Apr 10

Essential Mac Software list updated

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I’ve updated my list of Essential Mac Software.

Mar 03

Apple released updates to its desktop systems today.

The new Mac Mini looks identical to the old model, except that it now has both mini-DVI and Displayport in the back, five USB ports, and GeForce 9400M graphics onboard. The base model ($599) has a 2Ghz Core 2 Duo CPU and 1G of RAM along with a 120G hard drive. The high-end unit ($699) has the same CPU but a 320G hard drive and 2G of RAM (both expandable to 4G). Both models come with an 8x SuperDrive standard.

New iMac systems are available in 20″ and 24″ sizes, with Core 2 Duo CPUs from 2.66 to 3.06Ghz and RAM configurations up to 8G (two SODIMM slots). Hard drives range in size from 320G to 1TB. Prices start at $1199.

Mac Pro systems have been updated with Intel’s new Xeon “Nehalem” processor. Quad-core configurations are available at 2.66 or 2.93Ghz; 8-core CPUs can be had at 2.26, 2.66, or 2.96Ghz. Quad-core systems support up to 8G of RAM, while the 8-core systems can hold up to 32G. Four internal SATA drive bays can accommodate up to 4TB of total storage. Graphics options include the NVidia GeForce GT 120 or the ATI Radeon HD 4870. The new Mac Pro systems start at $2499.

In addition to the desktop systems, the Airport Extreme and Time Capsule now support simultaneous dual-band 802.11n operation.

The Apple Wired Keyboard has a new model without a numeric keypad, but it is not available as a “standalone” product yet, only as an option with the purchase of a new Mac system.

Dec 28

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from MacHELP!

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Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from MacHELP!

I’ve responded to around 3700 emailed requests for help since January 1st of 2008 (not counting replies or duplicates). I hope to be able to help at least that many people in this coming year.

Just a reminder – MacHELP is a one-man operation (me, myself, and I) and does not have any income or make any profit. I run this site because I like being able to help people. I don’t ask for monetary donations, but if I’m able to solve your problem, please consider buying something from my Amazon Wish List.

Alternately, if you have older Apple hardware please consider donating it so that I can continue to run older versions of OS X and recreate problem environments.

A big thank you to the people who donated a “Blue & White” PowerMac G3 and a dual-CPU PowerMac G4 in 2008. I hope to be able to acquire a PowerMac G5 and some sort of PowerBook or iBook G4 in 2009. If that happens, I’ll be giving the G3 and G4 to a deserving young hacker or a “Computers for Kids” charity here in the Houston area.

As always, if you have questions, comments, suggestions, or just need help with the Mac you just got for Christmas – email questions@machelp.org and I’ll do what I can!

May 06

Happy Birthday, iMac!

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As detailed in this TUAW post, the iMac was announced ten years ago today:

The original iMac came stocked with a 233MHz G3, 32MD of SDRAM (though you could bump it up to a whopping 128MB), a 4 gig harddrive, 2 USB ports, a CD-ROM drive (not a CD burner, Apple was late to that party), and an IrDA port.

I’ve owned G3, G5, and Core Duo versions of the iMac, but finally “upgraded” to a Core2Duo-based Mac Mini with a separate screen a couple of months ago. While the quality of the flat panels used in the iMac series has always been good, their $800-per-panel repair cost was a bit extreme compared to the price of a standalone LCD display (using the same model of panel) from a vendor such as Dell in my opinion.

Jan 15

New Products and Updates from MacWorld 2008

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Apple announced new products and updates at MacWorld San Francisco today:

Apple TV is now $229, with a forthcoming software update that will let you rent movies from the iTunes Store in “standalone” mode without a host Mac system. Movie rentals (from every major studio) are $2.99 for older releases and $3.99 for new releases, with prices for HD versions at $3.99/4.99.

Time Capsule combines the Airport Extreme wired and wireless router/print server with an integrated 500G or 1TB hard drive that supports wireless operation of the Time Machine backup software. The 500G model retails for $299 while the 1TB model costs $499.

iPhone firmware version 1.1.3 adds Google Maps location finding, multiple-recipient text messages, Web Clip bookmarking, home screen customization, and the ability to play movies rented from the iTunes Store. This is a free software upgrade for iPhone owners. A $20 firmware upgrade for iPod Touch owners will add Mail, Maps, Stocks, Weather, Notes, and iTunes Movie Rental capability.

MacBook Air is the world’s thinnest notebook. It’s less than an inch tall (from 0.76 to 0.16 of an inch), it can fit into a manilla envelope. The screen is 13.3″ with LED backlighting, and the system features a backlit full size keyboard, iSight camera, and multi-touch trackpad. The processor is a 1.6 or 1.8Ghz Core 2 Duo, with 2G memory standard (non-upgradeable), 802.11n and Bluetooth wireless, and an 80G hard drive. A 64G solid-state disk is available as an option. Ethernet networking and an external SuperDrive are possible via the system’s single USB port. The MacBook Air starts at $1799.

Jan 09

NetNewsWire releases version 3.1; free for everyone

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The NetNewsWire 3.1 RSS feed reader is now free for everyone. I’m happy to have been a paying user (and beta tester of 3.1), and am even happier to see that the application is now available to everyone at no cost.

In addition, NewsGator syncing is available at no charge once you create a NewsGator account. I use a NewsGator account to keep my RSS feeds synced between home and work.

Jan 08

Apple announces new Mac Pro, XServe at CES

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Apple has announced new versions of the XServe and Mac Pro at CES.

Oct 30

Apple sells two million copies of OS X 10.5 “Leopard” in Five Days

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Apple has announced that it has sold two million copies of Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” since its release on Friday the 26th at 6pm.

May 15

Apple updates MacBook lineup

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Apple has made minor updates to its MacBook lineup. Systems now range from 2.0 to 2.16Ghz, with 1G RAM now standard on all models and prices ranging from $1099 to $1499.

Sep 07

Apple releases new iMacs, Mac Minis

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Apple has released the latest updates to the iMac and Mac mini product lines.

The iMac product line now ranges from a 1.83Ghz 17″ Core 2 Duo model for $999 to a 2.33Ghz 24″ Core 2 Duo model starting at $1999.

The new base 17″ iMac model has integrated Intel GMA950 graphics, a 24x Combo drive, and lacks the Apple Remote (this system was previously sold as an Education-only configuration). The 20″ model has been upgraded to 2.16Ghz Core 2 Duo CPUs, 4M shared L2 cache (versus 2M in the previous Core Duo model), and 1G of RAM as standard. The new 24″ model features a 2.16 or 2.33Ghz Core 2 Duo processor, 4M shared L2 cache, a 250G SATA hard drive, NVIDIA GeForce 7300GT graphics (native display of 1920×1200), built-in Bluetooth and AirPort Extreme, and an Apple Remote. All Core 2 Duo-based systems are now 64-bit.

The Mac mini product line has been upgraded to Core Duo processors across the board (the Core Solo option was discontinued).

The base mini Core Duo system at 1.66Ghz and a Combo drive is available for $599, with the high-end model at 1.83Ghz and a SuperDrive is $799. Both systems still ship with 512M of memory as standard.