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ATPM 5.06
June 1999




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Welcome to the latest issue of About This Particular Macintosh! We’ve dubbed this collection of reviews, columns, and spirited anecdotes our official “Pre-Summer Maintenance Release Issue.” It may not be a wholly accurate description, but we like the lingo! We’ve heard so many things about software maintenance releases we figured we needed to use the term. If you really like this issue please send us e-mail telling us we are far too humble in choosing the title. If you don’t believe this is one of our best releases please send us e-mail complimenting us on our wisdom in selecting the name. If you really don’t like this issue, don’t e-mail us, we’ll e-mail you (just kidding).

Lombard At Last

It’s here. After months of speculation and anticipation, Apple Computer has finally released the successor to the Wall Street series PowerBook. Code-named Lombard, the new version of the G3 PowerBook is faster and lighter than its predecessors. Dollar for dollar and ounce for ounce, the new PowerBooks pack a powerful performance punch. Check out the specs at BTO options are not currently available, but wait a few weeks if you’re not happy with the pre-configured systems. ATPM Contributing Editor Robert Paul Leitao has ordered the new 400 MHz PowerBook. He’s been promised it will arrive in time for the first week of June. E-mail Rob at if you’re interested in his first-hand impressions.

Advantage Mac

For years financial analysts have decried the fact that Apple Computer is burdened with the cost of developing its own proprietary operating system. Lately, analysts have begun to realize that Apple’s hardware competitors are the ones with a cost disadvantage. It’s called the Windows licensing fee. Although Apple spends heavily to develop its own proprietary operating system, precious funds are not spent licensing an OS from Microsoft. This puts Apple’s Open Source initiative in a new light. By allowing independent developers to modify and enhance core components of Mac OS X and QuickTime, Apple can use more its precious R & D dollars to improve the advanced “look and feel” of its popular software products. Advantage Mac!

The Paralysis of Analysis

Inasmuch as analysts have realized that Apple’s own OS can be a good thing, the company’s recent meeting with analysts had mixed reviews. Absent from the agenda were discussions about new breakthrough products and a firm release date for Apple’s consumer portable. Some analysts thought this was a bad thing.

Apple’s first priority has been survival. Until recently the picture wasn’t very pretty. But in achieving its recent levels of success, no one at Apple has defied basic business principles. A company can have the greatest products in the world but if they come to market too early or are too expensive for consumers to buy it benefits no one.

Mac fanatics have been told many times that we need to take a hefty dose of reality medicine. Apple’s dark days were a rather bitter pill to swallow. However, Apple’s slow and steady recovery has given birth to the revolutionary iMac and the fastest notebook computers on the planet. The blue and white G3s are very popular with designers and content creators. What more information do analysts want?

Apple Computer has one of the strongest balance sheets in the computer industry and its gross margins and inventory controls are the envy of its competitors. We think it’s time for Wall Street analysts to take a spoonful of their own prescription. Reality is that the Mac is back. The company’s financial vital signs are excellent, and the quarterly results speak for themselves.

Job Revisited

The Book of Job tells the story of a man who, through no fault of his own, is beset with horrendous calamities and misfortune. In the midst of his strife, Job was visited by friends who insisted on reciting a litany of reasons of how he had brought so many problems upon himself. In the end Job’s righteousness is vindicated and his property, possessions, and health restored. A frequent reader soon learns to appreciate the beautiful prose and subtle humor in the story.

The editors of ATPM have appreciated the opportunity to chronicle Apple’s fall from grace and its return to glory. We’ve offered our own views about Apple’s misfortunes often in tongue-in-cheek style. We don’t know all the answers, but we’ve enjoyed the subtle humor that has characterized the past few years of Apple’s history. Now it’s time to share the fun.

This issue, Paul Fatula and Brooke Smith are joining our staff as co-copy editors, and Chris Sloan has been named our new page o’ links coordinator. If you are interested in joining our zany staff of dedicated Mac advocates staff please e-mail for more information.

I Want My MW3

Reports indicate that Hasbro Interactive is not planning the port MechWarrior 3 to the Mac. We’ll save them the vitriolic diatribe about the superior gaming qualities of the Mac platform and focus our argument on basic business sense. We have only one question: are they completely out of their minds? Mac sales are growing at twice the rate of the overall PC industry. Stop by and e-sign a grass roots petition that asks Hasbro interactive to “Think different” and port MechWarrior 3 to the Mac.

The editors of ATPM also urge you to send in your software registration cards. Many software products are sold on hybrid CDs and are counted as Windows sales by retailers. By sending in your registration cards software companies will know that Mac buyers equal sales dollars.

Filling the Gap

At press time it was announced that Millard “Mickey” Drexler, president and chief executive officer of Gap Inc., has become the newest member of Apple’s board of directors. In appointing Mr. Drexler to the board, Apple increased the number of directors from six to seven. It’s an odd number of directors but they are expected to bring about unusual results! Mr. Drexler’s expertise in retailing will help Apple better position its products in the retail market.

This Month’s News, Views and Reviews

A Trivial Pursuit?

Ed Goss, ATPM’s trivia columnist, has a rambunctious “need for speed.” He’s always looking for ways to increase his Mac’s performance. In this month’s issue Ed looks at the Newer MaxPower G3 400/200 upgrade card. He lets you know if chasing faster processor speeds is a worthwhile investment or a costly and trivial pursuit.

And for our readers who may have gotten interested in purchasing a Sonnet G3 upgrade from our review in last month’s issue (5.05), we’re pleased to announce that Sonnet has recently dropped prices on these upgrades across the board. Please check out their Website,, for pricing and ordering information.

The Fax is Dead, Long Live the Fax

Remember those unsightly thermal paper fax pages that were almost impossible to read or copy? How about the day you opened the phone bill and saw the charges for the forty seven page fax to Paris that had to be resent three times? Business people have been heralding the end of the fax era ever since the dawning of the Internet age. In this issue of ATPM, Eric Blair reviews eFax, a product that purportedly melds the ancient fax technology with the power of the personal computer.

DIMMs, SIMMs and Screwdrivers

Have you ever been with a group of Mac users who seem to know everything? Did you ever wonder where they get their information? You, too, can be a walking, talking Mac authority in a matter of minutes! Do you need to know what kind of memory is needed for Aunt June’s Centris 650? No problem! How about the tools needed to perform a hardware upgrade? Check out Chris Turner’s review of the Mac Upgrade & Repair Bible. You don’t need to quote it chapter and verse, but it’s a handy resource for people seeking greater Mac knowledge.

Substance Over Style

Michael Tsai, ATPM’s editor and monthly columnist, continues his mission of explaining the not-too-easily explainable. In this month’s Personal Computing Paradigm (a column initially intended to focus on style sheets), Michael takes a substantive look at another sometimes-confusing part of the personal computing experience. Don’t miss Michael’s column inside this month’s issue.

We hope you enjoyed the Memorial Day weekend and we’ll be back in time for the Fourth of July. In the meantime, please enjoy our latest issue!

The ATPM StaffApple

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