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TidBITS#919/17-Mar-08

You’ve seen the commercials and read the early reviews, but how does the MacBook Air perform in real-world usage? And by “real-world,” contributor Angus Wong means, how well does it work from bed on a lazy weekend morning (among other places and times)? On that note, Joe Kissell reconsiders sleep – the sleep feature of his laptop, that is – with the utility SmartSleep. Jeff Carlson meets a new sultry text-to-speech voice being used by Apple, and Glenn takes a quick look at Apple’s new 802.11n-savvy AirPort Express Base Station. This week also includes plenty of update news, as we look at important updates for Microsoft Office 2008 and Office 2004, a standalone AirPort Utility update, a new AppleScript solution for pasting plain text into Word 2008, and a new version of the ebook “Take Control of Switching to the Mac,” plus a quick list of other notable updates. Lastly, we note an unlimited AT&T voice plan for iPhone owners, give away several copies of the IPNetMonitorX network utility, and peek at email messages expressing dissatisfaction with Windows Vista system requirements, as written by Microsoft execs.

Adam Engst No comments

DealBITS Drawing: Win a Copy of IPNetMonitorX

If you're faced with networking questions about the speed of your connection, what services might be active on your Mac without your knowledge, and more, turn to IPNetMonitorX from Sustainable Softworks for the answers. Enter to win a free copy this week!

Jeff Carlson No comments

Automating Text-to-Speech Video Narration

We mistakenly identified the narrator of an Aperture 2.0.1 instruction video as Victoria, one of the voices available in Mac OS X's text-to-speech options. Apple's Sal Soghoian introduces us to the real voice, Lucy, and shows how to automate the use of text-to-speech voices in presentations.

Adam Engst No comments

Important Updates Released for Office 2008 and 2004

Microsoft has released a major update to Office 2008, fixing a wide variety of bugs in all the different applications, and closing a security vulnerability in Excel. Simultaneously, the company released a security update to Office 2004 to address the Excel vulnerability and another one.

Jeff Carlson No comments

Hot Topics in TidBITS Talk/17-Mar-08

Is Apple field-testing possible replacements for Steve Jobs? Can an iPod touch replace a Palm organizer? TidBITS Talk readers look into these questions as well as queries about using 802.11a wireless networking, configuring Cisco VPN settings, cooling an overheated Mac Pro, sending email from the iPhone, using voices for text-to-speech, and verifying a boot volume in Disk Utility.