Mac Mini

Mac Mini Front I’m sure you’ve all heard the low down on Apple’s new Mac Mini, but I can’t help but spout off about it some more myself. The thing will, I predict, be the killer piece of hardware for the Mac line – they’re going to sell piles of these things. I mean, the thing is the same price as a high-end iPod! Everyone has always complained that Apple’s were too expensive, even the low end eMac with it’s built in CRT was too much when you could pick up a cheap white box PC for 300 bucks and use your existing peripherals.

Well, now, those people for whom Mac’s were too much can quit complaining. For $499, you can get yourself a nicely configured basic Mac with all the productivity apps for basic user, including the newly announced iLife ’05 suite, email, browser, Quicken ’05, and even the venerable AppleWorks. Use your old keyboard, mouse, and monitor and ditch that old spyware-laden Windows POS and get yourself a piece of heaven.

Plus the thing is positively dinky. 6.5 inches square, two inches tall and weighs less than three pounds. Smaller even than the cult-status Apple Cube from way back when. This thing is sized more like a peripheral than a whole machine. Hell, I have external DVD drives that are far larger. And this one comes with one built in. (You can even add on a Superdrive DVD burner for some extra cabbage.)

Now my parents don’t have an excuse not to get rid of the half-broken down machine they’re limping around on.

Plus: doesn’t that thing look damn sexy?

Acrobat Reader 7.0 Released

Adobe has released Acrobat Reader 7.0. Included in this version is something that was lacking from the Mac for quite some time: An official browser plugin for viewing PDFs. Unlike the ridiculously priced ($69 – are they on crack??) PDF Browser Plugin, this one is official and allows basically all viewer functionality. This includes the newly-added ability to fill in and print/save PDF forms – something that was previously only available with the full version of Acrobat.

Something else you might find interesting – the load time has been dramatically reduced – it’s almost usable now as a day-to-day reader of PDFs. Something that wasn’t possible before. It’s not as fast as Preview, but much, much better.

History Hound

History Hound is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I’ve become addicted, and I can’t live without it.

This piece of software does something that should be built into every browser by default – it keeps a completely searchable index of every web page you’ve visited in the last n days (defaults to 60.) That is, any text on any web page that you’ve visited, you can now search for and find instantly.

Don’t remember where you read the article about botulinum toxicity? Just hit the HH hotkey, type in your search term and up come the pages, including when you last visited them. Fantastic. It even includes a mini-browser so you can preview the pages (complete with highlighted search terms) before jumping back to your regular browser. This thing works with just about every browser for OS X and NetNewsWire 2, so it can cache the RSS feeds you read.

You can set HH to scan periodically and tell it how long to keep pages valid. It seems to be pretty unobtrusive – even when scanning the system seems pretty well behaved, it has a great Bloodhound-looking icon, and works exceptionally well. What more could you want?

The thing is $20 from St. Claire Software. They also offer a 30 day demo version from http://www.stclairsoft.com/HistoryHound/index.html so you can get a feel for what you’re getting.

Hit the Permalink for a screenshot.

A Newton ‘Round the World

Newton at the grave Wired has an article describing the efforts of one man to photo his Apple Newton everywhere he goes. He’s contributing them to the Newtons Around the World web site where people can submit photos of their beloved Newtons beside landmarks across the globe. There are many photos there, but this guy takes the prize – from lying in a graveyard at 2am to taking hundreds of shots to get the perfect lightning background, he’s taken this to the level of obsession.

I can understand. I still have my Newton 2000 and it is in perfect working condition. Of course, it now sports a CF-powered ATA drive for more storage and I’ve replaced the lame AA-powered battery pack with a NiMH rechargeable one, but it’s still the same machine I bought in 1996. I swear that if Apple brought back the Newton using some of the modern processors and tech we have now, it would sell a zillion units. The design from way back when still crushes Palm and Windows for handheld usability.

Please Mr. Jobs? I’ll buy one, I promise.

iTunes Canada Launches

iTunes Logo Finally! Those in the freezing north can get their heavily mittened hands on some hot tunes from Apple. After an initial promise of November for the launch date passed, Apple announced that the long-awaited store is now open for business. But only $.84 a song? How come we Americans get ripped off for a buck? Isn’t Canadian currency, like nearly worthless? Oh, no wait – that’s the dollar. Sorry.

Link to article in The Register
Link to Bloomberg Online article

SubEthaEdit 2.1 Released

SubEthaEdit Logo The Coding Monkeys have just released a new version of SubEthaEdit, their awesome collaborative editor for OS X. If you haven’t played with this, get a few friends together and check it out. It allows multiple people to edit files at the same time each getting their own view of the text. It works so well and so naturally that you can’t believe how you lived without it. Very cool stuff for meetings and conferences for taking notes collectively. It also serves as a very slick little editor for code, allowing syntax coloring and formatting templates.

For those who do know what SEE is, they’ve added much improved printing support, a way to pipe text through command line utilities, user-editable syntax coloring, and HTML export of text. Nice stuff. The command line pipes are very useful for me.

It’s free for non-commercial use, $35 dollars otherwise. Well worth the price.

Download it now.

Galerie 4.0

Galerie Logo Galerie has just been released in version 4.0. Galerie will suck in pictures from iPhoto and now (GraphicConverter and iView Media Pro as well) and spit out nice web pages based on scads of downloadable templates. Galerie will take these generated pages and upload them to your web hosting space using FTP, which makes it very easy to put together quick pages of images you want people to see. And it doesn’t work with just photos – just about any type of Quicktime compatible media can be added to a page where they will play automatically.

Let’s see – what else? Slideshows, picture watermarking, captioning, keywords, great collection of templates. What more coud you ask for? Oh – Did I mention that Galerie is FREE as well? Yup – you don’t really need to waste money on any another web page generation app if you have this one. Download it now.

Google Desktop Search for OS X

According to this article from Reuters, Google says they will create a version of their desktop search tool for OS X. Currently, it is only available for Windows.

Schmidt did not set a timetable for a Mac version of Google Desktop, saying it had to be rebuilt from the ground up because of the fundamental differences between the Mac OS and Windows.

“We intend to do it,” Schmidt said at a University of California-Los Angeles conference commemorating the 35th anniversary of the Internet.

We’ll have to see how this compares to Spotlight, a similar tool that will be available in Apple’s Tiger. I’ve played with both, and right now Spotlight has a slight edge (finds things in PDFs.)