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An iPad


Mac Life F E B RUA RY 20 1 1 N O. 49





MF FIFTEEN-MINUTE HOW-TO’s For Macs, iPhones and iPads!

>> Harness iTunes’ hidden power >> Turn iPhones into Wi-Fi hotspots >> Mod Mac OS X with scripts and tricks >> Improve battery life AND MUCH MORE!




Snap Battery Case for iPhone 4


Mac |Life







20 10 Fifteen-Minute How-To’s for Macs

A quarter of an hour—that’s the most it’ll take to complete each of these awesome improvement projects for your Mac. We teach you how to fix MobileMe, sync your iTunes libraries, and more—all in record time. By Ray Aguilera, Adam Berenstain, Cory Bohon, J.R. Bookwalter, Scott Rose & Paul Curthoys

36 5 Fifteen-Minute How-To’s for iPhones and iPads

Your iPhone and iPad might be your most marvelous mobile possessions, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be better. With a few of our quick tweaks, your device will be more useful, beautiful, and customized to your liking. By Ray Aguilera, Roberto Baldwin, Seamus Bellamy, Adam Berenstain, Cory Bohon, Nic Vargus & Paul Curthoys

46 Find Your “Me-Mail” We put six Mac-friendly email clients through the paces to find out which one works best for your needs. By Ian Betteridge

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DEPARTMENTS 4 DIGITAL|LIFE Want Mac|Life on the web, iPad, iPhone, Twitter, and Facebook? We’re there for you. 6 CONSIDER Making an uneasy peace with MobileMe. 8 SHARE The iPad orientation-lock outcry and other pressing concerns. 10 START We take a look at the value of Apple stock through the years, and reflect on why the iPad hasn’t revolutionized car audio. 16 WIN Take a shot at winning a digital radioalarm combo in this month’s Win! 18 CRAVE All the gear that’s fit to covet—from molded earbuds to iPod nano watch straps. 96 THE LIFER This month, Rik examines the possibility of Apple replacing its chips with AMDs— could the end of Intel-based Macs be near?


86 CREATE 82 Ask Fix user settings after using Migration Assistant, make your Mac Pro wireless, move your iTunes without messing up your advanced options, and more! By Susie Ochs, Luis Villazon & Scott Rose 86 How to Use Rock Band Guitar in GarageBand We show you how to set up GarageBand to help you start shredding with a plastic axe. By Joe Rybicki 90 Customize Your Gmail Experience Gmail works beautifully in your browser, but we teach you how to make it even more effective. By Steve Paris





52 Better Than Web Apps apps to replace your favorite sites 54 Rage HD on-rails shooter app 54 Editors’ Picks 56 Google Voice official Google Voice app 56 Opus gesture-control music interface app 56 Star Wars: Imperial Academy Star Wars shooter app 58 Digital Snowboarding apps and gear to take to the mountain


60 Media Streamers Face Off! Google TV, Roku, and Boxee review 63 Renamer file-naming utility 64 Vocal Studio recording suite software




65 HyperMac Battery Stand iPad stand with battery 66 Soundfreaq iPod Dock audio dock 68 Studio Artist 4 graphics application 69 Plattan Plus headphones 70 LaunchBar 5 quick-launch software 71 Autorate iTunes utility 72 myTexts Pro text editor 73 Air Mouse Elite mouse 74 Hard Candy Stylus pen/stylus hybrid

77 Civilization V strategy game 78 City of Heroes: Going Rogue massively multiplayer online game 80 Lugaru HD action game

77 FEB•11


>>>Digital| Life


If you haven’t checked out Mac|Life on the web, on your iPad and iPhone, or on social media lately, this is what you’re missing:

A New Mac|Life iPad App!

Woohoo, free Find My iPhone! Wait, I need a new device? Lame! No worries, we have a quick howto help you get Find My iPhone on your older iOS device.

How To Temporarily Silence Followers in Your Twitter Feed

We’re back! In early December, our second iPad app hit the App Store. It’s $1.99, and you can download it at Called the Essentials Guide for iPad, this magazine-style app mixes expert and newbie guides to using iPads and iPhones with a look at the most essential apps and accessories. We’ve also made a ton of improvements based on the feedback you provided on our first app, and you’ll find plenty of new features ranging from beefier performance to bookmarking. And of our course, all the social and interactive features are back and even better.

If you follow sports fans and you hate sports, events like the Super Bowl can fill your Twitter with non-stop tackling action. To curb the flags on the field, here’s a tip to silence some of your Twitter buddies for just a little while.

But more importantly, this is our second and final beta app. We’ll be back in Q1 2011 (we hope—app dev is unpredictable, though) with our official app. And that means it’s time for you to step up! Tell us what you think about our second app— what’s better, what isn’t, and what else do you want us to do? And is it worth two bucks? Please ping us your thoughts at, and thanks for checking out the app!

Download it here >>>

Get Social!

The Mac|Life iPhone App

Facebook COMMENT OF THE MONTH: Benjamin Burkhardt: I’m actually not looking forward to [the Mac App Store]…I’m already downloading tons of crap I don’t need with Google…now Apple is joining them.

Twitter @maclife RETWEET OF THE MONTH: Randykite: @MacLife Re: the podcast discussion about iPad or MB Air; what if they converged? Looks like a MB Air, but keyboard pops off and it’s an iPad.

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EDITORIAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Paul Curthoys EXECUTIVE EDITOR Susie Ochs ONLINE EDITOR Roberto Baldwin REVIEWS EDITOR Ray Aguilera ASSOCIATE EDITORS Florence Ion, Nic Vargus COPY EDITOR Kristin Luce ARCHDUKE OF THE INTERNET Cody Cardarelli CONTRIBUTORS Dan Amrich, Chris Barylick, Seamus Bellamy, Adam Berenstain, Ian Betteridge, David Biedny, Cory Bohon, J.R. Bookwalter, Keoni Chavez, Mitch Dyer, Jon Fox, Rik Myslewski, Steve Paris, Scott Rose, Joe Rybicki, Michael Simon, Luis Villazon ART ART DIRECTOR Robin Dick ASSOCIATE ART DIRECTOR Mark Rosenthal PHOTOGRAPHERS Samantha Berg, Mark Madeo PHOTO ASSISTANT Patrick Kawahara


The new Bejeweled is out, and productivity has come to a screeching halt at the Mac|Life compound while we attempt to master it. Skip past some of the blood, sweat, and tears with our helpful tips.

Mac |Life

BUSINESS VICE PRESIDENT/GENERAL MANAGER Kate Byrne, 650-238-2049 NATIONAL SALES DIRECTOR Jane Evans, 650-238-2529 REGIONAL SALES DIRECTOR Anthony Losanno, 646-723-5493 WEST COAST SALES MANAGER Greg Ryder, 650-745-9243 EAST COAST ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE John Ortenzio, 646-723-5492 SENIOR MARKETING MANAGER Andrea Recio-Ang MARKETING ASSOCIATE Robbie Montinola ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Jose Urrutia, 650-238-2498

How To Set Up Free “Find Your iPhone” (Even on Unsupported Devices)

Tips and Tricks for Mastering Bejeweled 3


For fast, easy access to the latest stories on, download our free iPhone app. Its spiffy RSS feed keeps the latest Apple rumors and how-to’s right at your fingertips. Download it here >>>

CONSUMER MARKETING VICE PRESIDENT Rich McCarthy CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Crystal Hudson NEWSSTAND DIRECTOR Bill Shewey CONSUMER MARKETING OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Lisa Radler RENEWAL & BILLING MANAGER Mike Hill SR. ONLINE CONSUMER MARKETING MANAGER Jennifer Trinkner CUSTOMER SERVICE MANAGER Mike Frassica Future US, Inc. is part of Future plc. Future produces carefully targeted magazines, websites and events for people with a passion. We publish more than 180 magazines, websites, and events, and we export or license our publications to 90 countries across the world. Future plc is a public company quoted on the London Stock Exchange (symbol: FUTR).


Volume 5, Issue 2 Mac|Life (ISSN 1935-4010) is published monthly by Future US, Inc., 4000 Shoreline Court, Suite 400, South San Francisco, CA 94080. Periodicals Postage Paid at South San Francisco, CA, and at additional mailing offices. Newsstand distribution is handled by Time Warner Retail. Basic subscription rates: one year (12 issues) U.S. $24.95, Canada $29.95, U.S. prepaid funds only. Canadian price includes postage and GST #R128220688. Outside the U.S. and Canada, price is $39.95, U.S. prepaid funds only. Subscriptions do not include newsstand-only specials. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Mac|Life, P.O. Box 5126, Harlan, IA 51593-0626. Ride-Along Enclosure in the following editions: None. Standard Mail Enclosure in the following editions: None. Canadian returns should be sent to Bleuchip International, PO Box 25542, London ON N6C 6B2. PMA #40043631. Future US, Inc. also publishes Maximum PC, Nintendo Power, PC Gamer, Official Xbox Magazine, PlayStation: The Official Magazine, World of Warcraft Official Magazine, NVISION, Guitar World, Revolver, Guitar Aficionado, Windows: The Official Magazine, and Crochet Today!. PRODUCED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. CUSTOMER SERVICE: Mac|Life Customer Care, PO Box 5126, Harlan, IA 51593-0626. Phone: 1-888-771-6222. Web: Email: Back issues can be purchased by calling 1-800-865-7240. REPRINTS: Reprint Management Service. Phone: 717-399-1900 ext. 100. AND NOW, A WORD FROM OUR LAWYERS: Entire contents copyright 2011, Future US, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited. Future US, Inc. is not affiliated with the companies or products covered in Mac|Life. All information provided is, as far as Future is aware, based on information correct at the time of press. Readers are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to products/services referred to in this magazine. We welcome reader submissions, but cannot promise that they will be published or returned to you. By submitting materials to us, you agree to give Future the royalty-free, perpetual, nonexclusive right to publish and reuse your submission in any form in any and all media and to use your name and other information in connection with the submission.


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ithout a doubt, I’m a fan of Steve’s often monosyllabic emails—you know, the ones where he responds to choice, timely questions from what must be one of the more epically overloaded inboxes in the world. The fact that a dude that rich and powerful takes time to talk to his customers has been one of my favorite Apple developments of recent years. But the reason I bring this up is that, in a recent email, he tackled MobileMe, saying (according to that “it’ll get a lot better in 2011.” To me, that’s some of the biggest and most welcome news to come out of Cupertino in a long time. Apple’s online email/calendar/contacts syncing service doesn’t get the press that iDevices and Macs do, but it’s one of the few viable ways to effectively live in the cloud on Apple gear. “Effectively” is pushing it, though. We hear constantly from readers suffering from MobileMe problems great and small—duplicate calendar entries, lost data, and other flavors of mayhem are simply far too common. That’s why solving MobileMe glitches is our lead how-to in this issue’s cover story. I’ve made my own uneasy peace with MobileMe—of the five iDevices and Macs I use on a regular basis, I’ve activated MobileMe on only two of them (my MacBook Pro and my iPhone). On the rest of my gear, I access my calendar and such through the web interface. Putting a cap on the amount of hardware involved in MobileMe’s iffy syncing has really helped make it behave better for me, though I’m sorely tempted to knock on wood as I type that—especially because it was just a month ago that MobileMe devoured my whole calendar, forcing a trip into Time Machine to recover and restore. On a more daily basis, I’m constantly frustrated using iCal.

Entering events requires way too much patience with what amounts to a pretty poor user interface (Palm Desktop, I’m still carrying a torch for ya!). And I hate the way everything freaks out if I try to change one tiny little thing while MobileMe is phoning back to its mothership to sync a recent entry. So Steve’s email gave me hope. The big ol’ server farm that Apple finally got up and running in North Carolina really needs to help with more than just iTunes Store sales. A steady, reliable MobileMe A steady, reliable MobileMe service “that just works” would be service “that just works” would be a key competitive a key competitive advantage that advantage. would help Apple continue to make gains on Microsoft. I’m still reluctant, for instance, to put my wife’s business on MobileMe—she’s just not nerd enough to cope with its many, many foibles. But if Apple can finally make MobileMe the seamless, reliable service it always should’ve been, I’ll flip that switch in a heartbeat. The other reason I mentioned Jobs’ emails is that we’re also improving how we connect with you guys, our readers. Come January 20, we’re starting the first in a series of reader meet-ups. It’ll take place in San Francisco, and at press time, we were still sorting out the details. So please watch our Twitter (@maclife) and Facebook ( feeds. We’ll be announcing our plans there in early January, and we look forward to meeting those of you who can join us in person. Whether you can make it or not, keep telling us what you think and asking questions. You can always reach me at Enjoy the issue!

Paul Curthoys, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF


“At the beginning of the video, I look like a robot. My programmers have insisted I tell you that I’m a real human. END OF LINE.” —Robbie’s dead stare in a video raises concerns about his humanity.

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FEB• 11

“I’m just not used to staring at The Beatles’ crotches, that’s all.” —Ray, after being berated by Robin and Nic for not recognizing a photo of the Fab Four that was zoomed in a bit too far.

“I’ve been hitting more green teas than a golfing leprechaun.” —Nic, lamenting his limited Diet Coke alternatives.

“If I were a hotshot TV executive, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here, now would I?” —Robin, responding to a query as to why The Walking Dead had a brief six-episode run.

“I just want to make sure that whatever happened to my bank account wasn’t Wiki Leaks.” —Flo, on the phone with her bank after getting locked out of her account.

“Fifteen minutes? I’d probably just blow them all playing Bejeweled 3.” —Susie, when asked which of the 15-minute how-to’s she’d tackle first, if she only had 15 minutes to spare. (Catch her review next issue!)






Orientation-Lock Woes I completely agree about the orientation lock (Consider, Jan/11). Nobody ever rings my iPad. If it makes a noise, it’s either an alarm (something I set up) or music (same again). However, when reading on a train, it can be difficult to keep my iPad in my preferred landscape orientation. I’m just glad the lock can still be put on, even if in a less convenient way. It didn’t need changing, and how hard would it be to give users the ability to decide how they want the switch to work? I think Apple makes great products, and I’m a total convert. I’ve gone from an iPhone 3G to iPad, iMac, and MacBook Pro. They’re all fantastic, but even a convert like me can see that not everything is perfect, and I respect you guys for having the guts to say so too. I also wanted to say thanks for your first iPad app. You guys set the bar for a new type of app, both for presentation and content. I used the tips on adding films to iTunes to copy about 500GB of DVDs (don’t worry, they were all mine!) via Ripit, Handbrake, and Subler. As someone new to Macs, I was amazed I got three separate third-party programs to work together.—Tom Devlin Apple’s lousy decision to convert the iPad’s orientation-lock switch into a mute switch has definitely inflamed an outraged response from us, the internet, and our readers. In fact, not

So Long, and Thanks for All the Audio After reading the freebie article, I went on, and it was shut down. Is it just me, or is it shut down for everyone? —Brian Luebbert-Hill No, Dirpy doesn’t hate you—sadly, the site had to be shuttered for lack of resources. But if you’re looking to pull audio from YouTube video clips, all is not lost. Check out for another option.—Ray

Future Visions I just read your visionary article about iScrolls (“Today’s Magic, Tomorrow’s Reality,” Jan/11) and found it very thought-provoking. I wonder what you think of a technology that would do away with metal hardware parts altogether and just maximize the capabilities of memory plastics or perhaps a similar malleable material, like those which explore the potential of nanotechnology in fiber-based materials? Could this lead to a universal newspaper whereby any newspaper from the world could be called up Our vision in a good for how the iPad and old-fashioned MacBook tangible form? will merge.

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making it a preference is such a cruddy decision that I halfwonder if some core part of iOS 4.2 is hardwired in a way that dictates that this hardware toggle behave in such a userunfriendly fashion. Of course, given Apple’s more, uh, reserved nature in these matters, we’ll never know the “why” of this, and the only thing we can do is complain as long, hard, and publicly as possible. If we collectively kick up a big enough fuss, perhaps Apple will supply a fix in iOS 4.3 or 4.4. And thanks for the kind words on our app. We’re thrilled that so many of you liked our approach, and if you haven’t had a chance yet, be sure to check out our second iPad app: —Paul Small toggle switch, big controversy!

The other thing I want to ask you about is whether or not you have seen a technology that re-creates the traditional keyboard and monitor setup, as in your iScroll’s bendable display, but with a lit projection that would somehow be touch-sensitive? Thanks for the article! —Jon Keppel What you describe as a “universal newspaper” is definitely one of the key features that we were aiming for when dreaming up the iScroll prototype. Between memory plastics and the nanotech you mention, the tech is on the verge of enabling the dream, so I don’t think it’s more than another 5–10 years away. And while I haven’t seen demos of those light-projection keyboards in person, I’ve read the same web stories you probably have, and that also seems closer to reality than science fiction these days. In fact, we almost included just that tech in our AppleVision prototype, but we decided to focus on the Kinect-style features instead.—Paul

Stay Safe Out There I just received my December issue and was reading the article regarding the Free Public Wi-Fi scam (p34). Thank you very much for that—I did come across it when I was traveling recently with my iPhone and iPad. I also came across another network called HP Set Up, and it basically does the same thing you described in your article. Is this also another scam?—Arlene Macias Signing onto a network that you don’t recognize is always a risk. The safest course is to get the network name from the coffee shop, library, or whatever where you are, and only sign onto that. Of course, we understand that’s not always practical, but that’s our “safety first” answer!—Roberto


You Love ’Em Too! >>>I couldn’t agree with you more about Apple’s packaging! (Consider, Dec/10). I’ve noticed it myself—especially with my iPhone. What a box. You made me recall a part of Apple-packaging history that few know about. I was a graduate student when the Mac 512e was remodeled into the Mac Plus, my first Apple purchase. Although other computers came along (Performa 475, Power Mac 7100, etc.), I always kept the Mac Plus. Then came the time that I wanted to add RAM and bring it from the amazing performance of 1MB to the blistering power of 4MB. Off came the case, and to my utter surprise, I saw all the Apple employees’ signatures embossed on the inside! Now, that’s packaging!—Bruce Breckenridge >>>I’m so happy to find that I’m not alone; my girlfriend thinks I’m a little strange because I We’ll put this box in the “i” section of our Apple box collection.


store every box and bag from my Apple purchases. I have passed the magazine to her to put her right! —Ian Bullions >>>As soon as I was finished reading “When a Box Is More Than a Box,” I went to find my iPhone 4 box, my iMac box, and my Airport Extreme box. They’re now lined up on my bookcase along with my favorite novels. I still open them once in while to smell the cardboard. —Derek Bourgoine Wow, cool story, Bruce! That issue’s Consider prompted loads of other enthusiastic emails like these, and we all felt reassured to hear that we aren’t the only ones who have a bit of a thing for Apple’s awesome packaging.—Susie CORRECTION Rod Lawton is the author of our terrific photography feature last issue (“It’s a Snap,” Jan/11, p35). Sorry about spelling your name wrong, Rod—we had a collective moment of hanging our heads in sheepish regret. WRITE TO US: or Mac|Life, 4000 Shoreline Court, Suite 400, South San Francisco, CA 94080 FOR SUBSCRIPTION QUERIES: Call toll-free 1-888-771-6222 By submitting unsolicited material to us, you grant Future a license to publish the material in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine, including licensed editions, in any and all media throughout the world. Future is not responsible for loss, damage to, or return of any unsolicited materials.




TAKING STOCK OF APPLE’S INNOVATIONS Some of Apple’s best products were released when the stock price was down—way down. BY MICHAEL SIMON


hese days, the news from Cupertino is uniformly rosy—every

Apple’s greatest products have come when the stock was floundering in the single digits. So we decided to graph the stock price on the day various Apple products came out in order to identify the diamonds the company put out even when things were rough. It just goes to show you, no matter how well Wall Street values Apple, Apple has always valued R&D.

quarter we hear about record-high revenues as Apple’s growth in its computer, phone, and music businesses outpaces the rest of the industry. High-fives all around. But even though Apple’s stock price is well over $300 per share at press time, it wasn’t always that way. AAPL has spent more time below $10 than it has above, and since the original Macintosh in 1984, many of

OCT. 19, 1992

$11.77 PowerBook Duo The 4-pound, dockable PowerBook Duo was the lightest Mac of all time— until the MacBook Air.

SEP. 16, 1988

$9.75 Apple IIc Plus

SEP. 15, 1986

$3.78 Apple IIGS Apple’s “Graphics and Sound” computer blended the best parts of the Mac and the Apple II into a 16-bit, 2.8MHz behemoth.

MAR. 14, 1994

OCT. 15, 1990

$9.33 Power Macintosh 6100

$6.54 Macintosh Classic

The last Apple II was one of the first desktops to integrate a 3.5-inch floppy drive right into the case.

This little wonder resembled the Macintosh 128, but it had a much lower price tag: just $990 at its release.

Ironically, the first PowerPC Mac was able to boot into Windows 3.1.

AUG. 3, 1993


Newton MessagePad

SEP. 20, 1989 MAR. 2, 1987 M

JAN. 22, 1984

$7.70 Macintosh II

$3.83 Macintosh The original Macintosh went on sale January 24, 1984, but the Ridley Scott–directed “1984” commercial aired two days earlier during Super Bowl XVIII.


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$10.40 Macintosh Portable


A break from the all-in-one design of its predecessor, this was the first in a long line of expandable, customizable Macs.





$11.15 PowerBook 5300 Apple’s first PowerPC notebook, the PowerBook 5300, lit the world on fire (literally—some units had faulty batteries) with the industry’s first hotswappable drives.

The original Newton didn’t exactly propel the stock price to new heights, but we think it was just ahead of its time.

The nearly 16-pound Portable was innovative for its active matrix LCD, and the fact that you could relocate the trackball to either side of the keyboard.


AUG. 25, 1995







worldmags J JAN. 27, 2010

$ $207.88 iiPad announced H Hard to believe the iPad was only aannounced in January 2010—but i not as hard to believe the stock it’s p price has been on a tear since then, c closing at over $314 at press time. JAN. 9, 2007


iPhone announced Kiss the double digits goodbye: Once the iPhone hit the scene in 2007, the stock price soared above $100 and stayed there.

MAY 6, 1998


iMac G3

AUG. 7, 2006

The first great product from the new Steve Jobs era made Bondi, USB, and the lowercase “i” part of the mainstream lexicon.

$67.21 Intel transition ends

OCT. 23, 2001

$9.07 iPod

The chip heard ‘round the world: Apple’s switch to Intel processors wrapped up with the debut of the Mac Pro at WWDC 2006.

If you bought 100 shares of Apple stock the day the iPod was announced, you could cash that in today and buy 206 8GB iPod nanos. But you shouldn’t.

SEP. 1, 1999

$17.16 Power Mac G4 A graphite, high-speed version of the Blue & White hinged G3 tower drew a clear line in the sand between consumer and prosumer.

MAY 10, 1997

JAN. 7, 2002

$11.45 iMac G4

Long overdue and absolutely overwhelming, the sunflower-inspired iMac made us fall in love with the all-in-one all over again.

$4.26 TwentiethAnniversary Macintosh The stock price was floundering in 1997, and the overpriced, flashy, formover-function Twentieth Anniversary Mac didn’t help things. So why does it still look futuristic today?

JAN. 6, 2004

$11.05 iPod mini

It wasn’t until the iPod went mini that it became larger than life.

In late September 2008, the market tanked, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing almost 2,400 points. When the government bought equity in the “too big to fail” banks, the market rebounded, including Apple.

JUL. 19, 2000

$26.34 Power Mac G4 Cube

JUN. 23, 2003

The Power Mac G4 Cube was a marvel of design and engineering that looked like a Kleenex box and was universally sneezed at. Its price of $1,599 was more than a better-equipped, more expandable G4 tower.

$9.53 Power Mac G5 The Power Mac G5 might not have been “the world’s fastest personal computer,” but we won’t tell. The last great PowerPC tower remains popular on eBay.

Apple Stock Price January 1, 1984—January 27, 2010

1997 worldmags













2010 FEB• 11




installing iPads in cars? Apple has created a truly revolutionary device with enough potential to replace any and all car decks—so why hasn’t it? BY NIC VARGUS


pple has created a deck for car audio, but no one seems to have noticed. It has GPS. It has satellite radio capabilities. It has a builtin iPod. It has Pandora. Heck, it even has Netflix. Talk about your ideal road-trip companion. Best of all, it starts at just $629—or $499 if you ditch the GPS capabilities. That price is so low it’s blasphemous in the car audio scene. That’s right—we’re talking about the iPad. If it’s so great as a car accessory, why have we rarely heard of it fulfilling this seemingly obvious purpose? The answer’s an unfortunately complex one, having to do with the iPad’s uncommon diagonal dimensions and housing complexities, the safety concerns it creates for the driver, and perhaps most importantly, the danger it presents to the car audio industry. Consider Alpine Electronics. Alpine is one of the largest car audio retailers in the world; it does business in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. It consistently produces impressive car stereo systems and regularly upgrades its products to compete in the cramped car stereo space. But, as with most car audio retailers, its product line is woefully lacking. On Alpine’s website, clicking the Build Your System button reveals three options: “I want an iPod in my car,” “I want a sound system,” or “I want navigation.” With the separation of navigation and

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head units (or, as they’re more commonly known, decks), customers are forced to choose between an all-inclusive system or a capable head unit and CD player. Take, for instance, the Alpine IDA-X305S. It comes stock with a 2.2-inch TFT display—enormous for a non-navigation or DVD dash system. Though it integrates with a six-CD MP3 changer, (many deck manufacturers are choosing to ditch CD players altogether in favor of enhancing their iPod and iPhone integration), the IDA-X305S’s main selling point is its full integration with Pandora—so long as you’ve already got an iPhone with Pandora installed. The process of changing songs and radio stations is fairly unwieldy for a driver, the deck doesn’t work with GPS, and it has a suggested retail price of $400. If you want a video, music, and GPS combo—all the things an iPad

if you want a video, music, and gPs combo—all the things an iPad is equipped to do—you’ll need to be ready to fork out some major cash.


The Padholdr is so easy to install, even we could do it…probably.

actually exist. offers its own stylish kit, and it supplies options for nearly any car. It works with an iPad (housed in a case) and has a sleek, high-gloss finish. Nearly anyone can do the installation themselves—each

is equipped to do—you’ll need to be ready to fork out some major cash. The Alpine INA-W900bt—Alpine’s cheapest new model—retails for a whopping $999.95. A look at other brands revealed cheaper options—like Pioneer’s $439 AVH P3200DVD or Jensen’s incredibly cheap Apple-ready DVD deck (the VM9214) for $299. Unfortunately,

At $400, Alpine’s IDA-X305S costs nearly as much as an iPad.

except for that Alpine, each of these other options requires costly additional components—like the NAV102 (SRP: $400)—which, when all is said and done, easily runs the overall price up an additional $500, not including installation costs. All that car stereo talk boils down to this: it’s almost startling that the fabled in-dash iPad has yet to be fully realized. At this point, no major car manufacturers have considered an iPad install to be practical, which leaves only two options. Either you buy a kit or a new dash. Kits are cheaper—they usually connect through an iPod/iPad-friendly deck or 3.5mm headphone jack. Scosche has been working on one such kit for several months, and viewings of kit videos have proven that interest in the iPad dash is very real (at press time, a YouTube video for the unreleased product had over 600,000 views). Still, anyone can see the Scosche prototype is strangely inelegant; it replaces your car’s deck entirely, requires a unique Scosche cable, and forces users to screw and unscrew a large fastening bolt each time they want to disassemble it. Fortunately, there are seemingly better options out there that worldmags

Padholdr comes with detailed installation information. But kits aren’t for everyone. For those seeking a more luxurious option, there’s only one choice—a full install. The process requires enough removing, cutting, and wiring to make it a professionals-only affair. At this time, many dealers and car-audio specialists are unwilling to perform the operation—but plenty of companies will, like SoundMan Car Audio based out of Santa Clarita, California. At roughly $1500, SoundMan’s process isn’t cheap, but then again, nothing is in car audio. Though talk of the rumored seven-inch iPad has tapered off in recent months, its release would be even more revolutionary for the car audio industry—its smaller diagonal proportions would mean less invasive dashboard installation. For now, we’re stuck with an iPad that’s just a little too big for our cars. It begs the question—by the time we can easily replace our decks with our 9.5-inch iPads, will we still want to?

SoundMan Audio’s full install (shown in its completed form at the bottom of p12) can be fairly described as “invasive.” FEB• 11




ASK AN AARDVARK Aardvark is like a take-a-penny, leave-a-penny system for advice. And it’s fun! BY SUSIE OCHS


obody likes a know-it-all, right? Well, unless they need to know something that know-it-all knows. And on the flip side, some people are just naturally helpful and want to offer advice—but unless your name is Miss Manners, you might not get asked. Aardvark is a fun and free service that matches up question askers with confident answerers. It brands itself as a “social Q&A,” and it’s perfect for those times when you need a subjective opinion (“What’s the best Twitter app for iPhone?”) rather than an easily Google-able fact (“How much does Twitterific cost?”). Plus you get to give your two cents on other people’s queries while keeping your privacy intact. To get started, head to and sign up for an account. You can log in with your Google or Facebook credentials to see if your friends are participating. But you don’t typically interact with Aardvark through its website—instead, you IM, email, or tweet it, just like you’re talking to an actual friend. After setting up your IM, email, and Twitter accounts at, you can IM with, email, or tweet and directmessage @vark on Twitter. A free iPhone app lets you ask questions, too.

Aardvark is a fun and free service that matches up question askers with confident answerers. Using one of those methods, you just ask a plain-English question: What other bands should I check out if I like LCD Soundsystem? What’s the best Chinese restaurant in Reno? Anyone know a good recipe for shark fillets? Aardvark parses your question’s topic and turns to your extended network, passing along the question semi-anonymously (your first name and city are shown) to other people who claim knowledge about that subject. Everyone in the service adds topics they’ll accept questions about (places, subjects, skills, products, interests, and so on). Aardvark pings those people over IM (or email), and their replies get passed on to you. “Sounds great,” you might think, “except who wants to get questions over IM all day?” Fear not. Aardvark will first ask if you’re there and preview the question’s topic, and if you don’t answer or fire back “busy,” it leaves you alone. A reply of “away” will turn it off for a week at a time. If you type “sure,” it asks you the question. You can either answer it in plain English, type “pass” to pass, or give the question a better subject label with the “tag” command. If it asks you about a topic you aren’t versed in, “mute” will stop any more questions about that topic. (Type “help” anytime for a list of commands.) And since it’s real people answering, you can even go back and forth. It’s always polite to thank the answerer, but if you like you can even elaborate or ask follow-up questions (“Oh, I tried that but I had XYZ problems with it...”). Aardvark passes along the messages for you so your own email and IM addresses aren’t out there. And you can get some really helpful tips. Feel free to add me to your network, and have fun.

Happy to help!

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I’m mobile. Process paperwork practically anywhere with the mobile ScanSnap S1100 document scanner. On-the-road doesn’t mean out-of-




ac or M 00 f S11

C or P

pocket when it comes to office resources like scanning paperwork for sharing or to file electronically. Just plug-in USB power and scan business cards directly to contact lists. Press one button to scan paperwork directly to email, searchable PDF, JPEG, or to applications like Word and Excel®. You can even scan to Evernote® or Google Docs™ and retrieve your paperwork from just about anywhere. The ScanSnap S1100 helps you spend less time on paperwork so you can spend more time chasing down the next big thing. Check out ScanSnap. While you’re there, enter to win a Gift Card. Visit

© 2011 Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. All rights reserved. Fujitsu and the Fujitsu logo are registered trademarks of Fujitsu Ltd. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.




SHAREWARE PICKS: MONITORING YOUR MAC Keep tabs on your machine with these free utility apps



Raging Menage, Price: Free, donations accepted

Titanium’s Software, Price: Free, donations accepted

Keep track of what’s going on under the hood in your Mac with MenuMeters. This free, open-source utility application runs from your System Preferences and hangs out in the top-left corner of your menu bar. It displays how much CPU power you’re using, what’s going on with each of your ports, your network activity, and how much memory you’ve got left in your arsenal.

It’s like central command for your Mac.

This utility allows you to customize the Startup and System files on your Mac, as well as run basic spring cleaning from time to time. It can also keep your caches dust-free, restore defaults when necessary, and keep files neatly indexed.

It’s a wonder Onyx isn’t a part of OS X itself.


Keep Itt Quiet, Keep It ioSafe

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In the event of an emergency, most hard drive backups don’t do much good. Unfortunately, we know we’re not going to remember to grab our externals in a fire, flood, or something equally awful, so there’s a good chance we’ll lose a lot of precious data. That is, unless we’re using an external hard drive that touts itself as “disasterproof.” We asked our readers what they would remember to grab on their way to the door, if that fateful day ever came. Adam Spicar of Texas admitted he would be woefully unprepared in such a case and would likely only have the sense to make sure his pregnant wife got out. Well, Adam, you got lucky this time. Our random number generator chose your number, and now your computer backups will be as safe as Mrs. Spicar.

Adam’s prize is the ioSafe Solo ($149, This thing can withstand fire, flood, and other disasters.

OUR CONTESTS ARE ONLINE! For more details on this month’s contest, visit This month, we’re giving away a Grace digital audio radio! It’s portable, Wi-Fi– capable, and comes stacked with more than 17,000 free radio stations!






THe gear we’re luSTing afTer…THiS monTH


SlaP $24.99 >>>It was only a matter of—ahem!—time before we started seeing watchband cases for the latest iPod nano. The Slap turns your favorite micro music player into a timepiece with a 1980s retro feel. And the headphone port is still accessible, so you can tell time or listen to The Time—anytime.


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JH16 Pro $1,149 >>>They’re so expensive, you’d think they were made of unicorn hair. And getting them fitted requires an audiologist stuffing goo into your ear canals, which is not fun. But the sound quality of these custom-fitted in-ear monitors absolutely kills, revealing nuances and ambiance in your favorite recordings that you never knew were there before.


Jorno $79 >>>The Jorno is a Bluetooth keyboard that folds up for travel. It’s only slightly larger than a deck of cards, which makes it perfect for my iPhone 4. There’s even an included cradle for propping up your iOS device, and the rechargeable battery lasts for about a month.


Beosound 8 $999

>>>Sure, a thousand bucks is beyond steep for an iPod dock. But this isn’t just any dock. It’s a piece of art, and B&O is famous for creating rich sound. If you don’t like the black speaker covers shown here, you can pick from five other colors, and there’s even a custom app to control the whole thing from your iPhone.




FastKey $149.99, 30GB; $249.99, 60GB; $474.99, 120GB >>>Imagine the speed of a solid-state drive and the portable convenience of a USB flash drive. LaCie’s new FastKey gives you the ultimate in portable power with this tiny USB SSD, available in 30, 60, and 120GB configurations. With transfer speeds of 260MB/s, moving around your collection of vintage 90210 episodes couldn’t be easier. FEB• 11





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hese days, life is hectic for everyone—and it’s getting harder and harder to find large chunks of time to devote to making your Mac the best it can be. But often, you don’t need hours to make amazing improvements—you can accomplish loads in just minutes. That’s why we focused this story on 10 awesome tweaks you can make in 15 minutes or less. (For the other five how-to’s promised on the cover, turn to p36 for our story on iPhone and iPad projects that’ll make your iOS devices even more powerful and fun.) Some of these how-to’s take much, much less than a quarter hour, while others bump right w o eh str eb p rm u gigh a p u t up against sin ht t that i tat time ei m l limit. mi t.B But wh ut whether h et or e you’re y u discovering how to squash MobileMe problems, sync iTunes libraries e v co Tsdi ,y m lp b M a u tsq w h g rin e across all the Macs in your house, print email attachments withoutt e lth sa o wrac m r,p u y cin M opening them, or make some crafty Terminal tweaks, you’ll love w how e th ig n ’v e u lw T scfy k ra ,o m op o much you’ve improved your computing experience.. xmu g ctn rd p im e ’v u o y h c


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SOLVE MOBILEME SYNCING SNAGS >>> Get stubborn calendar and contact data behaving again. It’s a love/hate relationship with you, MobileMe. When you work, you’re so wonderfully effortless we forget you’re there. Maybe that’s the problem—because when you don’t, the pain you can wreak on our calendars and contacts is pretty unforgettable. So if you have a computer or iOS device that’s giving you the MobileMe blues, we can help.



Check Apple’s MobileMe support page: mobileme. If System Status has a green dot beside it, everything’s good on Apple’s end, and it’s time for troubleshooting. Because Calendar and Contacts information is frequently updated, it’s most prone to corruption. Check this data at If everything looks groovy there, you likely have an issue with your computer or iOS device. Make sure they’re running the latest software. In OS X, hit Software Update under the Apple menu, or plug your iDevice into iTunes, then click “Check for Update.” Next, verify your MobileMe account is configured correctly— are your username and password correct? Once those basics are squared away, it’s time for the next step.

Your first stop is mobileme to see if MobileMe itself is offline.



Even if you’re using Time Machine, we recommend archiving Address Book and iCal data so you can easily retrieve it if needed. From Address Book or iCal’s File menu, select Export, then export an Address Book or iCal Archive. Save these files to an external drive different from the one used for your main backup.

We like safe much better than sorry, so next up is making an archive backup of your current data before trying to troubleshoot.

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The application iSync is responsible for synchronization between iOS devices and your computer. That includes resetting your sync history, a step that often gets MobileMe flowing again. Launch iSync from your Applications folder, then select Preferences, Advanced, and finally Reset Sync History. When finished, quit iSync and perform a new MobileMe sync to see if things have improved.

Often that button outlined in red at the right can solve your MobileMe woes.



If iSync doesn’t help, launch System Preferences, then click the MobileMe preference pane’s Sync tab. There, click Reset Sync Data to selectively replace troublesome data on your computer or on MobileMe’s servers with a fresh copy—make sure you’ve completed

step 2 first! To replace MobileMe data with computer data, choose a data type from the pop-up list, then select the right arrow and click Replace. Select the left arrow to replace computer data with MobileMe data. Seriously, make sure you’ve backed up before taking this step.



If you still have drama after resetting the relevant data from your computer or MobileMe, the problem could be your iOS device. Tap Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars, then your MobileMe account. Turn off the troublesome data type, tap the option to remove it, then choose Reset Sync Data on your computer to push good data back to MobileMe. On the iDevice, turn the data type back on and let it sync— hopefully without incident.

Sometimes wiping your iDevice’s MobileMe data will resolve sync glitches.

worldmags FEB• 11



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SYNC ALL YOUR iTUNES LIBRARIES >>> Turn one massive iTunes library into many with a NAS drive, AirPort Extreme, and MediaRover.

00:15:00 00:15:00 ESTIMATED TIME

It’s the bane of every serious music fan: the iTunes library. Even with Home Sharing, keeping your jams flowing smoothly between different computers with different iTunes accounts requires a lot of fiddling. So the easiest solution is to purchase an AirPort Extreme and a NAS (short for “network attached storage”) drive, keep your library on the NAS, and use MediaRover to make sure all your computers use that one central library. Here’s how…



Connect the NAS to the AirPort Extreme, then launch AirPort Utility. Click Manual Setup and enter your password if prompted. Select Disks to display the drive, then click the File Sharing tab and “Enable file sharing.” Select “With accounts” under the Secure Shared Disks drop-down and ensure AirPort Disks Guest Access isn’t allowed. Select Configure Accounts in the Secure Shared Disks section, then click the plus button to add an account. Create a username and password, then select Read and Write under Sharing Access. Click Done, then Update to apply your changes. Use the AirPort Utility to get your NAS properly set up.



Visit for a free account that lets you sync up to eight computers. Download and install the MediaRover application on your Mac, noting your account’s email address and access code. Launch MediaRover and enter this info. On the next screen, you’ll be prompted for a name to indicate whom a synced playlist belongs to— for example, “Workout (Dad)”—and you can also specify your Mac’s name. Click Next, then choose a syncing option. If you like tinkering, choose Manually Configure. Otherwise, click Default Sync. In the next screen, select Manual Configuration and specify p y the path to the NAS—your router’s NAS—y ter’s IP Address followed by a forward the name of the connected ward sslash and th drive. In th the usern username field, type ype tthe username serna and password AirPort Utility. asswo d you created in AirPo Select Nex Next to ma make MediaRover verify the ver v NAS; click Next again when the test passes. >>> ext a e tes

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FEB• FEB•11 11 maclif

MediaRover’s of those awesome servic services that we hope Apple buys and folds into iTunes. aRover’s one o s tha e Appl

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MediaRover will automatically connect to the NAS drive and sync your iTunes library. Each file sports a nifty icon: a green arrow means the song is synced to both your local iTunes library and the NAS drive; a red “X” means it cannot be copied (this applies to videos or DRM’d files); and a spinning wheel means the file is being copied to or from the drive. Click Preferences to tweak other features, including various sync settings. Install and configure MediaRover on other computers to sync them. You’ll have to launch MediaRover manually to sync an iTunes library with the one stored on the NAS drive, and once that’s done, you’re ready to rock. Or jazz. Or whatever.

Get in the habit of launching MediaRover periodically so it can sync iTunes libraries.



Cut the cords and rock your iTunes from any room in the house. There’s another way to make sure your music’s wherever you are in your house: go wireless with AirPlay. Formerly known as AirTunes, AirPlay lets you set up iTunes to stream your music library throughout a home network using a $99 AirPort Express.



Apple’s AirPort Express Stereo Connection Kit connects your speakers to your AirPort.

Connect your AirPort Express to your receiver or powered speakers using cables like Apple’s $39 AirPort Express Stereo Connection Kit, which gives you the choice of either stereo RCA (analog) or optical Toslink (digital) connections. You can also install additional audio hardware or stream to an Apple TV for multi-room audio. The new black Apple TV can also stream video.



Add the AirPort Express to your home network with AirPort Utility (under Applications > Utilities). Name the Express whatever you’d like and assign a password; for AirPlay, select “Join a wireless network” on the second and third screens, then select your network. A minute or so later, you’ll be ready to rock.

Sign in here, AirPort Express.



From iTunes 10.1 or later, click the AirPlay icon in the lower-right corner of the window (if it’s not there, turn it on by clicking the checkbox at iTunes > Preferences > Devices). Then just select the device you want to send your audio to. A TV screen icon indicates a video-capable device (like the new Apple TV); a speaker icon designates audio only. Choose Multiple Speakers to send music to several devices simultaneously. You can control the volume for each one with a slider.


This pop-up lets you choose where iTunes sends your music. FEB•11



00:14:56 00:14:55 00:14:54 00:14:5 worldmags



Take the fast track to printing text, photos, and PDF files from Apple Mail.


Putting your favorite printers on the Desktop can help print files quickly—and in many cases, without ever having to open an application or fumble with printer options. Here’s how to make the magic happen on your Mac.





Regardless of how many printers you have attached to your computer, you’ll find them all on the left side of the Print & Fax preferences window. Select the one you want to use for rapid printing and drag its icon onto the Desktop. Repeat for other printers as necessary. When finished, close System Preferences.

From your Dock, open System Preferences (you can also get there from the Apple menu). Click Print & Fax.

The familiar ol’ Preferences pane is the starting point of this operation.



Open Apple Mail and find an email you’d like to print an attachment from. Common attachments such as JPEG photos, text files from TextEdit, or even Previewcompatible PDF files are all candidates for direct printing. Click and hold on the attachment you want to print, then drag and drop it onto your new Desktop printer icon. The queue for your selected printer will open, and the file will print without launching an application or even presenting the printer options. The print queue remains open, but if you close the window, it will reopen as needed for each print job. With Thunderbird and Entourage, there’s another step—you have to copy the attachment to your Desktop, and then drag and drop it onto your printer icon. While we didn’t test other email clients, the same is likely to be true—we suspect that only Mail is this tightly integrated with OS X.

Start by finding the printer you want to use...

Drag-and-drop printing really speeds up the process of printing email attachments.


THE MICROSOFT EXCEPTION Sadly, some types of documents won’t let you perform this trick, such as those from Microsoft Word or Excel. However, using your Desktop printer will at least cut one step out of the printing process—the necessary application will launch, and your file will open, but you’ll skip the printer window and go straight to printing the document. (You’ll still get the printer queue window, however.) >>> Why are we not surprised that Microsoft files don’t play nice?

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...then drag and drop its icon onto the Desktop.

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Ironically, thanks to AirPrint, you can already print from Mail attachments without opening the required application by using an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 4.2.1. Open the email, then tap an attachment to view it within Mail. Tap the Send icon in the upper-right corner, then Print. Select your printer, and away you go. If you don’t have one of the HP AirPrint-compatible printers, third-party Mac software such as Ecamm’s Printopia ($9.95, ecamm .com/mac/printopia/) will get things going for any printer attached to your Mac. Here’s hoping Apple adds such simplicity to Mac OS X 10.7!

From any iDevice running iOS 4.2.1, view an attachment, then tap the Send icon to reveal the printing option.



Battery-saving tips and tricks for MacBooks!


Is wimpy battery life leaving you power-less? We’ve got tips for getting the most from your MacBook on a single charge.



The easiest way to save power is to reduce your screen’s brightness with the F1 and F2 keys on your keyboard. You can finetune these settings in System Preferences > Displays.



Turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth delivers a noticeable bump in battery life because your MacBook won’t waste juice seeking internet hotspots or Bluetooth devices. To turn off Bluetooth, go to System Preferences > Bluetooth and uncheck On. If you rely on Bluetooth peripherals, consider unchecking Discoverable to keep your computer from responding to new Bluetooth requests. If you don’t need wireless internet access, click the AirPort icon in the menu bar (or navigate to System Preferences > Network) and select Turn AirPort Off.

The brighter the screen, the faster your battery croaks.



Older MacBook Pros let you switch between power-sipping integrated graphics cards and dedicated cards that eat batteries for breakfast. To make the switch, go to System Preferences > Energy Saver. There you can choose “Better battery life” or “Higher performance.” Note that switching cards in some MacBook Pros requires you to log out for the change to take effect. If you have a newer Pro, Apple’s stripped out this feature for reasons only they understand, but you can install handy donationware that gives you the same powers. It’s called gfxCardStatus, and you can download a copy and get installation info at

If you don’t use Bluetooth peripherals, turn that Bluetooth radio off.

You even get to pick your options before iPrinting your file. Not bad!

Older MacBook Pros let you fiddle with custom settings for battery life vs. performance.

Same goes for Wi-Fi. You’ll be surprised by how much these two radios zap your battery!

worldmags FEB• 11



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New tricks for Control-clicks! You know Mac OS 10.6 lets you customize contextual menus with services, the handy shortcuts that use features from one application in another. But did you know you can build custom services with Automator? This is an outstanding way to banish mundane repetitive tasks—like cropping and resizing photos, shortening URLs, changing file extensions, and much more—from your life.



As an example of how easy it is to create your own service, let’s say you want to create one that scales and crops a PNG image selected in the Finder to 640x480 pixels, then converts it to a JPEG file. First, launch Automator from your Applications folder, then choose Service. You can create your own services using Automator.



In the rightmost pane, choose Image Files and Finder. In the left pane, choose Photos. In the middle, double-click Change Type of Images. Then, when Automator prompts you to add a Copy Finder action, click Add. This ensures that your original image will remain intact (you can eliminate this step if you’re a daredevil and want to modify your original image without making a backup copy first). In the rightmost pane, under Change Type of Images, choose JPEG. This tells Automator what input to expect from which application.



In the middle pane, double-click Crop Images. This time, select Don’t Add at the Copy Finder action prompt because you’ve already copied the Finder items above. Next, type in 640 for the image’s width, 480 for its height, then choose Scale to Width from the pop-up menu.

This is what your finished Automator action should look like.



Choose File > Save and type the name of your service as you want it to appear in your Mac’s contextual menus. Automator will automatically save your new service for you in your Home > Library > Services folder, and it’ll be instantly recognized by the Keyboard system preference. Now right-click on any image in the Finder, and you’ll find your new service at the bottom of the list. Depending on how many contextual items you have, you might have to navigate into a Services submenu. If this whets your appetite for further customizations, check out Apple’s collection of more than 140 downloadable Automator actions at Some will coincide with your contextual menu needs as-is or provide inspiration for your own creations.

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You made that menu item!


i am a networking genius. Introducing iA100, the first iPad speaker dock with Bluetooth capability, app-enhancement, FM tuner and alarm clock functionality. Add the iHome+Sleep app to stay fully updated on your social networks and sleep stats; add the iHome+Radio app to enjoy thousands of internet radio stations. Bluetooth lets you stream your music wirelessly or use iA100 as a speakerphone. With four Reson8® chamber speakers, exclusive Bongiovi Acoustics’ DPS sound and an on-board EQ, you’ll never miss a beat again.

Apple Online Store

iHome is a registered trademark of SDI Technologies, Inc. iPhone and iPod are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.Bongiovi Acoustics, Digital Power Station and the DPS symbol are trademarks or registered trademarks of Bongiovi Acoustics, LLC.



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TERMINAL TRICKS! >>> Check out some of our favorite ways Terminal can customize your Mac. Terminal’s Unix-style command-line interface may be serious business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it for a little monkey business, too. These Terminal tricks show you some interesting tweaks you probably haven’t imagined before, and to save you the pain of meticulously typing in all these commands, you can copy/paste them from our website at


00:13:00 00:15:00 ESTIMATED TIME


If you have a nice-looking screensaver like us, you want to see it all the time. Type the command below in Terminal, and your current screensaver will appear as your Desktop’s background image. Then, as with all commands on this page and the next, hit Return. /System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/ ScreenSaverEngine -background & Simple? Check. Fun? Totally. But if you get motion sickness, simply close the Terminal window to return your Desktop to normal.

You know that screensaver, right? Now it’s your wallpaper! Whoa. Trippy.



Spotlight search results not appearing as they should? Force Spotlight to re-index itself with the following two commands: sudo mdutil -E /
 sudo mdutil -i on / You’ll be prompted for your administrator password. Then, after a few minutes’ delay, Spotlight will begin re-indexing your Mac. If Spotlight’s acting funky, re-indexing will get it up on the right side of the bed.

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The Dock is a great place for your most-used applications, but it can get a little crowded. With a Terminal command, you can add spacers to your Dock to organize things a little better. Open Terminal (Applications > Utilities), then type the following command: defaults write persistent-apps -array-add ‘{“tiletype”=”spacer-tile”;}’ Type the command once for each space you’d like to add, then type the following to restart the Dock: killall Dock In the new Dock, you’ll see the spacers to the right of your applications. Drag spacers around to create “sections” of applications in your Dock. To remove a spacer, simply drag it off the Dock.

Here’s Cory’s impressively crowded Dock before he added spacers...

...and afterward, those lovely little gaps create logical groupings of kinds of apps.




e a l c d “


Stacks let you quickly access cc data dat from your Dock, but Apple doesn’t let you add a st stack containing t your most recently accessed files or apps un unless you u use the following Terminal command: defaults write do persistentr others -array-add ‘{ “tile-data” e= { “listn type” = 1; }; “tile-type” = “recents-tile”; }’ a tthe D Then restart Dock: k killall D Dock k reappears, a you’ll find a stack a k of recent itemss When the Do Dock h To change h e in the stack,, beside the T Trash. which items appear right-click it to choose Recent Applications, Recent D Documents, Recent Servers, Favorite Volumes, or Favorite Items.

worldmags FEB• 11


>>>10 FiFteen-Minute HOW-tO’s FOR MACs

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lIve In the ClouD wIth DroPbox >>>

00:10:00 00:15:00 ESTIMATED TIME

Forget USB thumb drives—Dropbox is where it’s at for keeping your data everywhere you are. If you frequently use a USB thumb drive to move documents between systems, here’s how to put that data in the cloud—and keep it synced to multiple computers—using a free Dropbox account.


DownloaD It

Visit and click the Download Dropbox button. When the installer opens, drag Dropbox to your Applications folder and double-click the icon to open it. Click Continue to start setting up a new account.


Move Into the ClouD

Files placed inside the Dropbox folder will be uploaded to the cloud and available from other computers with Dropbox installed or by logging into your account from any web browser. Files with a blue icon are currently syncing; files with a green icon are synced, meaning they exist on your computer as well as in the cloud. Dropbox gets you started with Photos and Public folders, but you can create new folders (File > New Folder) and drag and drop files into them with ease. the little green arrows mean a file’s safely uploaded.


Save Into the ClouD

applications folder, meet Dropbox. Dropbox, say hi to applications.


InStall It

On the next screen, fill in your name, email address, and password (Dropbox automatically fills in your computer’s name). Next, you’ll be asked what size Dropbox account you want; the default 2GB is free, so click Continue. Select Typical setup on the next screen, then Skip Tour, and finally Install, which adds a Dropbox folder to your Mac’s Home folder (and to Places in Finder window sidebars).

If you send referral emails to friends and get them to sign up for Dropbox, you can add another Gb or more of space to your account.

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You can also open or save files directly from applications. For example, open a new document in a word processor and enter some text. Select File > Save from the menu and find your Dropbox folder (or subfolder) from the Places sidebar. Click the Save button, and your file is beamed up to Dropbox, where it can be opened from another linked computer with the File menu or by double-clicking it in your Dropbox folder. also saves previous versions of your files—handy!


Go MobIle—anD Share!

Finally, install Dropbox on your other systems or download the free universal app for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Log in with the same email account and password you set up in step 2, and you’ll now have access to all your Dropbox data everywhere you go. Be sure to also check out the Sharing feature (accessed via the tabs in your account at dropbox. com), which lets you invite other Dropbox users to a shared folder, creating a virtual server that can be invaluable when collaborating or just distributing photos. Just keep in mind that the free Dropbox account is only 2GB, so you probably won’t want to use it for big multimedia files, especially on internet connections with slow upload speeds.

nothing beats having all your files with you everywhere you and your iPhone go.




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00:15:00 ESTIMATED TIME 00:15:00

Macs are, ahem, flawless, right? Yeah, not always. But these surefire solutions will resolve many of the issues you might encounter. Maintaining your Mac means preventing problems and knowing what to do when they strike. The four tips are our four best ways of solving common issues and keeping your Mac healthy.



If you suspect a hardware problem unrelated to your Mac’s hard drive, troubleshoot with these three steps: >>Run the Apple Hardware Test to confirm or deny your suspicions. Instructions for MacBook Air owners can be found at kb/ht2644. Owners of other Macs can follow these directions: support. >>Reset your SMC (System Management Controller) to alleviate common problems with fans, power management, sleep, or lights with these steps: >>Resetting your PRAM and NVRAM ( can alleviate problems with volume, screen resolution, and startup disk selection.


If your computer is running slowly, files are disappearing, or you get a question mark at startup, the problem may be your hard drive. Try these two things before buying a new one: >>Use Apple’s free tools to repair your drive. Boot in Safe Mode, run Disk Utility from your Mac OS X Install disc, or run fsck. These functions are described in detail at support >>Use Disk Warrior ($100, to rebuild the drive’s directory, which can repair corruption and prolong the life of your drive.

A few megabytes of prevention are worth a gigabyte of cure. Here are two ways to prevent a trip to the Genius Bar: >>Use Cocktail’s ($15, Pilot function to perform UNIX maintenance scripts on your Mac, clear all the caches on your system, and repair disk permissions. >>If you want to feel like your very own Genius, run Drive Genius 3 ($99, prosofteng .com), which offers a variety of system maintenance tools and is used by Apple’s Genius Bars in their ProCare Yearly Tune Up.



Disk Warrior is a must-have disk utility that has saved our butts more than once!

With just one click, Cocktail’s automated Pilot will clean, repair, and optimize your system.

One of our favorite catch-all solutions is to reinstall Snow Leopard from scratch.


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When all else fails, try reinstalling Mac OS X 10.6 from the original installation DVD, performing what was formerly known as an “Archive and Install” of your operating system. This process doesn’t require much time and can often solve big problems that aren’t hardware related. Afterward, be sure to update your software by choosing Apple Menu > Software Updates.

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One of iTunes’ most powerful features is Smart Playlists—here’s how to deploy them to enjoy all of your music, not just your current faves. iTunes, iPods, and iPhones make it easy to carry tons of music around at all times. But that just means it’s even easier to get stuck in a rut listening to your current ear candy of choice. So set up some Smart Playlists to cherry-pick your favorite jams and forgotten gems, and you’ll quickly start enjoying every part of your ever-expanding collection in ways you hadn’t imagined. To get started, launch iTunes and go to File > New Smart Playlist, then set up your playlist as indicated in the screenshots below.

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This playlist is great for finding tracks that you love but haven’t heard in a while. Tweak the Last Played and Last Skipped rules depending on how much music you consume on a daily basis—heavy listeners might want to go back a month or more.



Now that the holidays are over, you don’t want “Christmas with the Brady Bunch” popping up when you’re working out. Banish even poorly categorized holiday tunes with this Grinch of a Smart Playlist. Fans of Wham!’s “Last Christmas” or Madonna’s “Holiday” can add some extra criteria to keep those tracks in play.



Genres are too constricting, and rating stars are too fiddly. So use the Comments field to tag your music however you like, and then create a Smart Playlist to bring up tracks that are perfect for whatever mood you’re in right now. You can add as many tags as you like, giving you unlimited ways to group your tunes.



If you have a particularly favorite era of music, like the totally rad 1980s, use a Smart Playlist to reconnect with your old favorites. Cull tracks based on a range of dates in the Year field. And if you have a particularly large collection, you can further refine your list using Ratings (if you use them) or Play Count to grab just the cream off the top.

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e get it: you want your iPhone and iPad to do all the cool things you know they’re capable of—yep, even the ones Apple won’t tell you about. But you don’t want to spend hours doing it, and you really don’t want to sift through endless pages of Google results that offer sketchy, suspect advice. That’s why we’ve devoted this story to painless but potent tweaks you can make to your iDevices in 15 minutes or less—sometimes much less! Want your iPhone to be a Wi-Fi hotspot for your iPad? Scratched your iPhone 4’s back and want to replace it—or are you simply stuck with a wonky, buggy iDevice that you need to whip back into shape? Those projects are all fast and easy, and our expert, step-by-step instructions make sure that you get the impressive results you want. Have at it!


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TURN A JAILBROKEN iPHONE INTO A WI-FI HOTSPOT>>> Sure, there’s tethering, but that doesn’t work with iPads or multiple devices. Here’s how to never leave home without the internet again.


For a Wi-Fi hotspot that’ll get your non-3G iPad online anywhere or let you share the intertubes with a cluster of devices, all you need is a jailbroken iPhone and an ingenious little app. Interested? Of course you are! The catch, naturally, is that jailbreaking your phone is required. That’s a cat-and-mouse game, and techniques change so often that the best advice is to check out when you’re ready to give it a whirl. We’ve found jailbreaking to be reasonably simple and reversible, but we’ve also heard from lots of users who’ve gotten nothing but heartbreak and expensive bills from trying it. So make sure you read up on jailbreaking thoroughly and understand the risks and the processes before you go there. (If you run into trouble, check out our walk-through of DFU mode on p45 to learn how to set everything right.) Lastly, know that jailbreaking your iPhone could void your warranty, and creating a Wi-Fi hotspot with your iPhone could violate your agreement with your wireless service provider. So if you’re still in after those caveats, here’s what you need to do...



With a jailbroken iPhone, visit the Cydia App Store (—most jailbreaking methods give you the option of installing it to your handset from the get-go. If this is your first visit, you’ll be asked whether you’re a User, Hacker, or Developer before you can access the store. If you’re not sure, choosing User is the way to go. Once you’re in, tap the store’s Search icon, type “MyWi,” then tap the application’s entry to get started. MyWi ( lets you share your iPhone’s 3G connectivity with devices like your Mac, an iPad, and even your Apple TV for $19.99. Once you’ve installed it on your iPhone, the handset will reboot. Don’t panic! Everything is going according to plan.



Wait for your iPhone to start back up, then launch MyWi. To set up a Wi-Fi hotspot, simply slide the WiFi Tethering toggle to On. Make note of your hotspot’s name (it’s the same name that appears when you connect your iPhone to iTunes)—you’ll need it when you connect a device to your iPhone’s MyWi-enabled hotspot for the first time. It’s also worth digging even deeper into MyWi’s settings. You can set up password protection to keep sneaky coffeehouse hipsters from snagging your signal, meddle with the application’s transmission-power settings, and even change Wi-Fi channels.

Should we bother to hope that Apple will support this feature in its next iOS release? Yeah, we’re not holding our breath either.



With your hotspot activated, it’s time to fire up a different wireless device and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Open up the wireless management interface for your Mac, iPad, or any other Wi-Fi-equipped device, then select the name of the iPhone with MyWi installed. Congratulations! You’re now online and ready to surf, chat, play, and download to your heart’s content.

A $20 Cydia But C dia app ap is cheaper than han tethering! t robab y violates viola vice agreement. a it probably your service

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Hey, that’s rad wallpaper! Don’t forget to notice that both the Mac and iPhone are now online via MyWi.

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Fear not—it’s remarkably easy to swap out a dinged-up back for a new one or just give your iPhone 4 a whole new look.


The black glass back of the iPhone 4 is gorgeous—to us. But what if your tastes lie in a different direction, like classic Apple aluminum? Or perhaps your iPhone 4 lost a fight with some sidewalk? Then you’ll probably be surprised at how very easy it is to change the back of an iPhone 4 yourself— we can say with certainty that choosing a replacement from the options available online was actually the hardest part. We went with a brushed metal back from for $11.99, but a quick Google search will reveal a rainbow of colors available from several companies. So whether you’re remodeling or renovating, have no fear. This one’s so simple, you’d think Apple was preparing for the backs on these things to shatter.



Examine the two screws at the bottom of your iPhone 4. Older models will have #00 Phillips screws, meaning there’s a good chance you already have the screwdriver you need for the job (if not, hit your local hardware store for one). But new iPhone 4s have Torx-like screws that require a special screwdriver. You can buy one at or by plugging “iphone 4 screwdriver” into eBay. Remove those two screws on the bottom edge of your phone and put them in a cup so they don’t go rolling off the table.



Using your thumbs, push the rear panel toward the top of the phone. It’ll move just a teeny bit. Once it does, it’s off the phone, so stop sliding and gently lift off the old back.



Slide your replacement back into place. Replace the screws, being careful not to overtighten them, and you’re done.

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GET THE MOST OUT OF iOS 4.2>>> Five fab features for your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad! Updating iOS on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch can take a looong time. So if you’re not always motivated to leg out that marathon—or if you’re just wondering what new toys Apple tucked into your iDevices—we’ve dug deep into 4.2 and emerged with advice on how to put its five best features to work for you.




Have you noticed a new button—a rectangle with an arrow inside—in some iOS media apps? That’s your new friend, AirPlay. It sends pictures, audio, and video to the Apple TV, and it can also pipe audio to an AirPort Express and compatible third-party speakers. In the iPad’s iPod app, the AirPlay button is to the left of the volume control. In other apps, like Videos, it’s on the right. On the iPhone, the button is to the right of the controller in AirPlay-compatible apps. Tap it, and you can choose an AirPlay-enabled receiver.


FREE FIND MY iPHONE (AND iPAD) If you aren’t subscribed to MobileMe, you know the pain of locating an iDevice without Find My iPhone. Now with iOS 4.2 you get free— yes, free—Find My iPhone. But there’s a catch: you need to configure it with an iPhone 4, iPad, or fourth-gen iPod touch before you can find other iOS devices.

We knew our iPad was around somewhere!

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Pump your killer Bombay Bicycle Club and Phoenix tunes to the best speakers in your house with iOS 4.2’s sharp new AirPlay feature.



Hunting for a certain word on a website? You can now utilize Mobile Safari’s search field in the top right. Start typing in a search term, and after you enter the first letter, you’ll see an On This Page list of options in the results. Tap the word you’re searching for in that list, and it’ll be highlighted on the webpage—awesome for looking through long articles. >>> Um, who else is wondering what a “prosh” is? Just saying.





All that paper piling up in your office can quickly grow to beastly proportions. But Neat® helps you stay organized and clutter-free at work, at home, or on the go. Our patented scanner R E N A C S P O T K



This high-speed, duplex scanner lets you scan multiple paper types all at once, or even insert up to 50 pages for lightningfast batch scanning.

and software solutions extract key details from your paper, then organizes it all in a digital filing cabinet. Good for productivity. Bad for Paper Monsters. Scan and organize receipts, business cards and documents in a digital filing cabinet Create PDF files, expense reports, tax reports, digital contacts and more Export data to Excel,® Mac Address Book and Quicken®


At less than one pound, the USB-powered scanner fits easily in your laptop bag and is perfect for the road, home, or office.






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Rocking the iPhone 4? You now have new text tones. If not, you’re stuck with the old ones (only Apple knows why). At least you can now assign tones to contacts on the iPhone 3G, 3GS, and iPhone 4. Go to Settings > Sounds > Text Tones to check out the new alerts. To assign one to a contact, launch Contacts, choose a contact, then tap Edit.

Um...Choo Choo? Really?

Get on the horn, it’s Apple.



Finally, your iPad can run multiple apps simultaneously. To see which applications are running and quickly switch between them, double-tap the Home button to reveal the app tray. To quit troublesome apps, touch and hold any app in the tray to start them jiggling, then tap the offending app’s red circle to quit it. To create a folder, touch and hold any app until they all jiggle, then drag two apps together. Your iPad automatically names the folder, but you can change it to something else. Folders hold 20 apps, but if you need to make room, open the folder, touch and hold the app you want to remove, then drag it out. If an app starts misbehaving, use the quit function on the multitasking bar.

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9000 mAh backup battery connects by USB cable included with your device for charging iPad, all iPhone/iPod models (except shuffle), smartphones, and more. Doubles your iPad viewing from 10 to nearly 20 hours; increases iPhone use from 5 to 68 hours — iPod audio up to 325 hours! Recharges by USB on your computer or use your Apple (or compatible) wall charger. Measures 3.76" x 1.57" x 1.57". Includes two USB charge cables (one rectractable), instructions, and travel case. One-year RichardSolo warranty.

These original #1 selling backup batteries provide 1800 mAh charge and add hours of use for all iPhone/iPod models (except shuffle/iPad), BlackBerry, Droid, smartphones, and more. All 1800s include retractable charge cable, 110-240V wall charger, and dual USB car charger. Cables and support braces added for specific models. Plus a free iPhone 3G/3GS Custom Hard Case for RS001/

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USE YOUR iPHONE…FROM YOUR MAC!>>> With a jailbroken phone, VNC lets you send text and operate apps with your Mac’s mouse—all over your Wi-Fi network. No joke—with the help of a Cydia app called Veency, you can operate your jailbroken iPhone from your Mac. Everything from sending text messages with your Mac’s keyboard to operating iPhone apps with your mouse is possible. Veency opens up an intriguing new world of opportunities, and here’s how to set it up...



Search for “Veency” in Cydia, the jailbroken app store (for advice on jailbreaking and Cydia, see p38). The results are called packages, and the one you want is authored by Jay Freeman (the creator of Cydia). Once it’s installed, you won’t see an icon appear. To use Veency, you have to find it in Settings, where it offers plenty of options like password protection and the ability to show or hide the computer cursor when it’s in use (we like it off).

Now that you have a VNC server on your phone, you’re halfway there. The next step is putting a client on your computer. There are dozens of free options at your disposal (for both Mac and Windows users). We’ve used Chicken of the VNC as our client on Mac with relatively few problems, and RealVNC is a solid option for Windows users.

Not fond of our choices? A quick Google search for VNC and your operating system will reveal tons of other free options.

This is the package you want to download.



Once your VNC client is installed on your computer, run it. In Chicken of the VNC, you’ll see a sidebar with a list of already implemented servers. Ignore them for now and instead create your own (in Chicken of the VNC, simply tap the + button on the bottom left). Don’t bother naming your server. You’ll have to delete it to enter your IP address in the next step.



In the VNC Login menu for your new server, all you need to focus on is the section that says Host. This is where you’ll enter your iPhone’s IP address. To find this, navigate to Settings > Wifi and tap the “>” next to the network you’re connected to. The first section of the DHCP tab will be IP Address. Enter that into the Host section of your computer’s VNC. >>>

Your iPhone will then prompt you to accept or reject an incoming VNC connection. Tap Accept, and you’ll be connected.





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RESTORE YOUR NON-BOOTING iDEVICE BACK TO iHEALTH>>> By putting your iPhone or iPod touch in DFU mode, you can often solve major problems like lock-ups. USE YOUR iPHONE…FROM YOUR MAC! (CONTINUED)



It’s important to set a password on your VNC connection so any Joe Schmoe can’t try to log onto your phone, but this couldn’t be simpler. In Settings > Veency, fill the empty password field. In Chicken of the VNC, fill the password field with the same password. Once that’s done, hit Connect. Voilà! Now you’re more secure and don’t have to accept incoming connections each time.


One day—and it’ll be one of those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days—your iPhone or iPod touch may stop booting. Or on the brighter side, perhaps you’ll just need to downgrade its firmware or jailbreak your device. When either of those days come, you’ll need the power of DFU (Device Firmware Update) mode.



If possible, sync and backup your device to restore your data later. But if it’s bricked, go straight into DFU mode. To do so, start with your device turned off and plugged into your computer running iTunes. Hold the device’s Sleep/Wake and Home buttons simultaneously for 10 seconds, then release Sleep/Wake and continue holding the Home button until iTunes detects your device in recovery mode.

When you see this message, you know your device has successfully entered DFU mode.



Click the Restore button in iTunes to download and install the newest firmware for your device. When the process is complete, you can restore your backed-up personal data. However, if you have older or custom firmware you wish to install, hold down the Option key while clicking the Restore button. This lets you select the firmware version you want (called an ISPW file) on your Mac and apply it to your device.

Restoring takes a while, so go get a sandwich...or something frostier.

Your password can be any length—just make sure it’s secure!



If you accidentally entered DFU mode or changed your mind about restoring your iOS device, that’s no problem. Before you install new firmware, hold the Sleep/ Wake and Home buttons until your device restarts normally, which exits your device from DFU mode.

worldmags FEB• 11



Which email software is best suited for the way you work? We put six Mac-friendly email clients through their paces. By Ian BetterIdge Email is short for “electronic mail”—of course—but these, days that “e” might as well stand for “everyday” or even “essential” since that’s how much we use it. It’s absolutely our preferred form of communication and has been for years—it’s hard to remember the last time the mailman delivered an honest-to-goodness paper letter. But even if it’s a given that we’re all constantly sending and receiving email, what’s less obvious is which of the Mac-friendly email clients is the best fit for each user’s situation. Maybe you need a client that can capably handle multiple accounts, or perhaps you need one that can fetch messages from your company’s Microsoft Exchange server. Maybe you want one that can meticulously sort all your incoming email instead of dumping it all straight into your inbox. To find out which deserves to handle all your correspondence, we compared six Mac clients—from humble freebie Thunderbird to top-of-the-line Microsoft Outlook. Well, not all your correspondence—for any handwritten letters you might still scrawl on parchment with your fountain pen in a fit of nostalgia, you’re on your own.

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espite the rise of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, email remains something that we all use every day. And while more and more people have been using web-based clients such as Hotmail and Gmail over the past few years, a rich, desktop-based client still has some key advantages. Using a desktop client gives you a local copy of your emails, which lets you view them even when you’re offline—and although it might amaze some, there are still plenty of occasions when an internet connection simply refuses to connect. In this test, we looked at six of the best desktop email clients on the Mac. Apple Mail comes with every copy of OS X and has improved over the years from a barebones email client to a more powerful

product. Outlook 2011 is the latest email client from Microsoft, replacing Entourage in the newest version of Office. Mozilla Thunderbird is an open-source email client from the team responsible for Firefox, and it includes plenty of powerful features. Lesser-knowns PowerMail, GyazMail, and Mailsmith complete our lineup.

DID YOU KNOW? The first spam email was sent in 1978. A Commtouch Software report estimated the number of spam emails sent in January 2010 as 183 billion per day. It is said that the “spam” moniker was inspired by a sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Using a desktop client gives you a local copy of your emails, which lets you view them even when you’re offline. All of these clients have strengths and weaknesses, but we’ve chosen to focus on ease of use, support for different email protocols, filtering, and spam handling. Let’s take a look…

EXCHANGE SUPPORT: WHAT IT MEANS Two of the products we tested, Mail and Outlook, offer support for Microsoft Exchange servers. Exchange is a widely used piece of server software in the business world that, as well as handling email, also includes support for shared contacts, calendars, and folders for files. When Apple launched MobileMe in 2008, Steve Jobs described it as “Exchange for the rest of us,” and there are similarities between the products. Both go beyond email to also store contacts and calendars online, enabling all your devices to keep in sync with

the same information at all times. Both systems also support “push” email to an iPhone. If your business utilizes Exchange, then you should choose either Mail or Outlook. Of the two, Outlook offers more comprehensive support for Exchange servers, including task and note syncing in addition to email, calendar, and contacts. Both, though, enable you to use one of Exchange’s most useful features: the ability to schedule meetings with other users on the same server and check when they are free to attend the meeting.

Exchange lets you easily schedule meetings with other server users.


Apple Mail 4.3

Microsoft Outlook 2011

GyazSquare GyazMail 1.5.1

CTM Development PowerMail 6

Stickshift Mailsmith 2.2.5

Mozilla Thunderbird 3.1

Free with OS X

$279 (part of the Home & Business Edition)


$65 (49 euros)



POP support







IMAP support







Exchange support







HTML email?







mozillamessaging .com



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EASE OF USE Setting up an email client can go one of two ways…


ll of the products we tested support the POP protocol, and all except Mailsmith support IMAP as well. Mail and Outlook also support Microsoft Exchange servers. Most will have a go at auto-configuring themselves to your account settings, although results can vary depending on the type of account you use. As expected, Outlook performs well if you’re using it with an Exchange account, but with a Gmail account it requires some tweaking. Likewise, GyazMail, PowerMail, and Mailsmith require a little fiddling to work with Gmail properly. All of the products are easy to use when it comes to day-to-day tasks. Mail and Outlook integrate with calendar systems (built-in and iCal respectively) to create to-do items based on emails. Thunderbird, which in its previous incarnations was somewhat tricky to set up, has been much improved. Now the overall interface has been brought up to the kind of standards set by Mail and Outlook.

Outlook GyazMail PowerMail Mailsmith Thunderbird


MULTIPLE ACCOUNTS How well does each client handle multiple accounts?



From POP to Exchange, Apple Mail proves capable of handling multiple accounts with ease.

★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★

any users now have multiple email accounts, which makes handling more than one email address important. All of the applications we tested have the ability to handle multiple email accounts. There are two schools of thought about how email clients should handle this task: The first is that every inbox must be kept separate so that you don’t mix work mail with home mail, for example. The second says that everything should end up in the same inbox so you can process all your email quickly and easily. Mail, Outlook, and Thunderbird give you the option of both methods. With Mail or Outlook, you simply click the Inbox icon at the top of the list, and it places all your inboxes into a unified view. With Thunderbird, you need to click through to its special unified view mode. The other clients keep inboxes separate, although in all cases you can create filters or special views that show you unread mail from all accounts.

TEST RESULTS Mail Outlook GyazMail PowerMail Mailsmith Mozilla Thunderbird’s setup and configuration process is simple and much improved.



★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ FEB•11








How well does each client filter incoming email?

Email can come in HTML form, but do our clients like it?


ll of the clients include the ability to filter messages as they arrive. Often, this will be used to file incoming mail from a mailing list into a folder to avoid inbox clutter, but filters can do a lot more if given a chance. PowerMail includes some extra filtering options that will please power users, such as the ability to automatically save attachments to a specific folder—handy if you receive files from a client and want to ensure they are always saved in a particular place. Outlook enables you to set To Do actions using a filter. This means, for example, that you can add a rule which creates a To Do item for any email from your boss. Mail—the only other client with support for To Do’s—doesn’t have an equivalent feature. However, it does have smart mailboxes, which let you set up folders with a set of filtering criteria. Instead of moving mail into a folder, though, a smart mailbox just displays matching email, no matter where it’s located, which is useful when searching.

Outlook’s filtering options include the ability to create To Do notes directly from emails.

TEST RESULTS Mail Outlook GyazMail PowerMail Mailsmith Thunderbird


espite the complaints of the purists who believe that all email should be standard text, HTML email is a fact of life. Not only do companies send out formatted newsletters using HTML, but some clients even enable users to create HTML emails to send to others. Mailsmith takes the purist’s approach and doesn’t display HTML inline at all. Instead, if you receive an HTML email, it converts it to text, but gives you the option to send the HTML to a web browser for display. All of the other applications attempt to display the HTML with varying degrees of success. PowerMail enables you to turn off HTML email by default, and—like Mail—also offers to automatically download images (although both applications note that this can be a security risk). PowerMail also includes a handy Quick Look feature, so if an email has an attachment, you can see its contents without having to leave the application or open the file.

Mailsmith doesn’t handle HTML directly, but you can view such emails in Safari if needed.

TEST RESULTS ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★

Mail Outlook GyazMail PowerMail Mailsmith Thunderbird

★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★

THE WINNER: APPLE MAIL Of the six clients we tested, three fell by the wayside fairly quickly. Mailsmith’s lack of IMAP support outweighs its plusses. While we appreciated GyazMail’s simple interface, it has little Mail ★★★★★ else to recommend it, and PowerMail—despite its excellent Outlook ★★★★★ filtering—feels like a product in need of a major upgrade. GyazMail ★★★★★ This leaves us with Mail, Outlook, and Thunderbird. All three PowerMail ★★★★★ are easy to use and have powerful filtering and account Mailsmith ★★★★★ support. However, Thunderbird lacks direct support for Thunderbird ★★★★★ Exchange servers, while Outlook is the only one that you have to pay for. That leaves us with one winner: Apple’s Mail. It’s free, it works with virtually every kind of server going, it’s integrated well into OS X, and it has plenty of options for handling accounts, spam, and filters.


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Protect your Mac from malware and network threats

Only VirusBarrier X6 provides comprehensive protection from malware and network threats. VirusBarrier X6 is the only antivirus program for Mac that includes full anti-malware protection together with two-way firewall, network protection, anti-phishing, anti-spyware features and more. VirusBarrier X6 protects Macs from all known network-based threats, as well as all known malware. Also available is Internet Security Barrier X6, which includes VirusBarrier X6 and four other Intego programs, providing parental control, backup, antispam, confidential document protection features and much more. Intego X6 software is priced lower than X5 versions, and the standard licenses protect up to 2 Macs. Also available: 5-Mac family packs and multi-seat licenses.






Great volleyball players don’t always produce great pictures.

September was a symbolically rainy month. The torrential downpour outside mirrored our experience of trying to find Craigslist apps that were better than that notoriously ugly website for our lead Apps story in that month’s issue. Our conclusion was that none of them were better. Though there was weeping and gnashing of teeth, that article got our gears turning, and we set out to find a few apps that were actually superior to their online counterparts. After all, why believe all the “web is dead” hoopla without doing some good old-fashioned investigation? Our first stop was to our most beloved social network, Facebook. There isn’t an official Facebook solution for iPad, but a

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Friendly Plus for third-party app Facebook 3.1.1 called Friendly Oecoway Inc. (now Friendly Plus Price: $0.99 for Facebook) iPAD GOOD stepped up to the plate months ago. We’ve seen Friendly as expensive as $4.99—at press time it was only $0.99—but since you have to pay to play, it needed to be significantly more feature-friendly than the website. Friendly delivers in that category. It has Facebook chat, which isn’t accessible when using from a mobile device. Friendly also adds an awesome album photo view, a slideshow mode, and the ability to download photos straight to your photo library. It’s still

rather buggy even in its 3.0 update, but it definitely performs better than the site. Stop number two was the popular howto site, Since uses Adobe Flash Player for its videos, the only fair comparison would be the site on a computer. Sure, you could log onto the website from a full-size computer while you’re learning to breakdance, but this is the 21st century—it’s all about mobility. So we checked out the Howcast app, which is free for both iPhone and iPad. The iOS app is more or less the same as the website, except with bigger buttons and a cleaner interface—all the comment systems and favoriting options are still intact. Refreshed from our two-for-two success rate, we did the worm all the way to the kitchen. Epicurious is the perfect recipe site, but nobody wants to bring their laptops into the kitchen. Mobility is essential for food apps, and fortunately readers need look no farther than the free official Epicurious app for that order. Epicurious has almost the same feel as Howcast. It’s an app that needed mobility and an accessible interface, and the fine folks at Epicurious went above and beyond, filling it with great recipes and a simple-as-pie tabbed sidebar. Using it in the kitchen feels right, and it doesn’t hurt that Epicurious looks sharper than a sushi knife. And speaking of knives, before Digg committed social media seppuku, was busy being a much better site. Like that secret indie band from your college years, the Reddit folks rocked out to a little piece of awesome that no one knew about. Nowadays


it’s sort of a social media darling, but it’s still the redheaded stepchild of an affluent publisher. The official Reddit app, iReddit, is a lousy affair and is easily surpassed by the mobile version of the site. Luckily, once again we found superior third-party options: Alien Blue (Free, iPhone; $3.99, iPad) is an entirely more enjoyable experience, complete with a much prettier interface, link previews, and the ability to watch videos directly in the app. After scoping some of those Reddit videos, we decided to get even more cinematic with a visit to our favorite internet movie database. is the ultimate source of movie information on the web, but if you’re trying to access it from a mobile device, you’re going to be in for a surprise. Sections of the site, like its rotating carousel, mysteriously disappear altogether, and the entire site requires much too much zooming. Luckily, the free IMDb app is reading from a different script; with larger text and touchfriendly controls, every plot hole has been patched, making IMDb a pleasure to use in app form. With more photos than you’ll ever want to look at and tons of trailers available at the tap of a finger, IMDb is absolutely required for all movie buffs who might want to make their passion mobile. The bottom line. Big names almost always have big players in the App Store— even if they’re not first-party apps.

Hasta la vista, websites.

Howcast is fancy and feature friendly.



How To Videos from Howcast Media Inc Price: Free iPHONE+iPAD

Alien Blue The Design Shed Price: Free (iPhone); $3.99 (iPad) EXCELLENT


Thanks to well-thought-out tabs, perusing Epicurious’s selection is a cakewalk.

IMDb 2.0 IMDb inc Price: Free GREAT

“Did you see the news about that one app getting usurped by a better third-party app?” “Yes, iReddit.”

Epicurious 2.1.1 CondeNet Price: Free iPHONE+iPAD





RAGE HD Rage, rage against the dying of automatically—but don’t mistake that for a In Rage: Mutant Bash TV, a crazy, unexplained event places you at the disposal of a fat-cat bad thing. Though it makes the game a bit TV host who’s all too willing to sign you up more like a shooting gallery than a firstfor a fun house of horror. That means an person shooter, the decision’s ultimately a overabundance of mutants are hot on your good one. From our time with shooters on iOS trail, each and every one of whom wants devices, we’ve found it almost impossible to you dead. Thankfully, Rage HD combines juggle walking, aiming, shooting, and more incredible graphics with fast-paced gameplay, so your will to survive is only surpassed by your ammunition and the itching in your trigger finger. Comical for its brevity, Rage HD— the first iOS outing from Bethesda, publisher of critically acclaimed games like Fallout and Elder Scrolls—serves more as a commercial for the forthcoming videogame versions of Rage. However, it’s still worth the download, especially if you dig playing first-person shooters. Rage is an “on rails” shooter, Super mutants? Check. Unprecedented graphics? Check. which means your character walks


on a touchscreen—we’ve only got 10 fingers, after all. Rage’s choice to simplify the process makes the controls significantly easier than other iOS FPS’s. Three guns with various intricacies (you can shoot while reloading your shotgun, but not your pistol, for instance) still make Rage difficult to master, especially on harder settings. The bottom line. Rage is worth a spot on your device simply to prove what iOS games are capable of. Unfortunately, with only three levels, it’s too short to qualify as much more than a preview of the id Tech 5 engine that’s running it. Hopefully more levels will be added soon so we have reason to go back to the Rage cage.—Nic Vargus Rage HD 1.0 id Software $1.99

Each month, the Mac|Life staff gives you a peek inside our iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches to show you the latest gems, oddities, and WTFs that we’ve uncovered in the App Store.







Civilization Wars

I’ve never had very good luck hailing cabs. But now Cabulous (free) is my secret weapon. It uses the iPhone’s GPS to pinpoint your location on a map and shows nearby cabs that have signed up to use the app. Tapping a specific cab lets you hail it, and the driver will call you back to verify your location. It’s like hailing a cab by magic.

This free app has been around for eons, but I can’t stop singing its praises. I love the fact that it gives me up-to-theminute information on my flights, and I can add in minor events like concerts and road trips, too. TripIt keeps my traveling plans organized. Now, to figure out what to pack in my carry-on...

I haven’t used Windows in years. But I remember marathon procrastination sessions with Solitaire, Free Cell, and Minesweeper back in college. MobilityWare’s free, universal version of Solitaire looks good, supports Game Center and can even put your own photo on the backs of the cards. The ads are unobtrusive, appearing only between games.

It’s surprising to see a complex war game like Civilization Wars ($0.99 iPhone; $1.99 iPad) being released by the same company that specializes in triple-A casual games like Cut the Rope and Angry Birds. What’s not surprising is that Civ Wars is every bit as polished and addicting as those tailored to the casual crowd. Simply put, it’s a must-have for strategy-game enthusiasts.

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Skyfire Web Browser Forget the whole “no Flash on iPhone” debacle that envelopes the internet like so many LOLcats. Sometimes you need to watch Flash videos on the iPhone. Skyfire Web Bowser ($2.99) lets you watch your favorite Flash videos without cramming Flash on your iPhone. By encoding the Flash video in the cloud, you can finally watch South Park on your iPhone.




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GOOGLE VOICE Push notifications make the official free app a winner After wallowing in App Store approval limbo for over a year, the official Google Voice app for iOS is finally here—and it’s free. True, Google’s app lacks many preference settings found in paid third-party offerings. For instance, GV Mobile + ($2.99) allows you to call back to another number (useful when there is no internet connection) and includes a “Do Not Disturb” option as well as the ability to turn call screening on or off. Google Voice has none of these, but that’s not a showstopper, and the official app is otherwise slicker than the imitators in every way. The app is split into four tabs: Inbox, Dialer, Contacts, and Settings. You’ll spend most of your time using the Inbox tab, where you can see incoming calls and messages, complete with a preview of your SMS or voicemail transcription (voicemails can also be played back within the app). Dedicated folders for Starred messages; History; Voicemail; Text; Placed, Received, or Missed Calls; and Spam match what’s on the Google Voice website

(, where you can also sign up for a free account. The Dialer apes the iPhone’s native look and feel, but it also lets you send SMS text messages. You access people already on your iPhone under Contacts, where you can add frequently dialed or recent numbers to a Quick Dial section. There’s a small Quick Dial display bug that sometimes makes photos appear on the wrong contacts, but tapping Edit and rearranging the affected contacts clears things up. The star feature of the app—missing from all its competitors, which instead rely on other third-party apps—is its built-in push notifications for missed calls, voicemails, and SMS. Notifications are fast and get you into the app swiftly, thanks to iOS 4’s fast app switching. The bottom line. Despite limited preference settings and a few bugs, the official Google Voice app is a winner for anyone already using the service.

In situations that require your full attention, like driving or working out, tiny virtual buttons can be decidedly inconvenient. Enter Opus 2.0, an alternative music player that lets you command your tunes with fully customizable gesture controls. You can use Opus’s intuitive default gestures—like flick to skip—or set up your own. It’s easy to change which of the 14 gestures does what, from increasing volume to skipping songs. Unfortunately, Opus doesn’t support standard iPod With Opus, flicking anywhere on features like Genius, play counts, the screen lets you turn it up (if you got that feelin’). and song ratings, and it won’t play podcasts or audiobooks. The bottom line. A gesture-controlled music-playback app is a great idea, and Opus gets so close, but the company folded Opus 2.0 (version 1.7) Muse Enterprises earlier this year, so it’s unlikely Opus/133419428306 Opus will receive the few $2.99 updates it needs to warrant OKAY iPHONE the three bucks.—Jon Fox

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Google Voice Google Mobile Free GREAT

—J.R. Bookwalter


The Google Voice dialer works just like the iPhone’s, but it can send text messages too.


STAR WARS: IMPERIAL ACADEMY This first-person shooter is yet another that suffers from the same issue that plagues the genre on iOS—awkward button-based controls. Star Wars: Imperial Academy is already a tough sell, and this isn’t The arc gun: Palpatine’s fingertips at, uh, its biggest flaw. That your fingertips. would be its depressing loyalty to true stormtrooper ”realism“: your shooting tends to miss wildly. It’s frustrating when a laser blast skews to the side of a pointblank target. However, leveling your online character and unlocking improved weapons and armor is a nice incentive to keep playing. The single-player game doesn’t count toward this personal progress, which is a huge bummer; it exists just to let you play against bots, so you’ll have to tolerate connection issues to earn experience points and cash. You won’t find anything new and exciting in Imperial Academy, but it’s just satisfying enough to bother with the free download. Star Wars: Imperial Academy 1.0 The bottom line. Imperial ngmoco Academy has issues, but it gets a Free free pass because it’s, well, free. OKAY iPHONE —Mitchell Dyer

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Digital SnowboarDing Hitting the mountain is better with a mountain of tech. bY robbiE balDwin Very few things will get me out of bed before 5am. Okay, aside from snowboarding, nothing will get me out of bed before 5am. But getting up before the crack of dawn requires a plan. A plan that needs to be mobile and should be as fluid as possible. Before I even pack my snowboarding bag, I fire up a few snow report apps on the iPhone. Right now my favorite is the north Face Snow report (free). It’s possible that this is the only nonfleece North Face product I own (further research required). In addition to showing the required weather and snow report, the app also has trail maps and webcams of the resorts. So even if a resort exaggerates its report, you can see the halfinch of snow and decide for yourself if it’s really an “epic powder day.” Once I pick which resort to head to, it’s time to figure out the best way to get up the mountain. All the AWD (all-wheel drive) in the world won’t get me to my precious snow if

is it warm and fuzzy? then how is it north Face?

the roads are closed. I use road Conditions Pro ($0.99) when a particularly nasty storm starts dumping because the app has a section for mountain roads. With just a few taps, I’m able to determine which roads are open and which I should avoid like an intermediate run on a holiday weekend. The app has traffic cams, but the coverage is spotty, only

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sweet tunes with a comfortable earpiece and I can still hear when I’ve wandered onto Ice Sheet Mountain. At the end of the day, I’m sore and there’s a good chance that all this blood I’m spitting up is a sign that I should have slowed down

If you think that once I get to the mountain, my iPhone stays in the car while I start falling down the hill, you’re wrong.

awD Ftw!

covering California roads as of press time. But the developers plan on adding more states soon. If you think that once I get to the mountain, my iPhone stays in the car while I start falling down the hill, you’re wrong. Of course, my inability to stay upright while flying down a mountain at unreasonable speeds does put my precious in danger. I’ve been using the otterbox Defender Series case ($49.95, since the first-generation iPhone, and I’m happy to report that smacking into a tree—while horrible for the ribs—hasn’t inflicted damage on my iPhones. OtterBox is careful to warn users that the Defender case isn’t waterproof, but I’m not scuba diving with it. Still, I’ve been stuck in powder, and the iPhone stays dry. That’ll do. Of course, the main reason for bringing my iPhone to the mountain is to listen to my specially selected snowboarding jams. Nothing says awesome like a well-placed mogul jump set to Dethklok. Even so, riders need to be concerned about hearing fellow snow warriors or the familiar crunching sound as a run turns from pow to ice under their feet. I wear airDrives for iPhone ($69.99, earbuds to solve this dilemma. They go over your ear, and unlike earbuds that block out most of the exterior noise, they actually hang over your ear canal. I get my

before ramming into that ski school, but I know that thanks to careful planning and iPhone protection, I can find a nearby hospital and my iPhone will be there for me in the emergency room.

Safe for sound.

Don’t try to sneak up on me, bears. i can hear you.


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THE HOTTEST NEW MEDIA STREAMERS FACE OFF! New hardware from Roku, Logitech/Google, and Boxee bring internet TV to your TV


or years, broadcasters and cable companies have been nervously eyeing that dread pirate internet, hoping it doesn’t gut their antiquated industry the same way it changed the market for music recorded onto plastic. They’ve been dipping their toes into the online video pool, doling out small amounts of content via their websites or streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon On Demand. But the dirty little secret of online video is that watching stuff on your computer screen basically sucks. That’s why new hardware from Roku, Logitech, and Boxee aim to bring all that traditional-broadcast–killing video goodness to your TV, and each succeeds to varying degrees. Like the myriad video options offered by these set-top streamers, the features of the boxes themselves vary widely. True to its roots as the Netflix Player, Roku’s top-of-the-line XDS box still offers Netflix streaming as its marquee feature. In fact, if that’s all you’re looking for, the XDS is probably your best bet. This premium version offers Ethernet or dual-band 802.11n connectivity and an improved remote. Roku also offers paid streaming from Amazon On Demand, Hulu Plus, apps for music services like Pandora and photo-sharing sites, and tons of niche video channels. The XDS also sports a USB port that will eventually allow playback of files from a hard drive, but at press time, the feature remained unactivated. The Netflix interface is topnotch, allowing you to watch anything in your Instant Queue at the press of a button, as well as searching for new items to view on demand. While Roku offers sleek simplicity, Logitech’s Revue swings wildly in the other direction. It’s the first set-top box featuring Google TV, the search giant’s attempt to conquer your living room. Revue feels like a futuristic television—if

For detailed definitions of every score on Mac|Life’s ratings scale, go to

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>>> Reviews Tough testing, trusted ratings

THE HOTTEST NEW MEDIA STREAMERS FACE OFF! (continued) future televisions are designed by committees of software engineers. Revue’s features are deep, but its menus are confusing (we’re still working out the difference between Bookmarks, Applications, and Spotlight). Very surprisingly, Google TV’s search is inconsistent. It leaves out anything from Netflix, and we were astounded to find that Revue couldn’t find podcasts by internet-famous director Kevin Smith, for example. And Revue’s Netflix interface is two years out of date. You can watch items in your queue, but Revue doesn’t let you add new items or search for content. Oversights like this will undoubtedly be fixed in future software updates, but with more functional interfaces available on many other devices, it’s inexcusable for the device to be this out of date at launch. In a stroke of extreme geekery, the Revue requires you to control your TV with the bundled keyboard. To its credit, the keyboard is handy for entering text, and the trackpad and nav buttons work well…but it’s still a keyboard for your television. And since there’s no backlight, it’s nearly impossible to use in a darkened room. In contrast to the Revue’s controller, Boxee’s double-sided remote feels just right. One side features a D-pad and a few buttons for standard viewing, while the other sports a chiclet-style keyboard—which feels appropriate for the limited text entry we did with the device. Except for the occasional unresponsiveness caused by accidentally hitting buttons on both sides of the remote at the same time, Boxee’s controller was nearly perfect. When it comes to content, Boxee has apps for YouTube, Pandora, streaming movie service Vudu, and even YouPorn—but notice the conspicuous lack of big-name providers like Hulu and Netflix. Those big boys should be onboard shortly, but unless your tastes run mostly to tech podcasts and whatever the internet finds funny right this second, Boxee will leave you wanting…for now. On the other hand, it does play nicely with your own content, pulling from network shares, local USB drives, or the SD card slot on the side. In fact, despite all of Boxee’s network-friendliness, we often found shuttling content back and forth from an SD-equipped MacBook Pro was the quickest and most convenient option. The bottom line. Low-res internet videos do not magically become hi-def when viewed on a TV, but two of the three streamers we tested can still bridge the gap between digital content and your living room sofa. For Netflix streams, go with Roku’s XDS; for your own local content, the Boxee Box is best. But steer a wide path around the overpriced Revue.—Ray Aguilera



Logitech Price: $299.99 Requirements: Wired or wireless internet connection, HDMI input IR blasters can control your other components. Keyboard controller makes searching easier. Integrates with your existing programming. Search is incomplete. Menus are confusing. Software feels complex and designed by committee. Only offers full TV integration with Dish Network service. First-gen Netflix app offers no search or add-toqueue capabilities. No Hulu Plus support. Expensive.

Mac | Life R A T E D

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Roku Price: $99.99 Requirements: Wired or wireless internet connection, component or HDMI input Excellent Netflix app. Offers Hulu Plus (for additional fee). Simple to use. Small and portable. Cheap! USB port not activated yet.

Mac | Life R A T E D


Boxee Price: $199.99 Requirements: Wired or wireless internet connection, HDMI input Great remote. SD card slot for quickly viewing local content. Plays an alphabet soup of file types. Odd form factor may not fit in your entertainment center. No Hulu or Netflix at press time.

Mac | Life R A T E D



REnaMER FILEnaMIng UtILIty Transform multiple filenames with a click The problem: you need to modify the names of a bazillion files. The bigger problem: it’s 2011, but the Finder is still built to edit just one filename at a time. Sure, you could fiddle with the Terminal to do the job, but better yet, you can use Renamer and stick with the OS X you know and love. Renamer does more than just swap old filenames for new ones. You can change a filename’s case, replace or remove chunks of text and individual characters, or insert new text anywhere you like. Of course, these features can also be applied to file extensions to change file types. You can even use regular expressions to find variable strings—a range of numbers or letters, say— and replace them in filenames wherever they appear. Just drag your files into Renamer, then choose which actions to apply. Customize actions and arrange them in chains to apply multiple transformations, like numbering a collection of files while removing all spaces from their filenames. Renamer makes complex batch processing simple to do in a single pass. Go nuts making revisions, too; changes are previewed as they’re made, and you can undo anything applied to your documents. For faster renaming, chains can be saved as presets to launch within Renamer or in the

Finder from a menu bar icon. Unfortunately, the icon only appears while Renamer is running, and its menu can’t make the application active should you need to edit presets or create a new one on the fly. We were also a bit disappointed by Renamer’s lack of tooltips, which all but requires new users to peruse its help file to get started using the app. The bottom line. At $25, Renamer isn’t the cheapest way to batch-rename files, but its many flexible features make the job easy.—Adam Berenstain

RenameR Incredible Bee Price: $25 Requirements: Mac OS 10.5 or later Flexible batch-renaming options. Previews and lets you undo your changes. Saves renaming actions for later use. Could be friendlier to new users. Renamer brings sweet, sweet order to filename chaos.

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>>> Reviews Tough testing, trusted ratings

VOCAL STUDIO RECORDING SOFTWARE & MIC The newest thing in this box is the box itself When we saw the Producer USB microphone on the front of the Avid Vocal Studio packaging, we did a double-take—we bought that mic from an online clearance outlet last year, and for half the price of its

include one in the box. The included screw-in tripod mic stand is a little tippy, and if you’re not careful, you can accidentally detach part of the mic when removing the stand. Although the stand doesn’t fit in the mic’s included soft case, it collapses quickly for travel. During testing, we recorded a jingle to use as a ringtone. We considered everything from angelic choirs and regal brass proclamations to farting noises, and wound up with a mix of all three, after playing around with the microphone, Pro Tools SE’s included loops, and our trusty GarageKey USB MIDI keyboard. If you intend to record anything but vocals, you will need to bring your own instruments—Pro

Tools does not offer the handy Musical Typing function for playing software instruments, as GarageBand does. What’s more, while you can use the Producer USB mic with other audio programs, Pro Tools SE won’t run unless the Producer USB is connected—a drag if you just want Pro Tools SE supports up to 24 tracks—16 vocal or instrument tracks and another 8 tracks of loops and software instruments. to edit and mix your project on the road. Also, Pro Tools SE only exports current incarnation. But here it is again, headlining a WAVs unless you drop another $19.95 to unlock MP3 software combo that promises everything you need to exporting. Thankfully, we already have an application create voiceovers, podcasts, and multitrack musical that exports audio projects as MP3s or ringtones: recordings in one tidy package. GarageBand. Isn’t that what GarageBand is for? Yes, but the The bottom line. The value of Avid Vocal Studio included software, Pro Tools SE 8.0.3, is more adept comes down to the microphone. The 3-year-old Producer at waveform editing. Apple’s DIY recorder is a champ USB still sounds great today. You won’t be disappointed when it comes to looping and software instruments, in the mic’s performance, tone, or convenience, but you’d but this simplified version of industry-standard do well to shop around in this day and age.—Dan Amrich recording suite Pro Tools does both those things and makes it easier to edit recorded phrases. If you’re familiar with Audacity or Soundtrack Pro, Pro Tools SE Vocal Studio is easy to use; if it’s new to you, plan to spend some time with the included HTML tutorials and your own whatAvid does-this-button-do adventuring. Pro Tools SE 8 works Price: $99.99 much better than the deeply flawed Pro Tools LE 7.4, Requirements: Mac OS 10.5.8 or later, USB port but its victory is bittersweet. Pro Tools 9 is the current Producer USB is a sweetstandard, meaning you’re buying obsolescence here. sounding workhorse mic. Built-in headphone jack should be standard The star of this show is the M-Audio Producer USB on all USB mics. Pro Tools 8 makes microphone. Rugged yet warm, this hassle-free cardioid editing waveforms easy. condenser mic captures podcast chatter as easily as Software is outdated, limited, and uses the microphone as a it records home-studio musical performances, and the Fiddling with hardware dongle hostage. MP3 headphone jack located directly on the mic is a major effects is export costs extra. surprisingly convenience. Vocal results improved considerably SO LID Mac | Life intuitive in Pro R A T E D with a pop filter; it would have been wise for Avid to Tools SE.

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iPad BattEry stand Stand and deliver (power) When my iPad first arrived, I used it mostly as a couch computer, surfing the web, posting to Twitter, and playing the occasional round of Plants vs. Zombies— essentially using it as a substitute fun machine for my MacBook, which was relegated to work tasks like writing stories and paying bills. It wasn’t until the recent holiday travel season that my iPad saw any substantial use as an entertainment device. But of course playing a bunch of video saps even the iPad’s considerable energy stores, which made an external battery essential for long flights and multi-day trips. The Stand from HyperMac packs in a hefty 40-watthour battery, which gives your iPad more than 1.5 times its built-in capacity. But more power is only half the Stand’s story. It also serves as a sturdy base for propping up your iPad for watching movies or browsing your favorite websites. The Stand weighs in at 12.7 ounces, and small rubber feet on the bottom help it stay in place. Anyone who’s ever tried to watch a movie on an iPad on a cross-country flight will appreciate the

ability to do so hands-free. Even better, the Stand sports two separate slots for holding your iPad at 18 degrees (perfect for movies) or a touching-and-reading-friendlier 45-degree angle. Neither really works for typing, but that’s what Bluetooth keyboards are for. While the weight may give frequent travelers pause, we can attest to the utility of a heavier iPad stand in real-world usage—and in this case, at least the extra weight buys you 16 hours of additional playtime. The five-stage LED power indicator kept us informed of the power situation during a particularly intense bender when we watched a season and a half of The Wire. Luckily, the Stand outputs the 10 watts favored by the iPad for faster charging. The bottom line. HyperMac’s Stand is sturdy, and the onboard battery packs enough power for intercontinental video marathons.—Ray Aguilera HyperMac’s Stand charges your iPad while holding it in either portrait or landscape orientation.

Stand HyperMac Price: $149.95 requirements: iPad 16 additional hours of juice for your iPad. Sturdy. Neither angle is good for typing. Bulkier than other iPad stands.

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Sound PlatForm audio dock Small box, big sound


y ringing you up for two bills, Soundfreaq is trying to tell you something about the Sound Platform—something important. Yes, it’s more expensive than those practically disposable docks with numbers for names that other companies churn out every week. But it’s also more affordable than many of the high-end models put out by the fancy-speaker makers. By straddling that fence, the price tag is intended to make you suspect that this dock has the goods to pump out your tunes with more finesse than you’d guess, and after putting it through its paces, we absolutely agree. With its boxy shape and shiny chrome knobs, the Soundfreaq looks gorgeous. It evokes the look of classic hi-fi equipment of a bygone era while feeling modern and Apple-y at the same time. And the underlying technology only continues that theme. There’s the obligatory iPod dock, for sure, as well as an FM radio. But the Sound Platform also connects via stereo Bluetooth so you can use it with an iPhone, Mac, or any other device that can broadcast Bluetooth audio. And when the small remote isn’t handling volume and track functions, it tucks cleverly behind a door on the speaker’s side for storage. Your friend with the $3,000 turntable will balk at the idea of listening to music transmitted via Bluetooth, but that guy shouldn’t be listening to compressed tracks from an iPhone anyway, so tell him to shut up. To our ears, the Soundfreaq sounded great and had excellent bass response for such a small unit—although it had an easier time with throbby bass (think Portishead) than thumpy stuff like Kanye West. It was perfect for listening to iTunes at our desk and even worked well for listening to favorite “records” in the living room. Using the knobs, you can boost or lower bass and treble, although not by much. There’s also a U-Cubed mode, which applies some audio processing to widen the stereo image a bit. It was noticeable but not particularly spectacular, and we ended up leaving it turned off once we were done experimenting with it. The bottom line. The Sound Platform offers great audio at a great price. As long as you’re into the look, the sound won’t disappoint.—Ray Aguilera


Sound Platform Soundfreaq Price: $199 Requirements: iPod or iPhone with dock connector, or other audio source Cool mid-century modern vibe. Big sound in a small footprint. Bluetooth connectivity. Bass response fades out at high volumes. No USB port for iTunes syncing.

mac | life E XCE L L E NT R A T E D FEB• 11



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Studio ARtiSt 4

A new canvas for your masterpieces In a world studded with Photoshop-style image editors and Painter-like natural-media tools, it’s really tough to find a new kind of artistic software that brings something truly unique and innovative to the table. But the little-known Studio Artist 4 totally pulls it off, delivering a one-of-a-kind creative application that can craft visuals like nothing else—if you’re prepared to spend some time mastering its intricacies. The moment you launch Studio Artist, you quickly

Getting an organic oil-paint look is practically effortless.

realize it’s not your daddy’s paint program—the normal

studio artist 4 Synthetik Software Price: $399 Requirements: Mac OS 10.3.9 or later Unique painting tools. Extensive graphics tablet support. Deep toolset. Can be daunting to master. Interface sometimes cryptic, especially for new users.

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array of brushes and editing tools is replaced by a series of preset combinations, organized by groupings such as abstract, AutoCloning (which redraws a source image in any number of artistic styles), chalks, lighted tubes, dry brushes, and many, many more. The program ships with thousands of presets, and for plenty of users, that’ll be as deep as they delve into the available tools. You can base your work on an existing image or start from scratch—open an image, and Studio Artist converts it into a series of vector shapes that are then used to re-create the image by “redrawing” it with custom brushes. This process can either be done automatically—filling in the image while you watch—or manually by painting the image with brushes using colors derived from the source. The vast array of brushes is especially luscious when using a graphics tablet as you can radically alter the characteristics (color, thickness, shape) by tilting the

stylus or changing the amount of applied pressure. The results are wonderfully organic—drippy paint, rough edges, all the entropies of reality. Turning a photo into a gorgeous oil painting is almost effortless, but when we took a picture and rendered it as a pile of colorful, dimensional glowing jellybeans, that went well beyond what we expect from a painting program. We love Particle brushes—imagine painting with a brush that spawns pixie dust. We’ve never seen anything like it, and that’s literally just the tip of the iceberg. Built-in vectorization capabilities give you some amazing options for converting bitmapped images to vector-based EPS files, perfect for advanced print and animation tricks. Ever want to expand a web-res image into a poster-sized, stylized masterpiece? No problem! You can pipe live video into the paint engine, letting you paint with a brush that sprays video frames all over the screen, which is even more fun than it sounds. Then there’s an entire programmable set of Photoshop-style imageprocessing filters that far supersede those found in Photoshop, as well as a texture generator capable of gorgeous organic patterns that you can even apply to video, creating rotoscoped effects that belong in a bleeding-edge music video. Morphing, warping, custom distortions—it’s like a visual candy store with both familiar indulgences and wildly colored offerings you’ve never even imagined. Once you decide to move beyond the presets and try customizing things, prepare to be intimidated. Studio Artist is wickedly complex under the hood, and we saw signs that this program was created by someone who has some serious math on the mind. Some of the options dialogs in Studio Artist look like they were lifted from alien spacecraft flight manuals. Quality time spent with the comprehensive documentation is a worthwhile investment. The bottom line. At $399, Studio Artist isn’t cheap, but it delivers an intensely deep set of creative tools for visual artists and video animators. It’s as much graphic fun as you’ll ever have on a Mac.—David Biedny


Plattan Plus HEadPHonEs So hip, it hurts!

We get it. Tiny earbuds are ultra-portable and they don’t mess up your hair. But we’re tired of tangled wires, and we’re a little skittish about letting friends use them when we want to play a song for them. We’ve got enough earwax, thanks—we don’t need to add theirs to the mix. Plattan offers iPhone users a full-size set of cans, complete with the now-familiar three-button inline remote. The Plattan Plus headphones fold up nice and small, and the fabric cable means you won’t waste time untangling cables when you should be rocking. The mic/ controller is situated perfectly for making voice calls and using Voice Control on supported phones. While we do like their compactness, be warned that if you have a large head—like some of the super-smart Mac|Life staff—the Plattans can be a bit skull-crushing. For people with normal, human-sized heads, they’re much better after an initial stretching-out period. When it comes to sharing with friends, Plattan has your earbuds beat. Urbanears builds in a Zound Plug, an eighth-inch audio output in the right headphone, so that you can spread your jams. With multiple Plattans, you could daisy-chain LCD Soundsystem to infinity. It’s a nice feature, but we’re not sure how often we really want to be physically attached to our friends, as smart,


clever, and good-looking as they all are. Sound-wise, the audio seems muffled, especially considering the price point. Midrange tone is fine, but the high and low ends are muted. While we’ve come to expect a certain amount of softening in the low end (quality bass usually means shelling out big bucks), the soggy high end is disappointing. Plattan’s sonic shortcomings were clear while we listened to metal and drum-and-bass tracks. Cymbal crashes and higher guitar notes lacked definition and crispness. Pop tunes like Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” sounded fine, but Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” pushed beyond the limits of these ’phones. The bottom line. The Plattan Plus wins on style and portability, but the mid-heavy sound left us wanting more detail.—Roberto Baldwin

Form over funk-tion.

Plattan Plus urbanears Price: $60 Requirements: iPhone Compact. Tangle-free fabric cable. Available in 14 colors. Mids fine, but muted high and low ends. Tight on large heads.

Mac | life R A T E D



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LAUNCHBAR 5 QUICK-LAUNCH SOFTWARE It’s like Quicksilver, except it doesn’t crash… If you’ve never used a quick-launch tool, you might not want to start. As a word of warning, these applications will change the way you use your computer forever. Once you’ve experienced the productivity these bad boys offer, they will quickly become a necessity that’s as essential as your mouse or monitor. So if you like your old-fashioned computin’ lifestyle, move along. But if you’re ready to give your productivity a turbo boost, LaunchBar is the ticket. The obvious question about LaunchBar is “What makes it so valuable?” And the answer is, the way it lets you search, open files, and perform actions at blazing speeds. At first, this app’s going to sound just like Spotlight, but bear with us—it’s actually bigger and much better. To get started, you hit LaunchBar’s customizable keystroke

Typing “iTunes” and then clicking the right arrow lets you choose from albums, artists, playlists, and more.

LaunchBar 5 Objective Development Price: $35 for single-seat license, $59 for family license (5 computers); $14 single-seat upgrade, $26 family upgrade Requirements: Mac OS 10.4 or later Not as difficult or complex as Quicksilver. Unobtrusive design. Changes the way you use your computer. Instant Send makes up for the lack of programmable actions. If you’re an experienced Quicksilver or Butler user, there’s little reason to switch. Takes time to master all the functionality.

Mac | Life



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(Command+Space by default) to pop up a search box at the center of your menu bar. Type a few letters, and any corresponding files, folders, and applications will appear. Navigate quickly through these results using the arrow keys or refine your results by adding a few keystrokes (for instance, typing “la” displays results for LaunchBar, a Last.FM plug-in, and YouTube results for “laser cats”); more letters further refine your results. But unlike Spotlight—which only looks at your history—LaunchBar can also perform live web searches, which you can customize to include your favorite sites. But LaunchBar is more than a simple search bar. The application remembers your preferences and learns what you’re most likely to choose when you type certain letters. New in this version is the fantastic Instant Send—hold down a key for a half second or so to instantly activate the top result (you can set the timer to trigger even faster if you wish). LaunchBar can quickly learn that holding down “p” should play and

LaunchBar’s unimposing interface means it will never hinder workflow by covering up valuable screen real estate.

Using the arrow keys to choose from results means you’ll rarely even need your mouse.

pause iTunes, holding down “n” should skip to the next song, or “ph” should open Photoshop. After a few uses, frequently chosen files and commands will almost always be your top result, making it a solid replacement for Quicksilver’s programmable triggers. Which may lead to your next question: “Why not use a free option like Quicksilver?” Simple enough. Quicksilver crashes more than it should, and constantly rebooting software can make it feel more like quicksand. Butler is also free, but it’s got a somewhat clunky interface. LaunchBar is just so much more userfriendly that it’s worth the $35. LaunchBar is also so crammed with features, it’ll take you weeks to discover everything that it has to offer. Type a mathematical equation, and LaunchBar will solve it. Or you can send files to LaunchBar by pressing Command+Shift+F1, peruse Clipboard history, open recently viewed files in a variety of applications like Pages and Preview, or type “.” to instantly add “.com” to the end of your search. Those are just a few of LaunchBar’s many talents, and you’ll have to do quite a bit of digging to unearth all of its capabilities. If you can’t type very quickly or confidently, though, the app might not save you much time. LaunchBar’s effectiveness relies on your ability to type accurately— although even if you mess up, it will frequently know what you were trying to type anyway. But if you know your way around a keyboard, LaunchBar can have you zooming through your daily Mac tasks. If you keep bumping into the same items and you want them to go away, LaunchBar’s index system allows you to set rules for what appears in search results, making them even more efficient. Most people won’t need to, though— LaunchBar is that good at learning your habits. The bottom line. It’s hard to compete with free. But LaunchBar’s utility and stability make it worth the money. Once you get used to working with it, LaunchBar will change the way you interact with your Mac forever.—Nic Vargus


AutoRAtE itunEs utiLity Rate iTunes tracks without all the clicking

A meticulously maintained iTunes library with ratings for each track lets you easily create best-of playlists to keep lame songs off your iPod. That’s great if you consistently rate music as your collection grows, but what if you’ve got a giant unrated library and no time to add stars to all those tracks? Enter AutoRate, a free application that— ahem!—automatically rates music based on current play count and frequency. Despite some limitations, it’s an easy way to start getting more from your music. AutoRate rates your songs (but not TV shows or movies) or restores old ratings with a click, although restoring ratings can take a while. In Preferences, choose between rating your entire library or a specific playlist, set new ratings to apply to either already-rated or unrated tracks, and adjust the extent to which play count and frequency affect ratings. Other options force AutoRate to take your pre-existing ratings into account or work with an optional Automator action to apply half-star ratings and display them in iTunes. Half-stars reflect AutoRate’s calculations more accurately than whole numbers, if you’re a big stats geek. The minimal instructions don’t offer as much explanation as we’d like, but most users can sort it all out quickly enough.

AutoRate will have you seeing stars in no time.

Rating an entire library takes only a minute or so, and it’s time well spent if you have lots of unrated songs. Results from AutoRate’s default settings appeared accurate to us, and we appreciated the convenience of automatically rating music, then rerunning the application after a lengthy listening session to keep ratings current with our tastes. The bottom line. If you’ve been remiss in your rating regimen, AutoRate can rank your tracks quickly and with surprising accuracy.—Adam Berenstain

AutoRAte Brandon Mol Price: Free Requirements: iTunes Automatically generates accurate music ratings. Rates the entire library or a specific playlist. Rating restoration can be slow. Minimal documentation. Only rates music files.

Mac | Life R A T E D




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MYTEXTS PRO A text editor for the easily distracted Some writers fear the “tyranny of the blank page”—that inescapable moment when you have to stop tinkering with formatting preferences and just start writing. If that’s ringing a bell, then myTexts Pro is absolutely not for you because putting the blank page front and center is why this application exists. This nifty software is designed to do away with all the distractions and complexities of programs like Microsoft Word. When you fire it up, you’re presented with white text upon a dark gray background. There’s no menu bar, no Dock, and no floating palettes to get in the way of simply typing one word after the other. It may sound simplistic, but rest assured that a robust engine running behind the scenes offers some very handy features. Documents are automatically saved in the background as you work, but choosing Snapshot from the menu will save a copy of the current document, which you can jump back to at any time. The Quick Group feature allows for easy organization of related files, either by saving to a particular Quick Group or by dragging and dropping selected text to the desired Group. When it comes to styling text, Markdown mode offers a way to add special formatting to your text without memorizing keyboard shortcuts or mousing over to palette buttons. To create italicized text, simply preface your word or sentence with an asterisk; double asterisks creates bold text. We wish other programs would adopt these intuitive shortcuts. Despite this focus on simplicity, myTexts offers the formatting and metadata features you actually use,

MYTEXTS PRO MOApp Software Manufactory Price: $19.95 Requirements: Mac OS 10.6.4 or later Elegant interface. Useful features. Power users will miss certain heavy-duty word-processing tools.

Mac | Life



MYTEXTS TOUCH MYTEXTS PRO MOApp Software Manufactory Price: $2.99 iPhone; $4.99 iPad Requirements: iOS device with iOS 4.1 or later Syncs with your Dropbox account for quick filesharing. Can send documents via email, or as PDFs. No folders for organization. Makes PDFs, but can’t read them.

Mac | Life R A T E D

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It’s computing in the 1980s all over again.

leaving out all the cruft. Working on document metadata is as simple as mousing over to the left side of the screen and opening the Sidebar. There, you can add tags and notes to your document; dynamically change the MyTexts touch is the fastest way font and to move files between your Mac margin sizes; and your iPhone. view statistics like word and character count; and preview, export, or print. MyTexts Pro is available for Mac ($19.95), iPad ($4.99), and (as myTexts touch), iPhone ($2.99), and all three versions support simultaneous editing of the same document via Dropbox or iDisk, which is super-handy. The bottom line. For those of us who want a cleaner way to write, this deceptively simple application offers a wealth of options for an outstanding price. —Keoni Chavez


AiR Mouse eLite

It’s like a magic wand for your Mac

possibilities. The 2.4GHz Air Mouse Elite uses motion sensors to track the angle and speed of your movements. By holding the mouse vertically and waving it around, you control actions onscreen. Moving the cursor feels like shoving a puck in a game of shuffleboard—it’s not exactly the most intuitive, fluid way of moving around the screen, but the feel improves once you get used to the mechanics. The MotionTools software configures the Air Mouse’s actions and gesture buttons. Unfortunately, it’s a bit confusing at first. To designate an action, drag it from the Actions list on the right side of the screen to the corresponding media button on the left—the Gestures screen is the same. Once you finally figure out the software, you can program 50 different actions and gestures, and configure different user profiles. The Air Mouse is ergonomically shaped to fit the curve of your hand, and it glides smoothly across your desktop. After a while of getting used to the mechanics, we were able to seamlessly move the pointer around on our Mac—almost as if we were waving a magic wand—and using the device in the air works fine for tasks like slideshows and showing off presentations. But for day-to-day work, we were more comfortable with traditional desktop mousery. The bottom line. The Air Mouse Elite’s gestures work fine for certain tasks like presentations and volume tweaks, but we still keep a traditional mouse on hand.—Florence Ion worldmags

p sin actre g 4 ch Tu d o riP

m o

I f

I’ve always wanted to wave around a wand and make things appear out of thin air, but life dealt me the Muggle card. So instead of magic, I have to rely on technology to make things happen. The Air Mouse Elite lets me control my computer from a few feet away—and after years of desktop-only mousing, that does feel a little bit magical. The Air Mouse Elite connects to your Mac via a wireless USB dongle and charges via a separate USB connection on its own docking station. To get your Mac to recognize it, you have to perform a bit of wizardry by first installing the MotionTools software and then simultaneously pressing a button on the dongle and the device. After the dongle and mouse are paired, launch the software and configure each of the mouse’s four hot keys (with one always reserved for gestures) to close a window, launch an application, bring up the onscreen pointer—and many other

Wave your mouse in the air...yes, like you just don’t care.

e ilb a v A w


Air Mouse elite

Gyration Price: $79.99 Requirements: Mac OS 10.4 or later, USB port Ergonomic. No batteries needed. MotionTools software isn’t user-friendly. Takes a while to get used to. Not as comfortable as a day-to-day mouse.

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R A T E D FeB•11




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StyLuS and Pen

A writing instrument worthy of 007 The first time you pick up the Hard Candy Stylus and Pen, you’ll be struck by how it feels in your hand. It’s solid and has great balance—and sure enough, it levels perfectly on your index finger. By the time you put it down, though, you’ll be struck by how smudgy your silver stylus has become. That’s the nature of the chrome beast, we’re afraid, and this one is so great-looking that you may never want to touch it. But don’t assume this stylus is just another pretty face; its built-in pen makes it handy for quickly switching between iPad scrawls and paper-based notes. The pen takes Parker ballpoint refills, which are thankfully easy to replace when the time comes. And though the stylus doesn’t have a pocket clip—making it slightly harder to carry and more likely to get scuffed up in your pocket—we wouldn’t have it any other way. The smooth, tapered pen feels great to the touch—the kind of substantial writing instrument you’ll roll in your hands while you’re reading. The stylus’s large, squishy tip looks imprecise at first glance, but it worked fine for note-taking and quick sketches on an iPad. We even composed emails and texts on our iPhone’s tiny virtual keyboard, finding it to be accurate for text entry. Despite seeming far thicker, the tip is only slightly larger than the tips on other iPhone & iPad styluses we’ve tested. The Hard Candy website says that its stylus is compatible with the iPad, iPhone 4, and iPod touch, but we tested it on our iPhone 3G and it worked just fine. Our biggest gripe is that when you remove one of the caps to use either the pen or the stylus tip, there’s no place to put it, which means we’ll lose them eventually. The bottom line. The Hard Candy Stylus is what James Bond would use with his iPad. It’s solid in your hand, and even in its inevitably smudgy and scratched condition, it makes competing styluses look and feel like toys.—Nic Vargus

StyluS and Pen Hard Candy Cases Price: $34.95 Requirements: Paper, touchscreen device Perfectly balanced. Quality look and feel. Fairly priced. No place to put the cap when in use. Caps are difficult to remove. Chrome smudges easily.

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Make yourself at home.

SID MEIER’S CIVILIZATION V It’s time to get your god complex on For close to two decades, Sid Meier has fed the monkey on many a strategy gamer’s back. His prolific Civilization series has set the bar for turn-based strategy games for a long, long time. The series puts you into the shoes of the leader of one of a number of civilizations—each with their own advantages and shortcomings—as you guide your people from the dawn of time to the space age. The latest iteration, Civilization V, is easily the most addictive and accessible so far. Since it was released last fall for Windows, Mac gamers have been champing at the bit to get their hands on an OS X version, and at last they can. Boasting a refined combat system, rich 3D graphics, and a streamlined micromanagement system, Civilization V is worthy of the franchise’s crown as the king of all strategy games. Aspyr, the developer that also ported the last Civilization game to the Mac, did a tremendous job maintaining Civ V’s look, feel, and playability. Civ V introduces a hex-based mapping grid that lets players formulate new strategies both for empire building and waging war. Long-time Civilization players will note that the game now only permits one military unit per space, making the “Stack of Doom” a thing of the past. You’ll also find a refined technology-development tree and an intriguing new civics system with substantial customization options to help your fledgling civilization grow into the all-consuming empire you always knew it could be. When played on a stock 2010 13-inch MacBook Pro, Civilization V preformed well and looked great while worldmags

running with the game’s graphics set to medium, giving some much-needed love to gamers rocking a Mac with integrated graphics. On higher-powered machines, Civ’s new graphics really shine, with more detailed map textures, sparkling water effects, and the downright prettiest fog of war we’ve ever seen. Despite the port’s addictive gameplay and support for a wide spectrum of Macs, we still SID MEIER’S found a few technical hiccups. We were CIVILIZATION V disappointed to find Civ’s opening movie Aspyr wouldn’t render correctly and the issue Price: $49.99 persisted through subsequent plays. We Requirements: 2.4GHz or faster also found a few in-game graphical glitches Intel Core 2 Duo processor; Mac OS as well. But make no mistake: these issues, 10.6.4 or later; 2GB RAM; ATI Radeon HD 2600, Nvidia GeForce 8600, or better graphics card with 256MB while irritating, aren’t nearly enough to VRAM; 8GB free disk space detract from the excellent Mac gaming Same addictive gameplay experience Aspyr has put together. we’ve come to expect from the Civilization series. A wide variety The bottom line. Without a doubt, of civilizations, civics, and multiple hardcore Civilization fanatics will love paths to victory make it highly replayable. Enjoyable multiplayer. Civ 5’s complex gameplay and fresh new Graphics glitches detract from mechanics and the addictive multiplayer the game’s experience. will hook even the most casual gamers. Mac | Life AWESOME R A T E D —Seamus Bellamy FEB• 11



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Despite the swords, it’s not Kill Bill. It’s “Kill Everyone.”

CITY OF HEROES: GOING ROGUE Straddling the line between good and evil Ever since we were kids, we knew whether we were the good guys or the bad guys, the cops or the robbers, the superheroes or the supervillains. But when times were tough—or when our older siblings got to choose first—we transformed from a noble hero to a dark villain at a moment’s notice. This tradition lives on in the Going Rogue expansion for NCsoft’s City of Heroes, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game. Like you do in the original City of Heroes, you create a superhero (or villain), write an City of Heroes: GoinG roGue origin story for the character, choose one NCsoft Corporation of five origins—Natural, Magic, Science, Mutation, or Technology—select from five Price: $39.99, $14.99/month subscription fee archetypes—Blaster, Controller, Defender, Requirements: Intel-based Scrapper, or Tanker—and venture out to processor; Mac OS 10.5.5 or later; 1GB RAM; ATI X1600, Nvidia 7300 GT, do some damage. or X3100 Intel integrated graphics chip (Intel GMA950 not supported); Going Rogue adds an alternate reality 5GB free disk space to City of Heroes’ Paragon City, called ESRB rating: Teen Praetoria, and it sets up a new series Decent graphics and sound, fun gameplay. New missions and power of missions that allows you to shift sets add interesting new elements allegiances between heroes and villains. to a classic MMORPG. Expansion adds some interesting Once you’ve entered Praetoria, you choices but nothing revolutionary can choose to aid the Loyalists siding to the game. Lack of in-game voice chat feature needs to be worked with the Praetorian government or join around. Interface can feel a tad the members of the local Resistance obscure. movement. The expansion builds on G O O D Mac | Life R A T E D classic City of Heroes gameplay while

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adding new power sets and abilities for your characters. Like the original game, Going Rogue offers good graphics and sound— although neither is bleeding edge—and it’s easy enough to get into. Missions are easy to pick up and locate on the map, inventory management is relatively simple, and it’s fun to customize your character’s powers as you gain levels. Of course, any MMO thrives on team play, and Going Rogue also makes it simple enough to join a group, defeat the baddies, and move on. We were able to maintain a good connection rate with the game’s servers, and the application ran solidly under Mac OS 10.6.4, but we did find some frustrating shortcomings. While Going Rogue is easy enough to pick up and play and the tutorial is inclusive, the game’s interface and menu system were frustrating, and we had to struggle to get used to them before they became second nature. Plus, the lack of in-game voice chat is disappointing—you’ll have to create a group in Skype or iChat. The bottom line. Going Rogue’s new missions are fun and stand on their own, but this feels like an uphill battle for the expansion pack. When City of Heroes premiered in 2004, it was revolutionary. But six years have gone by, and although Going Rogue adds a good storyline complete with interesting choices, it feels milked a bit dry after the luster of those additional missions and powers wears off. There’s certainly nothing revolutionary here, but it’s still entertaining to battle thugs, miscreants, robots, monsters, mutants, zombies, thugs, and space aliens in the name of great justice. Or evil. Whichever you’re in the mood for.—Chris Barylick





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Sharp dagger or not, you’re still going to need to sneak up on your victims for a clean kill…

LUGARU HD Bloody rabbits

Quentin Tarantino meets Bruce Lee meets a bunny in Lugaru HD, an updated version of Wolfire Games’ 2005 shareware cult hit. Like the original, you take control of a warrior rabbit named Turner, who vows revenge after finding his family and friends slaughtered by a raiding party. A fascinating and highly political plot evolves from there as the game pushes you to fight other animals equipped with knives, swords, bo staffs, feet, and fists while working to uncover the underlying conspiracy and bring justice back to the island of Lugaru. Though five years have passed since its original introduction on the Mac, Windows, and Linux platforms, Lugaru HD Lugaru has aged fairly well. The HD version available via Valve’s Steam online Wolfire Games, LLC storefront has added new textures to the Price: $9.99 models. So the graphics are still reasonably Requirements: 1GHz or faster PowerPC or Intel processor; Mac good, and the game’s use of environmental OS 10.5 or later; 512MB RAM; 128MB sounds and music contribute to a OpenGL-compatible video card; 40MB free disk space foreboding tone accentuated by bursts ESRB rating: Mature of action during combat. Graphics, sound, and gameplay have held up well over the years. Lugaru’s combat physics were always Interesting storyline, good replay a highlight, and it’s still fun to jump into a value, and well-craft combat physics mean this game is still a fight and throw your opponent around like fun time killer. a rag doll (or vice versa)—the game uses The version we reviewed (1.06) a smooth attack, block, and counterattack is intermittently crash-prone as a movement bug sends dropped system to reverse attacks as well as disarm weapons flying about the landscape, making them unusable. your opponents. Timing is a key element within each fight, and a blow delivered too GOOD Mac | Life R A T E D early won’t land while a block activated

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too late will stagger or knock over your character, making them much more vulnerable. That sense of realism makes Lugaru addictive; the lack of an ultimate weapon or fighting technique that can instantly destroy half a dozen opponents makes strategy tantamount to survival. If you’re approaching a camp filled with half a dozen wandering sentries, you’ll have to ask yourself which opponent to attack first; how much noise you’re making that might alert other opponents to your position; and what weapons and terrain are available to you. Like a real-life battle, you’ll almost never be able to fight off a small mob intent on beating you to death. Instead, you’ll have to find a smart, more practical way to fight multiple enemies. Even though it only takes a couple of hours or less to complete Lugaru’s central campaign, three difficulty settings plus 14 challenge levels add to the replay value—and it’s fun to sneak in 10 to 15 minutes of “Watership Down Meets Bruce Lee” gameplay. Unfortunately, you’ll be forced to contend with serious bugs. While the game ran well for the most part, a small update automatically snagged via Steam rendered it extremely crash-prone under both Mac OS 10.6.4 and 10.6.5 when we tried to pick up or use a weapon. This, combined with a strange bug in which dropped weapons would fly wildly about the landscape instead of staying in place, made the game less enjoyable. The bottom line. Lugaru HD improves upon the terrific original, and the game is as fun as it ever was, but it’s probably best to wait for a bug fix (we played version 1.06). Then the kung fu rabbits shall seek bloody vengeance once again.—Chris Barylick


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>>>MIGRATION SNAGS I got a new iMac, and I used Migration Assistant to transfer some user accounts over to it from three other old Macs I had lying around. But I didn’t need all those extra accounts on the iMac; I just wanted some of the files in their Documents, Music, Movies, and Pictures folders. So I went to System Preferences > Accounts to delete the extra user accounts and told it to keep the user folder on the hard drive so I could get those documents out. But now it says I don’t have permission to view those folders. I guess only the account owner has permission, but I can’t log in since I deleted the accounts! No problem. Open a Finder window, and go to Macintosh HD > Users. You’ll see a user folder for each account, even the ones you deleted. If you expand the user folder for a deleted account or any account that isn’t the one you’re logged into, unless Sharing was set up ahead of time, you’ll see little red badges on the folders showing you don’t have permission to view them. Select one of those folders and press Command-I to see the Get Info window. At the bottom-right corner, click the little lock icon, which will prompt you to type your current account’s password (your regular admin account will work). That unlocks the Sharing & Permission portion of the Get Info window, and now you can give yourself permission to view and alter that folder. Click the Plus button under the list of names, then in the pop-up window, select Administrators (or just your own admin account), and click the Select button. That will give all administrators read-only access by default, but you can just click the words Read Only and change them to Read & Write. Now you can dig into those deleted users’ home folders from the comfort of your own account and drag the contents of the Desktop, Documents, Music, Movies, Pictures, and other folders to their proper locations in your regular account’s home folder. If you want to be able to just merge the two folders, Windows-style, check out MoveAddict ($8,, which we recommended last issue in an Ask question called “Windows Features on the Mac.”—Susie Ochs

Weather Wherever Thanks to your five-star review (Feb/10, p69), I switched over to BusyCal as my primary calendar program. I especially love how it shows me the weather icons directly on my calendar. Is there a way to see the weather for more than one city?

BusyCal shows you attractive weather icons for the primary city that you specify in its preferences. However, thanks to the Weather Underground website, you can add the weather forecast for multiple cities onto your calendar—just without the icons. This little-known trick works for iCal, too.

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First click the lock, then add Administrators to the list and grant them Read & Write privileges.

We’ll go with any administrator account, but you can also get very specific with permissions.

Go to and search for the city that you want to add to your calendar. You’ll see a green button that says iCal all the way to the right of the city name. But don’t click that button because that will just add a static, unchanging display of one week’s worth of weather onto your calendar. Instead, what you want is a dynamic, alwaysupdating subscription to that city’s weather forecast. To do that, right-click the green iCal button and choose Copy Link from the contextual menu. Then, within BusyCal, choose Calendar > Subscribe to WebDAV Calendar (or Calendar > Subscribe if you’re using iCal). Paste the link you just copied into the field for Calendar URL, leave


the Login and Password fields blank, and choose to refresh every hour to get the most up-to-date weather forecasts. Your additional cities will now appear as their own automatically refreshing calendars in BusyCal (or iCal). You can assign a different color to each city and hide a city altogether when you don’t need to see it.—Scott Rose

Our calendar has come alive with the weather forecast for multiple cities!

In your case, Verizon’s rebranded Novatel software is called VZAccess Manager. Launch this from your Applications folder, and uninstall it by choosing (from the menu bar) VZAccess Manager > Uninstall VZAccess Manager. After the Verizon software Apple’s System Profiler will give you a clue as to whether or not your USB modem is being recognized is completely by your Mac. uninstalled, restart your Mac, and your Virgin modem will mount successfully on your Desktop. Then you can install Virgin’s drivers.—Scott Rose

iHotmail My mom has a Hotmail account, and I just bought her an iPhone. Can she set up the Mail app to keep her email in sync between her iPhone and Hotmail website?

BusyCal can put weather icons for one city on your calendar— and even detect your location.

Verizon vs. Virgin I bought a Virgin Mobile USB Wireless Modem to replace my Verizon USB Wireless Modem because Virgin gives me unlimited data without a contract. However, I can’t get it to work. When I plug the USB modem into my computer, it doesn’t mount on my Desktop, so I can’t install its drivers.

Chances are that your Mac is already recognizing your new USB modem. To verify this, launch System Profiler (in Utilities), click USB in the list on the left, and ensure that Virgin Mobile Modem is listed. In the rare circumstance that it’s not listed, then you likely have a bad modem or some kind of hardware problem with your Mac. However, if it is listed (as we suspect), then you’re having a software conflict with other wireless modem software installed on your Mac. Most likely, your previous Verizon software is causing the conflict. To understand what’s going on here, know that all the U.S. cell phone carriers use the same USB wireless modems manufactured by Novatel Wireless, but they just brand the hardware and software differently. As a result, you can only have one piece of Novatel Wireless software installed on your Mac at any given time. worldmags

Up until a few months ago, there was no way to keep the Mail app in sync with a Hotmail account, and we would’ve recommended she switch to a Gmail or Yahoo account instead. While she could’ve paid $19.95 per year for a “Hotmail Plus” account, that would’ve only given her POP access to her email, which only downloads new inbox messages to the iPhone but doesn’t keep those messages in sync with the server (which is what you see on the Hotmail site). Fortunately, Microsoft rectified this problem by enabling Exchange ActiveSync support for Hotmail users. So not only can your mom keep Mail in sync with the Hotmail website, if she uses Hotmail’s calendar and contacts, those can sync with her iPhone as well. To set up Hotmail on an iOS device, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Add Account > Microsoft Exchange. Type your mom’s full Hotmail address into both the Email and Username fields, leave Domain blank, and enter her password. Type whatever you want for the account description, then tap Next. The following page will ask for a server name. Type and then tap Next. On the final page, you can enable mail, calendars, and contacts for your mom’s Hotmail account. After that, her iPhone will be completely in sync with Hotmail. —Scott Rose Simply set up your Hotmail account as a Microsoft Exchange account, using as the server name. FEB• 11



>>>Ask Comic Sans: What’s So Funny? Often I am viewing webpages in Safari 5 containing Comic Sans. We all know how gross and terrible Comic Sans is, so is there a way to make Safari no longer display Comic Sans?

There absolutely is, but first let me give you props for the (intentional? inadvertent? doesn’t matter!) humor in your question. At Mac|Life HQ, Comic Sans is somewhat controversial, with the “haters” hating it like poison but a couple other staffers not seeing what the brouhaha is over. (Note to those staffers: I promise I didn’t write this question myself!) Okay, now to your answer: Head to and you should see one called Comic Sans Be Gone, by Phillip Hutchings ( It’s your dream come true. Install that bad boy, and any Comic Sans you encounter will be automatically replaced by Helvetica, a favorite choice of font snobs everywhere. It’s even got a preference you can tweak to obliterate instances of Arial too. To go one step further, that same page ( com/#other) has an extension called HelveticaTheWorld, by SonsterMedia ( That’ll make everything Helvetica. Enjoy.—Susie Ochs

in the first two slots of each riser. But try swapping around which pair of DIMMs goes on which riser. It doesn’t seem like it should make any difference, but it’s surprising how often it does. If this doesn’t help, you should try swapping the last DIMMs you bought for a different brand because you’ve evidently just run up against some subtle brand incompatibility. —Luis Villazon

System Profiler has information about your RAM, under the Memory heading— including its part number.

Wanted: Wireless I currently have four computers (one Mac G4 and three PCs) wired to a Netgear wireless router. I recently acquired a Mac Pro. Where I want to keep and use the new computer will make running a new cable impractical. I’ve asked several Mac users how to make the computer wireless, but they all have different answers. How does one make a Mac Pro wireless?

What’s so funny about peace, love, and never wanting to see Comic Sans again? (At left, before this extension was installed; at right, after.)

Case of the Missing RAM My 2008 Mac Pro was limping along with the supplied 2GB of RAM, so I bought a couple more 1GB sticks. I know for sure that the sticks and the risers were pushed all the way in. But System Profiler still showed 2GB, instead of the 4GB installed. I downloaded the tech manual

Current Mac Pros come with AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless, already equipped. (You can double-check that the AirPort card is present in your Mac Pro by opening the System Profiler application and clicking AirPort in the column on the left.) Check your menu bar for the AirPort logo (it’s shaped like a baseball diamond), and click it to turn AirPort on. The Mac will scan for wireless networks, and if your Netgear router is in range, you can select it, enter your network’s password, and you’ll be connected. While current Mac Pros have that AirPort Extreme card standard, some previous Mac Pro models didn’t. When the Mac Pro was introduced in 2006, it came with two Ethernet ports (for wired connectivity) but the AirPort Extreme card was an optional add-on. It didn’t become standard until 2010. But you can still add an AirPort Extreme card to a Mac Pro that didn’t come with one. We recommend

for the system and found that one of the original Apple-supplied sticks had gone bad. So I bought another 2GB. This time around there were no LEDs lit on either riser, but the system still insists it has only 2GB installed! I put

Mac Pros have four PCI Express slots for adding expansion cards…

two modules on each riser (but I also tried putting all four on one riser), and they are the same brand as the ones supplied by Apple. The System Profiler report is only registering the module installed in the first slot of each riser—according to the tech manual, if the risers were bad, then all four LEDs would be solid red.

Are your memory modules the same brand or exactly the same part number as that on the Apple memory? We know that stopped recommending certain part numbers, even within the same manufacturer’s range, because of problems they were having with reliability. The official Apple FB-DIMMs for the Mac Pro have a largerthan-normal JEDEC heatsink. So it’s just about possible that you have some more failed modules. Put just one set of 2GB in and see if it’s detected, then put the other 2GB in. This is just about thoroughness, though—I don’t actually think your RAM has failed. I’m not even completely convinced that the original Apple RAM had either. Missing RAM problems like this are nearly always caused by arguments between different modules on the risers. The only valid configuration for four DIMMs on a 2008 Mac Pro is to have two

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…like this AirPort Extreme card sold by Other World Computing.


picking it up from Other World Computing, which sells the Apple AirPort Extreme 802.11n Wireless Mini-PCIe Card ($89.99, item/Apple/6615048K/). It comes with installation instructions, and you won’t even need any tools since the Mac Pro is so easy to open. That card’s 802.11n speeds are the fastest available for your Mac Pro, and once it’s installed, you’ll be able to connect to your router wirelessly. —Susie Ochs

You Spin Me Right Round I seem to be suffering from spin-up lag. I have a Maxtor One Touch 500GB external hard drive connected to my 24-inch iMac. I use it mostly for storage, keeping only the bare minimum on my iMac’s boot volume. But when I open a Finder window or launch an application, there’s a lag where nothing happens and I can hear the disk spinning up even if it doesn’t seem like it needs to. Could the problem be the way it’s formatted, as Mac OS Extended

Moving Tunes

(Journaled)? Is it the journaling? I also unchecked “Put the hard

In iTunes, I have spent a considerable amount of time changing songs’

disk(s) to sleep when possible” in System Preferences > Energy Saver

lengths in the Options pane of the Info window (Command-I) of each

but that didn’t help. I’ve started ejecting the drive when I’m not using

song. I now want to move my iTunes library to a new Mac. What do I have

it and remounting it with Disk Utility when it’s needed, but this is a bit

to do to transfer those preferences so that I don’t have to spend weeks

of a pain.

adjusting the start and stop times again?

Journaling is just a way for the file system to keep track of any pending write operations, in case the power fails. It saves OS X from having to run a block-by-block check of the whole disk to restore file system integrity after a crash at the expense of a performance hit that is trivial for all but the largest, busiest drives. It has nothing to do with the spinup delay you’re seeing.

The best bet is for you to transfer your iTunes library to the new Mac with the Migration Assistant. When you first fire up a Mac and it asks if you want to move your data, that’s one chance, but you can also set up the new Mac as pristinely new and use Migration Assistant later. Just launch it from the Utilities folder and tell it what you want to do—you can transfer your library over Wi-Fi, but if both Macs have a FireWire port, it’s much faster to connect them that way and use Target Disk Mode. (Start up the old Mac holding down T, which mounts it as an external drive on the new Mac for Migration Assistant to mine—but Migration Assistant walks you through the whole process.) Migration Assistant doesn’t have a setting specifically for iTunes, but if you migrate your user account’s Music folder, that’ll contain both your media and your library database, which stores those preferences you want to transfer. If you’d rather do it manually, first move the files in your home folder’s Music/iTunes/iTunes Media folder from the old Mac to the same location on the new Mac. Then export the iTunes Library database from your old Mac—go to File > Library > Export Library. Move the resulting XML file to the new Mac. Open iTunes, choose File > Library > Import Playlist and select that XML file. Why not use Home Sharing within iTunes, you may wonder? I found out the hard way when recently combining songs from multiple laptops and external drives into one, new, started-from-scratch mega-library on my new iMac: Home Sharing is great for actually moving music, videos, and apps from one machine to another over the network, but it doesn’t move the metadata. My ratings and play counts were wiped out. —Susie Ochs

Migrate your Music folder to your new Mac. (Which we obviously can’t do here because the MacBook Air is a few hundred gigs light…)


Your USB drive won’t necessarily respect the Energy Saver settings.

No, this is just your Maxtor drive going to sleep by itself. External disks—and USB devices in general—don’t always pay any attention to the Energy Saver settings and just sleep themselves based on how recently they were last accessed. If the drive is mounted, then OS X will ping it briefly when a new Finder window is opened, just to make sure that it should still appear in the Devices list. That will startle the drive out of its doze, and it’ll send a panicked “hang on!” message back, while it hops around on the floor, trying to get its jeans back on. I don’t really know why you want everything off your internal disk. If everything fits, I would recommend keeping it all internal and then using the Maxtor as a backup disk. But if you really want to subdivide your data like this, you either need to use the Maxtor disk more than you do now, or less. If you put more frequently accessed data on it, you’ll stop it from sleeping so readily. Alternatively, if you access it less frequently, the spin-up lag won’t be so annoying.—Luis Villazon

GOT A TECH QUESTION OR A HELPFUL TIP TO SHARE? Email or write to Mac|Life, 4000 Shoreline Ct, Suite 400, South San Francisco, CA 94080 FEB• 11





Record “Real” Guitar with a Rock Band 3 Controller Everyone loves Harmonix’s awesome videogame, and now you can connect your Rock Band 3 controller to your Mac for your own stairway to real-life shreddin’! If you’ve been keeping up with the technological arms race of music videogames, you’re probably aware that Rock Band 3, released last October, features a Pro mode that teaches players to actually play guitar or keyboards. A real, stringed electric guitar is forthcoming, but at the moment, Pro guitar mode can only be played with the Mustang—a plastic controller with strings only for strumming and a neck littered with buttons. Sure, it’s not a “real” instrument, but thanks to a MIDI output, you can use the Mustang to make very real music...and do some things simply not possible with a regular guitar. Don’t believe it? Head over to to hear the awesome results of our MIDI shreddin’. And here’s how to use GarageBand and that polycarbonate axe to melt some faces. BY JOE RYBICKI

$150 gets you a controller for Rock Band 3 that also doubles as a MIDI controller.




>> Rock Band 3 Wireless Fender Mustang PRO-Guitar Controller ($149.99, >> MIDI-to-USB adapter >> GarageBand ($49 with iLife ’11,

1Tune Up

Open GarageBand and create a new project. Select Piano as the template, name your project something saucy, and click Create. Before you do anything else, plug in your MIDI-to-USB adapter. We used the $30 E-MU Xmidi, but similar adapters can be found on Amazon for about $6. You should get a notification saying, “The number of MIDI inputs has changed. Now one input is available.” This is good. Plug the adapter into the Mustang using the plug labeled “MIDI In” if your MIDI-to-USB has one. Turn on the guitar, either with the power switch or by holding down the Xbox button if it’s the 360 controller. Run your fingers across the strings. Hey, check it out: you’re strumming a piano! Don’t get ahead of yourself; choosing Guitar here won’t do you any good.

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FEB• 11


2 Sound Check

Now that you’ve got it working, it’s time to make it sound

more like a guitar. Click the Info button in the lower right of GarageBand to bring up the track info. You’ll see the Grand Piano is selected. Click Guitars in the left column, and choose Clean Electric in the right column. Give those strings another swipe. Better, right? Still, no one’s going to mistake that sound for a real electric guitar, but we’ll get to that.

You can try other guitar styles, but they’ll probably sound pretty funky in the next step.

3 In the Studio

It may seem counterintuitive because it’s not going to sound spectacular, but this is the point where you want to record your masterpiece. Hit the Record button and go to town. Play the Mustang just as you would a normal guitar. Now, you will notice a couple of idiosyncrasies while playing. For one thing, if you strum an open note, it’ll just keep ringing out until you hit a button higher on that string; that is, laying a hand over the strings themselves won’t stop the sound as it would on a real guitar. Since the MIDI information is transmitted only when you strum a string, you can’t perform hammer-ons or pull-offs. If you were born to shred, you can tap the Start button on the guitar to switch from Strum to Synth mode, which will detect any button press even when you’re not strumming. This mode has some weirdness too, but it makes things like hammer-ons, pull-offs, and two-finger tapping possible, so go ahead and get the Eddie Van Halen out of your system. If you find yourself playing too high or too low, tap the left and right “face” buttons on the guitar (X and B on the 360 version or Square and Circle on the PS3 one) to adjust the octave up and down.

Five dollars to the first person who can identify this song. No, not really.

4 A Second Take

Once you’re satisfied with the fundamentals of your guitar track, locate the Share menu and choose Export Song To Disc. If you’ve created any other tracks at this point, you’ll want to mute them before doing this by clicking the speaker icon under the track name; we want just the guitar track exported. In the dialog that pops up, make sure Compress is unchecked, and click Export. By default, the guitar track will be saved as an AIFF file in the folder where your GarageBand project is stored. We recommend naming it something you’ll remember. Once it’s finished saving, switch to the Finder, locate the file you just created, and drag it back into GarageBand. This will create a new Real Instrument track—even though you recorded it as a Software Instrument. Make sure you drag the recording in the new track all the way to the beginning of the song so that it syncs properly with the MIDI track. worldmags

Drag the new track into the Tracks pane. FEB• 11



>>> Create How to do anything on your Mac, iPhone & iPad Record “Real” Guitar with a Rock Band 3 Controller (continued)

5 Post Production

Now it’s (finally) time to give your guitar some depth. First, mute your original track. Then select the newly imported track. In the Instrument Info pane, click the Edit tab. Hover over one of the open slots and you’ll see a message saying, “Click here to add an effect.” Do that, select Amp Simulation, and click the drop-down menu to choose a new effect (it will say Default by, er, default). Select anything except the Clean sounds. The American and British Overdrive amps seem to provide particularly crisp results. No matter what combo you choose, your end result might lack a bit of presence. If it does, click Visual EQ at the bottom of the Info pane, select Guitar Brighten, and make sure On is checked. Now hit Play. Holy cats, it’s a real guitar! Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone you’re faking.

You can experiment with other EQ settings, but focus on brightening or boosting the top end.

6 The Experimental Years

This setup will give you a surprisingly good simulation of a real guitar. But it also gives you a lot more. Since you still have the original Software Instrument track, you can play with the instrument settings to accompany (or harmonize with) your guitar track with a variety of software instruments. Try switching the track instrument from Clean Electric to Organs > Cathedral Organ for an eerie tone, or go for Strings > Hollywood Strings to make it more dramatic. The possibilities are practically endless, especially since you can duplicate either of the track types and apply different effects. And you thought videogame controllers were just for playing videogames! Try some of the Sound Effects for some real hilarity.

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>>> Create How to do anything on your Mac, iPhone & iPad

CustomizE Your Gmail ExpEriEnCE

We love dedicated email clients as much as anybody, but sometimes browser-based is the best option. Here’s how to take your browser-based Gmail to whole new levels. Gmail is a fantastic service from Google, and while it works seamlessly with email programs like Apple Mail and Entourage, sometimes it’s just simpler to use it in a web browser. Unfortunately, that can’t provide the finesse of a dedicated email application, which leaves the user experience feeling subpar instead of super. The good news is that Gmail’s completely scriptable, which means you can modify it to suit your needs. Don’t worry if coding isn’t your expertise—many people have written ready-made scripts that you can use to improve your experience in just a few clicks. One caveat: the scripts we’ll help you set up here are only compatible with Firefox, so before getting started with this guide, head over to to grab the latest version. BY STEVE PARIS




>> Firefox version 3.5.5 or above >> An active Gmail account (

1 Choosing the Right Site

You can find loads of scripts to experiment with at tags/gmail. But if you’re new to the upgrade process, browsing through dozens of pages can feel quite daunting. Instead, we recommend downloading a complete package like Better Gmail 2 (get it at 99cqZF), which is an assortment of extensions that you can use to transform your account’s display in Firefox into something more intuitive and a whole lot more useful. If you’re in the browser, you’ll see a green Add to Firefox button (if you’re not, you’ll see a Download button instead— that green button is the easier of the two).


Clicking Add to Firefox reveals a drop-down sheet that asks you to confirm your decision. Click Install Now and restart Firefox after the download completes. When your pages have loaded again, you’ll notice that along with your existing browser tabs (upper left), the Add-ons window will be open. (If you closed it out accidentally, don’t panic. You can also navigate to it with this URL:

You can install any add-on directly if you’re viewing the page from Firefox. Confirmation of this action is always necessary—just in case you change your mind.

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>>> Create How to do anything on your Mac, iPhone & iPad

3 Script Selection

Launching Gmail again won’t immediately yield obvious results. That’s because many of the scripts you’ve installed are switched off by default. Flip to the Add-ons window and click the Better Gmail 2’s Preferences button to open a window offering you 16 checkboxes spread across three tabs. From here you can switch on and off anything that sounds intriguing. (To get oriented, check out the Help tab, which explains what each script does.) To make changes take effect, simply refresh your Gmail page.

Check all the ones you think you’ll use. Don’t like a script’s effect? Uncheck it and refresh.

4 Script Explanation

Let’s take a closer look at what some of the other scripts do. In the General tab, there’s Inbox Count First. This script reorders what is displayed in your Gmail’s page tab, making sure that your unread count appears first. Next on the list is Play Sound Notifications for New Mail. It’s a great idea, but strangely, it only worked for some of us. Show Unread Message Count on Favicon alters the Gmail’s favicon (the little icon that appears on a browser tab) to show how many new emails you have, supplying choices from two scriptwriters. Meanwhile, in the Messages tab, you can change the look of attachment icons. Rather than simply displaying a paper clip to denote the presence of an attachment in an email, a file icon will be shown instead, like a generic Adobe PDF icon. If you decide to use Attachment Icons (Native), your Mac’s default system icons will be used (so you’ll see a Preview file icon for a PDF file). Another script we highly recommend is Highlight Rows With Mouse Pointer. As you move your cursor over a list, that row is highlighted, which makes it much easier to select specific messages. No matter which scripts you decide to use, just remember to click OK and refresh your Gmail page for the changes to take effect. If you don’t like them, you can uncheck their box, or, if you’re certain you’ll never use them, click Uninstall to delete them (you’ll have to restart Firefox to see the changes).

5 More Scripts

To stop using an add-on, use either Disable or Uninstall.


If you’re feeling a little more confident with your script exploration, consider visiting the site we mentioned earlier in Step 1——to dive into its plethora of easily installable scripts. If you find one you like, click the “How do I use this” link below any script’s download button, follow the simple instructions, and restart Firefox.

Before you go, it’s important to know that scripts are frequently updated with fixes and new features. Thankfully, the Addons page has a Find Updates button in the bottom left of the window. Click it and Firefox will check your scripts for new versions, which is obviously much easier than checking them all manually (especially after you’ve installed a few dozen). is a great repository of Firefox add-ons.

To check if any installed add-ons have been updated, click this button.

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As the new year begins, it’s time to speculate in earnest on the hardware changes that Apple will introduce next, so Rik Myslewski is tackling this whopper…

Will 2011’s Macs Have AMD Inside?


lthough I’m writing this as December dawns, when you’re reading it I’ll be in Las Vegas at January’s Consumer Electronics Show, poking and prodding the promised plethora of computing goodness powered by AMD’s new Fusion line of processors. One company that won’t be demonstrating AMD-powered wares at CES is Apple—all Macs are currently powered by Intel processors. But that doesn’t mean that Jobs & Co. aren’t contemplating putting AMD under the hood of some future bit of shiny-shiny. In fact, they’d be crazy not to. A bit of background. Soon after AMD acquired graphics chipmaker ATI in mid-2006, the combined company announced a future chip line that would integrate AMD’s central processing units (CPUs) with ATI’s graphics processing units (GPUs) onto the same chunk of silicon. This CPU/GPU mashup was branded Fusion and was scheduled to appear in late 2008 or early 2009. In the time-honored tradition of “better late than never,” the first Fusion chips shipped on November 9, 2010. Well before that debut, AMD had dubbed them “APUs,” which stands for “accelerated processing unit” and is not an homage to a certain workaholic Kwik-E-Mart franchisee with the last name of Nahasapeemapetilon.

If Intel is also about to release a combo chip, why should Apple be interested in talking with AMD? Intel is readying its own CPU/GPU fusion—lowercase “f”—in its upcoming processor microarchitecture codenamed “Sandy Bridge.” This new line, officially and verbosely known as Second Generation Intel Core Processors, was unveiled at Intel’s developer shindig last September, and more details will be released in Las Vegas in January. So, if Intel is also about to

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release a combo chip, why should Apple be interested in talking with AMD about its Fusion chippery? The simplest answer is three letters: ATI. Intel claims that the graphics performance in its Sandy Bridge chips will be far superior to that of its previous graphics efforts, but that’s not saying one heck of a lot—far superior to “lousy” might vault their performance all the way to “mediocre.” ATI engineers, however, have been deep in the GPU weeds for years. As one AMD chip architect said at a recent company event, “We have 10 or 15 years of experience and knowledge in GPU design.” He also predicted that Intel has “some lessons to learn” about swiftly moving data in and out of graphics memory—lessons that have resulted in educational but painful “scar tissue” for his team. And then there’s the more mundane matter of price. A topof-the-line AMD Phenom II X6 Black 1090T desktop CPU can be found at retail in the mid-$200 range. An Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition, on the other hand, runs a cool $999 in lots of 1,000. Not a direct apples-toapples comparison, to be sure—but you see what I’m getting at. And speaking of apples, Apple is rumored to have been in clandestine discussions with AMD about its Fusion line for some months now. Word on the street is that the talks have focused on the lower end of Apple’s oeuvre—think MacBooks and minis. Which makes sense: the two just-shipped Fusion APUs are aimed squarely at that segment: “Zacate” is an 18-watt part, and “Ontario” is its 9-watt little brother (they’re still known by their codenames). Both will be available in both dual- and singlecore versions. Zacate and Ontario are built around AMD’s new low-power “Bobcat” compute core. Due later in 2011, however, is a more powerful desktop and server core, “Bulldozer,” which will also find its way into the Fusion family. Neither Apple nor AMD, of course, will talk about any plans they might have. The secrecy is so tight that when I asked one AMD rep about talks with Cupertino, he said, “Apple? I’m not even allowed to talk about the pie!” >>Rik Myslewski was editor-in-chief of MacAddict from 2001 until it

transformed into Mac|Life in 2007, and now writes for The Register, which is “biting the hand that feeds IT” daily at


I got game. Anytime, anywhere. I can race, role-play, or destroy while I’m waiting in line for a triple espresso. But hey, this ain’t no sim, it’s the real world. White-knuckled action can get slippery. One drop and it’s game over. I protect my new iPod® touch using a Speck CandyShell® Grip. It’s super-protective: hard on the outside, soft on the inside, with finger grips on the back and thumb-placement indents on the rim to help make my game wicked good.

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©2010 Speck Products. All rights reserved. All Trademarks are the property of their respective owners.




Mac Life  

February 2011