Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks.

 

 

Pick an apple! 
 
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.

 
 

Macintosh Color Display

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This new 14" color monitor is only an incremental improvement over the previous one (i.e., it performs exactly the same task), but Apple paid a lot more attention to detail, making for a nicer monitor at a lower price. You get the same 13" of usable area on the Trinitron CRT (cathode ray tube), and the size is the same at 640 x 480 (resolution is 70 dpi instead of 69 dpi), but the new CRT offers higher brightness, high contrast, and uniform color. The monitor is 50% brighter than the previous model and supposedly uses 32% less power, a move I wholeheartedly endorse. Now if only the new desktop units could emulate the PowerBooks' sleep mode.

Front-mounted controls and a tilt & swivel base make the monitor easier to use, and it complies with the strict Swedish guidelines for very-low frequency (VLF) and extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic and electric emissions. Whether or not those emissions are specifically harmful (no one has conclusively proven that either way, as far as I've heard), I can't imagine that they're good for you. The monitor weighs a bit less, so it will be easier to lift, a major bonus to techie types who frequently have to move them. Finally, and I'm not sure how important this is, the monitor features automatic degaussing at startup. Probably akin to a stiff cup of espresso to start the day.

 

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