Podcast #174

System Preferences Time Machine; plus local and some international news.

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workers With the Thanksgiving Holiday taking place in the US at the end of last week, it was clear it was going to be a slow week for computer news. Mind you, something piqued my interest in the centre of Bangkok on Saturday. I will come to that later.

In the meantime, this week I am finishing up the articles on System Preferences with the item in the Bangkok Post on Time Machine. Universal Access? I will explain all about this later as well.

System Preferences Time Machine

As I mentioned in the article, these articles just grew and grew and I had a nightmare idea that this would even extend into 2009. To draw it to a close, I decided to pull the lot together into one file and put that online. Not so fast. While I was doing just the first part, I realised that one file was going to be too big, so ended up with four sections for this A to Z on System Preferences (A to U actually) and the PDF's are accessed via a link page.

On that link page as well as the usual Google ads, is a link to PayPal for anyone to make a donation and keep me in the luxuries I deserve. The link has been on all the pages for the last few months and no one has clicked yet, but we live in hope.

digger Despite the season and the quiet, Apple has been chipping away and we saw that the 101 series of introductory pages has increased again this week. I could give each individual link, but the top link will suffice as that will lead any interested user down to a treasure trove of useful suggestions.

Mac Daily News is reporting that the iPhone will be available from 13 Dec in Tai . . . wan.

This meshes with the comment we made a couple of weeks ago concerning the online shops and the way Apple was expanding in the region. We also read of recruitment that is taking place following the appointment of a new General Manager. Jobs are opening both in Beijing and in Singapore: the latter is for Customer Care Agents and the languages needed are Mandarin and Cantonese of course.

I am hoping to hear more about the region, and certainly about the iPhone and other new hardware in San Francisco in January, although I must admit, I was sweating on the end of the problems at the airport, which has already affected several people I know locally. Some have had to call off trips, while people due to arrive have cancelled, hopefully temporarily.

It also struck me that anyone wanting parts for Mac repairs -- things do sometimes break of course -- would be out of luck until the cargo flights began again; and some of the deliveries for Apple online store orders would also have been subject to delay. Fortunately on Tuesday that chapter ended. I wonder what is coming next.

10k Apparently, there are now 10,000 apps for the iPhone give or take a few and depending on who is counting. To celebrate this, 148 Apps DOT com has put up a page with the icons from all and each of those tiny pictures on the site is a live link. Mind you, not all work for the Thai app store. Some stuff is not available here, but we can still celebrate.

Other iPhone news concerns the item from Chris Duckett that tells us the hackers have now got Linux to run on the iPhone. Not that the touch screen works, or almost anything else -- there is a video available. I guess you have to be a code junkie to appreciate this, but in the interests of research, well done guys. Sort of.

I sometimes find that with the music I put into iTunes and then onto my iPod, whether it is downloaded or from a disk I bought, I forget to place the tunes in a playlist. I was looking through last weekend trying to find some music I had bought the week before and it was only listed under the Artist's name. I remembered a script I had used in the past called "Not in any playlist" so did a Google search and linked to the site. I was surprised to find that Doug Adams has been hard at work and there are scores of scripts now available for download that will help a user get that bit more out of iTunes and the music.

caterpillar After that holiday weekend in the US, it is taking a while for things to get back up to speed. Apple did have good sales over the weekend particularly on what is called Black Friday, although other retailers in the US were not reporting brilliant sales.

One would expect that in Bangkok on a Saturday afternoon in Siam area all the shops would be open and ready. Not so the iStudio in Siam Discovery which I passed at about 2 pm. Normally this is buzzing at this time with y9ounger persons all clammering to get their hands on Macs, iPods and the rest and to spend their cash.

Last weekend, the doors were shut and all the staff were lined up looking somewhat serious. On Wednesday I went past on my way to get some student posters printed; and it was all open and full of teenagers, so nothing untoward apparentyl. Still, it is odd that a major store like this would have a training session on a Saturday afternoon.

Cristo? We mentioned last week about the criticism that the new Blackberry Storm was getting and that was compounded on Friday by a severely critical article by David Pogue in the NYTimes. As I decline to link to the Times, you will have to make do with a summary of several of the articles, including Pogue's, put together quite well by Judy Mottl.

Actually, about the kindest review I saw was in last Sunday's Bangkok Post -- the section called Brunch -- with wire item from AP by Rachel Metz which I also found online in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Something else I mentioned last week was the KB document that Apple put out about anti-virus software for Macs: it will come eventually I suppose. But it was actually an update of one we had seen before, so there was nothing particularly dramatic about it. However, it set off a storm of speculation and "told you so's" around the lower levels of IT online publications.

We are now told that Apple has pulled the document, I guess in an attempt to remove any panic from thousands of users who, are having the fans flamed by the online comments.

The official line is that OS X "resists most viruses."

leaf Along with the rumours which should be about to hot up somewhat in the approach to the MacWorld Keynote speech when something is usually dropped at the feet of the faithful, AppleInsider reports on a patent that Apple has filed for a water-cooled laptop computer. We have seen supercomputers like the Crays sloshing about with water, and there were more user-friendly computers like the Power PC G5 that had water cooling: some of which leaked too. But the idea of a laptop with liquid cooling is intriguing.

The patent refers to the size of the device as one of the difficulties of using this form of cooling and mentions other small devices as well. The article I link to has several diagrams as well as part of the explanation; and one of the diagrams looks like what i used to have on my BMW motorcycle.

Apple are still working on that Psystar patent infringement case in the US, but they had some luck in China of all places against a Chinese company that used a logo that looked a bit too much like the fruit of Cupertino. The company was fined as well about $58,000.

Apple Insider reports that the long-awaited new headphones for the iPods that Aple anounced way back in September have at last appeared online for ordering. I checked and, sure enough, they are even shown in the Thai online shop.

Like a lot of share prices worldwide, Apple's are fluctuating a bit although seem to be a bit stronger this week after the effects of Black friday have been reported in the media. When I checked on Wednesday morning, they were showing just over $92, up from $88 the day before.

In the interests of getting this out and online before bedtime today, I am cutting this pdcast short at about 16 minutes, rather than the usual 20. We should be back next week with a full collection of information.



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