Hubzilla Meets Macintosh -- Okay, this is just too funny. Charismac Engineering has introduced a 4-port FireWire hub embedded into an 8-inch (20 cm) tall plastic Godzilla toy. The ports are in his scaly back, his eyes are red LEDs, and there's a blue LED in his mouth (the LEDs all light up whenever Hubzilla is connected to your Mac). No drivers are necessary, though an optional power adapter (sold separately) provides external power if needed. Hubzilla costs $75 (which doesn't seem like an unreasonable markup over a boring old FireWire hub), and Charismac is taking pre-orders now. Normally we wouldn't write about a product that wasn't available, but Tony Overbay of Charismac told me the response has been great and he fully expects to sell out of the initial shipment (due to arrive in early November) on pre-orders alone. Hubzilla will remain available, but the second large shipment likely won't be available in time for the holiday shopping frenzy, though it might make it to Macworld Expo in January. Who knows, Charismac might be starting the next big design movement in computer hardware - disguising it as retro toys from yesteryear. [ACE]
Improve Apple Services with AirPort Base Stations
You can make iChat file transfers, iDisk, and Back to My Mac work better by turning on a setting with Apple AirPort base stations released starting in 2003. Launch AirPort Utility, select your base station, click Manual Setup, choose the Internet view, and click the NAT tab. Check the Enable NAT Port Mapping Protocol (NAT-PMP) box, and click Update. NAT-PMP lets your Mac OS X computer give Apple information to connect back into a network that's otherwise unreachable from the rest of the Internet. This speeds updates and makes connections work better for services run by Apple.
- 2002 Hardware Gift Ideas (12 Dec 02)