close this bookTidBITS#227   19940523
View the documentMailBITS/23-May-94
View the documentHandheld TidBITS
View the documentApples and TV Oranges?
View the documentTelePort Prices Drop
View the documentInternational Vendor Comments
View the documentFred Does Macworld Washington
View the documentReviews/23-May-94
View the documentFoot Notes

MailBITS/23-May-94

Sorry for the slight delay on this issue - we were out of town visiting family and couldn't face putting out the issue late at night after dining in the airplane's sumptuous surroundings and enjoying the scintillating entertainment. And if you believe that... [ACE]

The PowerBook 500 series and two new PowerBook Duo models, all sporting 68LC040 processors, reached dealer shelves last week as predicted in TidBITS #222. The specifics are essentially as described in that article. Details of note include the fact that the row of function keys are only on the 500-series models, not the Duos; the Trackpad pointing device on the 500-series machines has a single button below, rather than one top and bottom; and the modems shipping with the modem-equipped 500-series models are manufactured by Global Village. These PowerPort/Mercury modems are also available separately; Apple's bundled version lacks Global Village's OCR (optical character recognition) software and has an Apple one-year, rather than Global Village five-year, warranty. [MHA]

AC Adapters for PowerBook Duos may all look alike, but they're not all the same. Apple just introduced a new unit, with item number M4174LL/B, which works with the new Duo 280 and 280c models, as well as all previous models; it replaces M2781LL/A, introduced earlier this month, which also works with the new and old models. The M4174LL/A adapter works only with the Duo 210, 230, 250, and 270c models. The new item number for the adapter that works with all Duos was probably adopted in order to avoid confusion. Nice try. [MHA]

SuperMac and Radius announced plans to merge in an $80.5 million stock swap. The combined company will have revenues of $340 million, and in standard merger propaganda, said that they intended to market and support all major products from both companies. Since SuperMac bought E-Machines a while back, it seems that the video hardware market is suffering the same implosion that the software market has recently. Sigh. [ACE]

Performa users can go ahead and install System Update 3.0 on their System 7.1 equipped Macintosh Performas. A helpful project manager within Apple's Performa division confirmed for us that the update has been approved for Performa models running System 7.1P, 7.1P1, 7.1P2, 7.1P3, 7.1P4, 7.1P5 and 7.1P6. The update is not designed for use with System 7.0.1 or its Performa equivalent, so Performa 200 and 400 owners who haven't updated their system software should not install System Update 3.0. [MHA]

America Online via the Internet is indeed much faster if you have a direct connection to the Internet, and some have reported faster connections even over modems with SLIP and PPP. However, bugs remain, so beware that a dropped connection may result in your account being charged for 20 minutes until it times out. To formally apply for the beta test on America Online, use keyword TCP and fill out the online application. Also, I was wrong about using other Telnet tools (despite the fact that the America Online software lets you select other tools), but Lonnie Abelbeck, author of VersaTerm, distributed a CCL script for using the VersaTerm Telnet tool on comp.sys.mac.comm last week. Finally, Jonathan Hue <hue@island.com> discovered that America Online doesn't encrypt the userid and password when it sends them over the Internet, so a packet sniffer can detect them in their plaintext form. Needless to say, this is a bit of a security hole, not so much because it exists (many systems send passwords in plaintext over the Internet) but because users are charged for America Online access, and because dealing with disputed charges with America Online customer support folks can be an exercise in frustration. [ACE]