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Vote in the 2009 TidBITS Gift Guide Survey

Over the past two weeks, TidBITS readers around the world have been suggesting ideas for this year's 2009 TidBITS Gift Guide. Suggestions have included Apple hardware, games, utilities, USB devices, speakers, laptop bags, iPhone apps, and many more esoteric items. Now it's time to whittle down the suggestions into a guide to the top items to get for the Mac geeks in your life (and to add to your own list too, of course).

Please take a few minutes and vote in the 2009 TidBITS Gift Guide Survey, which is now open. Rate each item on a 1 to 5 scale, where 1 is the lowest ranking and 5 is the highest. If you're unfamiliar with an item, you can either check it out via the link provided before voting or just skip it. We'll collect votes through the end of the week, tally them, and publish the final results by 7 December 2009.

1,000 Issues of TidBITS: It's all about Our Readers

TidBITS has hit the decimal 1K of issues, enumerated as M in Roman numerals, 1111101000 in binary, and woo-hoo in English! Adam shares where they're at these days, and explains how they now determine success.

The Macintosh Computer Expo in Petaluma, CA

The North Coast Mac Users Group is putting on their 16th fundraising event!

The MCE or Macintosh Computer Expo is being held this year at the Petaluma Community Center in Petaluma CA and thousands of Macintosh enthusiast come from all over the North Bay to visit with Macintosh product vendors and attend informational workshops. Since 1991 the show has grown in attendance from around 300 to over 1,000 and is now the largest Expo of it’s type in the North Bay and second only to Macworld in San Francisco.

This year brings a new location and 10 exciting speakers and 3 different tracks. It will take place on Saturday, October 3rd, 2009 from 10am to 5pm at the Petaluma Community Center in Petaluma, CA. There is free admission & free parking.

The Best Camera Is The One That's With You

A beacon of creativity with boundless energy, Chase Jarvis is well known as a visionary photographer, director, and social artist. In The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You, Chase re-imagines, examines, and redefines the intersection of art and popular culture through images shot with his iPhone.

The pictures in the book, all taken with Chase’s iPhone, make up a visual notebook—a photographic journal—from the past year of his life. The book is full of visually rich iPhone photos and peppered with inspiring anecdotes.

The Evolution of Apple Ads

Apple first started advertising their products in the late 1970s. The 80s showed a wide variety of ads, some of which served to convince consumers that they should purchase a computer, and specifically an Apple.

These ads were text-heavy and light on images, as were many computer and technology ads from that era.

Apple ads really came into their heyday during the 1990s, with the “Think Different” campaign, which became very popular as they featured a number of famous people.

Here’s a stunning compilation of some of Apple’s most notable advertisements from the 70s until the present day, including a few videos ads.

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Compatibility List

Here is a list of applications and their compatibility status with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, the most recent operating system from Apple. Please collaborate by sharing your experiences using each application and by adding applications not already listed.

There are now four categories: UNKNOWN is for apps that are untested, OK for apps that work fine, NO for apps that do not work, and WARNING for those with some problems.

Interview with Rob Janoff, Designer of the Apple Logo

The Apple logo is one of the most famous logos in the world. Apple fans not only put this logo on their vehicles to show their loyalty, they go to the extreme of tattooing themselves with it, a level of dedication very few brands achieved. The logo is admired for it's simplicity and many meanings that people attach to it.

There are many theories about this logo and many of them are just that. Find out the truth, read the interview with Rob Janoff, the designer of the original Apple logo, who will tell you all about his design.

12 Must Own Games for iPhone or iPod touch

Apple gaming has come a long way in a short time, and estimates suggest there are over 13,000 games on the App Store. This means if you've just got yourself a new iPhone 3GS, 3G or iPod touch, the choice may be overwhelming.

Here is our pick of the best iPhone/iPod touch blockbuster games so far, with direct links to the App Store should a game take your fancy.

10 Years of Airport

Apple introduced AirPort Wi-Fi networking just about 10 years ago at Macworld Expo (summer edition).

Watch the video of Phil Schiller jumping from a platform onto an inflatable pad while holding the "toilet seat" edition of the iBook. Jobs notes in the keynote that Apple worked over 18 months with Lucent to develop the system, which explains why AirPort worked more easily and better than any other 802.11b systems for years to follow. (56K modem! 10 Mbps Ethernet!)

Easy Visualization with Daisy Disk

Daisy Disk is the perfect example of one of those tools that should be built right into OS X.

It's the latest in disk visualization utilities -- software that scans your hard drive and lets you know which files are being hard drive hogs. But, it's the added features that turn this from basic to "wow, why didn't Apple develop something like this?"

Each section of your drive is color-coded for its specific purpose. The closest parts to the center of the graphic are the root levels. Going further out will net you very specific details on file sizes. Clicking on one section move it to the forefront and let you see everything on that level. When you get down to the files themselves, tap the space bar to preview the file. Then, right click to expose those files in the Finder, then do what you wish with them. Then, click on the inner circle to go back out to the level above. For smaller files and folders, it's better to use the list on the side rather than try to pick things out of the wheel.

Wordnik encourages Word Exploration

Despite being packed with information, a dictionary usually gets scant attention: You look up a word to check its spelling or definition, maybe skim its etymology, and then return to what you were doing. But if you consult Wordnik, you could easily find yourself embarking on a languorous exploration of the English language.

Wordnik provides definitions from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition; the Century Dictionary; WordNet 3.0; and the GNU version of The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. Synonyms and antonyms are pulled from Roget's II: The New Thesaurus, Third Edition, and Allen's Synonyms and Antonyms. Definitions from Webster's Unabridged 1913 edition also occasionally make appearances.

There's more to a word than its definition, of course, and Wordnik supplements the basic information in several additional ways.

iPhone Lines around the World

It's iPhone Day here in the U.S. and seven other countries: Apple's new iPhone 3G S goes on sale.

The lines outside Apple stores aren't the same as they were last year, when the iPhone 3G first went on sale, quenching all sorts of pent-up demand. But they exist -- plenty of iPhone fanatics and pre-order customers are waiting to pick their new gadgets up.

iPhone 3G S: What You need to Know

If the calendar is about to flip over to summer, it must be time for Apple to roll out another smartphone. Just as summer 2007 saw the release of the original iPhone and last summer brought us the iPhone 3G, this year, we’ve got a new model to obsess over—the iPhone 3G S.

And we won’t have long to wait before this new phone winds up in our hot little hands. Apple announced the iPhone 3G S during Monday’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote; it plans to release the iPhone 3G S next Friday, June 19.

Can’t wait until then to find out all you can about the iPhone 3G S? We’ve perused Apple’s product pages, talked to company executives, and made some educated guesses about what you can expect from this latest addition to the iPhone family.

New MacBook Pro Speed Tests

I had been looking forward to this past week for months. I imagined immersing myself in session after session at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference, getting an under-the-hood look at where the Mac platform is headed. Alas, just a few minutes into the WWDC keynote address, the reality became clear that I would instead spend a week in the Macworld Lab testing new Macs. Why? Because early in the WWDC keynote, Apple executive Phil Schiller announced the company’s new laptops.

After a mad scramble, we got our hands on the six new MacBook Pros and ran them through our benchmark tests.

WWDC 2009 Keynote Presentation

Watch Philip Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, unveil the new iPhone 3G S, the new MacBook Pro family, and Mac OS X Snow Leopard. See the video-on-demand event right here, exclusively in QuickTime and MPEG-4.

Top 10 must have Free iPhone Apps

I love my iPhone 3G. It’s fun, it’s useful, and it continually amazes me that Apple was able to enter a market it previously had zero role in and instantly cause the rest of the industry to start playing catch-up. Anyone who who has one will tell you that the absolute best part about it is the variety of applications, or “apps”, that are available for it, both free and paid.

Having used it for several months now, I’ve compiled a top ten list of free iPhone Apps that every single user should have. I attempted to organize them in order, but they’re all great in their own regard, so, without further ado and in no particular order.

Finger Painting

Jorge Colombo drew this week’s cover using Brushes, an application for the iPhone, while standing for an hour outside Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in Times Square.

About the Mac OS X 10.5.7 Update

The 10.5.7 Update is recommended for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac.

Back up your computer prior to installing any updates. Quit any open applications before starting the installation. Do not interrupt the installation process.

You may experience unexpected results if you have third-party system software modifications installed, or if you've modified the operating system through other means. (This does not apply to normal application software installation.)

Products Affected -Mac OS X 10.5, Mac OS X 10.5.1, Mac OS X 10.5.2, Mac OS X 10.5.3, Mac OS X 10.5.4, Mac OS X 10.5.5, Mac OS X 10.5.6.

To update to Mac OS X 10.5.7, use Software Update or the standalone installer.

Twitter. Triumph of Humanity

Twitter’s meteoric rise to ubiquity is proof positive that the world, in all its complexity, is eager to embrace simplicity. Wielding more impact on social networking than most communication tools this generation has yet seen, Twitter is one of those universal phenomena where the product name self-conjugates. To engage with Twitter is to “tweet.”

Biz Stone, one of the firm’s co-founders and director of communications, never imagined that this real-time short messaging service would have such immediate impact on how people communicate. Twitter lets everyone within a network of contacts know what is going on in each others’ lives, from the mundane to the dramatic. Limited to 140 characters, Twitter messages, traveling over multiple networks and devices, have touched the lives of families needing help during natural disasters, strangers becoming friends, and politicians reaching out to their constituents.

At the uniquely styled Twitter office–the top floor of an old warehouse South of Market in downtown San Francisco, where flocks of birds are appliquéd on the walls and healthy lunches are served family style–the Mac is everywhere and Apple solutions enable creativity on a daily basis. In keeping with the casual, open office theme, Twitter’s common areas are equipped with Mac mini and iMac systems, Bluetooth keyboards and mice for presentations and demonstrations, and Apple Cinema Displays.

10 Websites for finding the Next Best iPhone App

Even if you have just a few favorite apps or a 5+ screens full iPhone, we know you’re always looking for the next great application that will change your gadget life forever. So here is a list with the best 10 websites where you can find daily recommendations.

A Windows Guru spends 2 Weeks with a Mac

I’ve been on the front lines of the Mac-PC war for as long as I can remember. My first work computer was an IBM PC with an 8088 CPU. I liked it so much I forked out the money to buy my own machine: an IBM PC XT clone running an 8086 chip, and bulging with 640KB of RAM and a whopping 20MB hard disk.

Since then, I’ve written dozens of books and hundreds or thousands of articles, columns and blogs about PCs and Windows.

So it was with more than a little trepidation that I accepted a new assignment from my editor to give up my PC and try living for two weeks on the Mac. Talk about sleeping with the enemy!

I asked for a laptop rather than a desktop, and what showed up on my front door about a week later was the latest MacBook Air, with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor running at 1.83 GHz, 2GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeoForce 9400M graphics processor and a 128GB solid-state hard disk. It sported a 13.3-in. screen and weighed in at a very svelte 3 pounds. And so began my journey with a Mac.

Apple Spells Success for Student Filmmakers at SXSW

The key to success for some of the best young filmmakers in America may be the unique partnership their school district has with Apple.

Students from Birdville (TX) ISD’s Media Technology program have distinguished themselves by having 5 films chosen for the student showcase at The South by Southwest Film Festival, which began Friday in Austin, TX.

Five films from students in a single school district is a record for the nation’s preeminent art, film and music festival and the program’s director credits the district’s relationship with Apple for her students’ success.

Macworld's New iPhone Superguide

Now, why in the world would Macworld publish an entire book about a device that’s supposed to be so intuitive? It’s a question I get a lot, including from people at Apple. Their goal—and it’s a smart one to shoot for—is to make an incredibly complex technology as easy to use as possible. And the iPhone is easy to use, which is one reason it’s so appealing.

But make no mistake about it: the iPhone is a computer. And a full Web browser. And an e-mail client. It can run thousands of programs written by independent developers, connect to Wi-Fi networks, and even log in to your employer’s VPN. As easy as it is to use, the iPhone has an ocean of depth.

40 Free Apps to Read Breaking News on Your iPhone

With so many sources of information, sometimes it can be difficult to keep up with news on the go. Luckily the iPhone and iPod Touch have a wealth of free news apps that are customizable to your needs.

From general news to industry-specific, and more, here are 40 free applications to read news on your iPhone.

Take a Bite out of over 60 Apple Themed Wallpapers

The dentist always said, ‘An apple a day…’ but what about more than 60…on your desktop?

Apple Training Series: AppleScript 1-2-3

We know what you’re thinking. You’ve heard about AppleScript. You’ve heard that it can do amazing things. You’ve heard that it can automate away the tiring, redundant, repetitive tasks you do with the computer.

All true. But you’re not sure about what’s involved with using it. Is it difficult? Is it programming? After all, you’re just a better-than average computer user. You know what you know, and your expertise serves you pretty well. But recently you’ve reached the point of asking yourself “Is there a better way?” The answer is “Yes.”

And relax, you just got lucky. This book is for you.

Apple Patentmania: 31 Years of Big Ideas

Apple may be famously secretive, but there’s one guy the company has been confiding in for more than three decades now. That would be its Uncle Sam, in the form of the U.S. Patent Office. The company’s patent filings are a remarkable record of Apple’s brainstorms, from its biggest blockbusters to its most humbling flops to concepts that never got off the drawing board. The thirty-eight images that follow include multiple examples of all of the above.

Join Macworld for National Novel Writing Month

This coming Saturday, November 1, marks the first day of National Novel Writing Month. It’s a fantastic event where regular people are encouraged to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.

In order to encourage Macworld readers to unlock their creativity, we’re published several articles on topics related to NaNoWriMo. Today you’ll find articles from three Macworld contributors who have participated in the event and met the 50,000-word goal several times. In “Write a novel in 30 days”, Nathan Alderman gives you a tour of some of the best Mac tools for helping you organize and write your novel, as well as track your progress. Alderman also contributes a blog entry, “Advice from a noveling veteran,” with some sensible tips about how to make it to 50,000 words. (One of his suggestions—blogging your novel—seems pretty crazy. But the fact is, reading Nathan’s progress was an inspiration to me, and knowing that a few people were reading mine as I wrote it was a great spur to keep me writing.)

Our own Dan Moren contributes “Surviving 30 days of noveling,” his own pep talk about how he’s managed to write several novels during Novembers past, including his admission that he’s written entire novels using an old copy of AppleWorks.

As for me, I’ve completed NaNoWrimo the past two years, the result of which is a single 160,000-word manuscript that I hope to publish one day. But in many ways, the prospective publishing of that novel is beside the point. The personal accomplishment, the thing that I can cross off my life list as if I had climbed a tall mountain, was writing the thing. And I would never have done that without the spur that National Novel Writing Month gave to me.

Free Codeweaver Software, thanks to President Bush!

In July, CodeWeavers – whose software lets Mac OS X and Linux users run Windows programs without having to Microsoft for a Windows OS license – launched the Great American Lame Duck Presidential Challenge to encourage President Bush to make the most of his remaining days in office by accomplishing a major economic or political goal by January 20, 2009.

The goals focused on President Bush making specific positive accomplishments in areas such as the economy, home values, the stock market, the war on terror and other key issues. Specifically, one goal called for President Bush to help down bring average gasoline prices in the Twin Cities to $2.79 a gallon.

"That morning, I was filling my tank at Big Steve's Gas Palace in St. Paul," said Jeremy White, president and CEO of CodeWeavers. "I had just finished my morning corn dog and 64-ounce Dr. Pepper when I looked at the pump and noticed gas was at $2.79. I screamed ‘Woohoo,' then I yelled ‘Oh, crap!' as I realized every American can now have my software for free. Kind of upsets my fourth quarter revenue projections..."

On Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008, any one visiting the CodeWeavers' Web site (www.codeweavers.com) will be given a deal code that will entitle them to one free copy of CodeWeavers' award-winning CrossOver software. Each copy comes complete with support.

"I realize that by giving away all my software, I've caused horrific damage to my company's bottom line," White said. "In fact, our vice president of sales wretched Starbucks all over his shirt when he learned the news. But, I figure, the way the economy is going, in a few months everyone might be out on the streets, wearing potato sacks and standing in line for squirrel soup, so why not?"

MacBook Pro Inside & Out