Kibbles and Bytes – 475

On July 22, 2006, in Adapter, by SmallDog


This is Edward Shepard, filling in for Don this week. Don has been very busy up in Burlington with various meetings with Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR.) If you’ve read Kibbles & Bytes through the years, you probably know that Don is Chairman of VBSR, and that running a socially responsible (SR) business is one of his passions. Small Dog Electronics endeavors to operate as an SR business. Every employee here is a part of that effort. It’s not a matter of Don preaching some gospel of social responsibility, with the employees simply tolerating his zeal. We all contribute to the mission of running Small Dog as a profitable, open, and fair business that seeks to have a positive impact on our community with a minimum impact on our planet.

Employees of Small Dog Electronics have good health insurance and a livable wage, and are encouraged to volunteer and contribute to various causes at work and at home and to treat each other with respect on the job, regardless of our social and political points of view. Those are all basic SR practices. It’s more difficult for us minimize the impact of our business on the Earth. The electronics industry is not known for doing any favors for the environment.

Small Dog has a very active electronics recycling program. Recently someone brought in a 900-pound load! We run our buildings as efficiently as possible, and, of course, recycle and reuse many of the paper and packaging products we use. You may have noticed that we are sending shipments  in random boxes rather than our nice printed Small Dog boxes. The random boxes are remainder and waste boxes turned inside out. Interestingly, they are not much less expensive than the brand-new boxes we used to buy.

We are looking for ways to further reduce our impact on the planet, other than simply shuttering our doors and going out of business. We are very interested in the idea of carbon offsets. According the NRDC:

“Carbon offsets are projects that reduce or prevent the accumulation of global warming gases in the atmosphere to make up for the gases that you have inadvertently put there. They achieve this either by increasing the availability of renewable energy, supporting energy- efficiency improvements by industry or capturing and sequestering emissions.”

Carbon offsets are basically a way for us to pay for the removal and reduction of the carbon that our business creates. The NRDC has a list of the major players in the carbon offset industry here:

http://www.nrdc.org/thisgreenlife/0606.asp

We’re interested to hear other suggestions you might have for us. Email Ed@smalldog.com with your ideas. We hope to hear from you!

Ed @ Smalldog.com

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Apple’s Amazing Third Quarter By Ed @ Smalldog.com

This article started as a blog post at our blog, Barkings. Read the blog here:

http://blog.smalldog.com/

Apple released its 2006 third-quarter financial report on Wednesday. To summarize, Apple, Inc. is booming. Big time. Third-quarter results roundly exceeded analyst expectations. Apple has a quarterly profit of $472 million, which works out to 54 cents per diluted share, from a net revenue of $4.37 billion dollars. Billion! Profits are up 47% from a year ago.

Apple is the number four player in the U.S. computer industry. According to Gartner, Dell has 32% of the market, while HP has 18.9%, Gateway has 6.2%, and Apple has 4.6%. A year ago, Apple was at 4.3%. Somehow this means Apple has grown 15% in the past year. These are the second-best quarterly results in Apple’s history.

iPod sales are still growing, though slower than the previous quarter. Overall, 8,526,000 iPods were sold in this quarter. Sales of desktops are down 14% from the previous quarter, but sales of laptops were up over 60% from the previous quarter. There was 12% growth in overall Mac sales – 1.33 million Macs were sold this quarter.

Reuters features this quote from Steve Jobs:

“‘We’re thrilled with the growth of our Mac business, and especially that over 75 percent of the Macs sold during the quarter used Intel processors. This is the smoothest and most successful transition that any of us have ever experienced,’ said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. ‘In addition, iPod continued to earn a US market share of over 75 percent and we are extremely excited about future iPod products in our pipeline.’”

I was surprised to read that international sales accounted for 39% of Apple’s revenue.

Shares of Apple’s stock (AAPL) rose 8% on the news, and rose another 12% on Thursday. Shares are down 25% this year, trading at about $61, down from their all-time high of $85.59 on January 13, 2006. Overall, analysts rate AAPL as a “buy.”

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Deciphering Intel’s Line of Processors By Ed @ Smalldog.com

Steve Jobs has said that he wanted Apple to complete the transition to Intel processors by the end of 2006. Only two machines in Apple’s current lineup are are still waiting for Intel chips: the Power Mac G5 and the Xserve G5. Some people expect the Power Mac to be updated in August at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Apple-watchers are debating which Intel chips Apple will choose for the G5 replacement. I’ve been reading about the current and known upcoming chips from Intel, and thought I’d try and summarize and speculate here.

First, Intel uses code names for their chips, and these code names are sometimes used in the press. Instead of a Pentium 3 or 4, we have Yonah, Woodcrest, Conroe, and Merom. The Yonah is the Core Solo and Core Duo, while the upcoming Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Duo Extreme are also called Conroe. The powerful Xeon is sometimes call Woodcrest. It quickly becomes confusing, so I’ll try and break it down in human language.

The Core Solo and Core Duo (code name Yonah) and Xeon (code name Woodcrest) chips are commercially available now; the Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Duo Extreme (code name Conroe) chips are expected at the end of July. Merom will be released at the end of August.

The Core Duo and Core Solo (Yonah) processor is currently being used in all Intel-based Apple computers. The Core Solo is only used in one Mac, the entry-level Mac mini, while all other Macs use the Core Duo. The Core Duo is a powerful chip, and was designed for portable computers. Apple showed its competitive, aggressive side when it chose the Core Duo for the MacBook; most people expected Apple to use the slower, less powerful Core Solo chip in the MacBook.

Moving up from Core Duo, we come to the brand-new Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Duo Extreme (Conroe) chips. Core 2 Duo is the big brother to Core Duo. As PC magazine says, the Core 2 Duo “goes for the jugular.” Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme are designed for desktop computers. They are 64-bit capable chips and are very fast. According to DailyTech, the Core 2 Duo “will have clock speeds of 1.86 GHz, 2.13 GHz, 2.4 GHz and 2.67 GHz while the Core 2 Extreme will clock in at 2.93 GHz.” Prices range from $183 to $999 for per chip. This would be a logical chip for use in the replacement for the Power Mac and could eventually be used in the next generation iMac. The Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Duo Extreme chips will be released at the end of the month. In many ways, they are a logical choice for Apple to use in the Power Mac replacement. They will feel very fast, are power efficient, and have a good path for future improvement.

Many people are hoping Apple throws down the gauntlet and uses the Xeon 5100 (code name Woodcrest) processor in the replacement for the Power Mac. The Xeon is out now and is intended to be used in servers. The Xeon 5100 chip is based on a 64-bit Core 2 chip. The top of the line 3 GHz Xeon processors cost $999 wholesale, and supposedly Intel has a one price for every vendor model. So this is an expensive chip, but it offers awesome performance and can be combined in dual- processor systems, giving “quad-core” performance. A Power Mac replacement with a Xeon processor running OS X would instantly become the machine of choice for many demanding computer users – high- definition video editors, audio editors, scientists, and lab technicians. Simply put, the Xeon 5100 in the replacement for the Power Mac would be awesome.

The next chip is Merom, which should be released at the end of August. This is the 64-bit mobile version of the Core 2 Duo. It would be more efficient and cooler, for portability. They’ll start with clock speeds of 1.66 GHz to 2.33 GHz. I’ve read that they can be used in machines with a regular Core 2 chip, which means that current iMac and Mac mini users might, possibly, be able to upgrade their processors in the future. This chip could possibly be used in the MacBook Pro. Who knows, maybe there will be an all-new case design for the next-generation MacBook Pro, running the Merom chip. (That’s just speculation.)

It’s all speculation. No one knows what Apple will do. A year and a half ago, to say Apple would run Intel chips would have been heresy. But now we see the logic of Apple’s switch to Intel – a broad and ever-expanding line of processors and processor pricing. Apple never had this luxury with Motorola, and especially with IBM.

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Making Our Radio Ads By Ed @ Smalldog.com

Small Dog Electronics produces all of its radio ads in house. We use a PowerBook G4, the M-Audio Podcast Factory, and Soundtrack Pro. Before we used Soundtrack Pro, we used GarageBand. It’s a lot of fun to make these ads, and it usually only takes us a half hour or so to record, mix, and export them. GarageBand 3 and Soundtrack Pro both have great sound effects libraries and special effects, which we’ve used to simulate recorded telephone calls to great effect. Soundtrack Pro also has a great set of tools for repairing bad audio, which we’ve occasionally had to use.

When the ad is finished, we export it from Soundtrack as an AIFF file. We then compress it into an MP3 in iTunes. This is emailed to the radio station, and they promptly put it on the air.

Our radio campaigns have notably improved since we started to record the ads ourselves. The radio stations have been very pleased with the creativity and quality of our ads. If you have a business or organization, it might be worth trying this too!

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Font Book By Holly @ Smalldog.com

Until recently I was stymied about to how to share a particular font with a coworker. I would drag a font from my font folder and put it in an email, but I wasn’t sure that was the best way to do it. So when Ed asked me to share a particular font I was using the other day, I decided to see if Font Book had an export feature.

Let me digress for a second. I think managing fonts can be a real pain (note I said _can_). If you just use the fonts that come with your system, then it’s not difficult at all. However, graphic designers usually add to those and when their collection(s) get large, it affects the performance of the computer – meaning very slow performance. There is some great font management softwares out there (check out Extensis Suitcase Fusion <http://www.smalldog.com/product/ 39937>). I don’t have a huge font collection, but it’s just big enough that I want a little extra help.

Exporting a font in Font Book is easy:

1) In Font Book, select the fonts you want to export (to select fonts that are not adjacent to one another, press the Command key and click). 2) Choose File > Export Fonts. 3) Type a name for the folder and choose where you want to place it. 4) Click Save.

Installing new fonts is just as easy:

1) Open Font Book. 2) Under the File menu, choose Add Fonts. 3) Choose the font folder you wish to add. 4) Click Open.

The font should now appear in Font Book.

Here’s a website I occasionally go to because it has Mac fonts and it’s FREE!

http://www.freemacfonts.com/

A general overview of Font Book: You can install, preview, search for, activate, and deactivate fonts, and according to Apple, “you can have thousands of fonts on your system without fear of slowdowns during installation or everyday use.” One particularly cool feature is the Advanced Typography, with which you can manipulate the font ligatures, kerning, number spacing, rendering fractions, swashes, number and letter casing, and so on. You can also preview a character rendering, provided the font is active, with the Character Palette. Did I mention that Font Book comes with every current Mac? It’s part of the Operating System on OS 10.3 and higher.

New features in Tiger include:

- Scriptable Font Book: Control every element of the Font System. Scan documents for fonts, quickly create collections, manage fonts automatically based on certain actions, and more.

- Advanced Font Validation: Automatically check your fonts for problems and see a detailed report about each one.

- Font Export: Package up a set of fonts for colleagues or service bureaus with just a few clicks.

- Font Libraries: Quickly activate fonts from any folder on your system or network.

- Spotlight Font Search: Use Spotlight to search for a rich set of font attributes, or metadata, including copyright, foundry, and more.

You can also use OS X’s Automator to complete repetitive Font Book tasks. For example:

- Find Font Book Items        - Get Selected Font Book Items        - Filter Font Book Items        - Select Fonts in Font Book        - Activate Fonts        - Add to Font Library        - Deactivate Fonts        - Export Font Files        - Filter Fonts by Font Type        - Get Files for Fonts        - Get Font Info        - Get Fonts from Font Files        - Get PostScript Name of Font        - Remove Font Files        - Validate Font Files

It never ceases to amaze me how many useful and easy-to-use applications are built in to the Mac’s operating system. Yet another reason to buy a Mac!

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Keyboard Shortcuts in Tiger By Ed @ Smalldog.com

Keyboard shortcuts can be a real timesaver. There are a few I use everyday, such as  the Command-Shift-Tab key shortcut to quickly flip though applications. The Command key is the one with the Apple or clover figure on it (depending on the keyboard) next to the space bar. I want to expand my repertoire of keyboard shortcuts, so I’m going to try and learn a new one every couple of days until the end of summer.

Some of my favorite key commands:

- Hold down Command-Shift-3 if you want to take a snapshot of your entire screen. If you want to take a snapshot of a particular item on your computer’s screen, hold down Command-Shift-4.

- Hold down Control-Eject to bring up the restart, sleep, and shutdown dialog box.

- Option-Command-Eject or Option-Command-Power will force the computer to go to sleep almost instantly.

Command-Space opens Spotlight (Mac OS X 10.4 or later).

- When you have a Finder window open, you can switch views for icon, list, or column by pushing Command-1, or Command-2, or Command-3.

- Hold down the Option key while dragging an item from one folder to another folder to make a copy of the dragged item in the new location while leaving the original copy of the item in its folder.

- Make a new Finder window by holding down Command-n.

- Make new tabs in Safari or Firefox by holding down Command-t. (I use that shortcut a couple dozen times a day).

- And, as mentioned above, hold down the Command-Shift-Tab keys to flip quickly though applications.

There are hundreds of keyboard shortcuts. Apple has a great list of common shortcuts here:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=75459

You can create your own keyboard shortcuts. According to Apple, here’s how:

Go under the Apple menu (the blue Apple in the upper left corner of the screen), browse to to System Preferences, and choose Keyboard & Mouse. When the dialog appears, click on the Keyboard Shortcuts tab, then click the plus (+) sign at the bottom left of the dialog. Another dialog will appear. Choose Finder from the Application pop-up menu, then type the exact name of the menu command for which you want to add a shortcut. Now type the shortcut you want to use and click the Add button.

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Specials!

Here are the specials for this week, valid through July 21 or while on-hand supplies last. Be sure to use the wag URL to get this special pricing.

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M-Audio Podcast Factory – $139!

To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16834/mymac

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Back-to-School Add-on Bundle – Office, 512 MB Flash Key, Lock, More – $174 PLUS $50 Rebate!

To order: http://www.smalldog.com/mymac

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Apple iPod 40gb Clickwheel with Dock, Griffin iTrip (Dock connector), Kensington Case – $224!

To order: http://www.smalldog.com/mymac

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MacBook 13.3-inch 2.0GHz with 2GB RAM/60GB HD/SD/AP/BT white – $1509

To order: http://www.smalldog.com/mymac

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Brenthaven Edge II Light Blue case 15.4in for MacBook Pro – $49.95 with FREE 3-day express shipping!

To order: http://www.smalldog.com/mymac

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Brenthaven Edge II Black case 15.4in for MacBook Pro – $49.95 with FREE 3-day express shipping!

To order: http://www.smalldog.com/mymac

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EZQuest Monsoon 300gb FireWire 400/USB 2.0 Drive – $152!

To order: http://www.smalldog.com/mymac

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Micro Accessories 65 Watt AC Adapter for PowerBook or iBook – only $29.00!

To order: http://www.smalldog.com/mymac

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Ogio Jackpack Redline Messenger Bag – with Free Shipping- $40!

To order: http://www.smalldog.com/mymac

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MacBook Pro 15-inch 2.0GHz 1gb/100/SuperDrive (r), Black MacCase Sleeve for MacBook Pro – $1949

To order: http://www.smalldog.com/mymac

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iMac 20-inch Intel 2GHz 512/250/SuperDrive, Epson Print/Copy/Scan, Office, LaCie 250, More – $2179!

To order: http://www.smalldog.com/mymac

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Black MacBook 13-inch 2.0GHz with 2 GB RAM/80 GB HD/SuperDrive/AP/BT, AppleCare – $1889!

To order: http://www.smalldog.com/mymac

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iMac 17-inch Intel 1.83GHz 512/160/SuperDrive, Canon Print/Copy/Scan, Office, LaCie 160, More – $1699

To order: http://www.smalldog.com/mymac

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MacBook Pro 15-inch 2.0GHz 1gb/100/SuperDrive (r), Office, Case, 1 GB Flash Key – $2079 + $50 Rebate!

To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16828/

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Enjoy this peak summer weekend. I’m going to a microbrew festival on the waterfront of Lake Champlain. So, if I’m not in on Monday, you’ll know why.

I’m looking forward to hearing the suggestions you have for how Small Dog can continue to reduce its impact on the environment. Thanks once again for reading Kibbles & Bytes!

Your Kibbles & Bytes crew,

Don, Ed, and Holly

 

 

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