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ATPM 13.01
January 2007




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Mac About Town

by Mike Chamberlain,

Looking Forward to 2007

Ahhh! A new year and new possibilities… A new chance to get things right… The anticipation of things to come… As New Year’s resolutions are, more often than not, mere reflections of our guilty consciences, this beginning-of-the-year column focuses on things hoped for and things intended, but by no means resolved. With that brief disclaimer, here’s 2007 in review:

Hope #1

Steve Jobs announces the MacPhone at Macworld Expo in January and I place my order before his keynote address ends. Let me make this simple: I want my Mac experience to migrate into more areas of my life. I am weary of having to look up phone numbers on my Palm so I can dial them on my Toshiba. I’m tired of being mystified by the hoops I have to jump through to sync iCal, Address Book, and Palm software and then not get the benefits when it comes time to dial. I know, there are other ways to get things done, but the Mac way will be the best. I want my phone and all relevant information that supports my schedule to work as seamlessly as my iPod works with my music. I know that Apple can do it. The question will be if the economics support the move. Here’s hoping.

Intention #1

I really am going to tackle my iPhoto library this year. Let’s be honest: most of us have an iPhoto library filled with pictures bearing intriguing names like DSCN0203.JPG or DSCN2371.JPG. Keywords? You must be kidding. But iPhoto offers a number of organizational tools that can make a photo library more than a digital shoebox full of unorganized family pictures. Imagine being able to share a contextually relevant set of photos with someone by choosing a keyword or quality rating or time stamp. iPhoto includes all those capabilities but—this is always the rub isn’t it—they have to be used to be useful. If you’re just getting started, take it from me, don’t wait until your library numbers in the thousands to start organizing.

Intention #2

I really will back-up more often. You already do this, don’t you? You’ve heard the old axiom that there are two kinds of users: those who back up their data and those who wish they had. You believe that there are things you can’t afford to lose so you have a plan for regular back-ups of your important data and you follow through on your plan. Right? I’ve gotten better. I have a Mac Mini-sized 320 GB drive to which I back-up my system, documents, music, and photos. I downloaded Backup from Apple and developed a schedule that backs up critical and dynamic data daily, other data weekly, and everything but applications once a month. The trouble is, I’m not at my home desk as often as I want so I find myself skipping the back-ups because my drive isn’t connected. I suppose the answer will be to move the backup drive to the office, which will be no problem. The point is that the greatest backup system and the most thorough plan are useless if they are not used. Hope you’re backed up in 2007.

Hope #2

iCal will be improved and, while they’re at it, Apple will upgrade the entire iCal/Address Book/Mail package to the level of integration that we have come to appreciate in the iLife suite of programs. At first blush this may look like a repeat of Hope #1, but iCal is a weak product that I find myself tolerating—barely. My main complaint with iCal is its To-Do functionality, or lack thereof. To be useful as a professional tool, I need a lot more information connected to To-Do’s. I need to be able to arrange them the way that I want them arranged (iCal’s options are limited). I need better display options for both the To-Do’s and the calendar. I would like project management capabilities similar to Entourage. And by the way, Apple, don’t forget to make it work seamlessly with my MacPhone.

Intention #3

I really will get my columns to the editor by deadline this year. He is a very patient person who doesn’t deserve the grief we writers put him through each month. You can be thankful to him that he is dedicated enough to keep us all moving along.

Hope #3

I hope that each of you have a prosperous and joyful 2007. May all your Mac dreams come true, and may you and yours be blessed with health and good cheer the year long.

Happy New Year!

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Reader Comments (2)

Richard Albury · January 23, 2007 - 22:19 EST #1
Ugh! Not Backup!

No no no... use SuperDuper!

The ability to back up safely, consistently, and reliably to a bootable external drive cannot be overstated.
Mike Chamberlain (ATPM Staff) · January 29, 2007 - 17:55 EST #2
Richard is exactly right. Backup is the cheap and not very effective way to back up data. One glaring problem is its inability to do incremental backups. I support his recommendation of SuperDuper!. Try the limited version download and you will quickly discover the differences.

Thanks, Richard, for noting that "back-up" is a good thing, but "Backup" is not.

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