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Articles related to Macworld. Typically links to articles I’ve written for

A maximum look at a mini Mac

Macworld logoAfter receiving my first-ever Intel-powered Mac, a new Core Duo mini, I spent the better part of a week testing out the machine in nearly every aspect of performance I could think up. This started as a three-part series, but based on feedback from the first three parts, we added two additional sections. Here's how the entire series came out:

  1. Setup, configuration and application tests
  2. General observations, audio & video, gaming
  3. Testing methods, Intel transition and conclusions
  4. More RAM, more tests
  5. HD issues and final thoughts

While not at the technical level of an Ars Technica report (I won't even pretend to have the skills to go there), this is a very detailed look at the machine from a somewhat typical user's perspective.

Sometimes I’m SO-DIMM!

Macworld logoEver wondered how to tell if you've bought the wrong brand of RAM for your mini Mac? Thanks to a recent misadventure, I can now tell you exactly how you'll know. Ugh.

Yes, I really did purchase standard-size RAM for the mini, and (even worse than buying it) not even notice that it was way to large to fit inside that small case until I got it home.

Smoothing things over

Macworld logoEver wondered about the various settings in the Font smoothing style pop-up of the Appearance System Preferences panel? Thanks to a recent crash, I was forced to revisit the font smoothing settings, which I literally hadn't looked at in years.

I found the results of my tests somehwat interesting, so I wrote them up for

Give Camino a test browse…

Macworld logoAs noted on numerous sites yesterday, the Camino browser has officially reached version 1.0. This is great news, as Camino has long been one of the fastest, best looking browsers available for OS X. I've used it off and on over the years, but now, with 1.0 out, I'm giving it a test run as my main browser for a week. Why? I'm a bit tired of Firefox's non-Mac-like interface, and Safari seems to get slower each day I use it. Plus I like some of the features it offers.

Over on, you can read my Editor's Notes entry to learn why I'm giving Camino a test run. While it's not a full review (or even a preview), it does cover some of the features you'll find in Camino, as well as a couple of essential plug-ins.

If you're presently not entirely satisfied with your browser of choice, give Camino a shot. It's lacking in a few areas, but overall, it's a very capable browser with a very standard OS X interface and a great feature set. I must admit, I love the 'browser wars'--they're clearly giving us not only more choices, but more better choices than we've ever had before...

More on Spotlight…

Macworld logoI know that not everyone that visits here reads my stuff over on Macworld's site, so I thought I'd put a quick note here, too. Over on Macworld today, you can read my latest opinion piece, A Dim View of Spotlight.

This piece is a follow-up to my original Shining the spotlight on Spotlight article, which (confusingly enough) appeared here on robservatory in May (I wrote it prior to the Macworld changeover). If you read the original, you can skip the whole "what I said back then" section in the new article, and just read through my latest thoughts on why Spotlight still isn't quite everything it could be.

Executive Summary: I don't like the way Spotlight works at all, but I still think it has great potential. Read the story for the specifics on why I feel that way!