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ATPM 9.12
December 2003





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by Robert Paul Leitao,

’Twas the eve of this Christmas, and all through the house neither an iPod was stirring nor its companion iMac with Bluetooth-enabled mouse. iTunes-purchased music had just filled the night’s air with selections from the Counting Crows’ new album chosen with the greatest of care. It was now time for silence and dreams of the next day. There was no thought of the holiday credit card bills and one’s ability to pay. The bills will be due in early next year’s time and not to use the plastic to celebrate the consumer season some might consider a crime.

G5s under the tree if it’s a tall one at all, an iSight and iBook are against the near wall. No stockings were hung because there’s no chimney in the place, but the table was set with linen and white lace. Gourmet coffee and exotic breakfast fare had been planned, all purchased online over the AirPort network and house LAN. Each thing had been wrapped in papers colored aqua and chrome, and decorated so nicely as if by a gnome.

What had taken hours to wrap would be undone QuickTime indeed, the name of the gift giver few persons would pay heed. It’s an annual event but each year seems new, many a gift with nary a clue. That is until the gifts are unwrapped for the entire world to see and if the items have a certain logo the recipient may giggle with considerable geek glee.

• • •

The rhyming text above may seem apropos. But December Mac news can be a bit slow. We cover the world, our editors really do; this month we just wish to say a merry hello to all of you. This would be it except for the fact that what news there is we will report with great tact.

Now on the stuff we usually say, no reindeer, no elves, not even a sleigh.

The Cat Is Back But Where Did It Go?

The reincarnated Napster online music service arrived back on the scene in late October, but few people have apparently begun using the service. The stock of parent Roxio has fallen about 50% since the debut of Napster II and analysts have expressed concerns about Roxio’s cash position and ability to fund adequate advertising exposure to support the service.

So far the new Napster has only served to highlight the success of Apple’s iTunes Music service.

I Think I’m Turning Japanese

Borrowing lyrics from an old song performed by The Vapors, this thought may have been running through the minds of Apple executives as the first Apple retail store in Japan opened its doors on November 30th. The store sports five floors of retail space, and store personnel offer customers assistance in a number of languages and dialects. Apple maintains a small but growing market share in Japan and the new store will add a significant boost to the company’s overall presence in the island nation.

Chicago, Chicago

Not to be overshadowed by Apple’s new store in Japan, the recently opened Apple retail store on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago boasts the largest retail space of any US Apple store and reports indicate it is the most trafficked of all Apple retail locations.

Apple has added an enterprise focus to its retail store effort and offers pro Mac users special retail store programs and services with the purchase of a G5 Macintosh.

Only $400 More

That’s all a consumer needs to pay to pick-up an additional three inches of screen real estate on the new 20" iMac. At the same time Apple dropped the price on the 1.6 GHz G5 mini-tower while also offering a new dual 1.8 GHz G5 configuration. The 20" iMac retails for $2,199 versus $1,799 for the 17" variety of Apple’s award-winning consumer desktop product. Beats up on Dell

There’s one place in the world at least that Apple outshines its much larger PC hardware competitor. is pulling more unique visits than any other PC company’s Web site. It’s no wonder Dell and other online retailers are interested in adding a digital music service to its offerings. Thanks in part to the success of iTunes for Windows, unique visitors to the Apple Web site have increased dramatically.

Virginia Tech Mac Cluster: It’s Official

Virginia Tech’s Big Mac G5-based supercomputer cluster, now called “X,” took the #3 spot among the world’s supercomputers. Assembled from 1,100 dual-processor 2 GHz G5 minitowers, the cluster recorded performance exceeding 10 teraflops to garner the top spot among supercomputer clusters. Reportedly Apple is aggressively responding to inquiries from research facilities and universities spawned by Virginia Tech’s success with the G5 cluster.

See You Next Year

We’ll be back in January to start our tenth calendar year of publication. Until then please enjoy our December issue. No rhymes to ring in the New Year. We promise.


Our December issue includes:

The Candy Apple: Learning Has Changed

Ellyn decides there are times it’s good not to find something on the Internet.

The Desktop Muse: The New iMac

David Ozab puts the new 20" iMac up against the current G4 and G5 towers and the PowerBooks and comes up with a bottom-line view to help choose one over the other.

About This Particular Web Site

Paul Fatula returns with sampling of less-than-mainstream (dare we say “odd” or “bizarre”?) Web sites—more proof that you probably can’t think of an idea that hasn’t already been thought of and put on a Web page.

Report: Mac Expo 2003

Though it boasted the highest visitor turnout to date, Chris Ward reports on a somewhat disappointing Mac Expo UK.

Report: O’Reilly Mac OS X Conference 2003

Paul Fatula reports on the October 2003 O’Reilly Mac OS X Conference.

Quick Tips in Design: Part 6—Color Science

Andrew Kator continues his series of graphics tutorials. This month, he explores color science, comparing the traditional and aesthetic aspects to the scientific and technological.

About This Particular Outliner: Outliner Use Patterns

Ted Goranson continues the first stage of his survey of outliners by covering the various uses of outliners.

Cartoon: Cortland

NeoCort assists a Mac lab in danger of being overcome by “the machines.”

Cartoon: iTrolls

The iTrolls get Christmas presents, are punished for a few mistakes, spend too long using Soundtrack, discover the true dawn of civilization, and redecorate the computer room.

Desktop Pictures: Vegas Hotels at Night

Lee Bennett offers nighttime views of eight Las Vegas hotels.

Review: iConquer 2.2

Eric Blair weighs in on iConquer, an implementation of Risk that uses numerous OS X technologies, and finds that it gets back to the roots of the classic game.

Review: iPhoto 2: The Missing Manual (book)

Digital photography enthusiast Christopher Turner explores the definitive work on Apple’s iPhoto: iPhoto 2: The Missing Manual.

Review: Megalopolis Backpack

Back with still another choice for a computer backpack, Chris Lawson tries out the Megalopolis Backpack from Boblbee.

Reviews: Snood 3.0

Chris Lawson takes us on a tour of this very popular and addictive game.


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