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We’re rolling toward the end of the year with an abundance of articles! Adam looks at MacPAD, a new way of updating software, and Dan Frakes looks at a iPod cases and accessories. TidBITS isn’t the only gig for our staff: Matt Neuburg has just published AppleScript: The Definitive Guide, while Adam and Glenn Fleishman have released the second edition of The Wireless Networking Starter Kit. We’re also happy to announce a DealBITS drawing for Bare Bones Software, free Macworld Expo passes, and point to releases of Security Update 2003-12-05, Business Card Composer 2, QuicKeys 2.0.2, and Timbuktu 7.

Jeff Carlson No comments

Security Update 2003-12-05 Protects Your Cookies

Security Update 2003-12-05 Protects Your Cookies — Responding to a security vulnerability where an attacker could gain unauthorized access to a user’s cookies in Safari, Apple has released Security Update 2003-12-05. The update is available via Software Update, as well as separate downloads for Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar (a 1.3 MB download) and Mac OS X 10.3 Panther (a 2.6 MB download). [JLC]

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Jeff Carlson No comments

Free Macworld Expo Passes

Free Macworld Expo Passes — Our friends at Peachpit Press are once again offering free passes to the upcoming Macworld Expo in San Francisco in January. To request a pair of passes (which are exhibits-only passes, normally $15 to $35), send an email message to <[email protected]> with your name and postal address. The passes are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and Peachpit must receive all requests by 29-Dec-03. If you end up with the passes, be sure to stop by the Peachpit booth to thank them, check out their books, and chat with authors like Adam Engst, Jeff Carlson, and Glenn Fleishman. [JLC]

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Tonya Engst No comments

Business Card Composer 2 Offers Online Ordering

Business Card Composer 2 Offers Online Ordering — BeLight Software has updated Business Card Composer, their elegant application for creating attractive business cards. Most notably, Business Card Composer 2 lets you order your custom business cards from an online print shop for reasonable prices; the process works much like ordering photos from within iPhoto. Also new in Business Card Composer 2 is support for custom card and paper sizes, integration with Address Book for printing cards for multiple people at once, and integration with Google Image Search for finding new graphics (although, as the software clearly warns, there are likely copyright restrictions on the use of images found on the Internet; in an ideal world, it would let you search only for images distributed under a Creative Commons license that allowed use). Business Card Composer 2 is free to registered users, although you must fill out an update form to get a new license code; it’s a 7 MB download. [TJE]

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Adam Engst No comments

QuicKeys X2 2.0.2 Now Panther-Compatible

QuicKeys X2 2.0.2 Now Panther-Compatible — CE Software has released the completed version of their macro utility QuicKeys X2 2.0.2. The most notable change is of course compatibility with Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, since previous versions of QuicKeys were expressly incompatible, and CE made time-limited betas available upon Panther’s release (see "Default Folder X and QuicKeys X: Upgrade Before Panther!" in TidBITS-703). QuicKeys X2 2.0.2 also improves typing of text shortcuts, better handles sheets and drawers during macro recording, adds support for the new F16 key on Apple’s latest keyboards, and provides several other minor fixes. The update is free for registered users and is an 11.1 MB download. [ACE]




Jeff Carlson No comments

Netopia Releases Timbuktu 7

Netopia Releases Timbuktu 7 — Bored with controlling only the computer in front of you? Netopia has released Timbuktu 7, the latest version of its software for managing remote Macs and PCs. Timbuktu 7 adds support for Mac OS X 10.3 Panther (including Fast User Switching) and includes a Profile service for getting Apple System Profiler information from the remote machine. It’s also now easier to work with computers behind NAT routers, thanks to new capabilities to configure which port Timbuktu uses for network traffic and choose which IP address is broadcast. The program requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 and higher, but Timbuktu 6.0.3 is also included for connecting to computers running earlier system versions back to Mac OS 8.6. Timbuktu pricing starts at $95 for a single copy and goes up to $1,650 for 30 licenses (however, Netopia is running an end-of-year sale that reduces those prices through 31-Dec-03). Upgrade pricing depends on the version you’re currently using; you must enter your serial number and activation code online to view the upgrade price for your version. [JLC]

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Adam Engst No comments

DealBITS Drawing: Bare Bones Software

There are few classes of software that inspire more loyalty than text editors and email programs, and TidBITS sponsor Bare Bones Software has long provided favorites in both fields. BBEdit 7.1 remains the text editor of choice for programmers and HTML coders everywhere, and Mailsmith 2.0.2 has garnered a vocal following among those email aficionados who want powerful filters and unparalleled text processing power. And TextWrangler 1.5, Bare Bones Software’s newest program, has become popular with people for whom BBEdit is either too expensive or too feature-rich.




In this week’s DealBITS drawing, we’re giving away one copy each of these three products: BBEdit is valued at $179, Mailsmith is $99, and TextWrangler is $49, and the order in which the winners are randomly selected will determine the choice they receive. Entrants who aren’t among our lucky winners will receive a discount on any of the Bare Bones products, so be sure to enter at the DealBITS page linked below. As always, all information gathered is covered by our comprehensive privacy policy. Lastly, check your spam filters, since you must be able to receive email from my address to learn if you’ve won.



Matt Neuburg No comments

AppleScript Gets a Truly Definitive Guide

AppleScript is Apple’s system-level programming language for driving and automating applications. It was first made available as an option for the ill-fated System 7 Pro in late 1993; shortly thereafter Apple came to its senses and AppleScript has been present in every new system and on every new Mac since then. Meanwhile, the lack of proper documentation for AppleScript has been astounding. Danny Goodman made an early attempt, but it wasn’t up to the standard of his brilliant HyperCard book, and Apple’s own manual is often surprisingly vague, allusive, and incomplete.



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Which brings us to my latest book, AppleScript: The Definitive Guide, published by O’Reilly & Associates. AppleScript is a fairly small language, but I was amazed by how difficult it was to write this book! It took more than twice as long as I’d expected. My approach, as readers of my Frontier and REALbasic books know, is not to rely on documentation, but to bang away at the language itself, testing and experimenting, trying to deduce the underlying rules. Well, the underlying rules of AppleScript turn out to be really strange. As a result, my book contains a great deal of material I never knew before and have never seen documented elsewhere. And, needless to say, I present it all in my usual ruthlessly Euclidean manner – with the usual measure of hidden humor, of course.


This book teaches AppleScript to beginners and explains it to experts; it’s an assessment, a guide, and a reference. If you’ve been curious all these years, or want to get into AppleScript for whatever reason (perhaps to take advantage of AppleScript Studio to write your own apps), or if you’re an AppleScript user but would like to put your understanding on firmer ground, I hope you’ll consider asking Santa for AppleScript: The Definitive Guide. It lists for $40, but you can get it for $28 at Amazon and support TidBITS with the affiliate percentage at the same time.

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Adam Engst No comments

The Wireless Networking Starter Kit, 2nd Edition Released

Wi-Fi wireless networking has been one of the major growth industries to emerge following the burst of the dot-com bubble, with millions of users, oddly named start-ups, and even some highly publicized IPOs. In 2003, we also saw the stalwart 802.11b (AirPort) supplemented with the faster 802.11g (AirPort Extreme), and although neither Bluetooth nor cellular data yet compete directly with Wi-Fi, both became significantly more real this past year. Wi-Fi’s much-publicized security problems were finally addressed late this year as well, thanks to WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) replacing the easily cracked WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy).



All this is by way of explaining why, when Glenn Fleishman and I started talking with Peachpit about a second edition of The Wireless Networking Starter Kit, we thought it would be a quick update, a veritable walk in the Wi-Fi-enabled park. Well, if this update was a walk in the park, the park must have been on the scale and terrain of Yellowstone. While we were writing and editing, we kept muttering about how the task seemed like it was taking too long and being too much work, but it wasn’t until we started laying out pages that we realized, much to our shock, that the book had ballooned from 330 pages to a whopping 560 pages of wireless goodness.

In retrospect, perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised, since we added chapters on Bluetooth, cellular data, Palm OS devices and PocketPCs, Centrino, Linux and FreeBSD, wireless gadgets, bridging wireless networks, small-office Wi-Fi networking, and configuring wireless ISP software, along with an extensive glossary. That’s in addition to the now-updated discussions of configuring and troubleshooting Wi-Fi for Mac OS 9, Mac OS X, and Windows XP. We also took the first edition’s 10 chapters, some of which were truly beefy, and split them into smaller and more easily read chunks, so the second edition has a 34 chapters, 3 lengthy appendixes for background information, and the glossary.

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Some of our most useful additions include:

  • Step-by-step instructions for setting up Bluetooth and pairing your PowerBook or iBook with a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone for establishing an Internet connection

  • Instructions and advice for extending Wi-Fi networks in a variety of ways to increase range within a building or to other buildings

  • Discussion of security concerns and solutions for small office wireless networks

  • Step-by-step instructions for software from several common wireless ISPs, plus coupons worth $125 of wireless Internet access from Boingo, FatPort, and Wayport

  • Detailed explanation of how to set up Wi-Fi connectivity on a Palm OS handheld or PocketPC

  • An extensive catalog of wireless gadgets ranging from cameras and MP3 players to network sniffers and print servers

  • A comprehensive glossary that provides not just definitions of all the specialized networking terminology throughout the book, but also pointers to the relevant chapters

It’s a good book, and we’re certain that anyone with questions about wireless networking will find useful information inside. Although we can’t say the book will directly answer every question you might have (our experience is that most people have questions along the lines of "Why can’t I connect to the Internet via my Linksys gateway when I’m upstairs in the bedroom?"), we’re confident that you can use our advice and details in the book to work through just about any setup or troubleshooting issue you may have.

You can download Chapter 17, Setting up a Gateway, along with the full table of contents and index, as a free PDF. If you like what you see, you can purchase the book for $21 (30 percent off the $30 cover price) from either Peachpit (with free U.S. shipping) or Amazon. Want the book in electronic form? If you’ve already purchased the paper version of the second edition, you can get it for $5; otherwise we sell it through eSellerate for the same $21 price as the paper version to avoid cannibalization of sales.


Thanks for all the support you gave the first edition and the feedback you sent that helped us improve this second edition, and we hope you find this expanded second edition better than ever before.

Adam Engst No comments

MacPAD: The Future of Mac Software Updates

Every now and then I run across a developer doing something so obvious and cool that I think, "Well, it’s about time!" Through a total coincidence, that happened just last week, when Julian Miller of Script Software called to chat about his latest products. After we’d talked about Easy Card Creator and iKey (a macro utility that used to be called Youpi Key) and iClock (SuperClock on steroids), Julian asked if I’d heard about the MacPAD project. I hadn’t, and he started telling me about, a software update site along the lines of VersionTracker and MacUpdate. I commented that I mostly relied on developer sites to find updates for products I use, though I have forever remained disappointed that Apple never opened Software Update up to outside Mac developers. As Julian continued describing MacPAD, I realized it could at long last provide the underpinnings of a Software Update for Everyone Else.


Introducing MacPAD — MacPAD is the brainchild of Ricardo Batista, a Macintosh developer best known for writing Extensions Manager, Apple’s utility for managing extensions and control panels in the classic Mac OS. As a developer, Ricardo had become frustrated with the existing software update sites for a variety of reasons, and being a developer, he didn’t simply get mad, he got even by creating his own software update site – – with an eye toward addressing those aspects of the other sites that he didn’t like. I haven’t particularly used, so I can’t say how successful it is, though I do appreciate the site’s policy of having a person review all submissions and comments before posting them. Hopefully that addresses the complaints I’ve heard from developers about ill-informed and misleading comments about their products on other software update sites.


One of the areas Ricardo hoped to improve was the submission process. Right now, if you’re a developer with a new product, you must manually submit your product to multiple sites, each with their own different system and requirements. That’s a pain, and it’s not only unnecessary, it’s a problem that’s been solved in the Windows world via a technology called PAD (Portable Application Descriptions) and developed by the Association of Shareware Professionals. PAD is essentially an XML file containing a full and rigidly formatted description of a product, and most of the Windows software update sites prefer to receive submissions in the form of PAD files, since that makes life easier for both developers and webmasters. Ideally, the developer merely puts a PAD file on her Web site and gives the software update sites the appropriate URL for them to check on a regular basis for new versions. If you’re into reading your news via RSS feeds, you can think of a PAD file as an RSS feed for software updates.


As much as the PAD format was clearly the right direction, Ricardo felt it was overly complex and not appropriate to the Macintosh world, so he created – with input from other developers – a simplified version called MacPAD. Along with the XML file format and tools that run on to query developer sites for updated MacPAD files, Ricardo and others have created an open source software development kit (SDK) with which developers can add support for MacPAD to their applications, and that’s what interests me.


Updates Done Right — How do you learn about updates to your software? If you’re like me, you receive an email announcement from the developer, read about it in a news source like TidBITS or a software update site, or if you’re lucky, are alerted by the application itself. In most of these cases, you must still download and install the update manually. Only a few programs come with sufficiently clever update code that they can alert you, download the update if you agree, and install it for you, much as Apple’s Software Update utility does.

The problem is that rolling a custom update utility is too much work for most developers, and those that have done so haven’t been able to create a generalized solution. That’s where MacPAD could swing the tide, by providing the standardized XML foundation on which others can build tools. Developer Mark Fleming has already provided the first piece in the puzzle, a simple application called MacPAD that creates MacPAD files, and the code snippets that ship with the SDK should get other developers started on adding basic update checking code to their applications. My hope is that someone will contribute code to the MacPAD SDK for the more advanced aspects of updating, such as automatic downloading and automatic application updating.

And, while I’m filling out my development wish list in time for the holiday season, it would be extremely useful to have a preference pane that would list all your MacPAD-supported applications, the currently installed version of each, and the latest versions with a description of what’s new. This update utility would acquire its data by extracting the URL to each MacPAD file from the associated application and then querying MacPAD files on the Internet at a user-specified schedule. A checkbox next to each item would allow you to select applications to update, and clicking an Update button would download and install all the necessary updates. Creating such a utility shouldn’t be too hard, given that it’s essentially the equivalent of an RSS reader (like NetNewsWire, for instance) for MacPAD files. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the RSS readers add support for MacPAD files as well, for users who want to see what’s new with their software while they’re reading the latest news.

Why provide such a utility on top of automatic updating inside individual applications? It provides a centralized location to see what needs to be updated, lets the user schedule updating for a convenient time, and simplifies the process of updating multiple applications at once. It might also allow the user to add the URLs to MacPAD files to check manually, to facilitate watching changes to a specific program that wasn’t installed on that particular Mac. I could see network administrators wanting to keep track of programs that weren’t necessarily installed on their personal machines, but which were in common use among their users.

First Steps — My grand plans can wait for a bit. For the moment, the most important thing is that developers start using MacPAD to submit their software to the software update sites; on 05-Dec-03, TildeSoft’s Rendezvous Browser was the first utility to be updated automatically on via MacPAD. Next we need software update sites other than to support MacPAD and developers to add the update checking code to their applications. Once all that’s in place, there will be an audience for this alternative to Software Update.

But first, Ricardo Batista, Mark Fleming, Julian Miller, Kevin Ballard, and all the other developers who have worked thus far on MacPAD deserve a big round of applause for kick-starting a system that could help the entire Macintosh community.

Dan Frakes No comments

iPod Gift Offerings, Part 1

The iPod is one cool gadget; in fact, it’s the best-selling hard drive-based music player in the world, with millions of units sold since its release. So chances are either you or someone you know owns one. Use that to your advantage this holiday season and buy your favorite music lover (or yourself) something to accentuate their iPod.

To help you decide on such a gift, the following are some of my favorite iPod-related products. (Unless noted, I’ve actually tried every item.) I’ve divided them into some logical categories, and included approximate U.S. prices for each. You may be able to find items for less; sometimes significantly less. I’ve also noted whether each product is available for the older (FireWire port) iPods, the newer (dock connector) iPods, or both. One topic I don’t cover here is headphones. For recommendations on those popular iPod accessories, see last year’s "Music to Your Ears: 2002," and an update that will appear in TidBITS soon.


(While writing this article, I grew tired of writing variations of "your gift recipient," so I often use "you." You can pretend I’m talking about the rhetorical "you" – meaning the recipient of your gift – or you can ‘fess up and admit that you want some of this stuff, too.)

The Basics from Apple — Everyone can use an extra cable or dock. Here are some of the more useful Apple-branded gift options.


  • PC Cable for Windows users ($40, dock connector): If your lucky iPod user wants to use a newer iPod with a Windows PC that has only USB ports (i.e., no FireWire), they need this cable.

  • Extra dock ($40, dock connector): Although the dock cable works just as well for recharging and transferring data to your iPod, the dock base has a significant advantage for hooking an iPod up to a home stereo – it has a true line-level output. A second dock lets the user keep one permanently connected to the stereo.

  • Extra dock cable ($20, dock connector): If you connect your iPod to more than one computer, or want to recharge while on the road, a second dock cable can be handy. Users of older iPods can use any FireWire cable.

  • Extra power adapter ($50, both): The iPod’s AC adapter is a bit pricey, but it’s nice to have an extra at the office, or wherever your second location may be. Keep in mind that you can use a computer with a powered FireWire port instead.

  • World Travel Adapter Kit ($40, both): If your favorite iPod user is a frequent traveler, they’ll appreciate being able to recharge their player wherever their travels may take them, within certain geographical limits. Apple says the World Travel Adapter Kit supports outlets in North America, Japan, China, United Kingdom, Continental Europe, Korea, Australia, and Hong Kong.

  • Remote and Earphones ($40, both): The less-expensive iPods don’t include a remote, so you could buy your favorite iPod user one as a gift. Unfortunately, the price is inflated because you can’t buy the remote by itself; you’re stuck buying another pair of the stock iPod earphones, as well.

Apple also sells their own iPod case for $40; however, if you’re in the market for a case, I recommend one of those discussed below instead.

Take Precautions: Cases and Bags — The iPod is a stunning example of industrial design, but one bad drop or bump can turn it into a shiny (and expensive) paperweight. Here are some ways to keep it safe. I’ve tried most of the cases on the market, and could recommend a few others, but the ones below stand out. Because not everyone has the same needs when it comes to an iPod case, be sure to read the description of each to find out what type of protection it provides. All the cases listed here provide access to FireWire/dock ports, headphone/remote jacks, and hold buttons; I’ve noted when they don’t provide access to the front controls.

Note that the hard cases like the Showcase and iPod Armor only come in one size, which means that smaller iPods will require a foam insert or similar spacer – which are included – to fit snugly. Also, hard cases can make it difficult to use some accessories that connect flush with the iPod’s remote jack – such as Belkin’s voice recording unit and the iTrip, mentioned below – when the case is on. But that’s the trade-off with a hard shell case.

  • RadTech PodSleevz ($20, dock connector): Most cases offer some degree of protection, but do so by bulking up, leaving you with a big, fat iPod instead of a sleek, svelte one. If you’re not concerned with protecting your iPod from drops and hard knocks, the PodSleevz are a great option; they protect the iPod from scratches and scrapes while retaining its slim profile. They also deaden the touch-sensitive controls just a bit, which is a good thing, in my experience.


  • WaterField Designs iPod Case ($40, both): A step up the protection ladder, the WaterField case offers a flip-open front which hides the controls when closed and provides a pocket for earbuds. The WaterField case also includes a sturdy, rotating belt clip and is one of the more stylish on the market.


  • Marware SportSuit Convertible ($40, both): The ultimate "active" case, the SportSuit Convertible provides a thick layer of neoprene with rigid side and back inserts for protection, and rubber edges for a secure grip. The hard-shell, flip-open cover is detachable and provides a pocket for credit cards/money and earbuds. In addition, the Convertible uses the popular Multidapt clip system, which means you can buy any of a number of attachments that allow you to mount your iPod in your car, on your bike, on your belt, etc.


  • Contour Design Showcase ($40, dock connector): If you want excellent protection in a case that lets your iPod look like an iPod, the Showcase provides a white, rubbery enclosure with clear plastic panels on the front and back so you can still see the iPod’s shiny surfaces. It includes a unique horizontal belt clip that doesn’t leave any protruding posts behind when you remove it. The Showcase also allows you to take the iPod out of the case quickly, which is a hassle with many other cases.


  • Matias iPod Armor ($50, $55 with belt clip, both): Like the Showcase, the iPod Armor encloses the entire iPod in a hard shell. But because it’s "full body armor," it doesn’t provide holes for the front controls, so you need to use the iPod’s remote while it’s in the case. You can still access the headphone and remote jack and the hold switch on the top of the iPod, though. Made of rigid aluminum, it’s a great case if you want serious impact protection.


  • Pelican 1020 Micro Case ($15-$20, both): Pelican cases have long been known for their capability to keep the elements away from your gear, and the Micro series is perfect for personal electronics – the 1020 is big enough to hold an iPod (even inside one of the cases above) and some earbuds. If you or your iPod-loving gift recipient is an outdoors/adventure type, consider a Pelican case for those times when the iPod needs to be protected from Mother Nature. You can’t use the iPod while it’s in the Pelican case, but for keeping the iPod safe and sound in transit, it’s ideal. It even floats, and it has a purge valve to equalize pressure.


  • Incase Designs Belt for iPod ($25, both): If you walk or run with your iPod and prefer not to carry it in your hand, the Incase Belt is the best of its type that I’ve seen. It’s lightweight and comfortable, with a pouch specifically designed for the iPod. It also has a separate pocket for keys, money, cards, and the like, and a handy access hole for the remote/headphone cable.


  • HeadRoom iPod Bag ($40, both): If you’re serious enough about your iPod sound quality that you’ve purchased a portable headphone amplifier – like the HeadRoom AirHead – the HeadRoom iPod Bag is for you. It holds your iPod, portable headphone amp, and a pair of earbuds/canal-phones in a handy bag that you can clip to your belt or hang from a strap.

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  • WaterField Design iPod Gear Pouch ($35, both): The iPod Gear Pouch is one of those "Who needs that?" things that ends up being quite handy. If you know a hard-core iPod user who takes all their iPod gear with them when on the go, check it out. It holds an iPod, AC adapter, dock, earbuds, and all cables in padded compartments inside a stylish pouch that you can throw in your travel bag. It even has an external, zippered pocket for storing other small items.

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  • Burton Amp Pack ($200, dock connector): The Amp Pack is a semi-rigid backpack that works just like Burton’s jackets (see below) – you place your iPod in an EVA molded pocket between the straps (where it’s safe, sound, and inaccessible with the pack on), and then connect the built-in headphone/remote cable. The right-hand shoulder strap then provides Burton’s SOFTswitch iPod controls, and the left strap provides a headphone jack, so you don’t have to weave your headphone cable through a bunch of holes and tunnels. Your iPod is fully protected, yet you can still change tracks, adjust the volume, and even turn it off. The other nice thing about this arrangement is that you can quickly disconnect your headphones, which can be a pain on some other backpacks; the shoulder strap even has a small pocket for storing your earbuds.

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Dress for Success — If your gift recipient would rather carry the iPod in a pocket, then perhaps a coat that hides the iPod while still providing access to its controls is the way to go. Or maybe your recipient would like a jacket that accommodates a bunch of gadgets. Either way, there are some good options available.

  • Burton Jackets (Men’s Shield, $380; Men’s Ronin 2L, $360; Women’s Radar 2L, $360, dock connector): Burton now has three snowboard/ski-focused jackets that incorporate their SOFTswitch iPod control system. They’re a bit pricey, but not outrageous as far as snow gear goes. Like the Amp Pack above, all include an EVA molded interior pocket to keep the iPod safe and warm, with a SOFTswitch remote control built right into the sleeve. All three jackets are "active" snow jackets – two-layer, waterproof/breathable shells – but differ slightly in their styling. If someone out there has me on their holiday gift list, I wouldn’t turn down a Shield – the iPod controls are very cool, and the jacket is great.

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  • SCOTTeVEST ($80-$450, both): SCOTTeVEST make an entire line of "technology-enabled clothing" – a buzzphrase that basically means "lots of pockets to store all your gadgets, and holes and tunnels to connect their wires." For example, you can store your iPod in any of the multitude of pockets, then route your earbud cables through the jacket and exiting from holes near your neck/ears. In fact, many of the jackets even have earbud pockets in the collar, so you can stow your them away, still connected, when not in use. You can get both vests and full jackets, from lightweight windbreakers to limited edition leather coats.

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What about Software? Because the iPod is so versatile, a cottage industry in iPod-related software has emerged. You can find products that sync news headlines and email with your iPod, transfer files to and from it, and much more. Consider buying your iPod lover some helpful software. Because there are so many titles, I haven’t listed any here. I instead recommend doing a search for "iPod" at VersionTracker, MacUpdate, or via these links.

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Give the Gift of Music — I’m always amazed at how infrequently music lovers receive music as gifts. Instead of another gadget, consider giving your favorite iPod owner some CDs or an iTunes Music Store Gift Certificate ($10-$200, both). The iTunes Music Store lets iPod users buy individual songs (99 cents) or entire albums (usually $10), download them to their Mac, and then transfer them to their iPod. By giving gift certificates to the Music Store, you don’t have to worry that your recipients won’t like the CDs you bought them, and they can use the credits whenever they want – all at once or a little at a time.

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An iTunes Music Store Gift Certificate could be good for encouraging someone to try an audio book now that Apple carries thousands of books from audio bookseller Audible. But if you know they’re already fond of listening to recorded books while driving or commuting to work, consider a gift subscription to Audible, whose books are compatible with iTunes and the iPod.


But Wait, There’s More! Stay tuned next week for the best in third-party iPod add-ons, car accessories, speakers, reading, and repair options!

PayBITS: If Dan’s recommendations helped you find the perfect iPod

gift, say thanks with a couple of bucks via Amazon or PayPal.



Read more about PayBITS: <>

TidBITS Staff No comments

Hot Topics in TidBITS Talk/08-Dec-03

How does an app attract fans? What factors draw devoted users to a product? Beyond features and price, readers discuss other things (such as the "underdog-ness") that make some software stand out from the pack. (15 messages)


iPod battery life — Some people see their iPod batteries drifting off after two years, while others’ batteries are still going strong. What factors contribute to iPod battery life, and what are the options for repairing or replacing them? (21 messages)


Shootout at the Disk Repair Corral — David Shayer’s excellent article comparing disk repair utilities prompts discussion of others’ experiences with disk failures and other issues. (26 messages)


2003 Holiday Gift Ideas: Hardware — It’s time for gizmos, gadgets, and honkin’ big Power Macs. What hardware gifts do you suggest to plug into your Mac? (9 messages)


2003 Holiday Gift Ideas: Software — Hand your niece or nephew some source code… or, be traditional and get some pre-compiled software for the holidays. Which titles do you favor? (12 messages)


2003 Holiday Gift Ideas: Games — Whether you prefer to save the universe or puzzle through some good brain-benders, which game titles do you recommend? (11 messages)


2003 Holiday Gift Ideas: Computer Miscellaneous — Have a gift idea that doesn’t fit into an easy category? Suggest it here! (24 messages)


2003 Holiday Gift Ideas: For the Macintosh-minded — Mac users do have other interests, you know. What would your favorite Apple enthusiast appreciate? (5 messages)