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If what we’re hearing is right, you might want to hold off on buying an iPhone until the second-generation models appear later in 2008 with support for the Iridium satellite network, which Apple is currently negotiating to buy. Another hint that the second-generation iPhone will be worth waiting for comes from an undocumented feature discovered in the beta iPhone 2.0 firmware – Time Machine support. But be careful with what you’re sharing, since there’s a new virus out there that’s affecting Mac users. In Internet news, Merriam-Webster experiments with sponsored definitions and a U.S. federal judge grants an injunction against declaring email bankruptcy. We also announce a new subscription mode aimed at making TidBITS more relevant to a younger audience, and pass on some of the best suggestions for new titles from our recent Take Control reader survey.

Joe Kissell No comments

Time Machine Support Added to iPhone and iPod Touch

As Glenn Fleishman described in “AirPort Update Adds Archive for Time Capsule, External Mounted Drives for AirPort Extreme” (2008-03-19), Apple’s recent AirPort Extreme Base Station version 7.3.1 firmware update restored the capability to use a USB hard drive attached to your base station as the destination for Time Machine backups, putting an end to months of complaints by users. Now reports are circulating that the same feature has been added to the iPhone and iPod touch.

Members of Apple’s $99-per-year iPhone Developer Program with access to the beta release of the iPhone 2.0 firmware have confirmed that iPhone and iPod touch models with the new firmware appear as destinations in Time Machine, as long as both the handheld and the computer running Leopard are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. As with the AirPort Extreme firmware update, Apple’s documentation for the iPhone firmware update fails to mention this change.

One of the developers to discover the new feature, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed puzzlement about the capability, asking, “Why would you use a device with only 8 to 32 GB of memory as a backup device, when your computer’s hard disk contains much more data?” Some developers we contacted believe the so-called feature is actually a bug, which will be removed before the firmware’s final release. Others, however, believe the change presages the imminent release of iPhone and iPod touch models with dramatically larger amounts of storage. For example, an iDevice with even 80 GB of space (half the current maximum of an iPod classic) could back up the entire contents of a MacBook Air’s 64 GB solid-state drive with 16 GB to spare for
music and videos. Such a device would address the issue I’ve frequently mentioned that Time Machine provides no convenient mechanism for storing a copy of one’s backups off-site, though Time Machine’s current lack of an encryption option would still need to be addressed.

Meanwhile, the iPhone and iPod touch still – even with the beta version of the 2.0 firmware – do not offer a way to access their storage space as an external volume on your Mac, whereas most other iPod models do. Users can work around this limitation using third-party hacks such as the $9.95 MegaPhone utility from Ecamm Network, though such utilities do not provide a user interface for interacting with any extra files directly from your iDevice.

Glenn Fleishman No comments

Merriam-Webster Accepts Sponsorship to Redefine Unlimited

The venerable dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster launched an experiment today that combines wiki-like interaction with commercial possibilities: it has accepted a joint sponsorship from Yahoo and Verizon Wireless to redefine the word “unlimited” in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary.

This is the first step in a broader effort for Merriam-Webster to open their dictionary to editor-reviewed user contributions that the company hopes will “increase the accuracy, scope, and timeliness” of the dictionary’s definitions. The sponsored entries, clearly identified as such, “aim to enhance readers’ understanding and embrace of the change in words fostered by corporations,” said editor Michael Pangloss. “We expect a very positive response, and the sponsorship revenue will fund our wik-tionary efforts.”

Yahoo and Verizon Wireless, among other companies, have been working diligently to redefine “unlimited” long before Merriam-Webster afforded them this sponsorship opportunity. Most recently, Yahoo has offered “unlimited” email storage and “unlimited” Web hosting resources for small businesses; Verizon Wireless formerly had an “unlimited” BroadbandAccess cell data plan. Verizon Wireless was thwarted by the New York attorney general; by changing the official
dictionary definition, Verizon Wireless should be able to resume their “unlimited” offering.

Adam Engst No comments

iPhone Goes International with Iridium

Apple’s iPhone has proven wildly popular around the world, even in countries where there’s no official carrier (see “iPhone the Hot Ticket Item in… Syria?,” 2008-03-24). Although Apple will continue to negotiate deals with carriers in larger countries, we’ve learned that the company has quietly been working on an innovative plan that will enable the iPhone to work literally anywhere in the world.

Already, the iPhone can switch between the EDGE cell data network and Wi-Fi, choosing the best connection at the time, since Wi-Fi offers far more throughput than EDGE, but is available in many fewer locations. With the second generation iPhone, anticipated for the middle of 2008, Apple is widely expected to add 3G data support, which should provide more cellular data bandwidth. But sources have confirmed that Apple won’t just be adding 3G support, but will also be acquiring the Iridium satellite network and giving the second-generation iPhone satellite phone capabilities. With Iridium support, the iPhone will work anywhere in the world, at sea, in the air, and even at the

i in the Sky — Iridium is a mesh network of 66 communications satellites in low earth orbit aimed at providing a truly global voice and data network. The service came online on 01-Nov-98, but went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy less than a year later, due to the massive startup costs (estimated at $6 billion) of launching so many satellites. Other problems included the decreased cost of terrestrial cell service, increased use of roaming agreements between terrestrial carriers, the high cost of both handsets and service, and management failures. In 2001, the service was purchased by a group of private investors for about $25 million and service was restarted. The new Iridium
Satellite LLC
currently has about 250,000 customers, and 2007 revenue may have been as high as $300 million.

Apple will reportedly be paying somewhere in the $500 to $700 million range for Iridium Satellite, marking Apple’s first foray out of the computer and consumer electronic markets (unless you count the AppleLink and eWorld online services, which are better seen as for-fee predecessors of Apple’s current Internet services). Given Apple’s $18.4 billion in cash, purchasing Iridium won’t have a huge effect on Apple’s bottom line, especially given that Iridium is currently profitable.

Much of Iridium’s business comes from the U.S. Department of Defense, which invested to keep Iridium alive and remains the company’s largest customer, paying $36 million per year for unlimited access for up to 20,000 users. Apple is expected to keep the DoD contract, and although the close connection with the U.S. military may cause consternation among some iPhone and Macintosh users, Apple insiders say that the deal may also open up many other lucrative opportunities within U.S. federal, state, and local governments, as well as overseas governments.

The Iridium network offers much less bandwidth even than EDGE, to the point where the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station had to multiplex 12 Iridium modems together to eke out 28.8 kilobits per second of bandwidth. But it works for voice calls, albeit with some clipping due to the aggressive compression necessary. Apple is expected to increase Iridium’s capabilities significantly with cutting edge radio and signal processing technologies learned from the iPhone design.

Calls Just Want to Be Free — In a bold move, Apple is expected to offer Iridium service on the second-generation iPhone for free, although it will not be possible for a stock iPhone to use Iridium service in favor of a faster terrestrial service or Wi-Fi (in line with Steve Jobs’s comment about voice over IP during the iPhone SDK launch, Apple will build voice-over-IP support into the second-generation iPhone, limiting it to usage over Wi-Fi). Given that Iridium service currently costs between $1 and $14 per minute, Apple expects that this change alone will significantly boost iPhone sales.

Iridium initially needed 1 million customers to break even, so the network is expected to be able to handle that many users, and Apple is betting on being able to take Iridium to the next generation of satellite technology before the current satellite constellation ages unacceptably (it’s expected to last until at least 2010). At that point, Apple will be able to increase Iridium’s throughput to support many more customers and to provide better data performance.

The main downside to Apple adding Iridium support to the iPhone, according to sources within the iPhone hardware team, is that the antenna necessary for the iPhone to communicate with the Iridium satellites makes the sleek iPhone a bit ungainly, as you can see in this picture of a current prototype. Apple hopes to reduce the antenna size, but our sources have expressed concern that fitting the Iridium-capable iPhone into a pocket may not be possible until the next generation satellite constellation comes online, with more powerful and sensitive radios that can be miniaturized into the current iPhone form factor.

Rich Mogull No comments

Mac Users Affected by New Virus

Reports surfaced today that a new virus is slowly spreading throughout the Mac community. The first infections appeared a few days after Macworld Expo in January 2008 and were initially centered in the San Francisco and Cupertino areas, but soon spread throughout California, with additional hotspots in major metropolitan areas throughout North America and Europe. The virus continues to spread slowly and efforts to eradicate it have been unsuccessful. Although Mac users usually have a relatively lower risk of viruses than their Windows brethren, experts believe this infection is isolated to the Mac community, and it is not expected to transition to the broader computing world.

Officials suspect the virus first appeared at Macworld Expo, quietly infecting unprotected users. Apple employees were likely another vector, as the next wave of infections seemed centered on Apple retail stores. The virus has since entered the broader Mac community, moving beyond enthusiasts with riskier trade show habits to the general Macintosh population. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and general flu-like symptoms.

“It’s bizarre, but this virus appears to be limited almost entirely to users of Macs, iPods, and other Apple products,” stated Dr. Miroslav Virislavski, a spokesman with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. “With tens of thousands of enthusiasts at the Macworld conference, the virus quickly gained a foothold with Apple users, especially company employees. While it’s not unusual for viruses to spread at major events, this one is unique since it has since established itself in Apple retail stores and has been hard to eliminate.”

Experts have identified the infection as a new variant of the norovirus family. Noroviruses are well known for cruise ship outbreaks and for spreading quickly through isolated communities. “Symptoms for the average norovirus normally appear within 24 to 48 hours of exposure,” stated Dr. Virislavski, “but this version seems to mask its symptoms for up to 4 days, even though carriers are contagious after the first 12 hours. We think this long incubation period is contributing to the slow spread and difficulty in containing the outbreak, as is the relatively small Mac user base compared to the rest of the population.”

Noroviruses are particularly hardy and remain viable on surfaces such as keyboards, iPod click wheels, and iPhone screens for up to three weeks under normal indoor conditions. Infected users continue to shed the virus for up to two weeks after their recovery. Symptoms typically last 1 to 2 days, and most users recover without incident. Noroviruses do break down quickly in sunlight, an environment few Mac users experience.

Jim Borne, security product manager at SymCaftego Software, believes Mac users are suffering due to their careless habits and sense of immunity. “Apple users are just as vulnerable as Windows users, but refuse to admit they aren’t any safer. The Windows community has spent years building their defenses while Mac users carelessly share their laptops, iPods, and iPhones without following best practices for safe computing.”

Experts believe the social nature of the Apple community, combined with a false sense of security, make this outbreak particularly insidious. “These guys (and girls) think they’re better than the rest of us, but they’re far less prepared for the real world,” said one epidemiologist, who wished to remain anonymous. “They’re always touching each other’s computers, iPods, and other devices without taking any precautions like simple hand washing. That’s just dangerous, and a little gross.”

A survey released by the manufacturers of the Purell hand sanitizer indicated that Mac users are a staggering 42 percent less likely to use a sanitizing gel between computing sessions. “They also have long hair and dress like hippies,” reported one researcher, “at least the ones that aren’t wearing black jeans and turtlenecks even in the middle of summer.”

The Department of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control, is investigating the possibility that the virus was released intentionally to infect the Mac community. “Genetic engineering is no longer limited to large companies and nation states. It’s possible this is a man-made virus created by terrorists that specifically targets Mac users,” said a spokesman for DHS. “While we don’t have a single shred of evidence to support that, you should be scared anyway because we said so.”

Security experts agree that while most man-made viruses have a political or financial incentive, the general smugness of Mac users may have finally pushed a basement genetic hacker into creating a proof of concept. David Maynor, the security researcher most well known for his research into Mac wireless vulnerabilities, said that he wasn’t surprised Mac users were infected (see “Wi-Fi Exploit Precursor Published One Year Later,” 2008-09-21). “I’ve been warning about this for years,” claimed Maynor. “As a matter of fact, at Black Hat 2005 I showed a video of myself vomiting for 2 days after using my Mac and no one believed me. Apple tried to cover it up, but we all know that Mac users
aren’t any safer than Windows users.”

John Gruber of Daring Fireball quickly challenged Maynor to back up his accusations. Gruber will purchase a brand new Mac and allow Maynor to infect it in front of witnesses. If Gruber vomits after using the Mac, Maynor gets to keep it. “That video is a sham,” says Gruber, “as the camera pans around the bathroom door to show Maynor puking, you can clearly see a bottle of syrup of ipecac on the counter. He faked the entire thing.”

John Moltz of Crazy Apple Rumors Site failed to respond to our queries and is believed to be spending the year dead for tax reasons.

Glenn Fleishman No comments

U.S. Federal Court Declares Email Bankruptcy Illegal

In a move that could affect as many as 20 million Americans, the U.S. District Court for New York has ruled that a Poughkeepsie man will need to retain all the email in his inbox, and must respond to it with all due haste. The man, 37-year-old Bob Sneed, a sales executive at a local ISP, was intending to delete over 7,500 unread email messages until halted by a court order.

The case was brought by Sneed’s brother-in-law, Philip S. Duenzel, an attorney in Illinois, who used the federal court system because the case crossed state lines. Duenzel alleged, and the court upheld, that he would suffer irreparable damages if Sneed failed to respond to a documented 107 separate emails sent over 3 months, each of which asked for a reply. The email messages variously covered family issues, money owed for shared gifts to relatives, and 23 collections of jokes about lawyers.

In a statement read by his attorney, Sneed said, “I believe the courts are in error for restraining an individual from exercising his right to discrimination: discriminating among which emails are important enough to answer, and which deserve to be deleted without opening.” Sneed is appealing the decision, and until then is relying on a filter that displays and automatically replies to messages from Duenzel as soon as they are received.

Sneed was attempting to declare “email bankruptcy” by deleting all current messages and starting over. According to research ranging from studies by the Pew Internet & American Life Project to the National Rifle Association’s frequent member polls, email bankruptcy is an increasingly attractive option to those overwhelmed with hundreds or thousands of unread email messages.

Judge Randall Siemenbocher’s decision could affect both personal and business users, pending Sneed’s appeal, which has left him in limbo. One Gartner researcher pegged the impact at “$500 billion in lost productivity and legal liability each year” if businesses are prevented from deleting any unread messages. Jaylee Schmitzenlooper, a Gartner senior analyst, said, “Theoretically, this decision could be used to require both individuals and businesses to accept all spam messages, since there’s little technical difference between deleting unread messages in your inbox and having a spam filter do so for you.”

Commenters on Slashdot have already suggested an underground business that would remotely corrupt inboxes in exchange for payments made through third-party anonymous payment systems. One commenter, apparently already in the planning stages for an Albanian-located firm, wrote, “For $50, we could send you an email message that would infect your computer, delete the inbox, and leave clear traces for any potential forensic investigation to prove that it wasn’t your fault. We’d perform an antivirus cleanup at no extra cost.”

For those of us facing nearly 1,000 unread messages with no hope of responding to them all, now is the time to press Delete.

Matt Neuburg No comments

TidBITS Introduces New Subscription Mode

Here at TidBITS, positioning ourselves for maximum exposure and reader appeal has long been a losing game. Let’s face it, TidBITS is not for everyone. Without fully summarizing our history, since it has been covered many times before (see the “TidBITS History” series of articles), a brief recap will show the problem. We began, way back in 1990 before the word “Internet” was common coin, as a HyperCard stack uploaded to the sumex-aim FTP mirror sites; later, when more people had email, we became a subscription list sending out our content in plain setext format. But innovations beyond that point were made very reluctantly, because our guiding principle was that TidBITS was measured and
literate, almost to the point of severity, and required no medium beyond plain text.

Thus, over the years, we were behindhand in adopting “glitzy” media used by the rest of the world, such as HTML email, a Web site, and (gasp!) pictures in the Web version of our articles. Most recently, we instituted a complete revamping of our Web site’s underlying technology (see “Behind the TidBITS Curtain,” 2006-09-11), followed by a dynamic recasting of the site, moving our old issue-based structure aside in favor of a new article-based orientation, with a genuine content management system behind the scenes (see “Designing a Modern Web Site for TidBITS,” 2007-09-10). As Adam said in that last-mentioned article, we weren’t attracting new readers, so it was “evolve or die.”

It’s still “evolve or die.” Despite all our efforts, one undeniable trend remains: We aren’t seeing hundreds of new subscribers every day. This became particularly evident when we analyzed the results of a recent survey (“TidBITS 2007 Reader Survey Results: Who Are You?” 2007-03-12), and discovered one overriding and disturbing trend: TidBITS readers are aging – “the largest ten-year age group represented among those responding is the 51-60 age group” – and new, younger readers are conspicuous by their absence. It isn’t hard, projecting this trend into the 30-year future, to see that this is a disaster. Unless we can bring younger readers into the fold, TidBITS will soon be overwhelmed by the growing tsunami of Web 2.0 (and 3.0 and 4.0) sites favored by today’s youth. Without eyeballs, we won’t get advertising; without advertising, we can’t pay for the server; without a server, there’s no TidBITS.

During a recent multiway iChat virtual staff meeting, as we were despairing of this situation, someone remembered the reader response to our series of articles about Twitter (“Confessions of a Twitter Convert, 2007-10-09″ and “Confessions of a Twitter Revert,” 2008-01-02). When Adam confessed that Twitter had its uses, our readers cried, “Well, duh!” When Glenn confessed that he couldn’t endure the constant Twitter input, our readers screamed, “What a fogey!” (And though he hasn’t admitted it in an article, Glenn is back on Twitter in force.) Clearly, our readers appreciate short-form messaging services. And the younger they are, the more they like them.

From this, the conclusion was suddenly obvious. Since our conversion to a Web format, and especially since our recent move to an article-based structure, our issues have been getting longer and longer as we’ve abandoned the 30,000 character limit that we had imposed on ourselves back in the days of limited email gateways. This, clearly, is the wrong way to go. What our younger readers want isn’t longer; it’s shorter! In fact – it’s Twitter. Think about it. Attention spans are getting shorter. Today’s youth are bombarded by an army of stimuli, with cell phones and text messaging positively ubiquitous. That’s how they want their TidBITS, too. As Antony says in the first scene of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra when a messenger arrives: “Grates me, the sum.” In other words: “I don’t have time for details; just hand it to me in condensed form.” And what could be more condensed than Twitter? 140 characters of pure, unadulterated “sum.” Shoutcast your message into the ether, and instantly all subscribers see it, grok it, and move on.

So, here’s the plan. Starting today, a new Twitter account – TwitBITS – will represent TidBITS. All TidBITS articles will be condensed to 140 characters, and this summary will be sent out as a tweet, automatically, the instant the article is posted at our Web site. Readers who are “following” our Twitterized TidBITS account, by whatever medium (Twitterrific, SMS, PocketTweets, and so on), will instantly be apprised of each article as it appears. Naturally, we don’t expect this format to appeal to everyone; the geriatric wing of our readership will surely prefer to continue reading TidBITS in its long form. But as the TwitBITS buzz starts to catch on, we expect a much younger population to begin
discovering TidBITS and, we hope, flocking to us.

Just one problem remains: Condensing an entire TidBITS article into 140 characters is not easy. In order to do it, we’re clearly going to have to surrender not only length but also literacy. In particular, we’re going to have to adopt some form of abbreviated language that can accommodate the maximum possible meaning in the fewest possible characters. This, of course, is a problem long ago solved by today’s youth, who sprinkle their text messages with all sorts of abbreviations such as “LOL,” “ROTFL,” “CUL8R,” and so forth. We’re going to have to learn this style of abbreviation and adopt it. After some research, we at TidBITS have discovered that in fact there is already an entire dialect of English devoted to precisely this sort of
brevity – LOLCat.

For those not in the know, LOLCat is a highly condensed patois, based on text messaging, and imagined to be produced by the grammatically challenged intellect of a cat. Its expressive potential is well demonstrated by the fact that the entire Christian Bible is currently being translated into LOLCat (as of this writing, the project is nearly 50 percent complete). Clearly, any dialect is worthy of serious consideration if it can recast the Second Beatitude from the Sermon on the Mount as, “U r doin good if U iz sad kitteh; U can has petting.”

To be sure, we’re not yet entirely certain of the details, but we imagine that, for example, Rich Mogull’s recent article, “Should Mac Users Run Antivirus Software?” (2008-03-18), might be summarized as: “Macs can haz virusez? No, U r doin good. But f u haz Windoze BFz, can iz in ur mail sistem. So u iz tell ur ISP 2 blok spam an virusez, k?” (138 characters.)

For us at TidBITS, with its outstanding tradition of literacy and expansive, technical description, to produce such primitive, puerile blather will certainly be painful. But, let me repeat, this step is absolutely necessary to our survival. So please, everyone get with the program here. If you don’t want to subscribe to the TwitBITS version of our articles, that’s fine; neither do we. But if you have children of text-messaging age, please do urge them and their friends to subscribe. We desperately need their eyeballs. Even TidBITS founder and publisher Adam Engst, when asked whether he felt any qualms about surrendering TidBITS’s long-standing reputation for in-depth, well-written articles, said (with some difficulty): “Yo, dude, LOLCat teh bom. Srsly.”

TidBITS Staff No comments

Take Control News: New Title Suggestions

Our recent Take Control reader survey was amazing – thanks to everyone who provided feedback. Most interesting were some of the suggestions for new titles, which we’re pondering right now.

Take Control of Backdating Stock Options — It’s legal, really it is! This book will explain the ins and outs of backdating stock options so the Securities and Exchange Commission stays off your case, or at least doesn’t notice until you’ve received your golden parachute and fled the country. Real-world advice includes tips on picking a compliant board of directors, blaming your previous CFO, and claiming ignorance without looking stupid.

Take Control of Swearing in Esperanto — Sercu vian kacon per pincilo! Did I just compliment your blouse or call you a piece of merde? You’ll never know. Thanks to “Take Control of Swearing in Esperanto,” you can exercise your innate ability to spew obscenity while not running afoul of violent people who are larger than you. Just like in the classic movie “Breaking Away,” people will assume you were born elsewhere and frequently break into your native tongue. Or that you have Tourette Syndrome (see Appendix A for particular advice on that topic).

Take Control of Quilting Hawaii and Stuffing It Topographically — Remember that fabulous trip to Hawaii? Wouldn’t it be great to take a part of it home with you? Leave that volcanic rock and overpriced Kona coffee behind. Instead, take up needle, thread, and foam, and create this wonderful bedspread that allows you to think of Mauna Loa fondly every time you lay your head down. We plan a series of state books on quilting and stuffing, with Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa due out in a single volume next. The Arizona edition will require modifications to your bed. (Note: Not endorsed by or related to the book, “Let’s Quilt
Hawaii and Stuff It Topographically

Take Control of Controlling Your Intake — Our meal planning book “Take Control of Thanksgiving Dinner” was so critically received that we thought a complementary title was needed. “Take Control of Controlling Your Intake” has sections on all the major diets, their pros and cons, and tips on avoiding eating disorders. Special bonus: Foreword by Michael Pollan along the lines of, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Take Control of Finding Naughty Bits in Google — Everyone knows that Google is the dominant search engine on the Web, but that doesn’t mean it always comes up with exactly what you’re looking for. In particular, it can be difficult to find the naughty bits we’re always told are in such strong supply on the Internet, so in this book, we’ll reveal the secrets of geeky teenagers who know all the tricks for making Google show the down and dirty.

Take Control of Getting Babies to Sleep — Written by our in-house parental sleep experts, who have themselves suffered through years of nightly wakeups and the associated damage to cognitive processing and memory, this book will teach you the ancient Chinese secrets guaranteed to send any healthy baby to sleep. Also, booze. Not for the baby, of course; for you: every ebook has a hollowed-out virtual niche into which a flask of bourbon is secreted. It’s a Take Control secret how the alcohol gets out of the ebook and down your gullet. And, of course, there’s some for the baby. (What were we talking about? Ah, yes, that dream I had last night. Let me pull myself together. Splash of water on the face. Okay,
back to it.) A special bonus section will teach you to make a simple inhaler filled with all-natural ingredients found in nature, designed by nature as a soporific that’s guaranteed to help your baby nap for at least 30 minutes when you just need some time for lunch and a shower. No, it’s not booze. Okay, it is, in fact, booze. So use only as misdirected, without your state or country’s child protective services lurking around.

Take Control of Taking Control — Have you ever wanted to be a micro-manager? What about a petty dictator? This book will tell you everything you need to take control at any level, in any situation. Learn to use simple psychological tricks to manipulate people through fear and greed. Later chapters examine the use of force (both subtle and bloody) to achieve your ends. Order this book by clicking on the Buy button on the left side of the screen. No, not that button, lower. Sigh. Here, let ME do it.

Take Control of Letting Go — Are you a control freak? Do you find you try to take control in every situation, even when it’s utterly inappropriate or guaranteed to cause you headaches? This title will teach you the fine art of letting go so you can stop trying to run everyone else’s lives. One section focuses on how to not build your child’s Lego kits for them, and another is called “Stop Installing New Versions of Mac OS X on Your Wife’s Laptop without Her Permission!”

(For a limited time only, you can buy a special bundle containing both “Take Control of Taking Control” and “Take Control of Letting Go.” For just $2 extra, we’ll time-delay delivery of the second title by your choice of 1 week, 1 month, or even 1 year!)

Take Control of Spouse Sharing in Leopard — Apple significantly enhanced Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard’s sharing capabilities, adding screen sharing and making file sharing easier to use. But what most people haven’t yet discovered is that Leopard also contains utilities for simplifying spouse sharing. Seriously, dude, everyone’s doing it, and you just need to select the Sharing preference pane, scroll down the list of Services, and check the Spouse box. Looking for ways of swapping spouses with your colleagues but too embarrassed to raise the topic in conversation? Leopard’s new Bonjour-based spouse sharing utility helps you broach the subject, arrange assignations, and can even search a regularly updated database
of divorce lawyers in your area. Bonus! Includes a discount coupon off these excellent male ego enhancement placebos!

Fake Control of Apple, Inc., by Fake Steve Jobs — Did you found (okay, co-found) a legendary technology company that’s hit hard times? Are you languishing in a forgotten startup with awesome technology but no publicity? Are you primed to save the world, and you see no better way to do it than by retaking the helm at a personal computer maker with a dwindling cult following? This book reveals the fake secrets you’ll need, including how to get your company acquired while actually taking over the acquiring company, throwing the press off track by saying exactly the opposite of what you’re going to do a year later, inventing the iPod, and a great section on Top 10 Zen Presentation Tips (“Boom!” is your

Take Control of Ordering a Drink at Starbucks — Are you confounded by all the choices at your local Starbucks? Are you unsure which of the three Starbucks near your house you should patronize? This book, written by a Seattle native with advice from the famous Starbucks expert Winter, covers all your options and helps you make the right decision. By the end of this book you will be able to say, “One tall extra hot, four-pump, nonfat, no-water chai with whip” without missing a beat or giggling hysterically.

Take Control of Chaos — Learn to catch butterflies in Asia before they become tornados in the Americas. Build your own tipping points with simple tools and household materials. If you and your initial conditions have ever been codependent, if you have ever fallen under the spell of a strange attractor, or if you have ever wanted to learn how to bake fractal mandelbrot (excellent with coffee!), this non-linear dynamic book will shift your paradigms and renormalize your life.