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ATPM 15.04
April 2009




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by Robert Paul Leitao,

Welcome to the April issue of About This Particular Macintosh! Our editors have worked hard over the past month to bring you a topical and relevant series of columns and reviews. We will present this month’s issue in a correspondingly non-typical and irreverent way.

We welcome you to the “On the Rocks” issue of ATPM. For those who wonder how we developed the theme for our April issue, we mixed in a shot of economic discontent, added two jiggers of sour financial news, stirred in some sweet talk and an ounce of Apple optimism, and poured the concoction into a tumbler full of digital ice.

China: the iPhone’s Rocky Road

It’s ironic the place where iPhones are made is a place where the locals don’t have easy access to acquire and use them. Negotiations between Apple and its prospective iPhone partner on China’s mainland continue. For now, Hong Kong remains the point of iPhone entry (and for mainlanders a source of iPhone envy) until agreements are signed. Announcements of a deal should come any day now. Really, announcements should come any day now. We think.

Follow the Cobblestone Road

Apple has announced the dates of this year’s annual conference for developers. From June 8–12, Apple developers will descend upon San Francisco’s Moscone Center for a five-day celebration of Mac OS X and the iPhone OS.

Apple has been cobbling together a multi-device operating system roadmap to satisfy the economic interests of developers large and small while the company continues to lead the industry with innovative hardware designs. Will this cobblestone road lead to prosperity for Apple developers and further gains in market share for the maker of the Mac and the iPhone? We don’t know what kind of wizardry will be behind the curtain for this year’s event, but we suspect the return of Steve Jobs may be one of the happenings that will make headlines at WWDC 2009.

Rock On!

In March, Apple released updates to its computers including the iMac and Mac Pro lines. The new hardware releases are notable for not being particularly notable. In challenging economic times, the company is taking a determined course of incremental and evolutionary product updates. The Mac mini is now hailed as the world’s most energy efficient desktop computer. In response to environmentalists who have been critical of the company’s products, the new desktops are lean and have become continuingly more green.


In response to the thousands of e-mails our managing editor has received asking us to make more references to Greek mythology in our work, this month we are happy to oblige. Please keep the e-mails coming. Like many of our readers, our editors can’t get enough of this ancient stuff.

For our new readers who might not be aware of our scholarly interest in ancient Greek culture and mythology, Sisyphus is the mythical creature destined for eternity to push a boulder up a mountain only to have it roll back down again as he and the boulder approached the top. Monumental undertakings are often referred to as “Sisyphean challenges.”

Those of us desiring Apple’s share price to rise back to its all-time high in this difficult market no matter the company’s strong balance sheet, amazing product line, and recent history of creating billions of dollars in net cash each year, might see ourselves reflected in the mythical story.

The Rocky Horror Photo Show

There’s really no horror involved in viewing this month’s desktop photos. The horror belongs to this writer and photographer of the photo series of Vasquez Rocks. During the photo excursion, he found himself hanging off the sides of cliffs and dangling precariously from many a ridge. The photo set is an accompaniment to the forthcoming review of Apple’s iWeb component of iLife ’09. The review entitled “iWeb: The Good, The Bad, and The Sublime” is scheduled for publication in our May issue. You can follow the progress of the review site.

So why is a photo series for a May review appearing in our April issue? After this writer and photographer submitted the photos for the desktop picture series, all was good until he submitted photos his daughter had taken at Yosemite National Park for a future series of desktop photos.

The timing of the publication of this desktop series of rock formations in the April issue has nothing to do with the publisher’s polite and constructive critique that the next time this writer and photographer embarks on a photo excursion he take his daughter along to handle the camera. There’s absolutely nothing to that rumor. Nor is there any credence to the story that this writer and photographer was concerned about being upstaged by his teenage daughter should both desktop photo sets be published in the May issue. It has everything to do with this month’s theme. Now that we’ve rationalized the timing of this month’s desktop picture set, we’ll depart from the theme for just a moment.

If you’d like to submit a series of pictures for consideration for publication as a desktop photo set, please contact Please note: Vasquez Rocks as a location is already taken. This writer and photographer desires no additional competition.


This month, Linus Ly looks at a solution for those who desire to keep everything private. Not that he’s apt to hide the dealings of a long-running Ponzi scheme, but he may have found a way to hide the remaining assets. Even if the Feds seized his Mac, he’d have encrypted knowledge to barter for a lighter sentence. Absent illegal dealings, we may all have stuff we want to keep away from even the most creative snoops. Please see his review in this month’s issue.

The Many Faces of Facebook

In this month’s issue, Lee Bennett explores the many digital faces of Facebook and how the iPhone and its Facebook application keep one connected whether at work, at home, and at play. In today’s constant connection digital world, whether you are hanging off the cliffs at Vasquez Rocks or hiking the trails to Half Dome, the Facebook iPhone application keeps you current with friends and family.

Rocks Along the Road of Life

Life can seem like a rather rocky path. New and unforeseen adventures await us almost every day. The editors of ATPM have been chronicling what we call the “personal computing experience” since 1995. We’ve seen tough times come and go and opportunities arrive when we least expected them. Join us each month as we take you along to surprise locations from San Andreas rock formations to the African savanna. From your iMac or MacBook we’ll take you all over the world. Next month, we visit Yosemite National Park in winter.

Our April issue includes:

MacMuser: Getting le Ver de Terre

A story from Mark Tennent written an hour before before it should’ve been written.

MacMuser: Very Interesting…But Stupid

Mark Tennent muses about the Safari 4 beta.

Next Actions: File and Inbox Management

How does automation help GTD on the Mac? This month’s Next Actions takes a look at some ways to automate file management. Also, an updated Master List.

Desktop Pictures: Vasquez Rocks

Contributing editor Robert Paul Leitao provides this month’s photos from the Vasquez Rocks, north of Los Angeles.

Qaptain Qwerty

Are Macs immune to Windows viruses?

Review: Elements+ 1.1

Elements+ transforms your exiting copy of Adobe’s Photoshop Elements, “unlocking” features and tools that otherwise require the full version of Photoshop.

Review: Espionage 2.0.2

Espionage makes it easy to password protect and encrypt individual folders, not the entire home folder, but does it get in the way?

Review: Facebook for iPhone 2.2

It’s not like anyone has any other choice of competing utilities, but is the Facebook application for iPhone worth using?

Review: iFlyz Personal Media Solution Stand

Solves your personal media problems, provided your personal media are contained on a player with a smooth case.

Review: KavaServices 3.1.1

KavaServices is not your father’s Character Converter! Lee Bennett looks at this substantial retooling of the former HTML Character Converter utility.

Review: OmniFocus, TaskPaper, and Things

Frank H. Wu hands out high marks for three leading task management applications and shares the differences between them.

Review: Showcase for iPhone 3G

Not too hard, not too soft, not too big, and not too pricey, but not perfect, either.

Also in This Series

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