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Posts in mac

The Power Mac G4 Line

The tower form factor may be a thing of the past, at least until the new Mac Pro shows up next year, but for years, if you needed the most powerful and flexible machine money could buy, the Power Mac was the only way to go.

For almost five years, the heart of the Power Mac was the PowerPC G4 chip. Starting in 1999 it clocked at just 350 MHz, but by the time the Power Mac G4 line was retired, a tower with dual 1.42 GHz CPUs could be ordered. In that time frame, things like Gigabit Ethernet, SuperDrives, and Wi-Fi became mainstream.

The Power Mac G4 came in three distinct cases over the years it was available. Each style of machine saw several revisions while in service, bringing the total number of models to 10. That's a lot of computers to cover, so let's get started.

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Cardhop 1.1 Adds Smart Groups, Printing, and More

Cardhop from Flexibits got an update to version 1.1 today, and it packs in some pretty great improvements for an incremental update.

If you missed it before, Cardhop is the app from the makers of Fantastical that does for contacts what Fantastical did for calendars. All your contacts are managed from your menu bar, and you're never more than a few keystrokes away from sending an email, making a call, sending a text, or anything else contact-related. Type "email elle" and it will find Elle's card, pick the first email address, and hitting enter will fire up a new email in Mail (or your favorite mail app). Type "call mom home" and handoff a call to Mom's home phone number. It's far more powerful than that, but I'll refer you to John Voorhees' great writeup back in October for the overview.

Cardhop 1.1 comes with some fixes and improvements, not least of them being parsing and formatting support for French, German, Italian, Spanish, English, and Japanese. But the two updates that I personally find the most useful are Smart Groups and printing support.

Smart Groups are what you probably imagine – a group of contacts based on a set of criterion that automatically updates as contacts change to match (or fail to match) those criteria. It opens up a few interesting organization and productivity schemes, but my first interest is in pseudo-tagging. I can now add @tags in contact's notes field and have them sorted into one or more smart folders, reducing my need for a large number of "actual" contact groups. And if I stop using Cardhop and need to access those groups in another app such as Apple's Contacts, I can always just do a search for the @tag and drag them into a regular group.

The printing features are elegant. Much like those in Apple Contacts, but with a few extra touches in the print dialog, as well as the convenience of printing right from Cardhop. Being able to pull up a contact or an entire contact group and print envelopes with return addresses, or spit out address labels for the whole bunch with just a few keystrokes is a wonderful convenience. All you have to do is type "print [name]" or "print [group]" (or use a Quick Action).

Print from Cardhop

Print from Cardhop

When the print dialog comes up, make sure that you've clicked "Show Details."

Show Details

Show Details

From there you can choose a list, envelopes, or labels, and define which fields to use and other particulars for each type. (You can also switch type with ⌘1-3.)

Envelope printing setup

Envelope printing setup

Other new features include template preferences to control which fields are shown when entering new contacts, an “Add Notes with Timestamp” option to add dated notes to a contact, and typing in the "related contact" field now autosuggests other names from your contacts.

I've been loving Cardhop, and I think it's worth anyone's time to grab the free trial and give it a go. Cardhop costs $19.99 US and is available on the App Store and direct from Flexibits.


The Power Macintosh G3 All-in-One: Function Over Form

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the iMac, the all-in-one that saved Apple and radically changed the consumer technology landscape.

Any nerd in their 20s or 30s probably remembers seeing one those colorful, curvy iMacs in school growing up. Their friendly design and relatively low cost – for a 90s Mac, at least – made them a staple in education for years.

I certainly saw and used my fair share of them in middle and high school, but I also got to experience the iMac G3's weird older sibling, the Power Macintosh G3 All-in-One.

Yeah, the one that looks kind of like a big tooth.

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A History of the Xserve: Apple’s One Rack Wonder

Within the next few months, macOS Server as we know it today will be going away, with many of its services being deprecated. Things like hosting calendars, contacts, email and wikis are going away as Apple focuses the product on "management of computers, devices, and storage on your network."

This shouldn't come as a surprise. macOS Server has been languishing for years, with many of its most common features being integrated into the mainstream version of macOS.

For fans of macOS Server, this just another in a long string of disappointments over the years. But none of them were as big as the cancellation of the Xserve, Apple's rack-mountable 1U server, back in January 2011.

Remember this thing? Not many do.

Remember this thing? Not many do.

Running the risk of reopening old wounds, let's look back at this unusual product and its nine year lifespan.

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The MacBook Air: A Decade’s Worth of Legacy

Today, all of our notebooks are thin and light. We've traded our optical drives in for a series of dongles and our spinning hard drives for fast, silent SSDs.

It wasn't always like this. Once upon a time, notebooks had optical drives and a full array of ports, complemented by features like removable batteries.

A decade ago, we entered the current era of notebook design when Steve Jobs pulled the future out of an envelope.

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The Lisa

When thinking about the earliest days of Apple, it's easy to recall the Apple I, the Apple II line and the Macintosh. However, there's one more computer that defined Apple's early years. This computer was ground-breaking but incredibly expensive, and exposed many things wrong within Apple itself.

The Lisa launched 35 years ago next month. Today, it is mostly considered as a precursor to Mac. While that is true, it doesn't come close to doing this computer justice.

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Reliving that Snow Leopard Magic

Enthusiasts of all types always have that one special obsession. For muscle car people, maybe it's one particular year of Ford Mustang. Photographers always have a favorite lens, while baseball players may have a favored bat or glove.

Ask almost any macOS fan, and they'll tell you that Snow Leopard is their favorite version of all time.

There are a bunch of good reasons for that, beyond pure nostalgia.

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Three Tiny Laptops

The 12-inch MacBook with Retina display is a marvel of engineering. It packs the power of macOS into a tiny chassis that weighs just two pounds. You can carry it and an iPad before you reach the weight of the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

There are, of course, trade-offs when it comes to such a small machine. The single USB-C port is a show-stopper for many, as is the under-powered — but fanless — Intel CPU.

The fact that compromises are needed to make notebooks thin and light is nothing new. Over the years, Apple has made several bold moves in this direction. Three really stand out.

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