Burn, Baby, Burn
I thought your feature on DVD-RAM drives was great (“Hold Everything,” May 2000). But I wasn’t clear on one thing. The writer claims that if you’ve been using a CD-R or CD-RW drive to burn discs or make music CDs, you won’t find the mechanics of DVD-RAM so foreign.
Does this mean I can use DVD-RAM drives to make audio CDs?
Unfortunately, although DVD-RAM and CD-RW drives burn data in a similar way, you can’t burn your own music CDs with DVD-RAM drives. You can store audio on DVD-RAM discs, but only in data form?your music will not play back. Burning audio discs on the DVD-RAM media is impossible since they don’t conform to Red Book Audio encoding standards.?Kelly Lunsford
The MP3 Underbelly
What sort of fantasy world is Macworld living in? In
The Macworld Web Searcher’s Companion
(May 2000), I read that “most people are using MP3 programs just to rip their CD collections to their hard disks,” followed by a description of how struggling artists use MP3 technology to distribute their songs.
This may be Macworld’s dream of MP3 technology’s ideal use, but the reality is illegal exchange of copyrighted material.
For coverage of the darker side of MP3s, check out our story
Steal This Song
elsewhere in this issue.?Ed.
Rocket in My Pocket
I’ve used a Rocket eBook for almost six months, and I have to disagree with your review of the NuvoMedia Rocket eBook Pro (Reviews, May 2000).
The reviewer’s main objections were to the Rocket eBook’s weight and its “bottom-heavy” curved shape. But it weighs about the same as a regular hardcover book, and I have no problem holding it, even with my tiny hands. My mom, who has arthritis, doesn’t either, and she certainly enjoys the nicely lighted screen and the larger fonts.
If the reviewer had experimented a bit longer than two hours or read the directions, he would have discovered that the Rocket eBook can rotate to suit the reader, so that the heavy bottom actually resembles the spine of a hardcover, fitting the reader’s hand just like a book. If the Rocket eBook were completely flat, as the reviewer would seem to prefer, the reading experience would be more like reading a tablet than a real book. I would find that tiring.
The inflated price of electronic books is a problem if you just want electronic reprints from traditional publishers, but there are other options. Companies that publish only to electronic formats offer good, reasonably priced e-books that don’t fit the neat niches of paper publishing. Free books in the public domain are another option.
The Rocket eBook Pro’s $269 price tag seems like quite a fee for a device designed to display electronic books. For years now, I have been able to carry around several electronic novels on my Palm III. With any Palm OS-based handheld and third-party shareware, you can have a Palm and an e-book in one device. Compared to loading novels on a PDA or just buying a paperback, the Rocket eBook seems like a bulkier, more expensive way to catch up on reading.
Wrong Turn in GPS Review
I look forward to reading your reviews each month to help me make educated buying decisions. But after reading your review of the DeLorme Earthmate GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver (Reviews, May 2000), I will take reviews in your magazine with a grain of salt.
It appears to me that Macworld sent Ben Long out into the streets of San Francisco to try this product without much knowledge about the needs of people who spend a good part of their lives on the road. I have used a GPS receiver with Street Atlas 6.0, and it is a good product that gets a bad rap from this reviewer.
Long’s comment that receivers can be off by as much as a city block shows his lack of experience on the road. If this system can get me within a block of my desired destination in a strange city, that will more than please me. As it is, on many occasions I have found that Street Atlas 6.0 put me right in front of the address?not a block away.
Long’s suggestion that users invest in a good road atlas again shows his lack of experience. A road atlas will not tell you which way to turn at the next intersection or, for that matter, in which direction you are actually traveling. And it is much easier to drive while following the arrow on the Street Atlas window than it is to drive while tracing your progress on a map or atlas.
At my place of work, I am forced to use Lotus Notes, and I’ve used both versions 4.6 and 5 on the Mac (see Reviews, May 2000, for a review of version 5). I’d rather rely on a tin can and string.
But this brings up one benefit of the Notes client. I once read a posting on some software developer site about an application that would deliberately attempt to crash other programs. Developers used it as a tool for making applications more bomb-resistant. This, I believe, is one of Notes’ more significant features: if another application can run while Notes is running, you can categorize it as bomb-proof.
Stand Up and Be Counted
Thank you for your article discussing all the recent good news?and bad news?for Mac gamers (“Careful What You Wish For,” The Game Room, May 2000). Like many iMac owners, I also own a PC. I buy Mac-PC games whenever possible, particularly since the dual-platform version is often cheaper than the Mac-only version.
I do think sales of Mac games are somewhat underreported. Stores invariably ring up combination Mac-PC games as PC sales. When I fill out the registration card, often it doesn’t ask whether I’m using a Mac or a PC. These sales thus look to all the world like PC sales?despite the fact that I’m actually playing the game on my iMac.
To Partition or Not to Partition
My new G4 has a whopping 27GB hard disk, and I presumed that partitioning was a good idea. I rang Apple to ask for advice on how many partitions to make. To my surprise, the company said this wasn’t necessary. I know the size of blocks is no longer a problem with the new method of formatting. However, I thought dividing up the disk would speed performance. Everyone I ask tells me something different. Can you help?
A partitioned drive may run slightly faster because the file directory is smaller, but you’d scarcely detect this difference on modern drives.?Ed.
Our office was considering the purchase of a digital video camera. Your April 2000 issue arrived in the mailbox just in time to help us make up our minds (
Camcorder Casting Call
). The Sony DCR-TRV10 was our final choice?partly due to the fact that you made it an Editors’ Choice.
Imagine our dismay when we discovered that the memory stick reader that ships with the DCR-TRV10 will only interface with a serial port and Windows software. Your reviewer mentioned that the memory stick needs a special reader. He did not mention that the shipped version is not Macintosh-compatible.
Sony would not exchange the serial device for a new USB reader or a PCMCIA reader for my PowerBook. But the company did finally sell us those items at a discount.
Macworld should have caught and mentioned this problem.
Sony now sells the MS AC-US1 Memory Stick USB reader for about $70.?Ed.
You’re the Top, Mr. Pogue!
I know you can’t answer all your mail. Just take note somewhere that whatever you’re paying David Pogue can’t possibly be enough. I had a bad case of Mac sickness this morning, but his latest column healed me (“Secrets of the Software License Agreement,” The Desktop Critic, May 2000). I’m sending him love telepathically.
I just read your article on license agreements and how nobody reads them. Well, Apple has issued one for attendees of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2000. Here is a little tidbit: “You also agree that you will not use these products for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, the development, design, manufacture or production of nuclear missiles, or chemical or biological weapons.”
Curses, I was really hoping to design something special with OS X. There goes my life’s purpose.
Letters should be sent to Letters, Macworld, 301 Howard St., 16th Fl., San Francisco, CA 94105; via fax, 415/442-0766; or electronically, to letters @ macworld.com. Include a return address and daytime phone number. Due to the high volume of mail received, we can’t respond personally to each letter. We reserve the right to edit all letters. All published letters become the property of Macworld.
The review of Details 3.0.1 (Reviews, May 2000) referred to AEC’s project-management software as SureTrack. The correct name of the program is FastTrack Schedule. Primavera Systems produces SureTrack.