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Apple Announces Wonderful Toys 735

XMilkProject writes "Apple just released 5 new products, all of which should show up on the Apple Store within minutes. You can already see the most interesting new product, the iPod Hi-Fi, a supposed high fidelity boombox for your iPod. Other new products are an iPod Leather Case and three new media-center-style Intel Mac minis which will hit the Apple Store within the hour."
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Apple Announces Wonderful Toys

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  • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:24PM (#14819374)
    How about the new Mac mini [], which has a 1.5GHz Intel Core Solo or 1.66GHz Core Duo, 512MB RAM (expandable to 2GB), a combo drive or DVD±R/RW SuperDrive, up to 120 GB drive, DVI/VGA/composite/S-Video [] out on Intel GMA950 graphics [] (up to 1920x1200), 802.11a/b/g, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, gigabit ethernet (!), four USB 2.0 ports, FireWire 400 (Yes, FireWire is here to stay, folks), analog and digital (S/PDIF) in/out, and an IR remote with Front Row [] media center software that supports sharing music, photos, and videos between libraries on any other machine on the local network, starting at $599 ($579 govt/education), all in the same tiny form factor as the old Mac mini (6.5"x6.5"x2")?

    And a freaking set of speakers and a $99 leather case for the iPod are the "most interesting"? ;-)

    I love how the submission is like "IPOD SPEAKERS", "LEATHER IPOD CASE", and then at the end, "oh yeah, and media center Intel-based Mac minis, too". ;-)

    What I want to know is what Apple's going to do with its new 107,000 square foot [] Tier IV [] data center... iTunes Movie/Media Store, anyone?
    • Well to be fair, everyone knew an intel version of the mini was coming out, but I agree it is cool, I just purchased one.

      Also, at the time the story was submitted, only the HiFi was available on the apple site so far, the mini's hadn't shown up.
      • Yeah, I figured you jumped on the submission. It was just the way it was worded that made me a leather iPod case is bigger news than Intel-based Mac mini media centers. ;-)

        Just giving you a hard time. And I got one of the minis too.
    • by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:31PM (#14819466)
      You Apple fanboy!

      Don't you know you can get a machine from Dell with similar specs for about $100 less! A machine exactly the same in all respects! Well, I guess except a bit bigger. Well, quite a lot bigger actually. And heavier. But otherwise the same! Oh except it will be grey and kind of crappy looking. But the specs will be the same! Oh apart from running Windows XP rather than OSX. And without the iLife software. But otherwise exactly the same. You Apple fanboys are nuts!
      • Don't you know you can get a machine from Dell with similar specs for about $100 less!
        Well, it's a fair question. The Duo machine is $800, not $600. $800 is getting up there for a box with no peripherals in today's ultra-cheap market. Still it's the cheapest Duo machine I've noticed, however I haven't looked very hard.

        Are there any real competitors in the same niche?

      • by ivan256 ( 17499 ) * on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @04:04PM (#14819921)
        The Dell machine is clearly superior, because it doubles as a 'white noise' generator.
    • What I want to know is what Apple's going to do with its new 107,000 square foot Tier IV data center... iTunes Movie/Media Store, anyone?

      I have been thinking. Wouldn't it be interesting if they used this to offer paid hosting of websites and businesses (ala Rackspace/Dreamhost/CIHost/Whatever)? Now I realized that this is quite a bit out of their core market, but it would get Apple servers out there. And who better to know how to run a datacenter of Macs than Apple themselves. Rent your own partial XServe

    • I wonder if Apple is going to go this route next. It would be certainly far more usable than a dedicated gaming console.

      • by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @04:22PM (#14820147)
        I wonder if Apple is going to go this route next. It would be certainly far more usable than a dedicated gaming console.

        Thats my biggest gripe about this new version:

        Graphics and Video Support

        * Intel GMA950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory.

        Shared memory? Yuck! If you could only get a 128mb or a 256mb I'd get one. However, I bet it would be more than $1,000, but I'd still be interested.
    • Mac mini (Score:3, Informative)

      by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) *
      The new Mac Mini is ok. At least they finally fixed the fatal flaw of the original and got optical audio on the rear panel like they should have done first time. Whoever thought selling a 'media center' machine without digital audio should have been sacked.

      Still way overpriced though. Yes it is tiny, but laptops face the same issues and you can buy a laptop with similar specs just about anywhere for the same prices Apple is getting for a mini. Seriously, go price a laptop with 1.5Ghz Mobile Pentium (abo
  • for $499. Seem to be starting at $599 w/ 512MB RAM, 1.6GHz Intel core solo and 80 Gig Hard drive. I'll still grag the Power mac mini for the lower price point.
  • ...we're supposed to get worked up over a leather case for an iPod all while Slashdot continues to ignore Jonathan Schwartz's offer of free hardware [] for Slashdot? I must be missing something.
  • a great HTPC. With spdif and 4 usb, could easily hook up a few USB television tuners and run mythtv. If i hadn't just built a windows mce htpc, i'd go this route.
    • What tv-tuner cards (preferably digital, DVB) would you use with this new Mac mini? Without them it's several cards short of full deck.
      • Elgato [] makes a number of different models of TV tuner for Macs. They are USB or Firewire and depending on the model support analog, digital cable, HDTV over the air and HDTV cable signals.
        I've never used them, so I can't comment on how well they work - but there is an option out there for Mac Minis.
      • I'd buy a refurbed El Gato EyeTV 500 for $199. It's an extremely sensitive HDTV Firewire tuner. I don't know when they'll have an Intel version of their software out, so wait till that's available.
  • by Danathar ( 267989 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:27PM (#14819406) Journal
    In case anybody cares...the video chipset on this thing was MADE for home theater! It has hardware motion compensation, MPEG-2 hardware decoding, support for native HDTV resolutions and 16x9 aspect displays..among other nice stuff. It's NOT a big 3d gaming platform but definitely has the stuff for decoding video. []
    • So, basically, all the features the nForce2-integrated Geforce4 MX had when it debuted back in mid-2002? THAT'S AMAZING!

      The choice of the GMA 950 is hardly something to get worked up about. In fact, it's a downright bad choice, seeing as ATI's X1300 series has MUCH, MUCH better video support.

      • It's amazing when you consider the previous model did'nt have those features. Not that they are'nt available in another chipset.

        yea...I agree the Nforce 2 would of been better, but it really depends on the PRICE that intel said they'd give apple
        • > It's amazing when you consider the previous model did'nt have those features.

          From ATIs 9200 specs []: VIDEO FEATURES
          • FullStream Hardware accelerated de-blocking of Internet video streams
          • Video Immersion II delivers industry-leading DVD playback
          • Integrated MPEG-2 decode including iDCT and motion compensation for top quality DVD with lowest CPU usage
          • Unique Adaptive per-pixel de-interlacing feature combines the best elements of the "bob" and "add-field" (weave) techniques
          • YUV to RGB color space c
        • Actually, the previous model had superior MPEG2 capabilities.

          'Hardware Motion Compensation' is one part of the MPEG2 acceleration capabilities available in GPU hardware (same as used with DxVA in Windows and XvMC in Linux). But, MC actually provides relatively little CPU offload.

          The other portion, iDCT (inverse Discrete Cosine Transform) offloads a LOT more CPU.

          The Radeon in the old Mini could do both iDCT and MC (as can all Radeons, dating way back to when, the early 90's?).

          But, neither matter anyway..
    • Sweet! Looks like a fantastic-if-somewhat-overpriced MythTV frontend box for the living room. Anybody got any info on how much of the hardware is Linux-friendly?
  • "iPod leather cases. We've been working on these for a while. We're gonna sell these for $99, they go on sale in mid March."

    I got a leather case for my iPod, with a microfiber lining for free. I've seen dozens of similar leather pouches for $5. What can a $99 leather case get me?

  • by mzs ( 595629 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:29PM (#14819440)
    Graphics and Video Support
    Intel GMA950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory

    Memory available to Mac OS X may vary depending on graphics needs. Minimum graphics memory usage is 80MB, resulting in 432MB of system memory available.

    How capable is this Intel integrated graphics? How does it compare to that in the old ($100 cheaper) PPC mini or the new Duo iMac?
  • by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:30PM (#14819451) Homepage
    Not three.

    Standard features: Tiger + iLife '06, Apple Remote + Front Row, Airport Extreme + Bluetooth, DVI Video Out, USB, FireWire, Gigabit Ethernet. This is nice because you don't have to get an upgrade to get Airport Extreme and bluetooth.

    "All Mac mini models also include an integrated Intel GMA950 graphics processor with 64MB of shared DDR2 SDRAM(1), 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet, four external USB 2.0 ports, FireWire 400 port, optical digital and analog audio in/out, and built-in mono speaker."

    Optical out is a nice thing to have standard now, although I'm not sure about the video processor. The GMA950 is not capable of running games (see this Extremetech review []). It uses a minimum of 80mb of the memory in the Mac Mini, further reducing what you can use for applications. In short, it's a major step down from the old Mac Minis, and not useful for those who liked running WoW on their Minis.

    Low-end model: 1.5Ghz Core Solo 667 mhz fsb, 512mb memory, integrated graphics, 60GB drive, combo drive - $599 US, 699$ CDN reg.

    High-end model with Core Duo - 1.67Ghz, 80GB drive + SuperDrive 8x (dual-layer capable) - $799 US, 949$ CDN reg.

    They've also updated the iTunes and Frontrow capabilities; now you can stream any movies or music from any computer running iTunes, and it interfaces with the Frontrow software that is included (with a nice little remote).

    A bettel looking option is the new universal dock + remote (about 100$) that lets you use a video iPod like a little media device attached to speakers or a TV. Very portable!
    • They've also updated the iTunes and Frontrow capabilities; now you can stream any movies or music from any computer running iTunes, and it interfaces with the Frontrow software that is included (with a nice little remote).

      I think that means I should be able to stream my rhythmbox library on Ubuntu 6.04 to Front Row!

  • Freinds have been asking me about a intel based mac mini for months, every time they see me. I'm glad I don't have to keep saying I don't know.

    The Apple store seems over loaded I'm getting 500 errors trying to get specs for the new mini. Does anyone have a full feature list?
  • Why don't they have more info about frontrow? Can it play ripped dvd's? Does it play iso files? Does it support multichannel sound out of the digital out?

    Is this finally what a lot of folks have been waiting for for a dvd jukebox server front end?
    • Yes, it'll play ripped DVD's. To play video through Front Row, you need to either have it mountable, or loaded into iTunes. So MPG, MP4, QT, etc, or DVD's.

      Not sure about multichannel sound offhand, but I'm pretty sure.

      It'll also play trailers from the Apple Trailers site ;)
      • So in order to stream ANYTHING across the network it has to be cataloged within iTunes? Ugh...forget that.

        More direct question. Rip a dvd into an ISO image, store all the ISO images on a linux box that has a samba share. Can the mini with front row (1) access this filesystem across the network and (2) play the iso image as if the dvd were in the drive with full menu and functionality through front row?

        In other words can the mini EASILY act as a stand alone media device?
  • That would have been really cool...

  • While the original mac mini was a good idea, the new intel versions raise the price, abandoning the $500 price point. Also while they have FrontRow, there is still no tuner, no DVR software to support a tuner in FrontRow, and no component HDTV out. Showing a slideshow on a regular television could have been done by expanding their airport extreme base, and most DVD players can do slideshows already, some straight from a camera's memory card. And who wants to have their TV on to listen to music?

    To reall
    • there is still no tuner, no DVR software to support a tuner

      There will never be a tuner in the mini; broadcast television is dying and Apple wants it dead (for selfish reasons).

      The other things you mentioned are included in OS X - (games, integrated internet apps etc). This product obviously isn't for you though, so why not use any other SFF PC and run MythTV on it if you want to?
  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:32PM (#14819490)
    Which independent benchmarks [] confirming that the Intel Core Duo really is about 4x the speed of the G4, I'd say the Mini just got a whole lot more viable. At $800 [] the price is a significant step up, but I guess you gotta pay to play, and it's still the cheapest Duo system I've noticed.
  • Well (Score:3, Informative)

    by rworne ( 538610 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:32PM (#14819496) Homepage
    It should be pointed out that the new iMacs are using the Intel graphics that share system memory:
    Intel GMA950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory

    Add to that Steve Jobs stating that "Yes you can hook it up to your TV" - well sorta. You can use the Apple DVI-Composite/SVideo adpater cable, but that doesn't necessarily look so hot.

    What this thing has going for it is the integrated FrontRow, remote and it's super small form factor. I was interested in this as an XBMC Media Center replacement. Unfortunately it seems that Frontrow will only play videos that are compatible with Quicktime. This rules out most of what I have on XBMC. When you boil it all down, it's the old Mac mini + Frontrow w/intel inside.

    • Or you could enter the modern era and get a TV with a DVI/HDMI input.
    • So, can frontrow not be configured to play divx/xvid movies? I'd like to replace my TY PC with a mini, but only if it can easily play all I want it to.
  • First, the iMac mini... I would like to put this on my HDTV but hey the wireless Mac keyboard has no mouse support, how am I supposed to use a mouse on the couch. The mac remote doesn't provide these features. That is just poor thinking. Other than that I would like to see someone make their DVD library on a fileserver available via Frontrow.

    Second, the iPod case, why doesn't apple leave this market to 3rd parties, they do just fine thanks.

    Third, the boombox. The iMac mini can get music from your home
  • by CausticPuppy ( 82139 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:32PM (#14819500) Homepage
    From the apple store... which is very slow right now, it took me about 15 minutes to find out this info:

    The new mini uses DDR2 SO-DIMM's. Must be installed in pairs, comes with 2x256 by default but is upgradeable to 2x1024. $188 to upgrade from 512MB to 2GB, which is slightly more than Newegg pricing when you consider you don't get any credit for the original 512-- but still, nowhere near as bad as the old ripoff memory pricing.

    5400rpm SATA drives-- but you can upgrade to a 120GB drive for another $118 vs. the standard 80GB

    64MB **Shared video memory.** Nuts. Intel GMA950 graphics chipset. This chipset is better suited for home A/V use though.

  • PXE boot? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chill ( 34294 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:33PM (#14819512) Journal
    Can the Mac Mini boot via PXE? I'd love to be able to rip out the hard drive and just have a couple of these boot and run via GigE...
    • Re:PXE boot? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's called NetBoot, and it needs a Mac OS X server (doesn't have to be an Xserve, you can buy the server software and put it on any Mac, but it isn't cheap). See tnetworkinstall.html [] . Apple has had NetBoot of some form since before OS X, since the early teardrop iMacs (or maybe earlier) and it's popular in school lab environments etc. HD's are so cheap that it isn't worth their bother to sell you a computer without one, plus it will use it as swap space,
    • Re:PXE boot? (Score:3, Informative)

      by commonchaos ( 309500 )
      No PXE boot, but you can do a "diskless NetBoot []". The official way to do NetBoot is to use a Mac OS X Server machine with Apple's imaging tools. The basics are:
      • The client uses an extended version of bootp to get a kernel.
      • Kernel uses HTTP or NFS to mount a read-only DMG on a remote host.
      • Writes back to the DMG are "redirected" to a "shadow file". This shadow file can lives on a local hard drive, or (as of OS X 10.4) on AFP mounted share.

      I've heard rumor that people have been able to get this to work using Ope

      • Re:PXE boot? (Score:3, Informative)

        by anagama ( 611277 )
        I've netbooted linux on macs equiped w/ openfirmware (I know the g3 and g4 laptops use this). cmd-opt-o-f on power up to do installs. As you surmised, bootp is necessary as well as nfs and tftp -- just make yaboot available on the linux side, and on the mac at the openfirmware prompt:

        boot enet:XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX,yaboot

        assuming yaboot (or whatever image) is the document root -- use back slashes between directories if it isn't. The XXXs denote the ip of the server.

        Anyway, googling for "open firmware" is
  • The "hi-fi" is a bit late to the show. It doesn't add anything the exisiting iPod hi-fi's already have except a bigger price tag and the Apple logo.

    The cases are also pretty but lame. No way to access the controls, no way to view the screen, and a $100 price tag add up to DOA.

    I'm really confused why they would release these. I would think the market for these two categories of iPod add-ons is pretty saturated.

    • Apple made it, therefore they will buy it.
    • Indeed. This “Hi-fi” thing does not have much new comparing to Bose's Sound Dock (IIRC, Bose does not run on batteries, but that's it). And it is about as “hi-fi” as the crappy 128 bps songs available on iTMS.
  • by chill ( 34294 )
    Bring Your Own Damn Keyboard & Mouse was how I first read this. Considering KVM has been in use for DECADES, why the hell did Apple change a well known acronym? I should probably expect as much from a company that once tried to convice people to pronounce "SCSI" as "Sexy" instead of "Scuzzy".
  • Other new products are an iPod Leather Case and three new media-center-style Intel Mac minis which will hit the Apple Store within the hour.

    Sorry, we're all sold'll have to come back in about a month when the new shipment arrives.
    In the meantime, can I interest you in a new PowerMac G5 Quad with an NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500?
  • I'm disappointed in the graphics - I was hoping for something along the lines of an X1300 or X1600 (the MacBook Pro has an X1600, I think).

    I like that it has optical in and out, now, plus the remote control, wifi, and bluetooth are all now included. The superdrive is a dual layer drive (though certainly not as fast as the one in my current machine (NEC-3550A).

    Here's what's really "interesting": memory. It's using DDR2-667. The price to upgrade from the default 512 Meg to 2 Gig is $300. So, search Newegg, an
    • It's designed to hook to your widescreen HDTV to do 1080i, hence the max supported resolution. Will it do 1080p? I'm not sure how that works over DVI.

      Mine will hopefully arrive tomorrow evening or thursday, and I'll hook it via HDMI/DVI cable to my HDMI HD Television. It looks like this graphics setup was designed especially for media center, with all the acceleration in the right spots.
  • First off is the boombox. I'm not too surprised they did this (it is a huge market afterall). That said, I'm... unimpressed. It's just a big speaker with a iPod dock on top. That's what it looks like at least. I am thoroughly unimpressed with it. (Note: I'm not in the market for anything like this).

    I find the Minis more interesting. I like the decision to offer two speeds: one a core solo and one a core duo. I think it is sad that they only come with 512MB of RAM still (especially since they now use Intel

  • by SilentChris ( 452960 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:40PM (#14819612) Homepage
    Ever since the Mac Mini came out, I considered using it as a media PC in my living room. I currently have a stylish Shuttle box I built myself for $800 that, while not the quietest thing in the world, looks good amongst the receiver and other electronics equipment. I use it to dish out ripped DVDs to a 40" HDTV with Windows Media Center 2005 (not a bad OS, although lately I've had a few issues with crashing).

    Once I saw Front Row, I always said, if Apple were to release a version for Mac Mini, I'd buy the little box immediately. Just did.

    To me, this fits perfectly with what I want: quiet, small, cheap, able to play a large DVD collection. I'll have to save them as MPEG4s, but that's no big deal. The fact that it can play videos across the network from both Mac and PCs pretty much seals the deal.

    With a wireless keyboard and 1 GB of RAM my box came out to $750 (employee discount). The video card is pretty crappy, but otherwise it fits perfectly with what I want. I'm not a Apple fanboy by any stretch of the imagination (I like all machines, and run a ton of different boxes/OSes in my home), but this is a very nice product for what I need to do.
  • by SilentJ_PDX ( 559136 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:40PM (#14819625) Homepage
    The Hi-Fi is a bit of a stretch. It's basically a big box with little iPod jutting out of the top. It would look much better if the iPod sat between the speakers. Even the product page [], doesn't do it any favors.

    If you ask me, that's not the kind of innovation or design that we're used to from Apple.
  • I've been waiting over a year for your damn Nano-ITX motherboard to ship, or a decent "legacy-free" Mini-ITX. It looks like Apple has beaten you to it and will be getting my hard-earned cash. The only benefit I can see to the VIA is the built-in crypto accelerator, but that can easily be remedied by replacing the 802.11g mini-PCI card in the Mac Mini with a Soekris VPN1411 crypto accelerator, if needed.
  • One wonders how much Apple pays /. to run this ad.  Truly earth
    shattering announcements.  Perhaps next month will be a Sable iPod
  • that was a lotta hype for not much "fun" imho.

    *shrug* maybe I'm just spoiled/jaded at this point.

  • When apple did the conference in January I bought the stock at 76 and then it jumped to 86 with my hopes it would keep on going, but then when Intel reported badly it dropped down into the upper 60's. Right now it is hovering in the upper 68's and I wondering why the stock price is down with the impending announcement.
  • I just got an ipod for the first time (so I was worried they were gonna release a new one) and it is much nicer than a lot of other mp3 players I've tried, but that hifi thing is taking this design concept just a tad too far.... it really looks ugly.
  • Can anyone confirm if the new Mini's have a way to output 5.1 surround sound? If its made for HT, then it needs surround sound output.
  • As if millions of Apple fanatics suddenly cried out in ecstacy, and suddenly quiesced as they creamed themselves.
  • A box of speakers for Three HUNDRED fifty dollars.
    A leather ENVELOPE for ONE HUNDRED dollars.
    Mac Minis for one hundred extra bucks, and a neutered video card.

    This is just CRAP. Why was there even a show? This stuff should just appear on the Apple store, not have a friggin' party.

    Ugh. Is this what the Intel Transition is bringing me? Is Apple delirious?

    Apple needs to leave the accessories market to the little companies and crappy eBay sellers, and stick to what it was good at.

    Why did Steve even show for this one? Has he lost immunity to his own Reality Distortion Field?

    This is truly disappointing - I expect weak crap like this from someone who's copying Apple, not Apple themselves.

    I hope anyone who buys the iMoBviouslyaNiDiot box starves, because I really don't want that in the gene pool.

    Before an Apple Zealot mods this down, please note. I have more Macs than you.

  • by pjcreath ( 513472 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @05:36PM (#14821038)
    According to the Apple Store []:
    Mac mini contains 667MHz (PC2-5300) double data rate, synchronous dynamic random-access memory (DDR2-SDRAM), one of the fastest memory technologies available today. Your Mac mini comes standard with two 256MB SO-DIMM chips for a total of 512 megabytes (MB) of memory... You can upgrade your memory later by taking your system to an Apple Authorized Service Provider or doing it yourself.
    This sounds like you no longer have to tear the thing apart [] simply to upgrade the RAM.
  • Max memory too low! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cadallin ( 863437 ) on Wednesday March 01, 2006 @12:13AM (#14823945)
    That's the one thing that really hurts about the intel transition. We lost 64-bit addressing. My G5 could hold up to 16GB of RAM, all of it usable by the system. While I suspect the pro-systems will use Xeons and their hacked on 48-bit addressing to get around this. If they don't their will be an unholy ruckus from the pro-users. The G5's are used for Pro HD A/V, and high resolution still camera work, and there are many working systems out there USING 4+GB of RAM. Of course, we probably won't see a replacement for the G5 tower until ALL the pro-apps are fully ported anyway, which should still be awhile, although I'm sure they're working furiously on it now.

    I can see replacing my G5 tower with a decendent of the current dual core mini in a few years, I just hope they increase the ram ceiling by then. Realistically my computing needs could be met by a maxed out dual-core mini with a couple of mini-stack 3.5in HD enclosures connected by FW.

    My one plea: Ever since I've switched from windows, the ONE(!) app I miss dearly is Irfanview. My now fellow macheads don't understand, because showing it run under emulation cripples it horribly, but I'd pay a LOT for a Mac port of Irfanview.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser