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Bottom-Quoting Add-On Makes Mail Better All Over

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Good news! Two doses of it, in fact.

First: QuoteFix for Mac fixes the problem of top-quoting in Mail! Now you can use Mail and reply to email messages underneath the text of the message you’re replying to, as God intended things to be.

Second: I got this tip from Tim Gaden’s Hawkwings blog, which has had a fresh burst of energy over the last month or so, and is now buzzing with tips about using Mail (and other cool things to make your Mac using life easier). If Hawkwings isn’t in your RSS reader or on your list-of-sites-to-keep-an-eye-on, I urge you to add it there.

Addendum for people who can’t see what the fuss is all about

There’s an old internet joke that you’ve probably heard a thousand times:

A: Because people don’t like reading backwards
Q: Why is top-quoting a bad idea?

Email is a very personal thing. Most people don’t care how their replies are displayed in their email software, but for those of us who’ve been around long enough to remember when “email client” was the term used for “email software”, some things – like whether you quote at the top or the bottom – matter a lot.

Most modern email services top-quote. By which I mean when you hit reply, the original message is underneath and your reply is on top. Makes no logical sense, but people have got used to things being that way. It’s just How Email Works for millions.

Gmail made things a little better, by retaining top-quoting but keeping messages in context as threaded conversations. Combined with its “Show quoted text” feature, it makes top-quoting bearable.

Thing is, Mail top-quotes too, and those same people – you know the ones I mean – hate it for that. Now, at last, there’s something for them. QuoteFix sorts it all out and makes it work the way it should. There. That’s better isn’t it?

New iPhone Ads Showcase Looming App Store Predicament

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Never one to rest on its laurels, Apple is piling on following its record Q3 with a big push for the holidays. Today, it launched its opening salvo for the season with “Gift” (above) and “Song” (after the jump). The former, in typical fashion, starts with something immediately relevant (using the Target app to get gift recommendations) before going off on tangents (photo editing, “Monopoly,” Zipcar?).

“Song,” meanwhile pretty much just goes full-on for the “There’s an app for that” mantra, touching on real estate, The Sims, Facebook, and Shazam. And honestly, in both cases, it’s pretty effective. There are more than 100,000 apps, after all, even if there’s no Google Voice. The campaign works because it’s welcoming and says you can find what you want to do easily. (via MacRumors)

Unfortunately, that selling point is actually pretty different from the real experience of using the App Store. Once you hit 100,000, discoverability becomes the killer app, not any single product within. This isn’t that big a problem yet (except for developers), but it will become an increasing one over time. What good are 100,000 apps when I struggle to use more than 10 on a daily basis?

Consider this: iTunes offers more than 10 million songs, but lots of users have several thousands of songs (I have nearly 5,000 and add more every year). Assuming that the average for a power user is around 2,000 songs per user, that rounds out to there being 5,000 songs to every one that most people download.

With apps, by contrast, there are 100,000, but I would guess most power users carry fewer than 30 on them at any given time (I’m actually closer to 20 beyond the initial set). That’s 3,300 apps per one download, a ratio that starts to get really dramatic as the app store grows toward a million choices but people install no more of them. It’s already pretty rough trying to break through as an obscure band on iTunes — it could get much worse as the ratio grows increasingly unfavorable for apps.

Fortunately, problems tend to highlight opportunities to innovate. Everyone knows that a more robust Springboard app is needed to help us sort through our many apps to find the one we want when we want it. Apple could also come up with new forms of App Store search to better surface apps better suited to you (imagine if Genius for Apps worked!), or it could take note of developers whose work you’ve enjoyed previously and recommend those. Moreover, Apple could even offer different ways to market oneself on the App Store. We’re used to bundling on the desktop side; why shouldn’t there by an iPhoneHeist next year to bring together rock stars with rising contenders on the fastest-growing platform ever?

The growth of the iPhone has been fascinating. OS 1.0 was about defining a new kind of mobile experience. OS 2.0 was about opening the platform to true development and making it more than just a product. OS 3.0 has been about fixing the most-requested problems, including MMS, copy-and-paste, and tethering (not that AT&T has implemented the latter). OS 4.0, it seems to be, would be an excellent time to figure out how one might actually benefit from owning a couple hundred different apps.

Daily Deals: $999 MacBook Pro Laptops, Logitech Pure-Fi Speaker Dock, App Store Freebies

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We kick off another week with more bargains from Apple and others. MacBook Pro laptops are always a popular item and this time the Apple Store has nearly two-dozen factory-refurbished units. The MacBook Pros start at $999 for the 2.26 GHz 13.3-inch item. Others MacBook Pro laptops range from 2.53 GHz to 2.66 GHz and are priced between $1,299 and $1,949. Also on tap is Logitech’s Pure-Fi Express Plus speaker dock and a new round of iPhone freebies.

For details on these and other bargains (such as the PocketCPR) check out CoM’s “Daily Deals” page after the jump.

Analysts: Tablet Could Offer ‘Stunning’ Graphics

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Apple’s much-awaited tablet device may include graphics capable of “stunning resolution” able to outshine the iPod, iPhone and possibly sound a death-knell for Amazon’s Kindle. The device, which many expect to see during the first quarter of 2010, may also offer a Webcam for mobile video conferencing, according to a survey of analyst speculation.

Analyst Laura DiDio of ITIC told CNNMoney.com the device will include a “high-end graphics card” for its 10- to 12-inch screen. “The tablet will change the game, because Apple will throw down the gauntlet at the competitors, and force them to follow along,” DiDio told the Web site.

Gallery: 10 Visions of Apple-Inspired Dystopia

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We’ve written before in this space about Apple’s unique status as a Muse to creative people. In fact, the initial impulse for this post was a search for striking pieces of art created on the iPhone.

Those are out there, too, in droves — and we’ll be featuring them soon in another gallery post.

Today, however, we bring you something we didn’t quite expect to find: a series of art pieces that shed a bit of perspective on the dark side of Apple.

CoM Exclusive: Apple 1 eBay Seller Speaks

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The original manual comes with the Apple 1.
The original manual comes with the Apple 1 up for auction on eBay.

There’s another Apple 1 on the eBay auction block, this one comes with enough collateral to stand as its own museum exhibit.

The starting bid is $50,000, the auction is on for another two days.

The owner, who wished to remain anonymous, told us how this Apple artifact got there.

CoM: How did you get your hands on an Apple 1?

Anonymous Owner: I came to own the Apple 1 through a very convoluted story, but in short I found a guy in Minnesota who bought it from the original owner in 1990 and, eventually, he sold it to me.

CoM: What made you decide to sell it?

AO: It is killing me to sell it but I’m on very hard times and I’ve sold everything else of value. I want to keep this magnificent piece of history forever. There is no price I would willingly put on this item…but I have kids and of course that takes priority.

CoM: How did you decide the price?

AO: I set the opening price because a) an Apple 1 has sold for as much as $43k and b) if I have to sell my most prized possession and I sold it for an inadequate amount I’d have to take my life.
So, really, the price is all about saving lives. lol.

CoM: In the selling info, you say that Woz looked at it and said that it probably wouldn’t boot because the first batches of Apple 1s used a brand of chip they later replaced because they blew out easily.

How did you meet Woz?

Daily Deals: iPod Classic, 24-Inch Cinema Display HD Widescreen, 500GB Time Capsule

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We end the week with three hardware deals. First up is a 120GB iPod classic for $189. Next is Apple’s 24-inch Cinema HD Widescreen LED display for $800. Our top trio rounds out with a 500 GB Time Capsule. Along the way, we talk about various accessories, discounts and skins for your favorite iPhone or iPod.

As always, for details on these and other items (like Logitech’s Pure-Fi Elite Stereo System for the iPod or iPhone, check out CoM’s “Daily Deals” page right after the jump.

Finally, Viagra For Your iPhone

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Well, no. It’s actually an 8x fixed optical telescope that attaches to the iPhone’s lens.

The package (ahem), available from USBFever.com, includes the scope, a stand and an iPhone hardcase that is used to attach the scope to the lens.

What could it be used for? A handy promotional video seems to suggest perhaps spying on your neighbors in the pool, and a Mashable post wonders if the telescope could be used by “predators with less-than-pure motivations.” Although with its bulky length — the scope looks like it’s almost the length of the iPhone (4.5 inches, in case you were wondering) — it’s probably not something a budding James Bond could easily…uh…whip out of his pocket.

The scope kit runs $28.99 and the site says it’ll ship “on or before 25 Nov 2009”

There’s also a 6x version available that’s $10 cheaper and ditches the stand. Although, with all the hand-shake jitteriness displayed in the video with the 8x, the stand is probably a good idea to save yourself an eyestrain headache — even though the 6x’s susceptibility to hand shake is probably reduced.

[via Mashable]

Review: V-Moda Vibe II Earphones With Microphone (Verdict: Tasty Ear-Candy With A Purpose)

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Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.

According to Wikipedia, which is where I’ve learned 92 percent of the useless stuff I know, the phrase in Latin above means something along the lines of “don’t make things more complicated than they should be, dumbass.”

The V-Moda Vibe II with Microphone fits this explanation so exquisitely, you might well see them being whipped out as a teaching aid by your Latin instructor when the above phrase comes up.

Carpe diem. (Seize the day. Best way would be by clicking on the link for the rest of the review.)