Psst: Want a Fast, Up-to-Date Browser for Your Old PowerPC Mac?

Still running a PowerPC Mac (s aapl) and hurting for some serious browser speed, up-to-date security and web standards compatibility? Being open-source applications, Mozilla’s web browsers and Thunderbird email client are open to being breathed on by third-party developers, several of whom specialize in optimization of particular versions of the Mac OS — such as Chris Latko’s Mac Intel-optimized (s intc) variants of Firefox.

Terrific Results

However, for us PowerPC holdouts, a reader recently tipped me to some PowerPC-optimized Mozilla web browsers plus Thunderbird by R.P. Mozely, noting that he’s been getting terrific results and highly recommends these tweaked apps.

That sounded promising, as I’m still using two G4-upgraded Pismo PowerBooks for production work, and haven’t found the latest Mozilla gecko-based browsers to be particularly happy campers on the old laptops running OS 10.4 .11. So I keep reverting to old Netscape Navigator 9, which works nicely, but is getting long in the tooth, beginning to encounter some limitations content-compatibility wise. Of course it hasn’t had any security updates for nearly two years, since development was terminated. Read More about Psst: Want a Fast, Up-to-Date Browser for Your Old PowerPC Mac?

The Smart Mac: Address Book & Mail

Apple’s original implementation of “smart” file management isn’t just limited to the Finder, and in fact, you’ve probably seen it more often in other applications like Address Book and Mail.

Here are some ideas of how you can harness the power of these two applications using the same idea as Smart Folders.

Smart Groups

Address Book provides support for smart groups which allow for dynamic content, just like a smart folder. As new content is added that meet your guidelines, the group will automatically update.

Creating a Smart Group is as simple as going to File and selecting “New Smart Group…” or by clicking the plus icon (+) in the lower left corner of the Address Book window. Then give your group a name and set of criteria. As you add your second criterion, you’ll have the choice for your group to consist of any of your rules or all of your rules.

Here’s some ideas for useful smart groups. Read More about The Smart Mac: Address Book & Mail

TAB Welcomes: Andrew Flocchini

From the frozen tundra of Minnesota I hail, not by choice but by birth. I bring with me a head full of useless knowledge and trivia. I know, “Is this guy some sort of Superhero?” No, just an ordinary man, or am I?

I’ve always been a tinkerer and owned many PC’s throughout my life. One day I grew tired of always troubleshooting and wanted to just enjoy the computer. From that point on, I was a Mac user. Using my machines to edit movies and other multimedia content.

I work in Higher Education as an Apple Admin at a college in Minnesota. Since I came onboard, we have been making the switch to becoming a 100 percent Apple campus. Before I was here, there was a big fear of Macs. Now there is a love affair. I created the site ADaMac to journal my troubleshooting experiences and hopefully help other Admins out who had nowhere to turn. A large-scale mixed Apple/Microsoft environment , can be tricky at times. Aside from Apple, I have a wife and two kids that keep me pretty busy. I love music, film & of course video games. I’m also a volunteer Firefighter in my city. My feeling is that I want to have a lot of experiences to look back on.

So how did I become a writer for TheAppleBlog? I guess I sent the right email at the right time because here I am. I’m very excited to have a little part of the site and I will do my best to contribute the best articles I can.

You can follow me (because I’m so interesting) on Twitter @flocchini.

Microsoft’s Slate: Exactly Unlike Apple’s Upcoming Tablet

So, Microsoft (s msft) has unveiled a new tablet PC — a prototype made by HP, dubbed (not coincidentally) a Slate. Fake Steve Jobs suggests it ought to be called the “meh,” and he’s dead right, while the UK’s Telegraph said it could be a “major blow” to Apple, and they’re just dead wrong.

I’d like to laugh at this crazy last-minute pantomime display of “Me too!” (all dressed-up, it seems, as “Me first!”) but I can’t because the whole thing reeks of desperation.

In my personal blog yesterday I made some (not particularly original) predictions about Microsoft’s new tablet. I said it would fail, and that it would fail because it would run the full version of Windows 7 and require a stylus. My stylus prediction proved incorrect (so far; just you wait for the “Microsoft Slate PC Student and Business Edition” which will likely have a stylus and fold-out keyboard. That’s right, aka “a notebook”.)

Now, I know what the first comments down below will be; I’m a shameless Apple fanboy and this is pointless Microsoft bashing, yada yada… but while the former might contain an ounce of truth, this is by no means a pointless exercise. There’s good reason to study the Microsoft slate; while it doesn’t precisely tell us what to expect from Apple’s tablet, it does demonstrate what not to expect. Read More about Microsoft’s Slate: Exactly Unlike Apple’s Upcoming Tablet

Facebook iPhone App Update Brings Push Notifications, Contact Sync

It seems like forever ago that Facebook promised push notification support in version 3.1 of its incredibly popular iPhone app (iTunes link). Now it has arrived, just in time to usher in 2010. 3.1 brings the promised push notifications, and also the ability to sync your Facebook contacts with your iPhone’s Address Book for a more seamless communication experience.

Right away upon opening the app, you’ll be asked if you want to enable push notifications, and you’ll also encounter a dialog box asking you about contact syncing. Turning syncing on will automatically add links to the Facebook profiles of all the people it finds in your address book, and you can also choose to replace the photos for those contacts with their Facebook profile pictures. Read More about Facebook iPhone App Update Brings Push Notifications, Contact Sync

App Store: 3B Downloads Today, 10B Tomorrow?

Even as the excitement over the tablet reaches seizure-inducing levels among personal technology enthusiasts, Apple (s aapl) flipped on another publicity strobe light with the announcement of 3 billion downloads from its App Store.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs was astonished yet ebullient in a press release:

“Three billion applications downloaded in less than 18 months — this is like nothing we’ve ever seen before…The revolutionary App Store offers iPhone and iPod touch users an experience unlike anything else available on other mobile devices, and we see no signs of the competition catching up anytime soon.”

And he wouldn’t be Jobs without getting a jab in at the competition. With more than 100,000 applications, running on some 60 million devices, the App Store is a behemoth next to competitors Google (s goog) and Palm (s palm). Google’s Android Market has somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 applications to choose from, while the anemic App Catalog of Palm has just managed to reach 1,000 applications.

The funny thing is, Apple may have had no idea this would happen. Read More about App Store: 3B Downloads Today, 10B Tomorrow?

Magic Mouse Drains Keyboard Batteries

So the holidays are over. The food portions are returning to healthy sizes but the damage is done. New Year resolutions you’ve been ruminating on for weeks must now be taken seriously. It’s time to get in shape. No more excuses! No more distractions. You have that nice new Mac so you think, “Hey, I’ll type ’em up and print ’em out! If they’re pinned up on the wall I can’t possibly fail!”

Only, you might have a problem doing any typing if recent reports prove accurate. It seems the combination of Magic Mouse and Apple Wireless Keyboard are a toxic mix. Over on the Apple Support Discussions forum users are reporting that, since installing their Magic Mouse, their Apple Wireless Keyboards have been guzzling power like there’s no tomorrow.

Brand new, planet-killing alkaline batteries don’t make it through a full week. Tree-hugging rechargeables manage less. Users have been forced to revert to backup mice (mouses?) or switch-out their keyboards for a more traditional, wired variety. Read More about Magic Mouse Drains Keyboard Batteries

iPhone Becomes a Universal Remote This February

A new third-party accessory and software combo announced at CES will turn an iPhone or iPod touch into a universal remote capable of controlling home theater equipment. The L5 Remote will cost around $49.95, and avoids some shortcomings found in previous similar offerings.

Apple Misses Windows 7 Bootcamp Deadline, Apparently Everyone Except Me Really Cares

I have a confession to make. I don’t dual boot. I don’t use Windows on my Mac. I don’t need to. There’s not a single bit of software I need that is Windows-only. And even though I have Office:Mac 2008, I open Word and Excel documents in Pages and Numbers. (I don’t hate Office, I just find iWork to be a more rewarding experience!)

But, apparently, I’m in a minority, and every other Mac owner on Earth is simply aching to run Windows 7 on their Apple hardware. Well, you’d be forgiven for thinking as much, given the articles doing the rounds on tech sites this past weekend, most of them tersely reporting how Apple has missed its own deadline for providing official Boot Camp driver support for Microsoft’s latest version of Windows.

Here’s what Apple had to say in a (very short) support note published in October last year:

Apple will support Microsoft Windows 7 (Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate) with Boot Camp in Mac OS X Snow Leopard before the end of the year. This support will require a software update to Boot Camp.

The rest of the note was just a list of the nine older models of iMac and MacBook that wouldn’t support the Boot Camp update. Read More about Apple Misses Windows 7 Bootcamp Deadline, Apparently Everyone Except Me Really Cares

Local TV Industry Revenues Down 22% for the Year

How bad are things in the U.S. TV industry? Pretty bad. 2009 revenues for local TV stations are expected to show a decrease of 22.4 percent from 2008 to $15.6 billion, according to a recent report by BIA/Kelsey. That’s even worse than the 17 percent drop the firm had expected halfway through the year.

Revenues this low haven’t been seen in more than 10 years, and they’re expected to continue through at least 2013 — but the downhill trend should start to slowly reverse itself next year, with a 3 percent rise to $16.1 billion in 2010 TV revenue.

And while you might think that a downward spiral in traditional TV might mean more opportunity on the Internet, BIA/Kelsey doesn’t necessarily see it that way. Television stations made about $500 million in Internet revenue in 2009, which is about the same as last year, according to the report. That number isn’t set to cross $1 billion until 2013.

BIA/Kelsey isn’t looking at the full picture of the online television business, however. For the purposes of its report, the firm defines the television industry as U.S. TV stations, so revenue from Internet video made by everyone else wasn’t included.

P.S. Thanks to Robert Seidman for pointing out the report only includes local TV stations. I updated the post accordingly.