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TidBITS#897/24-Sep-07

This week's issue hits on nearly all of the main TidBITS beats. In iPhone news, Apple announces international iPhone distribution agreements in the UK and Germany (and France chimes in too, though Apple has yet to confirm it), AT&T proves to be less-than-straightforward regarding the recent iPhone credits, Glenn looks at how Apple and Starbucks are giving away 50 millions songs, and Adam taps iPhoney to see how Web sites will appear on the device. In Mac news, Adam tries free Web conferencing using Yugma, hears voices courtesy of the Infovox iVox high-quality speech modules, and notes the end of the paid portion of New York Times coverage. Meanwhile, Glenn runs down numerous options for adding 802.11n Wi-Fi to older Macs and Simon Leeman goes in depth to show why calling the latest iMacs and MacBook Pros "Santa Rosa" is wrong in multiple ways, despite persistent published reports. Lastly, we have three updated ebooks from Joe Kissell, providing the latest details on Apple Mail, on staving off spam with Mail, and on .Mac.
 
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AT&T Runaround for Early iPhone Adopters

  by Mark H. Anbinder <mha@tidbits.com>

While many early iPhone purchasers are pleased with Apple's offer of a $100 Apple Store credit for those who purchased the initially pricey gizmo early on, and some are thrilled with the 14-day price protection policy that provided a $200 refund to those who bought in the two weeks immediately before this month's price drop, we hear that some iPhone customers who bought at an AT&T Wireless store have gotten the runaround when attempting to settle up. (See "iPhone $100 Store Credit Process Posted" (2007-09-14) for details on the refunds.)

Seeing that Apple's Web site referred AT&T purchasers back to the AT&T store where they purchased their iPhone, one such buyer went to the store last week, and was told they would call when they found out more about the company's plans. When this buyer went back to the store today, having not received the promised return call, he was told they could no longer help him, because it had now been more than 14 days since he'd purchased the iPhone.

The fine print in Apple's $100 credit offer says that iPhone buyers who purchased from an AT&T Wireless store but aren't able to get price protection may submit a claim, so even if AT&T's outlets can't figure out what they're doing, their iPhone customers may not be totally lost. In this case, AT&T customer service finally agreed to apply a $100 credit to the buyer's cellular service account, and told him to pursue the other $100 with Apple.

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Daylight Saving Time Rules Fixed for New Zealand

  by Adam C. Engst <ace@tidbits.com>

Despite the kerfuffle over support for worldwide daylight saving time rule changes in various versions of Mac OS X (see Andrew Laurence's "Daylight Saving Time May Bite the Out-of-Date" (2007-01-29) for the start of our coverage), it appears that Apple missed the new rules in New Zealand in even the most recent versions of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. New Zealand's new rules take effect at 2 AM on 30-Sep-07, so if you're in New Zealand and want your Mac to honor the new rules, download Glenn Anderson's free New Zealand 2007 Daylight Savings Time Update for Mac OS X (33K download). It works with Mac OS X 10.4.10, may work with 10.4.9, and probably won't work with 10.4.8 or earlier. Glenn, who's best known in the Mac world as the author of Eudora Internet Mail Server (EIMS), has also now released a version of his daylight saving time utility for Mac OS X 10.3.9, along with a Daylight Savings Editor for Mac OS 9, both available at the same page.

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iPhoney Baloney Browser

  by Adam C. Engst <ace@tidbits.com>

I don't have an iPhone. Nor do I have an iPod touch, which offers the same basic Web browsing features as the iPhone. But I still want to see what our Web sites look like on an iPhone, for obvious reasons. I'm sure I'm not alone, and there are plenty of Web designers out there tasked with developing sites that are at least readable on an iPhone, but whose managers won't actually spring for an iPhone or iPod touch.

Thanks to iPhoney, a new open source browser developed initially by Marketcircle, you too can browse the Web in the full 320 by 480 pixel glory of the iPhone. You can rotate the display by choosing Window > Rotate iPhone, and from the iPhoney application menu, you can choose the Web Kit user agent, the iPhone user agent, or a custom user agent (one of which might be necessary to convince your site to show you the iPhone-specific styles or content). Other than that, you can zoom in and out, enter new URLs, go back and forward, and view the source of the current page. It's pretty simple, but for checking how sites will display, iPhoney seems like the real thing.

And before you ask, no, it is not an iPhone simulator. It's just a Web browser that happens to look like the iPhone.

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Starbucks To Give Away 50 Million iTunes Songs

  by Glenn Fleishman <glenn@tidbits.com>

As part of the Apple/Starbucks deal to enable the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store within coffee shops across the United States, the coffee-selling giant said it would give away 1.5 million iTunes song cards each day from 02-Oct-07 to 07-Nov-07. The catch? The songs are specific titles from 37 artists, including Paul McCartney and Joni Mitchell, who have released albums directly through Starbucks. The company said Bob Dylan's "Joker Man" will be the first song given away.

At the iPod touch release on 05-Sep-07, Apple and Starbucks unveiled a partnership around the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, announced the same day (see "Apple Introduces iPod Touch, Wi-Fi iTunes Store, and New iPods," 2007-09-10). Starting 02-Oct-07, iPhone, iPod touch, and all iTunes users can use Starbucks's hotspot network - run by AT&T competitor T-Mobile - to purchase the current songs playing in a Starbucks and use the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store. (Full Internet access over the network requires a fee or a subscription.)

Starbucks will also start selling "digital release cards" that enable purchasers to download a full album and bonus material from the iTunes Store. KT Tunstall, who performed at Apple's iPod announcement, and Eddie Vedder will have the first two albums out - "Drastic Fantastic" for $14.99, and the soundtrack for "Into the Wild" for $11.99.

And in even more synergy, heaven help us all, Starbucks will start selling a special version of its stored-value card, an innovation that apparently helped boost revenue while reducing tips by keeping actual cash (and change) from trading hands. The so-called "limited-edition card" will offer two free iTunes downloads when registered via the Web, although it's not clear from early coverage whether those will be specific songs or a generic credit. Maybe we'll be able to tip our favorite baristas with song downloads in the future.

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Macs Speak Clearly with Infovox iVox

  by Adam C. Engst <ace@tidbits.com>

The Mac OS has long boasted speech synthesis - the capability to read text aloud - but honestly, the quality of the voices, though perhaps better than the competition, is still pretty awful. No one with a choice would listen to Victoria's robotic intonations all day long, although Jeff Carlson's interview with Fred was a hoot (see "Catching Up with the Voice of Macintosh: Fred," 2003-04-01). (For Leopard, Apple is promising a new voice - Alex - that's supposed to be much better than the current built-in voices.)

For a far better listening experience that you can try today and that reflect worldwide speech patterns, check out the speech quality of the voices in Infovox iVox. They're not perfect; you won't mistake them for real people speaking, but they're a big improvement over the voices Apple ships in Tiger. Designed by the Acapela Group and distributed by AssistiveWare, Infovox iVox provides a wide variety of male and female voices for American English, British English, French, Canadian French, Spanish, American Spanish, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Dutch, Flemish, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, and Finnish.

I particularly like the high-quality British English voices, perhaps because the slight British accent marks the voice as foreign to my ears, thus causing me to forgive any mispronunciations or hesitations, or rather, to assume that they're part of the accent. And although I'm not sufficiently conversant in any of the other supported languages to understand what's being said, some of them sound even better because of this.

You can listen to the samples on the AssistiveWare Web site, and you can also download the voices to try for a limited time on your Mac. Beware that the voice packs are huge downloads (200 to 600 MB each). The voices work with any application that's compatible with the Apple Speech Manager; Mac OS X 10.3.9 is required as a minimum, but Mac OS X 10.4 is recommended. After running the installer, you can choose different voices in the Speech pane of System Preferences; to test with your own text, look for controls in the Edit menu's Speech submenu (you can always use TextEdit if your preferred writing tool doesn't offer the Speech menu). Through 31-Oct-07, the American and British English voices cost $99 (normally $149 and $219), the non-Scandinavian voices cost $149 (normally $219), and the Scandinavian languages cost $269 (normally $359, but you get the Swedish Chef for free... just kidding).

Needless to say, anyone who relies on the Mac's text-to-speech capabilities will appreciate the Infovox iVox voices (AssistiveWare provides a video showing how a blind translator uses the product), but I wonder if higher quality voice might cause text-to-speech to become more commonly used by those who haven't previously considered the feature before.

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Yugma Provides Free Web Conferencing

  by Adam C. Engst <ace@tidbits.com>

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard promises to provide screen sharing, but for the next few months, or when needing to share screens with people on other platforms, take a look at Yugma, which provides WebEx-like screen sharing in any Web browser. I ran across it a while ago, and have used it once successfully when getting a demo of SpotDJ, though on another attempt, Jeff Carlson wasn't able to get it to load. Basic features available for free (with ads) for up to 10 users include desktop sharing, free teleconferencing, annotation and whiteboarding tools, the capability to change who's presenting, and public and private chatting. You can pay to increase the number of simultaneous users, and also to enable features like the capability to share mouse and keyboard control with other attendees; scheduled sessions; 100 MB of shared file space; and Web session recording, playback, and hosted webcast (they're all available for 15 days for a free account). Honestly, I'm hoping that Leopard's screen sharing meets my needs, but if it doesn't, I'll give Yugma another try.

Oh, and if you were wondering about the thoroughly odd-sounding name, Yugma means "the state of being in unified collaboration" in Sanskrit, one of the classical languages of India.

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iPhone Launch Set for UK and Germany, with Murky Data Plan

  by Glenn Fleishman <glenn@tidbits.com>

Apple announced its first non-U.S. partner for the iPhone on 18-Sep-07, unveiling a relationship with UK cell carrier O2. O2 will start selling the iPhone for 269 ($542) including VAT (value added tax) on 09-Nov-07. That compares to $399 or roughly 200 for the same model in the United States. Service at 7,500 Wi-Fi hotspots is included in the monthly service plan; while AT&T resells access to over 8,000 Wi-Fi hotspots - mostly McDonald's - they offer no inclusive rate for iPhone or other cell users.

Monthly service rates for the iPhone from O2 cost 35 ($70), 45 ($90), and 55 ($110) per month with an 18-month commitment required. What's included is somewhat different than the plans offered by AT&T, although all three plans include "unlimited" - with an asterisk I'll define below - data service over EDGE, as in America, and "unlimited" Wi-Fi access. Wi-Fi service is provided via The Cloud, a hotspot builder in the UK that is currently building out city centers. They operate service in the famous "Square Mile" financial center of the City of London. The Cloud is part of many worldwide aggregated hotspot networks.

The 35 plan offers 200 minutes and 200 SMS messages; 45 buys you 600 minutes and 500 SMS messages; and 55 gets you 1,200 minutes and 500 SMS messages. The higher phone cost comes from VAT, Steve Jobs said at the press event. However, the UK VAT is just 35 (17.5 percent). U.S. sales taxes run no higher than about 9 percent. That doesn't explain the other cost variances. VAT ostensibly reflects taxes that aren't gathered at each stage of manufacture, whereas in the United States, some taxes are paid as products move from raw materials into finished goods, so the final price with VAT shouldn't so drastically outstrip the U.S. price with average sales tax.


Germany, France Are Also on Board -- Later in the week, Apple added T-Mobile in Germany to its European partner list; the carrier is a division of Deutsche Telekom, which also owns T-Mobile USA. T-Mobile will include 8,600 German Wi-Fi hotspots operated by the company as part of its data plan, along with full nationwide EDGE coverage due to be in place by the end of 2007. The phone will premiere on 09-Nov-07 as well, and cost 399 ($562) including VAT. Monthly pricing plans haven't yet been announced. The company brags in their press release about having a worldwide network of 20,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, but fails to note that there is no included cross-border roaming in any of their typical service plans in the United States or Europe.

The head of France Telecom said this week as well that its Orange cell division would carry the iPhone, but Apple hasn't yet confirmed that detail or provided pricing.


Asterisk Marks the Hidden Facts on Unlimited -- Now about that data-plan asterisk in O2's terms: It refers to O2's "fair usage policy," which the firm's head defined at the press event as the equivalent of 1,400 Web page views per day. I love the Orwellian doublespeak of "unlimited fair use." That's simply "limited use," and shouldn't be weasel-worded away.

Even more rich, I can find no formal definition of their policy on the O2 Web site. A Blackberry "fair usage" plan is just 75 MB per month. A special "1024" data plan includes 1 GB of data transfer a month. So not only is O2 using marketing-speak, but they aren't exposing enough information for consumers to make an informed choice. UK and European regulators tend to be more heavy handed on issues like this than in the United States, and the UK has a self-regulating Advertising Standards Authority that isn't afraid to smack down member claims that are misleading.

It's common among European carriers to impose data limits that are far below their U.S. counterparts. Verizon Wireless tends to treat 5 GB per month as "unlimited"; I usually call this service unmetered but limited, meaning that it's not charged a per-byte rate, but it's capped at the top. T-Mobile USA appears to offer a truly unlimited EDGE plan; I've never heard of anyone having their service canceled for overuse of EDGE.

This haziness around the monthly usage mars the launch for me. Apple used to be one of the better firms when disclosing limitations of their products and services, or explaining how the rest of the industry required the limits they imposed. You could then be free to choose or reject their offerings or explanations. In this case, Apple has bought into the usual practice of telecom firms in obfuscating a number that's a bright line within the carrier - they know when to cut you off - but appears like a gray blur from the outside.

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New York Times Frees Old Articles

  by Adam C. Engst <ace@tidbits.com>

A while back in "Create Permanent Links to the New York Times" (2007-02-19) and "Easier New York Times Linking" (2007-02-26), I shared techniques for creating permanent links to articles in the New York Times, since there was a legitimate method of providing permanent access to articles that would otherwise roll into the for-fee TimesSelect service. Such fussing around is no longer necessary, since the New York Times has stopped charging for access to parts of its Web site as of midnight on 19-Sep-07. With the exception of some articles (it wasn't made clear which ones) from 1923 to 1986, the archives are now freely available and easily linked to.

The TimesSelect service, started two years ago, charged $49.95 per year, or $7.95 per month, for access to older articles in the newspaper's archives, along with access to the work of 23 editorial columnists. TimesSelect had 227,000 paying subscribers and contributed about $10 million in revenue. However, the company reportedly felt that there was more chance for growth in the online advertising space. The site receives about 13 million unique visitors each month, many coming in from search engines like Google and Yahoo, but those visitors were often prevented from seeing the results of their searches if the articles in question had moved into TimesSelect since being indexed. The belief is that the increased Web traffic will result in ad revenues that will outweigh the loss of the TimesSelect subscriptions. Anyone who has paid in advance for TimesSelect will be refunded a prorated percentage of the subscription fee.

Charging for access to old articles is a tricky business. The article announcing the change notes that the Financial Times charges for select articles, and that the Los Angeles Times tried and quickly dropped an experiment with charging for content in 2005. For such an approach to succeed, the publication must have a large enough number of subscribers and content that is both sufficiently interesting after it's no longer current and sufficiently unique that it can't be found for free elsewhere. Of major U.S. newspapers, only the Wall Street Journal has managed to maintain a policy of charging for content, racking up nearly one million paying subscribers and $65 million in revenue. The popular cooking magazine Cook's Illustrated has long restricted access to its archives, and closer to home, the MacFixIt troubleshooting site restricts access to older articles to MacFixIt Pro subscribers. It will be interesting to see if this policy continues, now that CNET has purchased MacFixIt's parent TechTracker.

And TidBITS? We're not opposed to the concept of readers paying for content, but we're under no illusions that we have enough readers or that our content is sufficiently unique to ever restrict access to our archives. And while we can't compete with the massive archive of the New York Times, in the Macintosh world, our old articles may be the only coherent record of the past 17 years. As other worthy publications - most notably MacUser and MacWEEK - have faded away, their archives have disappeared as well. So if you want to research the early days of the Macintosh online, feel free to poke around in our archive, perhaps even starting with our very first issue. (Of course, the downside is that looking back at my early writing is truly mortifying. But I'll deal. Just try not to laugh too hard next time you see me at Macworld.)

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QuickerTek Expands Inexpensive Wi-Fi Options for Macs

  by Glenn Fleishman <glenn@tidbits.com>

QuickerTek recently released several new Wi-Fi adapters at prices well below both their previous prices and the prices of adapters from other providers of wireless alternatives to Apple's gear. The adapters include both 802.11g and 802.11n adapters to complement or update the firm's existing lineup.

While Apple has offered AirPort Extreme with 802.11g since 2003 as an optional or included adapter card or built-in interface on all Macs, and more recently upgraded to 802.11n on Macs with Intel Core 2 Duo chips shipping since October 2006, many Macs lag behind the fastest speed they could support.

An AirPort Extreme Card costs only $49 but can't be installed in all the Macs that support at least Mac OS X 10.3, the earliest release with robust support for modern Wi-Fi security. Any USB-equipped Mac running Mac OS X 10.3 can use either QuickerTek's nNano USB, a $59.95 USB dongle that supports the latest 802.11n draft standard, or the 802.11g-based Nano USB for $49.95. The nNano is, by far, the cheapest option for 802.11n for a Mac that doesn't have 802.11n built in. The company also offers a $149.95 USB adapter, the nQuicky with USB, priced that way because of its higher-powered radio and external antennas; it requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.

QuickerTek also released a new PCI card version of their nQuicky PCI Upgrade Kit, now priced at $99.95 (down $50 from the previous price). The PCI card works with Power Mac models containing PowerPC G3, G4, and G5 chips running Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, except for the Power Mac G5 model with DDR2 memory chip support. (The less-expensive USB options work with the G5 but lack the nQuicky's range-extending external antenna.)

The nQuicky PCMCIA/CardBus Upgrade Kit price has also dropped to from $149.95 to $64.95. It works with PowerBooks with CardBus slots running Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. For the subset of PowerBook users who run Mac OS X 10.3 or later and have no Wi-Fi built in, or have only the original 802.11b AirPort card, you can upgrade to 802.11g via a CardBus slot for just $49.95 with the b/g Quicky CardBus.

QuickerTek supports just the 2.4 GHz band for 802.11n, the most commonly used set of frequencies for Wi-Fi. 802.11b and 802.11g can use only the 2.4 GHz band; 802.11a uses only the higher-frequency and less-occupied 5 GHz band. 802.11n can use either band, but 802.11n equipment makers can choose to support either or both bands in a single device.

Apple chose to support both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz in its 802.11n AirPort Extreme adapters and base station models. In 5 GHz, you can see speeds of up to 90 Mbps between similar adapters and 140 Mbps from wireless to wired connections using the latest gigabit AirPort Extreme Base Station released earlier this month (see "AirPort Base Station Upgraded to Gigabit Ethernet," 2007-08-13). In 2.4 GHz, speeds are still an improvement over 802.11g's mid-20 Mbps range, providing from 30 Mbps to 70 Mbps, depending on circumstances.

You can read more about using 802.11n in my book "Take Control of Your 802.11n AirPort Extreme Network," which will be released in a new edition shortly - free to purchasers of the current book release - to cover the revised gigabit AirPort Extreme Base Station.

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OWC Ships 802.11n Adapters for Older Macs

  by Glenn Fleishman <glenn@tidbits.com>

On the heels of recent 802.11g and 802.11n add-ons from QuickerTek (see "QuickerTek Expands Inexpensive Wi-Fi Options for Mac Users," 2007-08-30), Other World Computing has introduced three $67.99 adapters that bring 802.11n to Macs that lack built-in 802.11n chipsets. The adapters include a USB dongle, a PCI/PCI-X card, and a CardBus card. All three require Mac OS X 10.3 or later or Windows XP or 2000 and later, including Vista.

The USB dongle will work with any PowerPC G3/G4/G5- or Intel-based Mac that can run Mac OS X 10.3 or later. The PCI/PCI-X card will work only with appropriately equipped Power Mac models, and the CardBus card only with PowerBooks.

The 802.11n standard provides a much greater coverage area and range than its predecessor, 802.11g. Apple added 802.11n into most of its products in late 2006, and provided the enabling software along with a new base station in February 2007. But some current and all older Macs have only built-in 802.11b or 802.11g adapters.

The Other World Computing and QuickerTek 802.11n adapters work only in the 2.4 GHz range, a relatively crowded slice of spectrum that is full of existing Wi-Fi networks, in which Bluetooth hops around, and in which other uses abound. Apple's own adapters work in the 5 GHz range as well, which has fewer current users and usages, and nearly eight times as much available spectrum.

Other World's adapters differ from gear from both Apple and QuickerTek in that they allow the use of so-called wide channels in 2.4 GHz, which is a bit controversial. A regular Wi-Fi channel uses about 20 MHz of spectrum. With 802.11g, it can reach a raw data rate of 54 Mbps, and with 802.11n, about 150 Mbps; that translates to about 25 Mbps and 70 Mbps of real throughput in ideal cases.

Wide channels use 40 MHz, the equivalent of two channels, and double the raw rate to 300 Mbps, achieving rates in my testing of up to 140 Mbps in the 5 GHz band. Apple allows wide channels only in 5 GHz, where it supports 8 of 23 possible channel choices (with more to come, I believe). With only 3 non-overlapping channels in 2.4 GHz, due to the way in which channels are assigned, a wide channel has the potential to step on more networks that might be operating in the same space.

Part of the delay in 802.11n's finalization continues to be defining the rules that keep 802.11n from being a bad neighbor. When 40 MHz channels are in use, 802.11n is supposed to back down to 20 MHz whenever it senses any network activity in the wider range. In practice, that's still being sorted out.

Other World's gear should work just fine with Apple's AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n (the latest version released just last month with gigabit Ethernet; see "AirPort Base Station Upgraded to Gigabit Ethernet," 2007-08-13), but it won't achieve its highest possible speeds unless used with another base station that offers wide channels in 2.4 GHz.

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Confusion Over Santa Rosa: What's in a Name?

  by Simon C. Leemann <leemann@phys.ethz.ch>

The latest batch of iMacs and MacBook Pros have been called "Santa Rosa" by many, and even publications like Macworld and Ars Technica have gone so far as to claim the new iMacs and MacBook Pros "use the Santa Rosa chipset."

This has become a widespread notion and the moniker "Santa Rosa" was quickly adopted to distinguish the latest iMacs and MacBook Pros from their predecessors. Unfortunately, it is simply wrong, and wrong in two ways. Firstly, Santa Rosa is not a chipset, but rather Intel's code name for their most recent mobile computing platform. And secondly, although these new Macs use one of the same chipsets Intel requires for the Santa Rosa platform, they are not part of the platform.

The latest Intel Centrino mobile platform has been given the code name Santa Rosa. Intel has detailed which components are required for a computer to belong to the Santa Rosa platform and hence receive the Centrino badge.

The main requirements for Santa Rosa are:

Santa Rosa describes the overall platform, which uses a Crestline chipset. There is no such thing as a Santa Rosa chipset. This is the first mistake.

Now let's take a look at the second mistake. For the CPUs on the new iMacs and MacBook Pros, Apple has chosen the Intel Core 2 Duo T7x00 series (or the Core 2 Extreme X7900 Merom XE, in the case of the 2.8 GHz iMac).

The chipset Apple is using is indeed the Intel Mobile PM965 Express chipset ("Crestline"). It runs an 800 MT/s front-side bus (that's megatransfers per second, which is technically more accurate than the commonly stated megahertz), supports DDR2-667 SDRAM, and comes with the Intel ICH8M southbridge (also known as an I/O Controller Hub). Crestline also supports NAND flash-memory caching technology (code-named "Robson") marketed under the name "Intel Turbo Memory," but this is not an explicit Santa Rosa platform requirement and Apple (to date) doesn't make any use of it.

Finally, the wireless chipset. Both the iMac and the MacBook Pro are capable of wireless communication according to the 802.11 standard and both also support the latest draft-n specification of this standard. But for some reason Apple is not using Intel's "Kedron" wireless adapter. Instead they are using a chipset manufactured by Atheros. The FCC code on the wireless card installed in the MacBook Pro reveals the manufacturer even though the module is just labeled with "Apple Computer, Inc." This is the same module used in the previous MacBook Pro generation. A quick hardware scan using lspci under Ubuntu Linux on a MacBook Pro also reveals Atheros as the manufacturer.

It's even more evident on the iMac. If, on the new iMac, you open System Profiler and go to Network > AirPort Card, the firmware version shows that the card was made by Broadcom.

Regardless of the fact that the new iMacs and MacBook Pros are using the CPU and chipset required by the Santa Rosa platform, they are using a different Wi-Fi adapter and therefore are not part of the Santa Rosa platform. This also provides yet another reason why Apple has never used the Centrino badge for these Macs. And thank goodness we don't have to tear those cheesy Centrino stickers off our new Macs!

So why did so many sources get it wrong, and who's to blame? Much of the responsibility lies with Apple itself. For years they have resisted giving their new Macs unique names. Rather than using something like Power Mac 7100/80 they now just refer to the iMac as the 24-inch iMac. Of course, unique names are still needed as soon as it comes to support or hardware repairs. On their support site Apple uses additional monikers to distinguish the models from each other. The latest iMacs and MacBook Pros are referred to as "Mid 2007." [Editor's note: Apple has long suffered from this problem. I first wrote about it over eight years ago in "Macintosh Model Implosion: What's in a Name?" (1999-06-14), and frankly, nothing has improved since then. -Adam]

Unfortunately, the "Mid 2007" name has nothing to do with the Mac's internals, prompting many people to come up with alternative names. It was quite popular to use "Core Duo" and later "Core 2 Duo" to distinguish the first and second generations of Intel-based Macs, but since it was clear early on that there would likely be more than just one generation of Macs with Core 2 Duo processors, that naming convention made little sense. Indeed the chipset is an easy way to distinguish the first generation of Core 2 Duo iMacs and MacBook Pros from their successors, but as detailed above that chipset would properly be referred to as "Crestline."

The bulk of the confusion over what Santa Rosa is comes from Intel. Very early on, before the official release of the Santa Rosa platform, Intel informed the tech media that they were launching a new mobile platform using a new chipset and the Core 2 Duo CPU, to be called "Santa Rosa." At that point, Intel never mentioned Crestline or Kedron, and used Santa Rosa to describe both the new platform and their new mobile chipset. As a result, observers were referring to the upcoming chipset as "Santa Rosa" long before the official launch of the new Centrino platform. Although Intel later published the requirements for the Santa Rosa platform and clarified which chipset the platform requires, the name "Santa Rosa" has managed to stick with the chipset ever since. But just as Apple makes Macs and isn't a company called "Mac" (a mistake often made by newcomers), Crestline is Santa Rosa's chipset - Santa Rosa by itself is not a chipset.

This situation didn't stem from Intel being sloppy, but is more a result of Intel creating program requirements to bolster sales of certain components. Intel created the Centrino platform to encourage PC makers to use all Intel components in their designs. However, when those components (notably Intel's initial Wi-Fi chipset) weren't competitive, PC makers chose different components in favor of the Centrino sticker. That in turn led to the code names like Santa Rosa becoming synonymous with the processor/chipset pair required by a particular instantiation of the Centrino platform.

You may ask if this is really so important. After all, we're just talking about a bunch of code names, right? While it is true that normal users don't generally need to use these code names, they're still important. Once you offer support, or you need to update or fix somebody's Mac, it's crucial to be able to distinguish different generations from each other in an unambiguous way. Different series of Macs need names that reflect which generation they belong to. And since Apple has resisted providing a coherent naming scheme that provides this level of clarity, we have to come up with our own. However, it is certainly in everybody's interest if we stick with names that are correct and make sense. And that's why it's important to stop confusing Santa Rosa with Apple's Crestline Macs.

[Simon C. Leemann is a research physicist and a longtime avid Mac user.]

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Take Control News: Make the Most of Apple Mail and .Mac

  by Adam C. Engst <ace@tidbits.com>

We're starting to clear the decks in anticipation of Apple's promised release of Leopard next month, so we have not one, not two, but three free updates for our loyal Take Control readers.

The first two updates are aimed at anyone who uses Apple Mail, bringing Joe Kissell's "Take Control of Apple Mail in Tiger" and "Take Control of Spam with Apple Mail" completely up to date with the world of Mail in Tiger. Both of these books were last updated about two years ago, so we encourage current readers to download the free update and check out the What's New list in each. If you aren't among the 4,500 people who have already taken advantage of Joe's expertise with Apple Mail, you can buy either title for $10 or get both - 246 pages all told - for only $15 (look for the Buy Both button in the left margin of either book's Web page).

Energized by the cheese and baguettes in Paris, Joe has also managed to crank out yet another a free update to his "Take Control of .Mac" ebook. It addresses the changes that Apple made to .Mac a few weeks ago, adds information about using your own domain name with .Mac, explains how to use the new Junk Mail filter in .Mac Mail, and more. For those who are new to .Mac, or who would like help using all of .Mac's features, the 194-page book is $15.

(If you already own an earlier version of one of these ebooks, click Check for Updates on the cover of your PDF to view the book's Check for Updates Web page, from which you can download the free update.)

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Hot Topics in TidBITS Talk/24-Sep-07

  by Jeff Carlson <jeffc@tidbits.com>


Can QuickBooks open Windows files? After downloading the free trial of QuickBooks for Mac, Matt Neuburg discovers that it can't open files created by QuickBooks for Windows. But other options are available to read the data. (4 messages)


Classic OS and later OS X versions -- How will Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard run on a PowerPC G4-based Mac, and what factors will contribute to the performance? (9 messages)


Why the "rebate hassle"? People who hacked their iPhones to run on a provider other than AT&T may not be able to take advantage of the recent $100 rebate for early iPhone purchasers. (4 messages)


iPhoto 7 Fills Glaring Holes -- Adam's article about changes in iPhoto 7 brings up questions and observations about the new Events method of sorting photos. (13 messages)


Deciding Between the iPhone and iPod touch -- Looking at the features of these devices, are they ready to replace the notes and calendar capabilities of Palm organizers? (1 message)


PowerBook G4 and combo drives -- A reader needs help trying to mount an external hard disk (which was previously in a PowerBook) on his Mac. (3 messages)


why the ipod touch/ipod-classic? The iPod classic offers huge capacity using the "old" iPod interface, while the iPod touch offers relatively small capacity using the new touchscreen interface of the iPhone. Why not combine the best attributes and create a touchscreen iPod with a huge hard drive? (3 messages)


Downloading iTunes 7.4.2 -- Apple's attempts to make downloading iTunes easier for both Mac and Windows users results in making it harder for some readers to download the correct version. (7 messages)


LaunchBar -- A LaunchBar shortcut for bringing up Web site URLs is almost hidden, but can be powerful - if you can get used to actually using it. (4 messages)


Safari 3.0.3, RSS Feeders, and Article length -- A reader is trying to make Safari 3 remember its article length setting when viewing RSS feeds, but it's not working. Any assistance? (1 message)


Powering Datacenters -- One idea for improving power efficiency in energy-hungry datacenters is to use DC current (versus the more common DC to AC conversion), but it's not catching on. Why not? (6 messages)


Using Mail -- Here's a suggestion for keeping two POP email accounts separate using Apple Mail. (2 messages)


Backing up as files get bigger -- As files from iMovie, iPhoto, and iTunes continue to increase in size, what are the best approaches to backing up that extra data? And do large individual file sizes make a difference? (1 message)

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