Friday, August 18, 2006

ezSkin iPod Protector

This item has been sitting in the review “vault” for a while. The reason is simple: the skin is for a 5th generation iPod...and my iPod was only a 3rd generation. My 3G iPod had a basic silicone case I bought from some no-name store online. While it gets the job done, it wasn’t anything to write home about. Then the MacPro came out with a iPod rebate deal, so I finally have a 5th generation iPod and can find out what this whole “Lost” phenomenon is all about.

Upon first using the ezSkin, I immediately noticed the quality of the plastic. The case has a very tactile feel and even with sweaty hands, the case was still easy to grip. Unlike other cases I have tested, the iPod click wheel remains extremely responsive and makes “scrubbing” quite easy.. I was able to play breakout quite well! Actually, I found the ezSkin to be an improvement over the original click wheel design because of the matte finish. Ever notice that your laptop trackpad has a matte finish? There’s a reason a matte finish is better! Such quality does cost more though. Retail for an ezSkin is about $30.00.

Unlike it's cheaper competitors, the ezSkin includes a hard plastic cover for the display thus providing 360 degrees of protection. It even has the belt clip and belt clip attachment. While I don’t know if IÂ’d trust my iPod to this clip, it makes it easier to store in the car on my dash.

Note that silicon style cases such as the ezSkin are great for protecting against scratches but are not impact resistant, thus if you drop your iPod while in an ezSkin, you’ll only be slightly better off than if you dropped it naked. If you think you might be rough on your iPod, always carry it in a impact resistant case (stay tuned for reviews!)

Overall, I am extremely impressed with this case and consider it hands down the best silicone case for protecting your iPod.

To purchase go to :

Pros: Great protective case that doesn't interrupt general usage
Cons: Not impact resistant

Mac OS X Tiger Pocket Guide (Pocket References)

by Chuck Toporek

This is not a beginners book. If you are looking for a book that explains how to double click or what an icon is, look elsewhere. The primary audience for this book is someone who is familiar with the Mac and wants to learn all the tips, tricks, and idiosyncricies of Tiger. This is the type of book someone working in a computer lab or at a help desk would turn to when you need a quick answer to a question. Every IT department should have a copy of this book available.

One of the greatest aspects of the book is Toporek’s tables of keyboard shortcuts in every section. I generally like keeping my hands on the keyboard and every time I move to the mouse, time is wasted. If there is a way to do something, anything on the keyboard in Tiger, Toporek tells you. I found myself writing little post-it notes of shortcuts I never knew and now can’t live without.

The book is extremely comprehensive, not just covering the Finder, but also applications and utilities, Unix, networking, and troubleshooting.

If I had to pick one book to be stranded on a dessert island with (of course that island would need wireless internet and electricity) it would be this book. I can’t think of a real world question this book couldn’t answer. Many of the sections were in a “How do I ” style like “Change password for User Account?” or “Share a USB Printer over an Ethernet Network.” Being a real world Tiger user, I can’t think of a single question this book doesn’t answer. I also found it handy when there were things I heard about in Tiger, but couldn’t remember where they were or how to use them. For example, I know there’s a program that will take pictures of the screen, but can’t remember where it is. I can’t search help if I don’t know what I’m looking for. A quick flip through the Applications and Utilities section in the book helped me find what I was looking for.

This is not a tutorial book. Toporek states the “how to” do something without actually walking you through it and doesn’t explain why he’s telling you to do something. I like to think of this as a recipe book for using Tiger. Follow the recipe exactly and you’ll be fine, but don’t expect to be told why you must preheat the oven or make sure to temper the eggs when making custard.

I highly recommend this book for a intermediate Mac user who would rather look something up in a book then search for the answers in Google or call their tech savvy friends. I went out and bought one personally for myself I liked it so much!

Pros: Efficient and straightforward guide on how to use Tiger efficiently and effectively.
Cons: Not for the intro user, if you are looking for a bunch of pretty pictures and hand-holding--go elsewhere.