cover (November 2000). And surely it would know better than to do it in the very issue that extols the history and wonders of Photoshop! Byron Salazar Gainesville, Florida
Surely. Unless, of course, the designer was trying to achieve a mirror-image effect with the second G4.–Ed.
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Corrections The high-definition camera system described in “Direct to Video” ( Buzz , November 2000) was developed by Sony Electronics and Panavision.