Monday, August 08, 2005

Core Image, Monitor Spanning, and the new iBook's Radeon 9550

Some of you asked about Core Image after we posted our previous article on the new iBooks released in July which sport the Radeon 9550. As we mentioned in our article updates, yes indeed it does fully support Core Image in hardware, and this is best demonstrated by the ability of the iBook to display the ripple effect in Dashboard:

(Click on picture for larger version.)

Update [2005-08-09]

The desktop spanning hack also works fine on the new iBooks. With Screen Spanning Doctor 0.3.3 I can extend my iBook's desktop onto an external 17" 1280x1024 LCD without any problems. I have not tried clamshell mode however, since I do not use this feature.

Two finger scrolling rocks my world

Although much of the recent scrolling hoopla is with Apple's new scrolling Mighty Mouse, I'm here to extoll the virtues two finger scrolling available with Apple's trackpads on their laptops.

Originally introduced with the last PowerBooks, Apple's two finger scrolling is now standard across all its laptops, so the last iBooks got it too. I have just purchased a 12" iBook and have come to love Apple's implementation of trackpad scrolling.

I have never liked the limited up/down scrolling on scroll mice, and didn't like the trackpad scrolling hacks with 3rd party apps either. Thus, I thought I wouldn't like trackpad scrolling, but it's a world of difference. Not only is it very smooth, but it also works in all directions. This is especially useful for large photographs, say for example in Preview or Safari. With two finger scrolling, I can scroll up, down, right, left, sideways, or even in circles. Diagonal and circular scrolling do not work quite as smoothly in Photoshop CS, but I'm sure it will improve with subsequent updates to Photoshop and/or the scrolling driver. (I have not yet tried Photoshop CS2 however.)

It's these little features that continue to make Apple's laptops so desirable.