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ATPM 13.12
December 2007




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by Robert Paul Leitao,

Welcome to the December issue of About This Particular Macintosh! We wish you a happy holiday season and memorable moments with family and friends. May the season of lights pierce the late autumn darkness, and may the joy of the holidays bring you peace and gladness.

There and Back Again!

November served up a thrill ride for Apple investors. The first week of November saw AAPL reach all-time highs only to plummet about forty points by the end of the second week of the month. Ending November trading at $182.22, the stock price is now close to where it began the month. The folks at Six Flags couldn’t have developed a more extreme experience for Apple thrill seekers but should consider the month’s price chart as a model for their next rollercoaster design. Some rather white-knuckled investors were happy to see this high-speed ride come to an end.

It’s Not Burnt…. It’s Crispy!

This might be the best way to describe the approach of Dell’s management to explain the PC maker’s most recent quarterly results and market position. Dell is continuing to lose market share to PC rivals HP and Apple and has changed its sales strategy to embrace sales through high-volume discount retailers.

Growing at a turtle’s pace compared to the global PC industry in general, Dell’s profit margin on PC sales has slimmed, and Wall Street was decidedly unhappy with the results. While there seems to be a bit of smoke surrounding Dell’s results, the company’s products don’t seem to be setting the world on fire.

Aren’t You Orange…?

That’s the start of the tag line for one of the world’s most often told knock-knock jokes.

Orange is also name of Apple’s iPhone service partner in France. No joke intended, early reports indicate the French are “going bananas” for the iPhone, while Apple’s exclusive carrier arrangements are driving some EU regulators nuts. Apple’s monthly revenue arrangements with its carriers are making the iPhone less of a profit center for its service partners and more of a market gain opportunity, as a high percentage of iPhone buyers are migrating from other carriers when they purchase and activate their new phones. Competitors don’t like the sound of opportunity knocking only on Apple’s door.

Christmas Shopping in America

Media reports indicate that Americans approached the annual Black Friday shopping event as if it were an Olympic-scale competitive sport. Rising before dawn to compete for pole positions at entrances to early-opening stores, Americans sprinted through the doors to grab heavily discounted items ahead of the competition.

Cyber Monday has apparently became a holiday sport for office chair potatoes, as Internet shopping activity a week ago set new records for visits to many retail sites. Meanwhile, anecdotal reports indicate that Apple retail stores are experiencing record-setting foot traffic as eager consumers satisfy their curiosity about the Apple iPhone and the recently revamped iPod line of products.

Watch for record-setting iPod sales this season, with increasing demand for Apple products as we move closer to Christmas. Absent discounts and with no worries about supplies, the Apple stores will be among the last stops for consumers this holiday season. For yet another Christmas season, the iPod will top the lists of most desired and most received holiday gifts.

Bye, Bye Boot Camp Beta

Just in time for holiday shopping, Apple is advising users of Apple’s Boot Camp beta that their license expires on December 31, 2007. While this previously announced deadline should come as no surprise, those who have enjoyed its use may be surprised at how quickly time has passed since its release. A commercial version of Boot Camp is incorporated into Leopard, the latest release of Mac OS X. To receive Boot Camp updates and support, Mac users desiring to run Windows on their Macs will need to upgrade to Leopard before year-end.

Home For the Holidays

No matter the cost of fuel or the threat of inclement weather, Americans will hit the road this season to make it home for the holidays. Perhaps the most traveled time of the year, the familiar sights of home, the aroma of old-fashioned holiday meals, and the comfort of family and long-remembered holiday traditions draw people “home” from near and from far.

During your travels, bring along a copy of the latest issue of ATPM. It makes for easy reading in the moments between special moments.

Our December issue includes:

Bloggable: Would You Like a Cup of Coffee With That?

Mac OS X 10.5 was delivered a little under-roasted—a very light New England roast, perhaps, rather than the French roast some developers in California wanted. Oh, you mean that’s “Java” with a capital “J”? And they’re annoyed because they wanted the new version of the Java runtime to ship with Leopard? Wes Meltzer’s going to have to put a little more Kindling and links on the fire to keep warm while he rewrites this month’s Bloggable.

Mac About Town: Visions of Sugar Plums

Sometimes its hard to know what to wish for for Christmas—or for Macworld Expo for that matter. Mike Chamberlain ruminates about his list as he prepares to settle down for a “long winter’s night.

MacMuser: And Here’s Another Thing About Leopard

Mark Tennent theorizes that FireWire support has been improved in Leopard, then notes that auto-maintenance scripts are now stored as plain text files and are easy to tweak.

MacMuser: Wonky Web Sites

“How come if I go to a Web site and it doesn’t work in my browser when millions of others sites do, it’s my fault for the failure?”

Next Actions: What Leopard Means For Getting Things Done

Ed Eubanks, Jr. looks at Leopard’s updated applications and what they mean for Getting Things Done.

Apple Talk: “Think Different”

From Angus Wong’s point of view, Windows Vista and Microsoft are already doing everything possible to ensure that Apple continues to be a resounding success.

Desktop Pictures: Artmatic

ATPM reader Richard W. Dillman shares his Artmatic creations for this month’s desktop pictures.

Cartoon: Cortland

Is this the end for Cortland? He faces a massively upgraded Lisa in the Mudrix in the fight of his young, graphic-designing life.

Review: HyperImage 1.0

Find yourself clicking and saving pictures from a Web site over and over again? HyperImage bills itself as an industrial-strength downloader of Web images that saves both time and your mouse-click finger. This review covers how well the application fulfills that promise.

Review: Photoshop CS3 One-on-One

Deke McClelland’s name has become synonymous with his splendid series of “One-on-One” training books for graphic design. The latest offering, covering Adobe Photoshop CS3, is no exception.

Review: Signal

With Signal, you can turn your iPhone or iPod touch into an über iTunes remote control.

Review: SmartCharge

A great idea for iPods that is fatally flawed in its execution.

Review: TuneView USB

Offering the same navigation functionality as its cousin, the TuneView USB provides direct access to your iTunes library instead of using an iPod.

Review: Videator 4.2.1

Feature-laden nonlinear video editor could use better text effects.

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