The rich sounds heard around the Macworld offices these days come courtesy of the Companion 3 multimedia speaker system, from
Bose. The analog system – a big block of a subwoofer and two garage-door-remote-size satellite speakers – simply plugs into your Mac’s audio-out jack. But what’s really music to our ears is the $249 system’s convenient control pod, which features a touch-sensitive pad for quick and easy muting, a smooth volume-control knob, and even an input jack for hooking up your iPod.
With the Mac’s 20th anniversary in full swing, now is the perfect time to brush up on your Apple history. For an overview, few resources are better than Apple Confidential, by Owen W. Linzmayer. In
Apple Confidential 2.0
($20; No Starch Press, 2004), Linzmayer has added 60 pages of new content and revised older chapters to reflect the changes that have gone on in Cupertino since the first edition’s release five years ago.
Sure, Panther’s Secure Empty Trash feature removes all traces of a file from your hard drive. But it doesn’t offer customizable configurations, fully automated operation, and other features that can put a paranoid Mac user’s mind at rest.
$60 AutoScrubber does offer all of that. It also obliterates cached files, such as print jobs, that Panther only insecurely deletes.
$10 Scenario is a preference pane that runs AppleScripts at the drop of a hat. With Scenario, the power of AppleScript increases tenfold, since you’re free to write scripts that make almost anything happen when certain events – logging in, waking from sleep, or any one of a number of examples – occur.
A Quick Look at the World of Macs
1. The iTunes Music Store celebrates its first anniversary. To mark the occasion, the RIAA went out and filed suit against half a dozen teenagers.
2. Despite critics’ concerns over the iPod mini’s $249 price, Apple reports 100,000 pre-orders for the music player. As a result, each mini will come loaded with 1GB of the sound of Apple executives gloating.
3. Rapper Eminem sues Apple over an iTunes television ad. Eminem decries the commercial as “patently inoffensive” and adds, “I’ve got a reputation to maintain.”
4. Pixar’s Finding Nemo wins a Best Animated Feature Oscar. We just hope that Steve Jobs doesn’t go all Hollywood and remains the humble, self-effacing billionaire the world knows and loves.
If you spend any time cruising through Usenet for discussion groups, files, music, and photos, you ought to take
Unison for a spin. The $25 news-reader client sports some impressive features, such as audio-file previews directly off a Usenet server, iPhoto-like thumbnail views of images, and a flexible download manager. But Unison really scores by providing what you’d expect from a Usenet news reader – quickly and via a clean, easy-to-use interface.
“It’s not that other [computers] aren’t getting used in shows – they are. But what’s happening is that Apple computers are distinctive enough that you’re recalling them.”
– Alan Gould, chief executive of Intermedia Advertising Group, explaining the ubiquity of the Mac in movies and television shows to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution