Tag Archives: OSX

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Rogers Video no more, time to get an Apple TV device


The 2nd generation Apple TV ‪中文(繁體)‬: 第二代 Ap...

The 2nd generation Apple TV (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rogers Video no more, time to get an Apple TV device

Are you looking to rent a movie? Apple TV makes the process simple and easy. You also get access to a host of other bonus features. With Rogers Video officially putting an end to their video stores it’s now time for you to consider alternatives. Devices like an ATV can help to mitigate the transition. Straight from Apple’s website “The new Apple TV with 1080p HD gives you access to the best content — blockbuster movies, TV shows, sports, your music and photos and more — right on your widescreen TV. You can even play content from your iOS devices on your TV using AirPlay. Best of all, Apple TV is just $109″. It connects to Netflix, Vimeo, YouTube, WSJ and other services. I’ve had it for 2+ years and have no complaints.

Apple Leopard OSX: Perfecting Perfection


Infoworld gives OS 10.5 a glowing review. No one is unhappy with Mac OS X Version 10.4, known as Tiger. OS X is not an application platform (I bristle at using the term “operating system” for OS X; I explain why below) that needed repair, speeding up, or exterior renovation. Motivations for major upgrades of competing system software — roll-ups of an unmanageable number of fixes, because the calendar says it’s time, or because users are perceived to have version fatigue — don’t apply to OS X. Apple wields no whip to force upgrades because Tiger stands no risk of being neglected by Apple or third-party developers as long as Leopard lives. Despite the absence of a stick that drives users into upgrades of competing OSes, or perhaps because of it, Apple enjoys an extraordinary rate of voluntary OS X upgrades among desktop and notebook users. Why? People buy Macs because the platform as a whole is perfect, full stop. Leopard is a rung above perfection. It’s taken as rote that the Mac blows away PC users’ expectations. Leopard blows away Mac users’ expectations, and that’s saying a great deal.

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OSX Tiger vs. Vista vs. Ubuntu Security: a 15 Point Report Card


When shopping for a new computer, your mind is probably spinning with considerations: price, reliability, speed, software capabilities, security, and other specs. Perhaps the hardest part is choosing an operating system on which everything will run. To get a good idea of what capabilities Apple’s OSX Tiger/Leopard, Windows Vista, and Ubuntu Linux have to offer, check out our 15 point report card that compares the levels of protection you’ll get with each of them.

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Apple should start offering Windows-based Macs


Here’s a question that I received from yesterday’s mail bag:

Apple should start offering Windows-based Macs

Apple’s a lot easier to understand when you stop looking at it as a religion and instead see it for what it is – a multi-billion dollar consumer electronics company
Now, I have checked and I’m pretty sure that this email isn’t from Steve Jobs, but it’s an interesting question nonetheless.  Apple is, without a doubt, a successful company and is returning strong data quarter after quarter.  For years, the darling for investors was the iPod, the first of Apple’s products to hit critical mass and make it big (some might say that it was the first piece of branded consumer electronics to go critical mass, but personally I wouldn’t take it that far).  Now it seems that Apple has managed to put the Macs under the iPod’s halo and dramatically improved desktop and notebook sales.  Sales are strong, but you have to put this into perspective.  CNET’s Tom Krazit does a good job of crunching the numbers:

The numbers seem simple: Apple has sold more than 120 million iPods to date, and Mac shipments are growing much faster than the overall market.

But Hewlett-Packard’s worldwide shipments are growing twice as fast as the overall market. Acer’s worldwide shipments are growing at nearly four times the overall market. Even in the U.S., where Apple does the majority of its business and is the third-leading PC vendor, everyone but Dell is growing much faster than the overall market. HP might have a brand name in printers, but nobody, even HP, has a consumer product with nearly the cachet of the iPod.

But like Krazit, I’m not so convinced that there’s a correlation between iPod sales and Mac sales:

But I’m not convinced that you can draw a direct line between iPods and Macs. Are you more likely to buy an HP PC because you own (and like) your HP printer? Are you more likely to buy a Sony television because you’ve spent thousands of quality hours with your PlayStation 2? Maybe, maybe not.

OK, but let’s get back to the original question – What could/should Apple do to take sales and profits to the next level?  Simple.  Release an Apple branded Windows-based PC.  I know, I know, this kind of talk is bound to upset the hardened Apple fanatic, but it makes perfect sense.  One of the things that’s undoubtedly helped boost Mac sales is Boot Camp.  Now there’s no punishment for switching platforms because you can take your old platform with you, but just as some people got tired of paying the Microsoft tax when they wanted a PC to run Linux on it, people who want Apple hardware in order to run Windows on it will eventually see the Mac OS as an Apple tax.  Why doesn’t Jobs and the crew at Cupertino just skip that whole Apple tax step and offer customers a choice of operating systems.  Since Windows is the dominant OS at present, that’s a good place to start, but if Apple really wants to offer the customer real choice, Linux would also be great.

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OK, I admit it, Leopard has more “Wow!” than Vista … in theory anyway


OK, I admit it, Leopard has more “Wow!” than Vista … in theory anyway…

Now that I’ve given in and decided that the PC Doc HQ is to get at least one Mac (what exactly I’m going to do with it remains a mystery, but that’s not the point) I’ve been spending some time checking out what new features I can expect from Leopard. Apple has conveniently listed 300+ new Mac OS X Leopard features on a single page, and I have to say, Leopard sounds compelling … in theory anyway.

OK, I admit it, Leopard has more “Wow!” than Vista … in theory anyway. Browsing through the 300+ new feature (well, OK, let’s first admit that “new features” is marketing hyperbole, some of the features have just been re-tweaked and modified a little) I have to admit that I went “Wow!” more than once. In fact, I might as well come clean and admit that Leopard looks like it beats Vista in the “Wow!” department.

In case you missed that, let me repeat it again:

“Leopard looks like it beats Vista in the “Wow!” department.”

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It’s official: Apple to Ship Mac OS X Leopard on October 26


Apple confirmed that Mac OS X Leopard will go on sale Friday, October 26 at 6:00 p.m. at Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers, and that Apple’s online store is now accepting pre-orders for the software. Apple posted a splashy update on their Web site this morning to announce that the next major upgrade to the operating system–Mac OS 10.5 (a.k.a. “Leopard“)–will be released on Friday 26 October 2007.Apple is taking pre-orders for the US$129 upgrade (US$199 family pack) with free shipping for delivery on 26 October.

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Why Windows users don’t switch to Mac


Over on Apple Matters I came across an interesting post by Steven Leigh which considers 8 reasons why Windows users don’t switch to Mac.  Leigh is a recent Mac switcher and he has an interesting insight into the issues surrounding making a switch, but I think that there are several areas where he misses the mark.

The first reason he give is ignorance.

Ignorance is merely a lack of knowledge, and when it comes to Macs, most Windows users, myself included, are extremely uninformed.

There are move Windows PCs out there than Macs.  Period.  That’s the main reason why Windows users are ignorance of the Mac platform.  Sure, you can drop by an Apple store and take any Mac you want for a spin, but that’s not the same as seeing it in action.

Leigh goes on to say:

Macs are so much easier to use; many beginners find it easier to do most tasks intuitively, without having to be taught or open a manual. As someone who has spent long hours teaching family and friends how to do simple tasks like email attachments, I can you tell that the same cannot be said about Windows.

I have to disagree with him on this point.  Having had the opportunity to use a Mac for an extended period I can honestly say that while some aspects of the Mac OS are easier than Windows, overall claiming that the platform is somehow intuitive and there’s no learning curve is disingenuous.  It all depends what you do and how you use the system.

Another reason that Leigh gives for Windows users not switching is price. 

The perception by Windows users is that Macs are more expensive than Windows PCs. This may have been true in the past, but the new Macs are very comparably priced to similarly equipped PCs.

True in part, but show me the $500 Apple system.  I can show you plenty of decent $500 PCs.  For the budget conscious buyer, it’s not what you get that matters, it’s the price that they end up paying.

What about the lies …

Let’s face it: Apple tends to bend the truth once in a while, especially about Microsoft and Windows.

Oh yeah …

One of the “Get a Mac” ads states that Windows is for spreadsheets and pie-charts, while Macs are for “fun stuff” like photos, movies, etc. To Mac users, this seems both funny and true. Windows users, however, are thinking of the aisles and aisles of games that are available for Windows, while there is a half-shelf devoted to games for the Mac. I don’t know about you, but I can only have so much fun playing with photos. Things like this just sound like lies, and they sometimes present Apple as a company that has to lie about its competitors to get business.

This is probably one of the most blatant lies that Apple marketing has come out with in recent years.  A lot of the time I feel that Apple is selling to existing customers who buy into the bias and FUD rather than trying to encourage more Windows users to switch.  Lies create mistrust.

The Windows bashing doesn’t help either …

I remember watching the 20 or 30 minute Vista-bashing session at the WWDC conference and wondering why Steve Jobs is so insecure that he has to berate the opposition. Can you imagine shopping for a car and having the salesman only talk about what’s wrong with the competition’s cars?

Again, Jobs is preaching to the converted and fanning the flames of zealotry.  The best people in industry are capable of turning a critical eye inwards towards their own goods and services and are constantly looking at ways to improve the customer’s experience (notice how I said customer, not consumer, there’s an important difference and a lot of companies have forgotten that).  This constant “best iPod we’ve ever made” and “best phone we’ve ever made” is all hyperbole and given the recent number of backlashes we’ve seen against Apple, I’m guessing that the customer base has grown too big for the reality distortion field.

Leigh has some interesting views on Vista too:

I’m going to let you in on a dirty little secret, but you need to sit down first. Windows Vista is actually a good operating system! There. I said it. The ugly truth is that Vista is the best operating system Microsoft has ever released, and for many users, it is good enough.

It might get to that point, but I don’t think that it’s there yet.

The final and perhaps most controversial reason why more people don’t switch from Windows that Leigh gives are Mac users themselves:

Okay, I’m not talking about you or me here, but there are some Mac users out there who have just a little too much love for Apple. When they are shouting (or typing in all caps) about how much better Macs are, they’re not convincing anyone to switch, they are scaring them away.

I’ve been saying that for years, and every time I say it I get more than my fair share of ALL CAPS responses.  I’ve just come to the conclusion that either Apple’s keyboards are sub-standard and break so are only capable of issuing capital letters, or that some Mac users have simply pressed the caps lock key by accident once and don’t know how to turn it off again.

Even well-intentioned Mac users can sometimes get a little carried away. I’ve had many friends lecture me for hours on end that I was stupid not to switch, and all it did was push me further away.

Most people looking to buy a new computer want a tool, not a religion.

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The Ubuntu coming out party! But where is the marketing and advertising effort from Dell and others?


The final release of Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) will be released shortly and Dell has indicated that it will be pre-installed on some of their Notebooks and Desktop PCs. It will include GNOME 2.20 and the default installation of NTFS-3G, which provides read/write access to Windows (NTFS) partitions. Also included is Compiz Fusion, the 3-D window manager and desktop effects package. Improved plug and play printer support and a host of other features. However the story of success does not rest in the fact that Dell is offering its support to Ubuntu. The big question is the marketing and advertising of Ubuntu Linux. As far as I am concerned Ubuntu is still the best Linux distro available, for the commoners. However, why is there so little advertising of Linux? Is there a reason why Dell is not fully backing Linux? Ubuntu has a chance on becoming a big player for Linux enthusiasts and possibly people who want a PC, but for online and basic home PC usage. But, the progress will continue to be a slow one, as long as no particular hardware vendors helps in marketing the product, in the same way Microsoft Windows is pushed. I sense that Dell does not want to fully upset the Microsoft behemoth. Dell is now offering XP as a downgrade (of upgrade – depending on how you see it), for users that do not want Vista. Vista has experienced extremely bad press, along with a host of problems. The question is since Microsoft is not coming out with a new OS anytime soon; why not help push the Ubuntu Linux cause? Is there more at play than we know? Dell may simply be riding the Linux wave for free, while not helping (spending too much) to promote Ubuntu, at the expense of XP. Also, Linux is still not mainstream in the public eye. At a recent event the subject of Microsoft Vista was brought up. These are not “technically inclined” individuals; however they ALL had nothing good to say about Vista. Many said that they would buy a Mac. Some said “a Mac is hard to use” (did not get that one). However at the price, they could probably purchase 2-4 basic low-end PCs, with Microsoft XP. Only a few knew about Linux, however they said that “it was for nerds and programmers”. Well at least they knew something about it! A little education brought them up to speed, however more work needs to be done. While HP, Acer and others are contemplating Linux ventures, Dell has an opportunity, with its marketing knowhow, to boost the general profile of Linux. I hope Dell jumps on the opportunity, which should help to change the technical landscape for years to come.

 

Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

 

KDE’s Windows weapon KOffice 2.0 – Cross platform KOffice to challenge OpenOffice.org


While the industry is distracted by the ongoing tussle between Microsoft and OpenOffice.org over document formats, the KDE project is quietly preparing the next generation of its own office suite, KOffice, for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X.

KOffice 2.0, to be released sometime in the first half of 2008, will be cross platform like many other applications in the KDE suite built with the Qt4 GUI toolkit.

Spokesperson for the KDE project Sebastian Kugler told Computerworld there is a community building around KDE on Windows and KDE e.V., the non-profit organization that represents KDE financially and legally, sponsored a meeting to help people get the port to Windows going.

“The by-product [of Qt4] really is that it became possible, now people are taking advantage of it,” Kugler said.

That said, Kugler admits KDE on Windows is “not really a steered effort” but is being done because there is interest in having KDE software run on Windows, and because KDE was developed to be platform-independent in the first place, it is possible.

People involved in the Linux and open source communities have often expressed conflicting views on whether free software on Windows benefits, or detracts from, the adoption of free operating systems, particularly on the desktop.

Kugler believes it is “hard to say” one way or another if KOffice 2.0 on Windows and Mac OS X will benefit KDE on Linux.

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Dell Preps for Next Linux Desktop Release – Gutsy Gibbon (aka Ubuntu 7.10)


A major desktop Linux upgrade is set to be released on October 18. Michael Dell is expected to personally use it. And the PC giant will pre-load it on selected desktops and notebooks. Buzz about this next Linux release — dubbed Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon — is growing across the web. But what exactly does Gutsy Gibbon (aka Ubuntu 7.10) offer to desktop customers and solutions providers? Here’s a look.

Canonical (the company that develops Ubuntu) has outlined a long-term road map for the operating system. During the UbuntuLive conference back in July, Canonical CTO Matt Zimmerman said Ubuntu 7.10 would feature several core enhancements for desktop and server users. On the desktop, 7.10 will support:

* a 3D interface out of the box
* multi-monitor configuration
* laptop power profiling
* more details still to come

On the server, 7.10 will offer:

* Turn-key web administration
* One-step server recipes
* Proactive security with AppArmor, an increasingly popular open source security option
* “desktop” type simplicity

So, what does that mean to Ubuntu resellers and customers? Quite a lot. Ubuntu moved from niche status into the spotlight when Michael Dell himself began running the operating system. And when Dell announced selected PCs with Ubuntu preloaded a few months ago, even The VAR Guy decided to open his wallet for one of the systems.

If Ubuntu 7.1o continues that positive buzz, it could help desktop Linux to gradually become a mainstream operating system. But don’t expect that to happen overnight. In an exclusive TechIQ interview with Dell’s Linux gurus last month, the company indicated that it would take a slow-and-steady approach to Ubuntu. Translation: Don’t expect Dell to throw marketing dollars at Ubuntu PCs just yet.

The VAR Guy doesn’t expect that to happen for at least another year because Dell doesn’t want to over promise and under deliver to frustrated Windows users and small business owners who are seeking alternatives.

In the meantime, the countdown to Ubuntu 7.10 continues. And the buzz surrounding Ubuntu 7.1 will only grow louder as the upgrade’s October 18 launch date approaches.

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Mac-mini turns Nano in late October?


Mac OS Rumors reports that they’ve heard that as of October’s end, the mini is dead– long live something new called the Mac Nano. Supposedly, the new low-end Mac will be even smaller than a mini (just tall enough to fit a hard drive in), and the enclosure will have a completely new design. I’ve had this plan ever since the mini almost died earlier this year, and I’m sticking to it: as soon as I can buy a Mac mini with Leopard on it, I’ll do so. And no one’s going to stop me– except maybe Jobs himself. Mac OS Rumors reports that they’ve heard that as of October’s end, the mini is dead– long live something new called the Mac Nano. Supposedly, the new low-end Mac will be even smaller than a mini (just tall enough to fit a hard drive in), and the enclosure will have a completely new design.

Intriguing idea indeed, even if it isn’t quite new– the Nano name has been floating around for a while. There are four other products sliding out of the rumor mill as well– AppleTV is rumored to get an update (and a hard drive), and supposedly we’ll see a MacBook Nano as well, the long-rumored ultraportable that Apple is supposedly working on– a.k.a. Rumor #3.

The future of Mac, or wishful thinking? At this point, we have no indication– Mac OS Rumors is no 9-to-5 Mac (ouch, but they deserve it, don’t they?), but they are called “Rumors” for a reason. Either way, I want to buy an extremely small, compact, headless Mac with Leopard on it this fall. Whether it’s called mini or Nano doesn’t matter to me at all.

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