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ATPM 10.04
April 2004




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by Robert Paul Leitao,

Welcome to the April edition of About This Particular Macintosh. The first week of the month, most everyone in the US sets their clocks one hour ahead for Daylight Savings Time. Over the past month, Apple Computer has been working to turn back the hands of time and return the company to a more successful era.

Patent That Interface, Pronto

Learning from legal experience, Apple has determined patent protection far exceeds copyright and trademark protection in the US. At the close of March, Apple was in the process of patenting the iPod interface to thwart the work of rivals to copy the iPod’s interface design. Apple is seeking to protect its design of the iPod and iTunes user experience in a way it did not consider protecting the Macintosh “look and feel” in the 1980s. The iPod and iTunes combination may be Apple’s biggest product success since the rollout of the Bondi blue iMac in 1997. Protecting the company’s iPod and iTunes may be an important step in maintaining the company’s commanding lead in the digital music player market.

High Stock, Low Inventory

During March, AAPL hit a new multi-year high of $28.14. It was the highest trading price for Apple since the fall 2000 sell-off that cost investors billions of dollars in market value.

Back then, Apple announced its product sales projections were far too optimistic, causing investors to run for the sidelines as the share price tumbled more than 50% in value over two days of frantic trading.

Today’s recent highs are due to Apple’s unanticipated success of the iPod mini. The diminutive digital music player recorded more than 100,000 pre-orders, and Apple has announced a delay in the European introduction of the product due to overwhelming domestic demand. Apple closed the month of March at $27.04 per share, giving the company an overall market value of $10 billion.

Xserve Marks the Spot

Well, not really. But Apple’s latest iteration of its 1U server solution is gaining ground in the scientific and enterprise markets. Although sales of the Xserve barely register as a blip on the enterprise market radar screen, the new G5-based server is providing Apple with access to corporate customers in a new and exciting way. The single-processor version of the G5 Xserve began shipment in March. The dual-processor version will ship beginning in April.

Hold the Pickles and the iMac

Not quite like fast food, but Apple has advised independent dealers there may be a hold on shipments of popular products during the early part of April. This may be due to the company’s efforts to meet the product needs of its education customers as the school buying season begins. There are limits to the company’s manufacturing and distribution capacity, and Apple may desire to regain ground lost to other PC makers in the education space.

Inside This Issue of ATPM

The April edition of About This Particular Macintosh continues our legacy of providing our readers with the best reviews and the most thought-provoking columns and commentaries available to Mac users in an easy-to-read monthly format. We thank you for your readership and loyalty.


This month’s issue includes:

The Candy Apple: Living With Technology

Ellyn Ritterskamp agrees with a writer who says we can co-exist with technology and not let it rule us.

The Desktop Muse: Sitting in on the Jam

David Ozab unwraps his copy of GarageBand and completes a CD in one week.

Bloggable: The Usability Month

Wes Meltzer is pining for some reader response—anything to break up the onslaught of spam he receives. As fodder for some comments, this month’s Mac blogosphere scouring has turned up a lot of discussion about Microsoft Word’s downward spiral that started with version 6. Additional blogosphere topics include wishing for a modern Mac Portable, CUPS, the value of AppleCare, and three unusual iPod stories.

About This Particular Outliner: Announcing the FORE/1 Outliner

This month, ATPO announces the debut of a new advanced outliner, FORE/1.

Web Accessibility: Part 3: Color and Type

How does colorblindness affect the perception of your Web site? How can you accommodate your users’ text size preference? It’s not as hard as you think.

Cartoon: Cortland

NeoCort and some friends use an unexpected weapon to defeat The Consultant.

Cartoon: iTrolls

The iTrolls search for yellow-capped Pepsi bottles, whine about a now-famous American Idol reject, endure tag teams in forums, explain why GarageBand is getting such great reviews, and poke fun (yet again) at Steve Ballmer.

Desktop Pictures: Volcano National Park

Managing Editor Christopher Turner offers photos from his 2001 visit to Kilauea Volcano National Park on the Big Island of Hawai’i.

Review: AppleScript: The Definitive Guide (book)

Gregory Tetrault favorably reviews a new, detailed book about AppleScripting.

Review: iBreeze

MacMice’s iBreeze laptop stand attempts to solve both the cooling and ergonomic issues with laptop computers, but fully succeeds at neither.

Review: The Mouse

What Windows users wish Apple’s Pro Mouse was.

Review: Sambucus X 2.3.1

Andrew Kator is pleased with this time/billing software’s interface, but is discouraged with its handling of data entry and inability to import iCal calendars.

Review: Soundsticks II

Evan Trent pits the Harman Kardon Soundsticks II against real world audiophile equipment.

Review: Swap 1.2

It’s Bejeweled but in pastel shades.


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