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Many people were dubious about the Apple Stores, but Apple has continued opening new ones at a brisk pace. According to Simon Spence, Apple’s on the right track, because the Apple Stores give the Apple brand tangible form. Also this week, we look at welcome changes in Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar and note the releases of Suitcase 10.1.3, Netscape 7, and the return of the Palm Conduit for Entourage X. Note that next week’s issue will be published a day late.

Adam Engst No comments

Next Issue One Day Late

Next Issue One Day Late — Due to staff vacation, next week’s issue will be published Tuesday, 10-Sep-02, a day later than usual. Needless to say, since we’ll be short-handed it’s entirely possible some of our services will act up in the meantime, but perhaps they’ll behave if they know we’re on to their little games. [ACE]

Jeff Carlson No comments

Netscape 7 Released

Netscape 7 Released — Netscape Communications has released Netscape 7, a promising improvement to the now-underdog Web browser. New in Netscape Navigator 7 is tabbed windows, which enable you to load multiple Web sites within the same browser window, plus overall performance improvements and bug fixes. Other new features include persistent history that records visited URLs across windows and sessions, a Download Manager that tracks all your downloads in a single window (like Internet Explorer), a Print Preview (though it doesn’t redraw the preview to account for scaling percentages), the capability to save a page as a folder of files, a contextual menu feature that lets you start a Web search for selected text, and update notifications of new releases. The Netscape Mail component has also has much-needed performance enhancements, a quick search for messages in a mailbox, alerts of new mail, labels, easier filters, and more. Netscape 7 is a free 19.2 MB download for users of Mac OS X, or a 155K active installer for users of Mac OS 8.6 or 9.x (where the eventual installation needs approximately 36 MB of disk space). [JLC]

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Matt Neuburg No comments

Extensis Releases Suitcase 10.1.3

Extensis Releases Suitcase 10.1.3 — Less than a week after the formal release of Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar, Extensis has brought its Suitcase font-management software up to par with an updater (see "A Quick Trip With Suitcase 10" in TidBITS-627). Fixed in this release is a Jaguar bug where, once Classic was started up, Suitcase would become sluggish and refuse to quit. The Suitcase 10.1.3 updater is a 2.9 MB download, and is free to users of Suitcase 10.0 or later. [MAN]

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Geoff Duncan No comments

It’s Baaack… Palm Conduit for Entourage X

It’s Baaack… Palm Conduit for Entourage X — After an initial release and rapid retraction last July, Microsoft has re-released its Palm conduit for Entourage X, enabling Entourage X users to synchronize contacts, calendar items, tasks, and notes (but not email) between Entourage X and Palm-compatible handheld devices. We haven’t yet tested this newest release and can’t say if it’s any more reliable than the version Microsoft previously withdrew, so (as always) back up your data before installing. The conduit requires Microsoft Office X Service Release 1, Mac OS X 10.1 or later, and a Palm-compatible handheld with Palm OS 3.x or later and Palm Desktop 4.0 or later. It’s a 716K download. [GD]


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Adam Engst No comments

Interesting Bits of Jaguar

Last week’s much-anticipated release of Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar hasn’t disappointed – Apple pulled out all the stops in improving and adding to Mac OS X. Despite the $130 upgrade cost, over 100,000 people purchased Jaguar in the first weekend it was available, a number Apple claims is a record for Mac OS sales in a single weekend (though it undoubtedly includes all the pre-orders placed up to that time as well).

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We’ve all heard plenty about the major features of Jaguar so far – iChat, Rendezvous, the system-wide Address Book, etc. – so in this article, I’m instead going to take a quick spin through some of the less-noticeable features that have gladdened our jaded eyes here at TidBITS, plus a couple of installation tips that will save you headaches and disk space. I’m sure we’ll continue to discover similar bits about Jaguar; if this article proves popular, we’ll continue collecting them for a sequel.

Check Utilities Before Installing — A number of utilities, most notably those that modify system behavior, are not compatible with Jaguar. Be sure to check for updates to those utilities you consider essential before upgrading. This has been a public service announcement, brought to you by the same people who always nag you about backing up before installing a major operating system update.

Archive Install — At the Select Destination step in the Jaguar installer, the default button is Continue, which will put you on a path to upgrading an existing Mac OS X installation. However, reports from the Internet and our own experiences with random application crashes indicate that it’s worth the extra effort to do a clean installation, something that Apple has improved immensely since Mac OS 9. Click the Options button, and in the sheet that appears, you’re presented with three options: Upgrade Mac OS X (the default), Archive and Install, and Erase and Install. Choose Archive and Install, and click the Preserve Users and Network Settings checkbox below it. Then click OK and continue on with the installation. When the installer is done, you’ll have a Previous Systems folder at the top level of your hard disk, and inside that, a Previous System 1 folder that contains all the items the installer didn’t merge into the new installation. Check through that folder for items you don’t want to delete; it does a pretty good job, though it’s not perfect at retaining everything. On TidBITS Talk, Dan Frakes pointed us to an excellent article he wrote for Macworld about particular places to check for files to save. If you’re a Unix-head, be sure to inspect the Previous System 1 folder in the Terminal, since directories where you may have been keeping stuff, such as /usr/local, are present but invisible in the Finder. When you’re done, you can toss the Previous System 1 folder in the Trash; you can’t toast the enclosing Previous Systems folder without some fussing with privileges.


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Save Disk Space with Custom Installs — Apple appears to be doing an excellent job with localizing Mac OS X and applications so people in at least some other countries can use the Mac in their own language. But is there any point in installing localized files if you don’t read those languages? Plus, Apple installs numerous printer drivers you likely don’t need. You can save a boatload of disk space by not installing all of these extras, but you have to pay attention, since Easy Install gives you everything, and it’s too easy to start the installation without realizing. In the Jaguar installer’s Installation Type step, click the Customize button, and deselect the appropriate checkboxes. One note: I failed to do this on my first installation (for a variety of testing purposes, I restored from my backup and reinstalled Jaguar – I strongly recommend a pre-Jaguar backup), and I couldn’t find a safe way to remove these items after the fact; a tip I found about deleting all the .lproj files via a complex Unix command looked as though it was going to delete far more than was safe.

Privilege Fixing Disk Utility in Installer — In the event of trouble, it’s always worth running the First Aid component of Apple’s Disk Utility. But it won’t check the startup disk, which can be annoying. Work around this by booting from the Jaguar installation CD (Install Disc 1 – yes, that’s right, Jaguar comes on two CDs, or three, if you count the Developer Tools). Choose Open Disk Utility from the Installer application menu at any point, and you’ll see that not only can you perform the usual tasks, but also that Disk Utility’s First Aid component can now verify and repair privileges (which it calls "disk permissions," a surprising lapse for Apple, which almost universally uses the term "privileges"). I suspect this code comes from Apple’s recently released Repair Privileges utility (now at version 1.1, in case you previously downloaded the 1.0 version). Interestingly, when I ran Verify Disk Permissions on my brand new Jaguar installation, it found two errors in folders I couldn’t have touched. (Two other notes about functions available in the installer: You can reset your password from the Installer application menu, if necessary, but the Terminal menu item was never available for me for unknown reasons.)

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Adieu Happy Mac — As has been reported elsewhere, Jaguar replaces the 18-year-old happy Mac startup icon with a gray Apple logo. I’m not particularly surprised; as much as everyone was accustomed to the happy Mac, it didn’t fit in with the graphical look Apple has taken such pains to present with Mac OS X and new hardware. It’s not as though any Macintosh has even looked like the happy Mac for years, and the new look doesn’t presuppose any particular hardware design. Plus, Apple could easily change the color of the Apple logo in the future – I wonder why they didn’t fill it with rendered jaguar fur. The other question is if the sad Mac, whose presence announces the ominous news of hardware failure, is still around, or if it’s been replaced by a rotting Apple logo with a worm crawling out. Probably not.

Tired of Logging In? Many people have complained about having to provide their passwords to installers in Mac OS X. I’ll happily enter a password instead of being forced to reboot, as in Mac OS 9, but the frequent password prompts are annoying. Luckily, you can turn them into reminders by making your password blank. You can’t do this with the Change Password button in Jaguar’s new My Account preference pane (where it claims your password must be at least four characters long), but you can do it by editing your user in the Accounts preference pane (it used to be called Users). Once you’ve set your password to blank, you can dismiss password dialogs merely by pressing Return. Needless to say, a blank password is a huge gaping security hole with razor sharp edges, so consider yourself forewarned. I wouldn’t recommend doing this on a machine that’s always accessible from the Internet, and I’d reset a password on a laptop before leaving home in case it was stolen.

Energy Saver Returns — The options in the Mac OS X Energy Saver preference pane have never matched up to those in Mac OS 9’s Energy Saver control panel. But with Jaguar, much of that control is back, so you can set different options for when your PowerBook or iBook is running on battery power or is plugged into the power adapter, and there’s a checkbox that claims to reduce the processor speed. Four different presets give you canned choices for Highest Performance, Longest Battery Life, DVD Playback, and Presentations, the first two of which provide the same settings whether or not the laptop is plugged in. Personally, I’ll be setting my iBook to save power when using battery, and provide optimal performance when plugged in. It’s too soon to tell just how well this additional control will help increase the battery life of laptops on the road, but any improvement will be welcome. One addition I’d like to see – an option to lower the screen brightness automatically when using battery power, since my experience is that’s one of the major consumers of precious electricity.

Smooth Operator — Hidden away in Jaguar’s General preference pane is a new pop-up menu that lets you configure Mac OS X’s font smoothing style. It’s worth checking this out, since the default setting may not be ideal for your monitor (my iBook defaulted to "Standard – best for CRT" for instance), and everyone has different visual preferences.

FTP in the Finder: Keep Trying, Apple — Jaguar is growling at another class of software – FTP clients. That’s because you can now mount FTP servers as disks in the Finder, just like any other network volume. Just type a full FTP URL like the one below into the Connect to Server dialog (access it from the Go menu, or type Command-K) and click Connect. If a username and password are necessary, the Finder will prompt for them. Unfortunately, in our testing, Jaguar can only get read access to FTP servers, even if you add your userid and password to the FTP URL. Worse yet, several of us have managed to lock up Jaguar completely using this feature, so be careful. Finally, Jaguar’s Finder FTP client doesn’t appear to work at all with Peter Lewis’s elderly NetPresenz FTP server, which is undoubtedly still in wide use on older Mac servers. I’d recommend keeping your favorite FTP client around for a while.


In the Red with Force Quit — Two new tweaks related to forcing applications to quit have appeared with Jaguar. First off, if an application isn’t responding, it appears in red in the Force Quit Applications window (accessible from the Apple menu or by typing Command-Option-Escape). It’s a nice touch that simplifies identifying the application you want to quit. Second, if an application isn’t responding, Control-clicking its icon in the Dock presents a menu with Force Quit instead of Quit; previously, you had to hold down Option while clicking the Dock icon to get to the Force Quit menu item. One final tip that works in previous versions of Mac OS X as well: after you’ve forced an application to quit via the Force Quit Applications window, you can close the window quickly by pressing Escape – it’s easier than clicking the tiny close window control.

Classic Warning — Classic appears to work basically the same as it has in the past (though it will likely prompt you to let it update some items in your System Folder), with three notable changes. It launches faster, a new Memory/Versions tab in the Classic preference pane shows you the memory usage for each Classic application (plus background processes), and you can now set an option in the Classic preference pane to let you approve each launch. No more watching Classic load when you didn’t even mean to launch it. (Classic isn’t a serious CPU hog as long as there aren’t any Classic applications running, but if there are, it can eat a hefty percentage of your CPU cycles.) Another piggy application is Microsoft Word X, which munches CPU cycles whenever it has open documents, so if you’re not using a Word document, close it to make extra CPU cycles available to other applications. You can see what’s happening by using Jaguar’s improved Process Viewer utility, which now shows proper names for Carbon applications, thus eliminating the need to use the "top -u" command in the Terminal.

Window Layering Improved for Eudora — Possibly my favorite change in Jaguar is a fix for one of Mac OS X’s window layering problems. In Eudora, if you Command-click a URL, it opens in a new browser window in the background, a fabulous feature I use many times a day. Or rather, a feature I used to use, since a bug in Mac OS X resulted in a background window being drawn over all of Eudora’s windows, forcing me to switch processes manually to layer the windows properly again. In Jaguar, this feature of Eudora works correctly again. (If you’re reading this using Eudora and Command-clicking doesn’t open browser windows in the background for you, double-click the URL below and accept the prompt; otherwise, you can copy and paste the URL into a Eudora message, then double-click it. For more information on x-eudora-setting URLs and a full list of them for Eudora 5.1.1, send email to <[email protected]>.)


That said, Eudora can have problems downloading graphics in HTML messages when QuickTime 6 is installed, as it must be in Jaguar. If you experience crashes in Eudora while downloading graphics, turn off automatic downloading of HTML graphics in the Fonts & Display settings panel and resist the urge to download them manually. Qualcomm knows about the bug and is trying to fix it.

Just Find It! I’ve never been a fan of Sherlock. It provided a slow and clumsy interface for finding files, and I always found its channels harder to use than just going to the appropriate Web site or search engine. I’m reserving judgement on Sherlock 3, which is similar to the more-capable Watson, but the excellent news is that Jaguar gives us back the old Find utility for finding files. It’s simple, focused, and sprightly, plus it can have multiple results windows. Multiple criteria are available, and it can limit searches to Everywhere, Local disks, Home, and Specific places (which you can add by dragging folders in from the Finder). Find is available from the Finder’s File menu; you can also of course type Command-F to activate it.


I also like the new Search field in Finder window toolbars, which enables you to search the contents of the currently selected folder, and all its sub-folders. However, it only shows up as a field only if the toolbar is set to display either Icons & Text or just Icons – if you’ve set toolbars to show only Text, you get a Search button that launches the Find utility. To change the display style, select Customize Toolbar from the Finder’s View menu, and adjust the Show pop-up menu.

Sharing is Good — With Jaguar, Apple has significantly beefed up the Sharing preference pane, which previously let you start and stop file sharing, personal Web sharing, FTP access, remote login, and reception of remote Apple Events. All that is still available, but Apple has added Windows File Sharing (via SMB) and Printer Sharing for sharing all the printers your Mac can see. One tip: To share printers with Mac OS 9 machines, Apple claims you’ll need to use Printer Sharing under Classic – setting it up in Jaguar won’t work. Two other tabs in the Sharing preference pane let you configure Mac OS X’s built-in firewall and Internet sharing, better known by its previous name, Software Base Station. Both offer only basic configurations, but they should suffice for most people (and if you need more from your firewall, check out the $25 shareware Brickhouse).

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Get Info Returns — Mac OS X’s Show Info window has long been an annoyance, thanks to its refusal to let you open more than one instance of the window (making it hard to compare multiple files). Also bothersome was the pop-up menu you had to use to switch among the five different informational panels. Jaguar takes a swipe at Show Info, renaming it Get Info, restoring our ability to open multiple info windows to compare files, and giving the Get Info window five different disclosure triangles so you can show only the informational panels that interest you. However, it works a bit differently from the way Get Info worked in Mac OS 9. When multiple items are selected, Mac OS 9 would open a Get Info window for each one, whereas Jaguar opens a single Get Info window with combined information. To compare files, you must open a Get Info window for each one individually.

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Simon Spence No comments

The Branding of Apple: The Retail Bridge

In last week’s article, "The Branding of Apple: Apple’s Intangible Asset," I looked at Apple’s brand and what sort of reactions it evokes from consumers. In this final installment I move on to look at how the Apple brand is shaped by the consumer’s interaction with the product, especially by the purchasing experience in retail stores.


Last week’s article discussed how Apple’s brand promise – the way it attempts to portray itself through commercials, its Web site, its products and packaging and so on – has resulted in a strong brand that can evoke a range of reactions from different consumers. Overall, Apple has managed to build a clear perception of what the company’s brand represents. As I suggested in the first of these articles, "The Branding of Apple: Brands Embody Values," a brand is a mix of what the company would like us to think of their products and how we receive and interpret these messages. Perception, the way in which consumers, developers, and the media see the company, completes the brand picture.


The Retail Link — Although Apple has done a good job creating its brand image, there was one major gap which threatened the delivery of this message to the consumer. Until 2001, Apple found that the final link for many people, the retail experience, fell well short of the brand promise. The crafting of beautiful equipment, the attention to detail that went into the design, and the simplicity and ease of use of the end product were usually overlooked when a consumer walked into a computer store and faced poorly displayed goods, not to mention untrained or even hostile sales assistants.

For Apple, asking a consumer to buy into the idea of thinking different is a challenge. I wonder what proportion of consumers toy with the idea of purchasing a Mac, only to change their mind at the last minute due to incorrect advice or perhaps just the fact that they are unwilling to take a leap into the unknown? Never underestimate the importance of the point of sale as a part of a brand’s success! Coca-Cola and Pepsi constantly vie for shelf placement in stores to ensure that their brand has the best position, and it’s absolutely standard for companies to pay stores for so-called "end cap" positions on the ends of shelves. Put bluntly, the merchandising of a product can have a huge effect on whether or not a consumer even considers it in their purchasing decision.

In its advertising, Apple challenges and inspires consumers and then offers integrated solutions through its products. "Think Different" was a call for a leap of faith to those who had not used Macs, and even now, "Switch" requires from users a change of allegiance and a change of mindset. Explaining your purchase of a Macintosh to a PC user is a more difficult obstacle to overcome than explaining buying a Dell or a Compaq.

For the most part, buying a Windows-based PC is seen as a functional transaction, made purely to fulfill the consumer’s computing needs. In contrast, and despite the practical benefits of using Macs, purchasing a Mac makes a lifestyle statement. Buying a new iBook in a world of Sony, Dell, Toshiba, and the other PC laptop producers sets the consumer apart, and for many not versed in the ways of a Macintosh, that decision requires a leap of faith.

The Point of Point of Sale — Purchasing, and the user experience in making this transaction, is paramount. If, having decided to buy a Mac, a consumer is faced with Mac-hostile sales assistants or a bewildering set of reasons why a Windows PC would be a better choice, an already difficult decision becomes even more difficult. How many potential users were made to feel stupid for asking about Macs at their local stores?

This is one of the most important reasons why Apple’s retail strategy in the U.S. is correct. It helps convey a legitimacy on the decision made by consumers who have decided they want a Mac. The very presence of an Apple Store supports the choice of buying a Mac by making Apple, and all that is promised by the Apple brand, feel tangible and solid. That storefront tells the consumer, "You are not the only one," an important message, since being a Mac user can be lonely, especially if you are not working in a Macintosh-dominated area like education or graphic design.

For a long time the committed Macintosh user had been enthused by messages of thinking in different creative ways, challenging the status quo, and rebelling against a world of Windows. However, many of us also had a feeling of being pushed on stage and left out there to perform alone! Without a tangible retail presence the Apple brand, as distinct from the company, felt slightly fluid. For anyone outside of Cupertino, there were few examples of a firm presence to point to and say, "There’s Apple." The Apple Stores link the brand to the consumer directly to avoid misinterpretation and distortion. Those stores make the promise of the Apple brand tangible.

The physical location and design of the Apple Stores also play a significant role in supporting Apple’s brand. They’re all located in high traffic shopping malls and districts, and even the people who just walk by them are exposed to Apple’s design aesthetic. It may take time, but that exposure adds up. Plus, once you get inside, all the lines are clean, with light wood and lots of light illuminating the products. Shelves aren’t overflowing, everything is well-organized, and, to borrow a term from graphic design, there’s plenty of white space so the eye isn’t overwhelmed. Plus, there’s a theatre in every store for regular presentations about Apple’s products. Just as with all the other ways Apple communicates with the public, the Apple Stores have become an essential piece of the brand puzzle.


In contrast, conventional computer stores such as CompUSA and Best Buy design their premises around their own brand identity, while still attempting to present a multitude of brand images. They’re crammed with products, it’s tricky to find what you want, and signs constantly assure you that the prices are as low as they’re going to get. Apple products don’t fit into these stores well, and they never will – the mismatch between Apple’s brand promise and what these stores offer is simply too great. Apple’s "store within a store" concept aimed at addressing this drawback by controlling a section of retail space. However, the new Apple Stores act as pure Apple space, in branding terms, uncontaminated by rival products which detract from the central message.

For proof of their efficacy, look no further than Apple’s "100 Minutes of Jaguar" launch event. In under two hours, over 50,000 people visited the 35 Apple Stores. That’s a lot of traffic, and had Apple continued to rely on other computer retailers, such events would been either impossible or poorly attended.

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Brand versus Commodities — Dell, IBM, Compaq, and Gateway (despite Gateway’s recent ads attacking the iMac) don’t command nearly such power in terms of distinct brand awareness. A Compaq style of behaviour and the emotions evoked by the Compaq brand are firmly linked to Microsoft. Compaq can’t legitimately claim that they are innovative or alternative in the PC market because the user experience would not match these claims, and consumers would instinctively notice the mismatch. Because these companies have no control over the operating system and spend little on research and development (or even on design, amazingly enough at this point in history), they have little control over the reactions user experience elicits from consumers. They can’t capture the consumers’ imagination in the way that Apple can. All that’s left to them is to focus on price, value, function, and service – the PC has become a commodity.

The power of the Apple brand, and in turn the perception of it, is that Apple can say they are different and deliver on that promise. In deciding on a computer, the consumer is asked to believe in the brand, to buy into a style or an attitude. Not everyone will want to do that, since many people prefer to fit in or stay well behind the cutting edge. However, Apple uniquely owns this territory in the computer market and it’s an invaluable part of the Apple brand. Thanks to the Apple Stores, Apple can bridge that final gap between brand and consumer and no longer be reliant on third-party translation of the messages they are trying to deliver.

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[Simon Spence is head of research and information technology at Alexander Dunlop Ltd., a brand consultancy working with multinational corporations to define brand identity. He also provides Mac consultancy to small businesses and educational establishments in Ireland.]