eXtra Notes

Blue Apple

Graham K. Rogers

Unpublished ideas that are not going to make it into print

The rumoured iMac G5 without an optical drive is a 1.6GHz machine and is specifically for the eductation market. Prices of this education special thus far have shown some variation but seem to be in the region of US$1150 for students and $1069 for institutions.

The 17" consumer machines (1.6 and 1.8GHz) with optical drives, of course, are quoted at $1299 (about 52,000 baht) and $1499 respectively. The 1.6 G5 is priced at less than the current (but almost impossible to find) "anglepoise" G4 iMac in the US. The highly desirable 20" 1.8 G5 retails at $1899.

The G5 iMac itself is making its way to US addresses now (mid-September 2004), with more deliveries coming round the start of October. As for Asia, I have heard dates ranging from October 2004 up to early in 2005. My bets are on something arriving before December this year, particularly as the Press release has been tentatively announced for 28 September.

There are plenty of images on the web and I borrowed a couple from Apple for my own web-pages (since removed). One of my favourites was on the Apple Insider website which had a diagram of the inside components.

This is rather interesting as, unlike the earlier iMac, and certainly unlike the eMac, these new machines are designed to be user-accessible. The Mac Cube -- there are a few about in Thailand -- has this aspect of economy in size and style, with total access. Move a couple of levers and the entire innards of the Cube are removable.

In mid-September, I downloaded the latest version of OpenOffice (1.1.2) and was really pleased with the clean way it installed, and with its operation. A lot of development has gone into this and it comes far closer to a full replacement for other developers' office suites. The version I downloaded recognised the Thai fonts I had installed and it was able to use (and print) these with no discernible problems. I did have a couple of difficulties with files created on XP using Thai fonts when I saved in an alternative format. As I had already saved a copy of the original, nothing was lost. The creators do specify that this is still a work in development.

A few months ago, I had tried to install a version of Open Office for OSX that was being developed up at NECTEC. That one did not work on my machines, so I gave up. I never managed to start the Office suite although the printer configuration was fine. I would love to try a locally developed version when finished.

I also hear that OpenOSX Office 1.5 -- a package that I purchased a couple of years back when it was still in beta -- for OSX (Panther) is now ready. It van be bought for $40 on CD-ROM. If you have enough bandwidth for a download (no CDROM), you can get it for $30.

Upgrades are $20 on CD-ROM and $15 for the download.

On a related note, I am looking forward to the arrival of the O'Reilly book that covers Open Office. It was released in early September and I put in my request right away.

DuncanI was nosing about in the Siam Discovery Centre Apple shop when I saw a software icon on a 15" PowerBook that I did not recognise, with the name, "Duncan." When I had a closer look, it turned out to be an Open Source English-Thai dictionary.

After a little persuasion, I was allowed to copy the program to a flash drive and at home put it straight into the Applications folder -- no installation problems at all.

The dictionary works either by selecting a word from an alphabetical list on the left side of the panel or by typing a word into a search box and pressing the magnifying glass icon (or Enter). The Thai definition, a pronunciation in Thai letters, and any alternative definitions are displayed on the right-hand side. It even has "Graham" in there. A little digging about with Google found a copy of this on the Eskimo website.

I heard recently that the company that runs the Siam Discovery shop -- Copperwired -- is soon to open another branch in the region of Soi Thonglor. I am also doing my best to persuade them to think about an Apple Shop on the Thonburi side of the river: not because I want things to be easier for me, but because I think there is a huge untappped Mac market this side of the Chao Phraya.

All materials ©copyright G.K. Rogers. Free for individual use.

Other links:

Bangkok Post, Database
Mac Center: Thailand
OSX Faq Mac Dr Smoke's X Lab Site George Mann
Applelinks MacNightOwl MacNightOwl

Phuket Mac User Group

For further information, e-mail to Graham K. Rogers.

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