WWDC 2004

February 2004 News Archive

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Copyright 2004 by Bill Fox All rights reserved.
Last Updated: February 29, 2004

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-- Weekend, February 28-29 --

Apple to Keynote Microcomputers in Education Conference: John Couch, Apple's VP of Education is giving a keynote at the Microcomputers in Education Conference. It is being held March 15-17 at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. Couch will speak on the changing demographics of education. [Tim Holt]

New Apple Promo--Roger Dean Desktops: Apple's Macintosh Products Guide, in conjunction with world-renowned artist Roger Dean, have launched a special promotion. Roger, whose work is so deeply associated with rock superbands such as Yes and Asia, has made available some of his most famous paintings in high-quality desktop image form. What's more, as a Macintosh Products Guide exclusive, customers can buy one set of 10 genuine Roger Dean desktops for only $16.95, and get a second, different set of 10 free of charge. The desktops come in a variety of sizes, including 1024x768, 1600x1200, 1680x1050, and 1920x1200.

Pangea's Nanosaur II: Hatchling Supports 3D Glasses, Available March 10: This is great news! Nanosaur, originally free with the Mac OS, is one of our all time favorite 3D games as regular readers know. We can hardly wait for Nanosaur 2. Pangea Software makes great completely family-oriented 3D games like OttoMatic, CroMag Rally and Bugdom. According to Pangea,

In addition to being able to play the game in a normal video mode, Nanosaur 2 can also be played with 3D glasses for a totally immersive game playing experience. The missiles, laser beams, and explosions all come popping out of the screen at you in true stereographic 3D.

Both “red-blue” anaglyph glasses and LCD shutter glasses are supported by the game, and Pangea says that they will be including two pairs of custom-made anaglyph glasses in each box. “We’ve had custom 3D glasses made which are specifically calibrated for Apple LCD displays,” says Brian Greenstone, President of Pangea Software, “These custom glasses work incredibly well and give a seriously impressive 3D effect! This is going to blow people away when they see it! I especially like playing the 2-player battle modes with the glasses on since there’s so much weaponry flying around in those levels.”

Some Salient Software Updates for Weekend Downloading:

Tri-Backup 4.0.1 - [Joe Sacco] We use Tri-Backup for our daily and weekly backups. The new items are:

  • Completely rewritten and updated User Guide.
  • Added an assistant to help create actions.
  • Added an option in each action to eject volumes after the action has completed.
  • Added an option to cancel ejecting of volumes.
  • Changed the filter that passes only certain folders and their contents.
  • Added filter to exclude empty folders.
  • Added labels filter.
  • Added an icon in the Programmed Actions list that denotes cancelled actions.
  • The main window is now resizable.
  • The pending Actions window is now resizable.
  • Added an Unprotect mode in both Immediate and Programmed compression actions that only serves to remove previously applied password protection.
  • Added a new option to modify dates, in the Modify Properties action (under Tools).
  • Added an option allowing the choice of either copying or moving files in the Partition and Regroup actions.

Salling Clicker 2.1 - Turns your Bluetooth phone into a remote controller, one of the innovative software utilities ever. We use it almost every day for presentations. The new items are:

  • Support for Symbian-based smartphones from Nokia, Siemens, and Sony Ericsson
  • Enhanced user-interface
  • One license covers all supported devices
  • Improved scripts to control iTunes, PowerPoint, and other applications
  • Many additional fixes and improvements

PowerMate Software Driver v1.6 for Mac OS X - PowerMate is the cool USB controller from Griffin Technology. The new driver includes completely new settings for GarageBand, Apple iLife apps, Microsoft Office and many others.

Apple Revised Three Hot Deals Retailers Offerings:

The Apple Store has a very special Power Mac G5 promotion taking place for a very short time, because supplies are sure to go fast. Specifically, you can take advantage of a Power Mac G5 1.8GHz with 512MB RAM, 160GB Hard Drive, a SuperDrive, and more, for only $1,899. That a savings of $500 over the original price of $2,399.

J&R has great deals on a wide variety of products for your Mac, including Bias Peak 4 LE, ATI Radeon 7000 Mac Edition Video Card, Brother MFC-3820CN Multi-function Center with Ethernet, Colorvision Spyder Pro Monitor Calibrator, Dane-Elec 256MB Secure Digital Card, Hewlett Packard 50-pack recordable DVD-R Discs, Kensington Keyboard-in-a-Box Keyboard and 2-port USB Hub, LaCie External FireWire DVD+/-RW Drive, and much more.

O'Reilly has money-saving offers on some of its most popular titles, including "Dreamweaver MX 2004: The Missing Manual," "Cocoa in a Nutshell," "Mac OS X Panther for Unix Geeks," "iPod & iTunes: The Missing Manual," "iMovie & iDVD: The Missing Manual," and more.

Apple Posted Photo Gallery of Its New SFO Store on this Apple web page. Today Apple opened a flagship (read large) Apple Retail Store in San Francisco after waiting patiently for four years for a separate store to become available. The new store is at One Stockton Street in San Francisco's principal downtown shopping district, Union Square. Here's a SF Chronicle article on the opening. [Dana Baggett]

-- TGIF, February 27 --

WAPi February General Meeting is Tomorrow--"Computer Security for Mere Mortals." The Washington Apple Pi February 28th General meeting will be held in the Ernst Cultural Center at Northern Virginia Community College. Please check the parking instructions. Links to a map and dirving instructions can also be found there. The meeting will start at 9:00 am with the usual technical Q & A period. Lawrence Charters will deliver the main presentation from 9:30 to 11+ am.

The meeting topic is "Computer Security for Mere Mortals." Most people buy a computer as an information appliance, for doing E-mail, browsing the Web, organizing pictures, writing letters and other tasks. They don't want to be security experts, yet the past several years have featured a steady deluge of computer security horror stories. This meeting will concentrate on what the average user needs to know for the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of their Macintosh. There really are barbarians out there, but with a few precautions, you can battle them off.

The presentation will be followed by the usual door prize and raffle drawings.

WAPi is the Greater Washington DC AMUG and one of the oldest.

PocketDock Works With iPod mini: We got a note from Dr. Bott that the $18.95 PocketDock adapter that allows 3G iPods to use a regular FireWire cable also works with the iPod mini.

From the Dark Side--New Cybersecurity Industry Alliance Doesn't Include M$ according to this TechWeb News article on Yahoo News. Could it be that like a monopoly, Microsoft doesn't know what security is? Well, the CSIA said that they are a cybersecurity group--is that a backhanded slap at M$?

-- Thursday, February 26 --

The Complete Production Track at GDC 2004: The Game Developers Conference 2004 is March 22-26 in the San Jose Conference Center. Today, we highlight the production track.

Game production values are at an all time high, and the demands upon game producers continue to grow. Producers must manage expanding development teams, skyrocketing budgets, larger games, and a growing global market to create games that stand out from the crowd and find an audience.

Production track sessions continue to offer proven tools and techniques to take a project from pre-production to shipping, on time and under budget. However, as dramatically more sales occur within the top 10 games, the Production track will help tighten a producer's focus by looking more clearly at the market and the resources needed to put out these games.

Here are the keynote and session titles for the production track:

- Keynote:

Production Through Collaboration: Escalating Demands on the Producer
- David Perry, President, Shiny Entertainment

- Sessions:

Accurate Prediction and Other Organizational Myths
- Starr Long, NCsoft

Creating a Monster RPG: The Light and the Dark Side of Development on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Casey Hudson, Bioware

The Impact of Middleware Technologies on Your Game Development
- Julien Merceron, Ubi Soft Entertainment

Producing Programmers: Strategies for Managing Technical Staff
- James Vlad Ceraldi, Radical Entertainment

Republic: Lessons Learned
- Demis Hassabis, Elixir Studios

Re-awakening a Classic: Prince of Persia: A Case Study
- Yannis Mallat, Ubi Soft Entertainment

SOCOM II: Creating a Compelling Online Console Game
- Seth Luisi, Sony Computer Entertainment America

User-testing in a Hostile Environment: Overcoming Apathy and Resistance in Game Companies
- Bill Fulton & Ramon Romero, Microsoft

Register at this GDF web page.

Judge in Apple-Beatles Case Owns an iPod according to this London Daily Telegraph article. Apparently, that won't disqualify him as a conflict of interest. The judge is to decide if the case will be held in the UK or in the US as requested by Apple Computer. The Beatles' company, Apple Corps, has sued Apple Computer over an alleged violation of their 1991 agreement intended, claims Apple Corps, to keep Apple Computer out of the music business. The suit was filed when Apple Computer opened the iTunes Music Store. [Dana Baggett]

Apple Wins a Software "Oscar" for WebOjects 5.2 according to this SYS-CON Media news release. The Readers Choice Awards for 2004 were announced at the Edge 2004 East Conference & Expo taking place in Boston. Apple was the winner for the Best Java Class Library award and received first runner up for the Best Java Component award, both for WebObjects 5.2. [Dana Baggett]

New Apple Promo "More Memory for Less." The Apple Store has a new promo titled, "More Memory for Less." The way it works is simple: Buy any iMac, Power Mac, or Xserve G5 and save up to $700 instantly when you upgrade select memory options. This promo is valid through March 27, 2004.

Commentary--Yes, We Know Eminem's Producer Has Sued Apple over Apple's use, in an ad for the iTunes Music Store, of a few words from Eminem's hit song of last year "Lose Yourself." The words are "sung" by a 10-year old, not Eminem. Eminem, whose name is Marshall Bruce Mathers III, or his producer apparently thinks that this minimal use of words from his song is actually his endorsement of Apple's iTunes Music Store and wants on the order of $10 Million as an endorsement fee instead of a usual and customary royalty. Nevermind that Eminem has never endorsed any product and probably has not sued any record station or their advertisers or even MTV, for that matter, for not paying for his "endorsement" when they play his whole song by him on their stations....

-- Wednesday, February 25 --

Hitachi Making Embedded Microdrive: Apple's iPod mini uses a 4-GB version of Hitachi's 1-inch microdrive that is technically removable. However, according to this article Hitachi is working on a fully built-in microdrive for devices like music players. It will be even smaller that the current removable drive. [Dana Baggett]

New Mac Retrospect 6.0 Driver Update is Out: According to an email we received, "A new Retrospect Driver Update (RDU) has been release for use with Retrospect 6.0 for Macintosh. To download the update and read a list of changes, please visit the following address:

Macintosh RDU version 5.1.103 (Retrospect 6.0)"

The new driver adds support for some 40+ new drives and "Fixes a Content Unrecognized error message with AIT tapes." [Dana Baggett]

Apple Revised Offerings from Six Hot Deals Retailers:

The Apple Store and Apple Store for Education have great new offers on high quality Nikon and Iomega products. The Nikon CoolPix 5700 has a new low price of only $799 (was $899), and a $150 mail-in rebate. And the Nikon CoolPix 4300 also has a new low price of only $349 (was $399), and a $50 mail-in rebate. As for Iomega, the Zip 250 and Zip 750 have $30 and $50 mail-in rebates respectively.

The Apple Store for Business also has two new offers. The "Brother Printer Offer" saves you up to $75 with the purchase of a Power Mac G5 and select Brother laser printers. The "MYOB Offer" provides a $30 instant savings when purchase MYOB AccountEdge 2004 along with a Power Mac G5.

AudioMIDI has great deals on a wide variety of music and audio products for your Mac, including Lynx L22 24-bit/192KHz Capable Audio Interface Card, Cycling 74 Pluggo, BFD Premium Acoustic Drum Library, Edirol PCR-1 Keyboard Controller, Evolution X-Session Computer Based DJ Solution, Apple Soundtrack/Digidesign MBox Bundle, Furman SS-6B Pro Plug, and much more.

MacMall has fantastic deals on a wide array of products for your Mac, including eMedia Bass Method, Sharp Notevision PG-A20X 2000 Lumen Projector, Planar Systems 20.1" Flat Panel LCD Display, QuarkXPress/Macromedia FreeHand MX Bundle, Nikon CoolScan 5000ED Film Scanner, Sony CyberShot DSC-T1 Digital Camera, XtremeMac Get Connected Audio Bundle, and much more.

CDW has money-saving deals on an assortment of products for your Mac, including Maxtor 250GB External FireWire Hard Drive with Push-button Backup, LaCie External DVD-RW/CD-RW FireWire Drive with Toast 6 Titanium, US Robotics 802.11g Wireless 10/100BASE-TX Access Point, Keyspan High Speed USB/Serial Adapter, Aladdin Systems Stuff-It Deluxe Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004, and much more.

Flat Panel LCD Monitors Killing Off CRTs according to this USA Today article on Yahoo News. CRT's will be hard to find by the end of this decade. Steve Jobs proclaimed the death of the CRT in 2001 but the eMac still has a CRT, albeit a built-in one, that should be gone at least by the end of the decade. [Dana Baggett]

New PocketMac iPod Edition Brings Entourage Sync Features to the iPod: Information Appliance Associates announces the release of PocketMac iPod Edition(TM), a new tool for Mac & Windows systems allowing iPod users to sync their contacts, calendars, tasks, notes, & documents with their iPods. While the Mac contains built-in tools to export AddressBook/iCal information to the iPod, PocketMac iPod
Edition(TM) converts and copies users' Entourage data -- Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, and Email -- to the iPod, from within the familiar iSync application.

-- Tuesday, February 24 --

Mozilla 1.7a is Out and available for download. According to MozillaZine:

This release features improved popup blocking, with a better method for detecting and stopping popups and the ability to open blocked popups. Mail & Newsgroups now supports multiple mail identities per mail account (though there is no user interface for this yet) and also sports several usability enhancements. In addition, this version of Mozilla adds support for the onBeforeUnload event and includes a newer and enhanced version of ChatZilla, which now understands the /ignore command. Mozilla 1.7 Alpha is also smaller than 1.6 and page load times have improved since the last release.

Here are the release notes. Remember that this is an alpha release. It crashes on Dana Baggett when he launches the Mail application. [Dana Baggett]

TiVo has a Survey about TiVoToGo and the Mac: According to the introduction,Thank you for your interest in this survey! We greatly appreciate your feedback.

"This survey is about potential features for TiVoToGo, an upcoming feature enhancement for the TiVo Series2 DVR. We would like to ask for your feedback on a variety of topics. Your feedback is invaluable to us and will help us develop the new product."

Especially, be sure to answer question number 23:

23. Which one of your computers would you MOST WANT to use, if you were to use TiVoToGo?

The Mac is one of the options. Take the TiVo survey here. [Brian Nakamoto]

Having Trouble Finding Pepsi-iTunes Promo Caps? Try calling the promotion hotline 1-800-418-9766. From reader Tim Holt,

Bill, I called Pepsi today and asked why they didnt have the iTunes promotion in West Texas or Southern New Mexico. The guy that answered was amazed (or at least acted amazed) that it wasn't going on....

Anyway, I got the Pepsi iTunes Promotion Hotline Number, so maybe if everyone called that can't find any caps gave Pespi a call ....



We've dropped to 11 songs for 16 caps. Two of the 11 winners have been sent in because their codes wouldn't work.

Apple Security 2004-2-23 v1.0 is Out for Mac OS X Client and Server and available via the Software Update preference panel. According to Apple, it addresses the following issues:

CoreFoundation: Fixes CAN-2004-0168 to improve notification
logging. Credit to aaron@vtty.com for reporting this issue.

DiskArbitration: Fixes CAN-2004-0167 to more securely handle the
initialization of writeable removable media. Credit to
aaron@vtty.com for reporting this issue.

IPSec: Fixes CAN-2004-0164 to improve checking in key exchange

Point-to-Point-Protocol: Fixes CAN-2004-0165 to improve the
handling of error messages. Credit to Dave G. of @stake and
Justin Tibbs of Secure Network Operations (SRT) for reporting
this issue.

QuickTime Streaming Server: Fixes CAN-2004-0169 to improve
checking of request data. Credit to iDEFENSE Labs for
reporting this issue. Streaming Server updates for other
platforms are available from

Safari: Fixes CAN-2004-0166 to improve the display of URLs
in the status bar

tcpdump: Fixes CAN-2003-0989, CAN-2004-0055, and CAN-2004-0057
by updating tcpdump to version 3.8.1 and libpcap to version 0.8.1

We downloaded and installed it with no problems on several Macs. [Dana Baggett]

Mac OS X and BSD Most Secure Server OS's according to this article citing a study by mi2g. This year Linux was the worst followed by Windows.

According to the study, the most secure OS turned out to be BSD (Berkley Software Distribution) and Mac OS X. mi2g said its study focused on "overt digital attacks" and did not include other methods of intrusion such as viruses and worms.

Last year Windows was the worst in a similar study. [Dana Baggett]

Cable Internet Subscriptions Slow While DSL Improves according to this Reuters article on Yahoo News. Cable still has 64% of the broadband market but DSL is coming on due to price cuts. [Dana Baggett]

-- Monday, February 23 --

Hands-On Review--Apple's iPod mini: The new iPod mini was available last Friday at 6 p.m. from the Apple Store, retail and online. As we noted on our weekend edition, we picked up a silver iPod mini Friday evening along with several hundred other customers who showed up at the Tysons Corner Apple Store in McLean, VA, for the 6 p.m. kickoff.

Apple's iPod mini is clad in anodized aluminum and comes in five colors: silver, gold, blue, pink and green. Apple expects silver to be the most popular color, perhaps because it matches the latest PowerBooks and Power Mac G5s. We bought a silver one for that reason but we think all of the colors are attractive. If green had been available we might have had a difficult choice.

The mini's out-of-the-box experience is similar but not quite like the orginal iPod's. Apple has clearly found a way to provide very similar but less expensive packaging, in part by using pressed paper inserts rather than foam. The Mini comes protectively sheathed in a clear plastic wrapper with "Don't steal music." printed on it in four languages.

Also included are FireWire and USB cables, the usual white square AC adapter, ear buds and 2 sets of foam covers, a white belt clip that the Mini simply snaps into and a small "box" that contains a Quick Reference, User's Guide, one-year warranty, user license, iTunes Music Store flyer and a CD. On the CD is the iPod mini software v1.0, PDF's of a tutorial and user guide and iTune 4.2. Note that the mini does not use the regular iPod software.

There are two additional Apple mini-specific accessories available, a mini-dock and an arm band "clip". The iPod remote controller and in-ear headphones also work with the mini as does many third-party iPod accessories. We wanted to buy a set of in-ear headphones but the Tysons Corner Apple Store did not have any in stock.

Our first impression of the iPod mini is that it is small, marvelously small, even when compared to the latest generation iPod. At 2" x 3.6" the mini is slightly larger than a standard business card and only a half inch thick, about the thickness of the stainless steel part of the iPod. The mini's screen is smaller at 1.67" diagonally instead of 2". It is also much lighter at 3.6 oz vs about 6 oz depending on the iPod model.

We own an original 5-GB iPod and a third generation 30-GB iPod. They are shown in the two photos along with our new mini. The mini is remarkably smaller.

The mini has the same headphone jack, sliding "Hold" switch and proprietary FireWire power/communication jack as the current iPod but the controls are a new design, the best yet in our opinion. The scroll wheel is touch-sensitive solid state but the button in the middle and the four "buttons" on the wheel are mechanical, the latter are actuated by rocking the wheel at one of four locations. We like the mechanical buttons on the 1st and 2nd generation iPods better than the solid state buttons on the 3rd generation iPods.

We plugged our new iPod mini into the FireWire port on our PowerBook G4. iTunes launched and updated our mini with the mere 182 MP3 and AAC song files (about 910 MB or 12.4 hours) that we have--the mini will hold about 3.8 GB of data. We set the preferences so that we can also store regular files on our mini. Then, we launched iSync and added the contents of our Address Book. In just a couple of minutes we were all set.

The iPod mini's screen, although smaller than an iPod's, shows the same information. The font is smaller but readable, thankfully, without our 2.00 reading glasses. We plugged our 30-GB iPod's remote into the mini and it controlled the mini as designed.

How does the mini sound? Just like either of our iPods as best that we can tell. We're not entirely tone deaf but we have blown out each eardrum, one twice, over the years while skin diving. We listened to our song collection alternating between the mini and regular iPods over a couple of hours and could tell no real difference. If anything, the bass seems to be a tiny bit stronger on our mini but maybe we're imagining it.

We ran into one MP3 song that wouldn't play while listening to our song collection on the mini, Dan Fogelberg's "Leader of the Band". It plays fine on either iPod and our PowerBook but on the mini it went through the motions of playing but there's no sound as if it's a blank file. The other songs ripped from his album play fine. We deleted the song from iTunes and updated our mini to delete the song. Then we re-ripped it and updated our mini again. Now it plays fine.

Afterward, a friend pointed out that we could have simply added or deleted a character to the song's title in iTunes and updated our mini to delete the old file and reinstall it. Or we could have set the mini in iTunes for manual updating instead of automatic. Oh well, the file now plays. This was the first time we have encountered this problem.

The iPod mini's snap-in belt clip works easily. It has a half-inch rubber nib inside to keep the mini from slipping up or down lengthwise. However, we're a bit leery of the mini accidentally being dislodged. Perhaps, if we were a bit thinner....

In summary, the iPod mini is terrific. It's small and light enough to go virtually everywhere with us, virtually all of the time, and it's every bit as good at playing songs as it's big brother (...er, sister...?) iPod. If one has a humongous CD collection and wants to carry the whole collection around, then the iPod is ideal. The same is true if one uses the iPod as an external bootable hard drive with lots of applications. However, if one only wants to carry around less than 50 hours of songs and a GB or two of files, then Apple's new iPod mini is ideal.

Update--Our Pepsi-iTunes Promo Success Rate: After purchasing an initial half dozen of the 20 oz promotional bottles of Pepsi, i.e. with the yellow cap with a 1:3 chance at a free iTunes song, we have continued to buy an occasional bottle. Our score stands at 10 free songs out of 14 bottles.

BTW, we haven't used the cheat posted on MacMerc.com but we admit to looking to see if it works. It doesn't with our eyes, even with reading glasses, unless the bottle is empty and at room temperature and the translucent blue-green gasket is removed from the cap. YMMV

A Reader's Bad Experience with Domain Registrar IntuitiveISP.com: Reader Mike Swope wrote,

I know that many of your readers are web designers or developers, or themselves own one or several domains through assorted registrars. I feel it important to make them aware of at least one registrar's activities and retaliation.

I have upwards of 30 domains registered with IntuitiveISP.com. On or about February 3, one of my past clients, to whom I had sent several notices about his domain expiring, contacted IntuitiveISP.com and managed to talk them into providing him with my username/password combination, granting him full access to all my domain registrations (mix of my own and my clients's domains). At no point was the client told to contact me about his domain, or did IntuitiveISP contact me regarding my past client's request. On February 7, I needed to access my profile account on IntuitiveISP, when I discovered that I could not access my profile. A subsequent phone call and several hours later, IntuitiveISP admitted that they had given my username and password out to an unknown, unverified, unconfirmed individual. That individual had since changed the password to the account. Which is why I could not access my account. Subsequently, IntuitiveISP then sent the new access information to my email address still in the profile. Thankfully, I was able to reset my password again, and the past client had only managed to transfer his domain, for which I had been reminding him to transfer the domain for nearly a year. So no real harm had been done.

I did ask of IntuitiveISP, however, to renew all my domain registrations for one year due to the breach in security and my privacy, and subsequently my client's security and privacy. IntuitiveISP responded that they would only renew 7 domains. I finally agreed that I would accept just 7 domains to be renewed at no charge.

However, I had already determined that I would be transferring my domains to a new registrar. Since I had one customer's domains expiring in just a couple of days, I proceeded to transfer those domains. In the meantime, IntuitiveISP was to have been renewing the 7 domains I had specified the day before, as they had agreed to do.

Now, however, after another day, and a request for confirmation that the 7 domains had been renewed, IntuitiveISP responds that they will not be renewing those 7 domains as they had agreed, because I had transferred domains to another registrar.

I feel that your readers should know about this event, and believe that IntuitiveISP is in serious breach of agreements to be a registrar. I will be following up with this promptly, as well as researching potential legal ramifications of the security and privacy breach.

Rural Power Utilities are Getting into Broadband Internet Business and are offering broadband internet via power lines and wireless transmissions according to this AP article on Excite. So far some 134 of 2,000 power utilities nationwide are doing it since telecommunication companies are not. Many rural residents are getting faster internet service than their city neighbors. [Dana Baggett]

Washington Apple Pi AMUG Looking for New Board Members: In a note to the members of WAPi, the Greater Washington DC AMUG, President Pat Fauquet wrote:

"The deadline for nominations for next year's Washington Apple Pi Board of Directors is next Saturday, February 28 at 3:00 p.m. Have you considered running for office?"

"At the January General Meeting, you, the members ratified our new bylaws which give board members a three year term. In this first year, we will be electing board members for one, two and three year terms to get the process started. In turn, the Board of Directors will be electing the named officers (President, our four Vice Presidents, Secretary and Treasurer) from among themselves. After serving for three years, directors will take a mandatory one year off before they can run again for the board."

If interested, contact the WAPi office.

Business Card Composer v2.1 Adds French and Dutch Language Version: Making business cards becomes easier on a Mac. Business Card Composer version 2.1 adds Dutch and French languages. Try this native Mac OS X solution to create and print new business cards. Starting from version 2 the users enjoy new possibilities: creating custom layouts and ordering cards printed by the professional print shop directly from the application.

-- Weekend, February 21-22 --

On-Scene Report--iPod Mini Debuts at Tysons Corner Apple Store: The line to buy an iPod Mini at the Apple Store in Tysons Corner Mall began at 2:30 p.m. ET yesterday. The Minis didn't go on sale until 6 p.m. so Mr. First-in-Line waited a whole 3.5 hours to buy pink and blue iPod Minis.

When we arrived at 5:45 p.m., there were over 50 people in line. Store manager, Eileen Magee, was walking up and down the line passing out revervation tickets for a specific color to those who wanted to buy an iPod Mini. Only Minis in blue, pink and silver colors were available for sale. All of the green and gold models had been sold already to those who pre-ordered.

When 6 p.m. rolled around, some 200 people were in line. At the rate they were going, Eileen forecast that she would be out of iPod Minis sometime on Saturday, so show up early today if you want one this weekend. It is likely that only the silver models will be available later on Saturday. Since silver is expected to be the most popular color, more silvers were received in the first shipment. If you want another color, Eileen said she expected another shipment early next week. For you trivia buffs, Eileen Magee is the first manager of the first Apple retail store--her 9 year-old daughter was helping bag the purchases.

We picked up a silver iPod Mini. Look for our "Hands-On" report!

[Update 9:30a ET 2/21] Aspyr Mac Game Development Status Report: Here is a list of all upcoming games from Aspyr for the Mac, including their status and expected release date:

  1. The Sims™ Makin' Magic
    - Gold Master--February 2004
  2. Command & Conquer™ Generals
    - Alpha--March 2004
  3. 007™ Nightfire™
    - Alpha--March 2004
  4. Medal of Honor Allied Assault™ Breakthrough
    - Beta--March 2004
  5. The Lord of the Rings™; The Return of the King™
    - Alpha--April 2004
  6. Call of Duty™
    - Alpha--April 2004
  7. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell®
    - Alpha--April 2004
  8. Space Colony™
    - Alpha--May 2004
  9. Delta Force®:Black Hawk Down®
    - Alpha--May 2004
  10. SimCity™ 4 Rush Hour
    - Early Development--June 2004

The MoHAA Breakthrough expansion pack (#4) has hit beta and is on target for release next month. One of our favorite current games is MoHAA Spearhead, so we eagerly await the new expansion pack.

[Update 9:30a ET 2/21] Feral Interactive Mac Game Development Status Report: We received a note on the current status two of Feral Interactive's games for the Mac.

Worms 3D: Good news to report on Worms 3D. The Mac version is coming on a treat and the office is already echoing to the sounds of "Oi Nutter!" and "They'll be singing in the Valleys". Today we are kicking off the Worms 3D mini-site with the first screenshots from the Mac version, a trailer, and profile, features and links pages. Question of the week: Worms 3D - nematodes or annelids? Check back next week for the answer.

XIII: The Mac version of XIII is coming on incredibly well and a release in mid-April now looks a good possibility. Every week between now and then new a new element of the XIII mini-site will be going live. Today there's a brand new teaser trailer with more clues to XIII's identity, some new screenshots, and new features and links pages. Check back next week to get up close and personal with the main characters - the Mongoose awaits.

"A Security Primer for Mac OS X" was Posted by O'Reilly's MacDevCenter on this web page. The article is by Francois Joseph de Kermadec.

Mac OS X is relatively secure out of the box, and Apple has been good about providing easily installable security updates as needed.

[Dana Baggett]

Business Card Composer in Next Apple Store Pro Day: BeLight's terrific Business Card Composer will take part in "Promoting Your Business on a Mac", the next Pro Day at your nearest Apple Store! The Pro Day program is intended for those starting a small business and the next one is scheduled to be held in 70 Apple Retail Stores on Wednesday, February 25th.

Using Business Card Composer, Apple will demonstrate how a small businessperson can generate a series of materials to do a great job of representing their business. Apple will also show how easy and affordable it is to plan, create and deliver professional marketing materials using iLife, Keynote and .Mac. Find your nearest participating Apple Retail Store on this web page.

We previously favorably reviewed Business Card Composer.

-- TGIF, February 20 --

Apple iSight Update v1.0.2 for the iSight Camera is Out and available for download via the Software Update preference pane or from this Apple web page. According to the ReadMe file:

The iSight 1.0.2 update provides improved auto exposure and auto white balance functionality, enhanced IIDC compliance and better overall performance. The iSight 1.0.2 update is recommended for all iSight users.

We used the Software Update preference pane to get the updater. It is automatically stored in the Applications->Utilities folder. When we plugged in our iSight, the updater automatically launched and a dialog box said we needed to update our iSight's firmware from 1.0.

We can confirm that our iSight now produces a much better picture, both in exposure and in color balance. [Dana Baggett]

Apple iMovie 4-HomePage Tutorial Posted: There's a new step-by-step tutorial in Apple's Learning Center for using iMovie 4 with HomePage. iMovie 4 features support for HomePage built directly into the sheet that appears when you use the Share... command, and it does a lot of work behind the scenes so the movies you share are both high quality and bandwidth friendly. This new Learning Center entry spells out how to take advantage of this capability.

iMovie Contest for .Mac and dotmac.info Members: The dotmac.info site is running a new contest for iMovie-makers interested in sharing their work with a wider audience. There are Professional and Amateur categories, and prizes include a 40GB iPod (grand prize), a 4GB Mini iPod (2nd prize), and a $50 iTunes Music Store gift certificate. The deadline for presenting your iMovie with HomePage and submitting it to dotmac.info is April 14, 2004.

.Mac Members Get 10% Video Camera Discount: According to a note from Apple, there's a 10 percent discount on any video camera in stock waiting for .Mac members who visit an Apple retail store by March 31, 2004. Apple is proud of their retail stores and the experience they offer, and they'd love to have you come by so they can get to know you in person. Log in to .Mac any produce a page that can be printed out and take along with you to claim the camera discount (available only to full .Mac members).

Apple Revised Offerings of Four Hot Deals Retailers:

MacWarehouse has great deals on a wide variety of products for your Mac, including Dr. Bott ExtendAIR, Kensington Wireless Optical Desktop Keyboard and Mouse, Belkin Media Reader for iPod, Sony DCR TRV-19 HandyCam, LaCie ITB Hard Drive, Brother HL-1440 Laser Printer, Microsoft Office v.X Student/Teacher Edition, Micromat TechTool Pro for Mac, NetGear 802.11g Wireless Router, MacAlly IceCad Digitizer, and much more.

CompUSA has fantastic money-saving deals on a bevy of Mac products, including Logitech Cordless Optical Mouse for Notebooks with $10 mail-in rebate, TDK indiDVD External FireWire DVD-RW Drive with $30 mail-in rebate, Iomega HDD 80GB External USB Hard Drive with $30 mail-in rebate, eMedia Piano and Keyboard Method with $10 mail-in rebate, Samsung ML-1710 Laser Printer with $70 mail-in rebate, Epson Stylus C84 Color Inkjet Printer with $20 mail-in rebate, and much more.

O'Reilly has great deals on many of it's most popular titles, including "iPod & iTunes: The Missing Manual, 2nd Edition," "iMovie & iDVD: The Missing Manual," "AppleScript: The Definitive Guide," "iPhoto 2: The Missing Manual," "Learning Cocoa with Objective-C," and much more.

Ramjet has money-saving deals on upgrades for your Mac, including 2GB DDR400 128-bit Upgrade Kit for Power Mac G5; Ramjet 120GB External FireWire Hard Drive; 512MB and 1GB RAM upgrade kits for eMac, iMac, iBook, Power Mac G4, and more.

From the Dark Side--Intel Puts its Dagger in Bluetooth's Heart, at least on PCs according to this eWeek article on Yahoo News. Intel plans to drop support for Bluetooth and instead use the unfinished Ultrawideband standard that the IEEE working group had deadlocked over. Ultrawideband wireless runs at speeds up to the level of USB 2.0 and FireWire. Intel's implementation will likely become the defacto standard because of Intel's market clout. [Dana Baggett]

-- Thursday, February 19 --

Apple Led Market in Fast WiFi Revenue for 2003 with its AirPort Extreme Base Stations and networking cards based on the 802.11g WiFi standard according to today's BusinessWeek article. Apple garnered a 20.2% share of the global fast WiFi market and was number 2 in unit sales behind Cisco subsidiary Linksys. [Dana Baggett]

Japanese Game Developers Speak at GDC 2004: The Game Developers Conference being held March 22-26 in the San Jose Conference Center, has greatly benefited from a long history of participation by Japan's leading developers. The GDC 2004 sessions include:

Wants and Instincts
- Tetsuya Mizuguchi

The Evolution of a Franchise: The Legend of Zelda
- Eiji Aonuma, Nintendo

Game Design Methods of ICO
- Kenji Kaido & Fumito Ueda, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

Game Design: Risk and Return
- Masahiro Sakurai

A Peek Behind the Shoji: Japan's Videogame Market Today
- Ryoichi Hasegawa, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

Practical Implementation of High Dynamic Range Rendering
- Masaki Kawase, Bunsaka Games

The Secret of Pac-Man's Success: Making Fun First
- Toru Iwatani, Namco

Experimental Gameplay Workshop
- Keita Takahashi, Namco

David Pogue Answers iPod Critcisms Today in his New York Times column. He had written an article on alternatives to the iPod and received a large amount of email criticizing the iPod for not having a replaceable battery and that it only lasts 18 months. Neither is true. iPod batteries can be bought and installed or one can pay to have Apple do it. We have three original 5 GB iPods in our family that we got when they first came out and we still listen to them virtually every day. [Dana Baggett]

QuickTek Released 8-DBi Directional WiFi Antenna for TiBook: The AirPort range of Apple Titanium PowerBook G4s can be increased three-fold with their new WiFi antenna according to a note from QuickerTek.

"Customers who bought our other wireless antenna products have been thrilled with the performance improvements," said Rick Estes, president, QuickerTek. "We have had a growing list of customers who have requested increased wireless performance from their Titanium PowerBooks. So, this is the perfect product for those installations where only a directional antenna can optimize wireless performance," Estes continued.

The antenna connects to an installed AirPort card through the PCMCIA card slot in the TiBook. It costs $55.

Apple Posted Press Reactions to Power Mac G5--All Wildly Positive. Apple posted a web page with exerpts from eleven press reviews on Apple's new Power Mac G5. [Dana Baggett]

From the Dark Side--Intel Reverses Course on 64-bit CPU: After Apple (IBM actually) and AMD produced CPUs for desktop computers and servers capable of 64-bit processing, Intel maintained that 32-bit CPUs were all that were needed for the forseeable future. According to this New York Times article on Excite, Intel has reversed course and now says it will begin building 64-bit capability into its Xeon CPUs used in lower end servers. [Dana Baggett]

-- Wednesday, February 18 --

Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference 2004 Registration is Open, Save $300 by registering today. According to Apple, the WWDC 2004 with its integration of advanced technologies, open standards, powerful development tools, and remarkable user interface, Mac OS X is the only platform today that gives so many types of developers so many ways to bring ideas to life.

And there is only one place to get the in-depth information and practical training you need to take advantage of the breadth of opportunities this amazing platform offers: Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. At WWDC 2004, you’ll connect face-to-face with Apple engineers and your colleagues from around the world — hardware and software developers, IT managers, scientists, researchers, systems administrators, web designers, and content creators — for a week of education and inspiration.

Whether you want to build a supercomputer on a limited budget or deliver rich media content over a cell phone, the Mac platform makes it possible. Discover how to put Mac OS X to work for you at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2004, June 28-July 2, San Francisco, California. Check out the details.

Apple iPod Mini Available Friday at 6 p.m. from the Apple Online Store, Apple Retail Stores and Apple Authorized resellers according to an Apple press release. There are some 100,000 pre-orders. Steve Jobs announced at the iPod Mini Macworld introduction that they would be available in February.

“The response to iPod mini has been off the charts,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “iPod mini broadens the market for iPod by competing head-on with flash-based players. iPod mini costs only about $50 more than a 256MB flash-based player, yet it holds 16 times the music, is smaller, is easier to use and provides superior audio.”

The iPod Mini holds 1000 songs, weighs less than 4 oz, comes in 5 colors and costs $249. Here is the full Apple press release.

Steve Jobs is Finalist for WIRED's "Renegade of the Year" Award: On February 11th we posted a note that he needed votes to become a finalist, now he is. The RoY is the person who had the most significant cultural impact in the WIRED world in 2003. Linus Torvalds of Linux fame is also nominated. The winner will be revealed at the Rave Awards Gala on March 15th at The Fillmore in San Francisco. Winners of the Rave Awards will also be published in WIRED’s April 2004 issue. [Dana Baggett]

Apple's iTunes Music Store Team Nominated for WIRED Software Designer Rave Award according to the Rave Awards web site. The Rave Awards are presented by WIRED Magazine. The results will be announced Marthc 15th and will be published in WIRED's April issue. Last year the Mac OS X Team won the Software Designer Rave Award. [Dana Baggett]

RIAA Claims It's Protecting Apple iTunes Music Store with Its Lawsuits and just filed over 500 more according to this CNet article. The RIAA is still aggressively pursuing illegal music downloaders and will continue to do so. [Dana Baggett]

Apple iSync v1.4 is Out and available for download via the Software Update preference pane or from this Apple web page. According to the ReadMe file,

iSync 1.4 includes support for more Symbian OS smart phones and the iPod mini, as well as stability improvements. Before you install iSync 1.4, you must install iCal 1.5.1 or later. If you are using Mac OS X version 10.3 and plan to synchronize a Bluetooth mobile phone, you need to have Bluetooth version 1.5 or later installed.

Apple Bluetooth 1.3.4 Updater for Mac OS X 10.2.8 is Out and available for download from this Apple KBase article.

What's new in Bluetooth 1.3.4: Bluetooth 1.3.4 for Mac OS X 10.2.8 provides enhanced stability for Bluetooth connections to some Symbian OS mobile phones. This release does not contain any other new features.

Mac OS X 10.3.x uses Bluetooth 1.5.

Apple Revised Several Hot Deals Retailers Offerings:

Sweetwater has great deals on a wide variety of music and audio products for your Mac, including Tascam US-122 pro USB audio and MIDI interface, Edirol UM-15X two port USB MIDI interface, Studio Projects B1 large condenser microphone, Native Instruments B4, M-Audio Oxygen 8, MakeMusic Finale 2004, Steinberg Cubase SL, Etymotic ER-6 earbuds, and much more.

J&R has fantastic prices on a bevy of products for your Mac, including Bias Peak 4 LE, Blizzard Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, Aspyr Media The Sims Combo Pack, Brother MFC-5200C color inkjet flatbed multifunction center, Britannica Encyclopedia 2004 Ultimate Reference Suite, Final Draft 6, IRIS Pen Executive USB hand scanner, and much more.

The Apple Store for Business has a new offer titled "Projected Savings." Save up to $200 on selected Epson projectors when purchased with a new iBook G4 or PowerBook G4.

-- Tuesday, February 17 --

Apple iBooks for Maine's Library Media Specialists: This month, according to MaineLearns.org, Maine Learning Technology Initiative iBooks are being distributed to middle school Library Media Specialists across the state. This is good news for middle school teachers and students who rely on their school librarians to guide them in their research. [Dana Baggett]

Free ShareAlot Application Coming to the Mac Soon: Billed as "The World's Easiest Way to Share Photos", ShareAlot is an application for sharing photos over the internet. The software is free and will be available to download for the Mac later this week. It works by simply dropping photos onto an application icon on the desktop. [Dana Baggett]

iPodRes--iPod Repair Service Starts: MacResQ announced the launch of a unique new nationwide repair service for Apple iPods. The service, known as iPodResQ, will provide iPod users throughout the United States with a source for 24-hour repairs and battery replacements on their iPods. iPodResQ is the only service of its kind offering 24-hour turnaround on repairs and nationwide, overnight pickup & delivery at the user's location. It joins MacResQ's other wildly successful and award-winning 24-hour repair programs, PowerBookResQ and PowerMacResQ.

Free AppleScript for NewsWire from Doug's AppleScripts iTunes: Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes has posted "NNW Subscription to iPod Contacts", an AppleScript that copies selected news Subscriptions from the NetNewsWire RSS reader in vCard format to the Contacts folder of any mounted iPod.

Features include:

  • Quick and easy copying of news feeds and blog entries of any length from NetNewsWire to iPod for portable reading.
  • User-editable file-naming to avoid truncation in the view window.
  • News items are copied sequentially for easy navigation using iPod's "Previous" and "Next" buttons.
  • Automatically over-write previous copies of a Subscription for efficient daily operation.
  • "Manage" feature allows you to easily delete old news Contacts.
  • Option to eject the iPod when finished.

"NNW Subscription to iPod Contacts" is a free download and requires NetNewsWire from Ranchero Software, and iPod for Mac. Check out Doug's other useful AppleScripts.

-- Monday, February 16 --

Hands-On Review--iBreeze PowerBook Stand: We began using a PowerBook as our principal computer when Apple released its AirPort WiFi networking cards and Base Station. At the time, our main PowerBook was a hot number (literally), a 2400c. AirPort and the 2400c allowed to us work from any room in Macs Only!'s global headquarters so we used the 2400c all the time, not just when on travel. The 2400c's underside got so hot when running on AC power that it spawned an entire industry of cooling stands and platforms, mostly in Japan, to rest it on.

Our 2400c was succeeded by a number of PowerBooks used as our principal computer: a 400 MHz G3 "Pismo", a 500 MHz G4 TiBook, an 800 MHz G4 TiBook, an 867 MHz 12" PowerBook G4 and the current 1 GHz 17" PowerBook G4. [BTW, we still have the 2400c, a marvel of engineering skill, and plan to keep it running "forever".] Each of them also got/gets excessively warm on the bottomside when being run off AC power.

MacMice has introduced the latest cooling stand for PowerBooks they call the iBreeze. The stand is made from a single formed piece of plexiglas with two clear fans attached to the back. There's also an on/off switch for the fans and a USB port. The fans run off a cable to one of the PowerBook's USB ports so there's no AC adapter to worry about. The iBreeze's USB port means one won't lose a USB port to its fans.

The iBreeze is about the size of the 12" PowerBook G4 so that PowerBook fits perfectly. We set our 17" PowerBook G4 on the iBreeze and were surprised at how solid it felt. We tried purposely tipping it left, right and back to no avail. If lifted high enough in the front, our 17" PowerBook G4 might go over backward but no one in their right mind would do that. Excessive pressure on the left and right wrist (palm?) rests would not raise it at all. The iBreeze is wider than 17" PowerBook G4's keyboard so it is very solid when typing. The front edge of the PowerBook is raised 3/4" and the rear edge is raised 2-3/8" making a very comfortable typing position.

The iBreeze's front edge does not interfere with the SuperDrive slot. CDs and DVDs can still be inserted and removed with no problem.

The two 60mm CREAIR fans are relatively quiet but they are not silent. Fortunately, they do not whine, vibrate or buzz at all and are not annoying. They are clearly noticeable in a quiet room but any ambient room noise, like music, conversation or a TV drowns out the fans' sound. There are quieter fans available but they alone cost as much or more than the iBreeze.

How well does the iBreeze cool? Subjectively, the iBreeze cools our 1-GHz 17" PowerBook G4 very well. The PowerBook's bottom got slightly warm to the touch in only a small area along the screen hinge. Normally, it gets uncomfotrtably warm (nearly hot) over most of the rear third of the bottom. ThermographX reported that the temperature of the bottoms of the power supply and GPU ran at 58% of maximum and the CPU bottom at 54% of maximum after several hours use. The usual numbers without the iBreeze for working in Adobe GoLive are 80% and 75% respectively, indicating that the iBreeze provides substantial cooling.

In a more acid test for heat reduction, perhaps, we setup our 12" PowerBook G4 to play songs with iTunes with the visualzer running full screen. After 30 minutes, the internal fan had come on strongly and the CPU bottom temperature was up to 141 deg and the GPU top temperature was 116 deg. The left wrist rest was very warm as well. We placed it on the iBreeze still running iTunes with the visualizer on and the CPU temperature dropped to 131 deg and the GPU to 111. The PowerBook's internal fan continued to run but the iBreeze still provided cooling even under extreme use.

In summary, the iBreeze is a great little PowerBook cooling stand. It's attractive while still strong and sturdy. The fans are not annoying and it really cools the PowerBook as shown in our hands-on tests. At only $29.99, the iBreeze is a real bargain.

[Revised] Last Item on the Pepsi-iTunes Promotion: Over the weekend we continued to receive emails from readers. Most found promotional caps, including our NE Editor in rural Maine. Three more noted that they still can not find any 20 oz bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi or Sierra Mist with the promotional caps, including: Lubbock, TX, Nashville, TN, and St. Ann a suburb of St. Louis, MO. Only three emails have mentioned that they found Sierra Mist with promotional caps, Carrollton, TX, Tiffin, OH, and Memphis, TN. Two mentioned seeing promotional caps on Mountain Dew which is not supposed to have them.

Finally, Joe Gudac owns a bowling center. On Friday he received 70 cases of 20 oz bottles from his Pepsi distributor, only one case had the promotional caps. Thanks to all who responded. Good hunting!

From the Dark Side--Will M$ Monoculture Kill Global Computer Security? Remember Dan Geer? He's the guy who was fired from his job as chief technology officer at @Stake, a computer security firm in Massachusetts, after a paper was published that he jointly wrote with other computer security experts warning about vulnerabilities due to Microsoft's OS monopoly and M$ integrating more and more of its software into its OS. One of @Stake's clients is M$ which claims there's no relationship to Geer's firing. His theory, called monoculture, is patterned after an ecosystem weakened through low biological diversity. Here is an AP article on how Geer and his theory are doing. [Dana Baggett]

-- Weekend, February 14-15 --

[Update 8a ET 2/15--Revised] Halo Updater is Now Out and available for download via Versiontracker or MacGameFiles. updates both version 1.0.3 and the defective 1.0.4. It's a 1.5 MB download while the defective 1.0.4 updater is a 800+ KB download. For some reason, as of this the time that this note was first posted, the defective 1.0.4 Updater was still posted on MacSoft's Halo Support web page. We applied the updater to our defective 1.0.4 version and it fixed the Forward ("w") key problem of 1.0.4. The Mac Halo group is to be commended for getting out a working Mac version within 2 days of the PC version.

[Update 8a ET 2/15] AppleWorks File Utility is Out and available for download. We overlooked this one last week. According to Apple:

This utility is designed to fix AppleWorks documents that have become damaged when the documents are saved from AppleWorks 6 running on a Mac OS X 10.2.x client to an AppleShare or compatible file server.

Pepsi-iTunes Promotion Follow Up: We received many responses to yesterday's article from all over the US, too many to post. Most stated that the promotional caps on 20-oz Pepsi and Diet Pepsi were available in limited numbers in their areas.The locations where people stated that they couldn't find them are: "Texas"; El Paso, TX; and Iowa City, IA. Bill Palmer wrote to mention that his iPod Garage web site has a map of where the promotional caps have been reported.

No one mentioned finding any Sierra Mist promotional bottles nor 1-liter promotional bottles of any flavor. The prices mentioned ranged from $1.09 to $1.49. Robert Ruznick wrote that the Baltimore 7-11's he visited had the promotional 32-oz cups in stock.

Most found one or more winners. We had four winners among the six bottles we bought on Thursday. Curiously, the four regular Pepsi's were winners and the two Diet Pepsi's were losers.

We beat the odds substantially and we paid $7.46 for 120 oz of Pepsi and four iTunes songs. We could have bought 135 oz of Pepsi in two 2-liter bottles for $1.84 and four iTunes songs directly off Apple's iTunes Music Store for $3.96, total $5.80. Directly purchasing songs off Apple's iTunes Music Store seems like the best deal.

PC Version of Halo Updated to 1.0.4 Now Incompatible with Mac Version 1.0.3: MacSoft's web site listed a v1.0.4 Mac updater as of 6:30p ET yesterday but after we updated our Halo v1.0.3 with it, the forward ("W") key was reversed to backward. We're sure there will be a fix soon.

Survey of Maine iBook Users Confirms Benefits: Responses from 26,000 students and 1,700 teachers in the program confirm a greater interest in learning and higher quality work among the iBook users according to this Portland Press Herald article. [Dana Baggett]

Second Generation G5 CPU in Production at IBM according to this Computerworld article and an earlier CNet article. Apple announced the Xserve G5 at Macworld Expo in early January. The Xserve G5's specs, we pointed out, noted that it would use the newer 90-nanometer process rather than the 130-nanometer process used in the first G5 CPUs. The smaller die uses less power and produces less heat at the same clock speed as the original G5. It is expected that the newer G5 will reach 2.5 GHz and will be cool enough to use in PowerBooks at lower speeds. [James Friedel and Dana Baggett]

Apple Updated Three Hot Deals Retailers' Offerings:

ClubMac has great deals on a bevy of products for your Mac, including eMedia Bass Method, Epson Perfection 4870 Photo Scanner, Logitech QuickCam Orbit, MacSoft Jeopardy 2nd Edition, Discreet Combustion 3 Upgrade, Coda Music Finale 2004, Pioneer 8x DVD-R/RW Internal Drive with $30 mail-in rebate, Fuji FinePix S7000 6.3MP Digital Camera, GVP XP 800 Series 200GB FireWire 800/400/USB 2.0 External Hard Drive, and much more.

J & R has fantastic savings on a wide variety of products of your Mac, including Aspyr Media The Sims Combo Pack, Belkin Voice Recorder for iPod with Dock Connector, Broderbund Print Shop 12, eMedia Learn to Play Piano and Keyboard Pack, Harmon Multimedia JBL Duet Stereo Speakers, Microsoft Office v.X Professional Edition, Edirol Super MPU23 External MIDI Interface, Pinnacle Systems Dazzle Hollywood DV Bridge, Brother MFC-3220C Color Multifunction Center with $30 mail-in rebate, and much more.

Other World Computing has money-saving deals on upgrades for your Mac, including Pioneer DVR-106 Internal SuperDrive, OWC Mercury Elite FireWire/USB External Hard Drive Enclosure Kit, NewerTech 65 Watt Hour Titanium PowerBook Battery, Griffin PowerPod Auto-Adapter for iPod, and much more.

-- TGIF, February 13 --

So Where Are All The Pepsi-iTunes Promotional Bottles? They are actually out there but you have to know where to look--really!

As most of you know, on February 1st the Pepsi Cola Co. began a promotion that offers a free Apple iTunes Music Store song download in one of every three specially-marked 20-oz and 1-liter plastic bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Sierra Mist--100 million songs in total. The kickoff was a Super Bowl ad and the promotion was set to run through the months of February and March (see the details here).

We have a standing order in our family to bring home a 6-pack of the special bottles when located. In fact, there's a standing incentive of an all-expense paid trip to San Diego for the family member who brings home the first 6-pack. But in nearly two weeks after the Super Bowl kickoff, no one has scored even one bottle, much less a 6-pack.

Yesterday, Kent Wilmes wrote us asking if we knew what was going on because he hadn't found any of the promotional bottles in his suburb of Denver. That, along with our own dry spell, gave us the impetus to conduct a specific check of ten establishments in the immediate vicinity of Macs Only!'s global headquarters in Northern Virginia. We decided to check four supermarkets (two each of Safeway and Giant), four large drugstores (two each of CVS and Eckerd) and two 7-11's.

There were none in any of the four supermarkets. In fact, none of the supermarkets even carried the 20-oz Pepsi bottles. They had 1.05 liter (not 1-liter!) and 24-oz plastic bottles but no 20's. They also had larger 2-liter plastic bottles, 12-oz cans and smaller bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Sierra Mist by the gillions. We did get faked out for a minute by another Pepsi promotion, "Caps for Caps", which also uses the same yellow cap on the 1.05-liter plastic bottles. One additional thing we noted was that the 2-liter bottles and the 24-oz bottles had special price promotions in all four supermarkets, 99 cents each for a 2-liter or a 24-oz (if buying 3) bottle .

We scored at the first 7-11 we visited. Their singles cooler houses 20-oz plastic bottles of just about every kind of soft drink. Sprinkled among the Pepsi and Diet Pepsi bottles were about a dozen of the yellow-capped iTunes promotional bottles. We fished out 6 and bought them for the outlandish price of $1.19 each. The ad for a free iTunes song chance with a humongous 32-oz cup of their fountain Pepsi was prominantly displayed but there were no specially-marked cups. The cashier said the cups hadn't arrived yet and didn't know when they would.

We had exactly the same experience at the other 7-11 and at all four drugstores, i.e. a few promotional bottles sprinkled in among the others at $1.19 each for a 20-oz bottle and no specially-marked promotional cups.

At $1.19 for a 20-oz bottle, that works out to nearly 6 cents per ounce for a free song if you get one, or with the one in three odds it's nearly 18 cents per ounce per song. Contrast that with the cheapest that we found Pepsi, 88 cents for a 2-liter bottle or 1.3 cents per ounce at an Eckerd drugstore, and you can begin to understand how Pepsi is paying in part for the promotion. With a slow start up and a sure end date plus the primary delivery method being high-priced singles via 7-11s and drugstores, at least so far, we wonder just how many of those 100 million songs will actually get redeemed.

The good news is that the first and second bottles we opened were winners! Still four to try. The bad news is that the code on one is partially unreadable and wouldn't work so we have to mail it in plus we paid over $7 for 6 bottles of Pepsi. We also scored the trip to San Diego but it's really not a vacation. You see, Macs Only!'s global headquarters will be transferring from Northern Virginia to our home town, San Diego, in late spring to early summer.

What's your experience? Let us know.

[Update 10a ET] Feral Released XIII for Mac Trailer Today: You see, it's Friday the 13th.... XIII is a new game being brought to the Mac by Feral Interactive and it has reached beta stage with a target release in April. Feral has also set up a special web site to preview the game with screenshots. The web site states in part "You have no recollection of who or what you are...only the knowledge that you are implicated in the assassination of the President of the U.S.A...and that people are out to kill you...and what does this "XIII" tatooed on your chest mean?"

[Update 8a ET] Tonight on The Mac Night Owl LIVE Show--Hard Drive Maintenance: This week, Gene Steinberg's The Mac Night Owl LIVE will feature a special hard drive maintenance clinic. His guests will include John Christopher of DriveSavers, Jeff Baudin of MicroMat and Greg Brewer of Prosoft. Tune into the broadcast from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern.

Apple GarageBand v1.0.1 Updater is available for download from this Apple article. [MacUpdate.com] The 21.5 MB update "...clarifies specific alert dialogs regarding system performance...." according to the article. GarageBand is the newest of the Apple iLife suite of applications.

National Do Not Email Registry is a Fraud but it looks very similar to the Federal Trade Commission's "National Do Not Call Registry" web site for telemarketer control. However, the latter uses a secure server (https://) and has a .gov domain. The warning was posted in this Reuters article on Yahoo News. The FTC does not have such an email registry although Congress has asked the FTC to look into the possiblity of setting one up. [Dana Baggett]

FCC Developing Rules for Internet Access via Electric Power Grid according to this NYT article on Excite. You may be able to get broadband internet anywhere in your home by using its electrical wiring. [Dana Baggett]

Internet Phone Rules to be Established by FCC according to this AP News article on Excite. The Federal Communication Commission will decide on how internet phoning fits into the regular telephone system for the purpose of following rules and regulations, including fees. [Dana Baggett]

Mac Support Canned by PalmSource for New Cobalt OS according to this article on Yahoo News. Instead, Mac users will have to rely on third party developers to develop the software links for syncronization with Palm devices. PalmSource is doing this as a cost saving exercise to compete with Microsoft and Symbian. [Dana Baggett]

Apple to Open Flagship Store in London according to this (London) TimesOnLine article. The store, one of Apple's large models at 20,000 square feet, will be on London's Regent Street and it is the first of the so-called flagship stores in Europe. [Dana Baggett]

-- Thursday, February 12 --

[Update 11a ET] Unreal Tournament 2004 for Mac Demo is Out and available for download via several mirrors from MacUpdate.com. However, all of the mirrored servers are swamped. We finally connected to one that will take 7 hours to complete the 200MB download via our broadband internet connection, so you might think about waiting a few days if you can.

[Update 10a ET] Apple Refurb Power Mac G5's from Virginia Tech's Super Computer Cluster Available according to this MacMall web page and an ad that we received from MacMall. For $2799 one can own a piece of the world's third fastest computer, a barely-used dual 2-GHz Power Mac G5 that has more RAM (1 GB) than the stock model but no modem.

Apple's Chief Designer Jonathan Ive Rated #1 on British Cultural List according to this article.

Jonathan Ive, the designer of the iPod, the iMac and the iBook, has been recognised by being voted top of a list of Britain's 50 most influential cultural figures. The list, compiled by leading figures in the worlds of fashion, the arts, media and design, has been compiled for the first birthday of BBC3, the youth-orientated digital channel.

The event will be broadcast this evening in Britain. [Dana Baggett]

Deal 1--MacPlay's $10 Groundhog Day Game Special: In honor of Punxsutawney Phil, who saw his shadow this year for the 94th time since 1887, MacPlay thought they'd offer four great games for just $10 each. They'd like to think that if Phil had opposable thumbs, a bigger brain, and a Mac in his hole, he'd love these games too. So between now and midnight (CST) on February 20th, order any of these titles for only $10, plus shipping:

  • realMYST
  • Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix
  • Super GameHouse Solitaire Collection
  • Super TextTwist/WHATword?

Maine High Schoolers Investigate iBook Program for Themselves according to this article. We were the first news organization to report on the Maine iBook program which provides iBooks to all seventh and eighth graders throughout the state and the first to break the potential expansion to high school. While the expansion, like the original program raised a lot of controversy, high schoolers are taking things into their own hands by looking into the success of the 7/8 grade program.

The Mountain Time students noticed that while the teachers did not use the laptops exclusive of other methods of communicating their respective subjects, they did make use of them to make learning easier and more enjoyable for the teachers. The Apple ibooks contained a built-in graphing calculator, thus eliminating the need for students to purchase calculators, and also offered a plethora of pre-programmed multi-media software to allow art teachers to expand the scope of their courses.

Deal 2--MacLinkPlus Deluxe v14.0 for $59.99 from Aladdin Systems downloaded via Digital River, that's $20 off:

MacLinkPlus MacLinkPlus Deluxe is the best way to convert and use all of your Windows files in Mac applications. It supports the latest programs like Microsoft Word & Excel (even 2003), WordPerfect 9.0 and more. Plus you can now quickly view text and graphics files even if you don't have the original applications. It also includes a new interface, a new translation settings feature allowing you to quickly convert and send file to people with work with frequently and more. Fully carbonized and compatible with OS X! MacLinkPlus Deluxe is the must have survival kit for Mac ssers in a Windows world.

-- Wednesday, February 11 --

[Update 1p ET] Tonight on Your Mac Life--Apple's Frank Casanova and MagnaTunes' John Buckman: Frank Cassanova, Apple's Senior Director, QuickTime Product Marketing will join host Shawn King on Your Mac Life this evening to talk about QuickTime 6.5, 3G penetration and compare the business models of QuickTime to Real Networks and Microsoft.

Additionally, "We are not evil!" is an odd battle cry but one that may work for MagnaTunes.com. John Buckman, the company's Founder and CEO, will talk with Shawn about the company and how it will compete with and complement Apple's iTunes Music Store.

Tune in at 8:30p ET (5:30p PT).

[Update 10a ET] “Republic: The Revolution” Has Entered Beta and should be available from Feral Interactive at the beginning of next quarter. The minimum system requirements are expected to be as follows:

  • Mac OS 10.2
  • PowerPC G4 1 Ghz
  • 512 Mb RAM
  • Hardware accelerated 3D Graphics Card with 32 Mb VRAM
  • 1.35 Gb free hard disk space
  • Mouse and Keyboard

The revolution begins today! The mighty Soviet Union has fallen, and the fledging republic of Novistrana teeters on the verge of collapse. The country is mired in corruption and chaos – disorder and discontent are everywhere. The time for change has come – change led by you, the charismatic leader of a rebel faction. Your goal: to oust the President of the Republic… by any means necessary.

Be sure to check Feral's new web site for more information on their upcoming political simulation.

Votes Needed--Steve Jobs is Nominated for WIRED "Renegade of the Year" in the 2004 Wired Rave Awards for 2003. Unlike those Forbes.com polls, this is an actual award by Wired Magazine, so click the link and vote for Steve. The RoY is the person who had the most significant cultural impact in the WIRED world in 2003 and is elected by WIRED editors with input from WIRED readers. Last year's winner is Stephen Wolfram, Scientist and CEO, Wolfram Research. The Apple OS X Team won the software designer Rave Award. [Brian Nakamoto]

Bluetooth Phones Vulnerable to Bluejacking and Bluesnarfing Attacks especially when Bluetooth is turned on according to the Bluestumbler.org web site. Bluejacking is an abuse that is commonly used voluntarily to send text messages using Bluetooth rather than via a cell company transmission among cell phone users. The downside is spammers and other n'er do wells can also tap into this flaw. Bluesnarfing ranges from stealing data from your phone, like contacts and calendars, to installing a "backdoor" to use your phone surreptitiously for GPRS data transfers, etc.

The vulnerable phones include the popular Bluetooth phones from Sony Ericsson, like our T68i, and Nokia. Turning Bluetooth off is the main defense but apparently some Nokias can be snarfed even if Bluetooth is turned off. The phone makers claim to be working on a fix.

This is a real problem since we use a Bluetooth headset with our phone and use the phone occasionally as a GPRS "modem". During both uses Bluetooth is turned on for a considerable period of time in public.

Should the iMac Lose Its Head? Business Week writer Alex Salkever thinks so in this article. The iMac is the only line to lose sales in the last quarter, down 24%, but its been declining. Salkever suggests that the iMac's cool articulated 15-20" displays could be a super standalone consumer monitor line and we agree. He also suggests that a small headless iMac desktop, designed by Jonathan Ive and upgraded with a new cooler G5, could be a low cost consumer hit--again, we agree. We noted prior to Macworld SF that the iMac line needs a lift and these are good suggestions in our opinion. [Dana Baggett]

Apple Revised Offerings from Two of Their Hot Deals Retailers:

Other World Computing has great deals on a wide variety of upgrades for your Mac, including Miglia AlchemyTV Tuning and Video Capture for Power Mac G4, ADS Pyro A/V Link, SanDisk Cruzer Mini USB Flash Drive, Chally PodPod Acrylic iPod Easel, Griffin iTrip FM Transmitter for iPod, MacAlly iOptiNet Jr. USB Optical Mouse, NewerTech High Capacity 65 Watt Hour TiBook Batteries, and much more.

CDW has money-saving deals on a bevy of Mac products, including Intuit QuickBooks Pro with $150 mail-in upgrade rebate, Viewsonic 18" LCD Display, Iogear Wireless Gateway, DataViz MacLinkPlus Deluxe, QuarkXPress, Brother HL-1440 Laser Printer, Asante FriendlyNET 802.11g Wireless Cardbus Adapter, Xerox Phaser 8200N Color Laser Printer, Macromedia Director MX, and much more.

Virtual PC for Mac v6.1.1 Updater is Out and available for download from Microsoft's web site. According to M$:

This update addresses security issues and bugs related to running upcoming Windows XP Professional service packs.

From the M$ Security Bulletin covering the update:

MS04-005 - Vulnerability in Virtual PC for Mac could lead to privilege elevation (835150)

Affected Software:

  • Microsoft Virtual PC for Mac version 6.0
  • Microsoft Virtual PC for Mac version 6.01
  • Microsoft Virtual PC for Mac version 6.02
  • Microsoft Virtual PC for Mac version 6.1

Impact: Elevation of Privilege

TurboMac a Fast Dialup Internet Service Debuts: FasterMac.net, a services division of Other World Computing (OWC), introduced TurboMac, an accelerated unlimited dialup service with local 56K access throughout the United States specifically for users of Apple computers.

Using specialized software that enables on-the-fly data caching and data compression/decompression, TurboMac provides accelerated Web page display and email downloading. This is most visible when loading Web pages, which are able to fully display up to six-and-a-half times faster compared to standard, non-accelerated dialup services.

A special introductory rate of $120 for the first year ($10 per month) is being offered to the first 500 customers who sign up for FasterMac.net's new TurboMac service. Standard pricing starts at $139.95 for a yearly subscription (less than $11.67 per month), $37.95 quarterly ($12.65 per month) and $13.95 month-to-month.

Propel Needs Senior Mac Software Developer: From our West Coast reporter Brian Nakamoto, "Propel says that they're having a hard time finding a senior Mac developer to help them finish the Mac version of Propel Internet Accelerator for Mac. Propel's's the tech firm that Earthlink uses. They have over 160 partners, including Earthlink, that offer/bundle their internet accerlator." If interested, check it out here.

Macworld Magazine Posted Its 19th Editor's Choice Awards: Their top awards went to the iTunes Music Store (Innovation), Power Mac G5 (Hardware) and SpamSieve (Software). Check them all out to see if you agree.

-- Tuesday, February 10 --

Willow Design To Close Doors With Final Blow-out Sale: In a note from Willow Design's president Nigel Peck, he wrote: Willow Design has announced that it has started a final close out sale of all its cases and dust covers before closing its doors on February 29th. The closure has been a very difficult but necessary decision based on the economics of offshore competition.

"All Willow cases are hand sewn in small batches by individual seamstresses. This has guaranteed superb quality, but this has been an expensive way to make the cases. With increased competition of offshore made cases produced at labor rates of 22¢ - 30¢ per hour, we found we just couldn't compete", commented president Nigel Peck.

The only two options were to either decrease the quality of the cases, or shift production offshore as well -- neither of which option was acceptable. "So we decided to just stop making the cases instead", said Peck.

"Stopping production was a very difficult decision as we have always been very proud of the cases we make and have really cherished the wonderful communication we've had with Willow case users around the world" said Peck. "Missing that feedback and interaction is going to be the hardest part of giving up the business - we want to express our thanks to everyone who we've met over the years."

The sale includes all Willow products so it gives the Mac community one last chance to get the quality, protection and durability of a Willow case at a substantial savings. The sale ends February 28th.

We have reviewed a number of Willow Design cases and dust covers over the years and have found them to be innovative in design and built superbly. We are very sorry to see them close down.

Apple Jaguar Software Updates: The files are still available on MacUpdate.com but the Apple KBase articles, available early last evening, were pulled after publication time:

Apple AFP Client Update 1.0 for Mac OS X 10.2.6-8

The AFP Client Update improves the reliability of data accessed from an AFP server when using AppleWorks. This update also prevents files from being corrupted on logout if the file is open in AppleWorks.

Apple Graphics Driver Update 1.0 for Mac OS X 10.2.8

The Graphics Driver Update delivers updated graphic drivers for Mac OS X v10.2.8 to restore DVD Player functionality.

Why Mozilla Changed its Standalone Browser Name from Firebird to Firefox is covered in this ZDNet article. Another open source community already used the name for their relational database development effort. After choosing Firefox as the new name, Mozilla discovered that it was already trademarked in the UK and negotiated its use with the owner. So far, it appears that the standalone mail client name, Thunderbird, is safe. [Dana Baggett]

Consumer Reports Rated Apple Tops in Reliability and Support among computer manufacturers once again--this time in their March '04 issue. Apple came out on top in both categories for desktops and laptops. They also provided a fair comparison of the eMac and iBook G4 with their Wintel counterparts. [Dana Baggett]

-- Monday, February 9 --

[Update 11a ET] Mozilla Firebird Renamed Firefox, v0.8 is Out and available for download. According to MozillaZine.org, the standalone Mozilla Firebird browser has been renamed to Firefox and received an upgrade to version 0.8. This latest release features a new download manager, bookmarks enhancements, better support for extensions and several thousand other improvements. Windows users can benefit from a new installer, while Mac OS X users will enjoy the new Aqua-style theme, Kevin Gerich and Stephen Horlander's Pinstripe.

New Nanosaur II: Hatchling Screenshots Released: Pangea Software, Inc., today has released new screenshots for their upcoming game, Nanosaur II: Hatchling. Six new screenshots have been posted to the Nanosaur 2 web site

Pangea Software says that they expect Nanosaur 2 to be available sometime next month, both as a download and on CD. Additionally, Pangea says that there is going to be a big surprise regarding the game which they are keeping secret until the game hits beta. 

“We’ve done something really amazing with a piece of technology in the game which is going to blow people away,” says Brian Greenstone, President of Pangea Software, “If I told you more I’d have to… well, you know the drill.”

Nanosaur II: Hatchling is the sequel to the incredibly popular game Nanosaur which was originally released in 1998, but this time the player pilots a pteradactyl and travels to other planets.

The first Nanosaur remains one of our all-time favorite computer games.

32 Teacher Finalists in Golden Apple Awards: Ten will be chosen for the award which recognizes top teachers with a one-term sabatical at Northwestern University, $2500, an Apple Computer and membership in the Golden Apple Academy that supports teachers. Read the details in this Daily Southtown article. [Dana Baggett]

WiFi (AirPort) at US Rail Stations Getting Closer according to this AP article in Yahoo News. Amtrak has signed a deal with AT&T Wireless for WiFi service in 6 stations: Boston's Route 128 Station; Providence, R.I.; New York Penn Station; Philadelphia's 30th Street Station; Wilmington, Del.; and Baltimore's Penn Station.

Unfortunately, we've had trouble connecting to AT&T Wireless networks, most recently in the Denver airport running Mac OS X 10.3.2 (AirPort 3.3) in a 17" PowerBook G4. Trying to connect returned something like "There was an error connecting to the network"--not very informative.

WiFi on rails in Europe is under consideration by Eurostar according to this CNet article. [Dana Baggett]

-- Weekend, February 7-8 --

Quicken 2004 R2 Updater is Out and available for download for download via MacUpdate.com. There are many improvements, too many to list here, that cover general use as well as online banking.

Apple Extends Mac OS X Up-To-Date Program Again, this time until February 29, 2004 according to this Apple web page. Check the web page to see if you qualify for a $19.95 Panther upgrade CD.

Apple Updated Offerings from Two of Their Hot Deals Retailers:

MacZone has great deals on a variety of products for your Mac, including Intuit TurboTax Deluxe 2003 with a FREE CD-RW 5-pack, Microsoft Office v.X with FREE upgrade to Office 2004, Nikon CoolPix 4300 4MPG Digital Camera with FREE 64MB Memory Card and $50 mail-in rebate, Seagate 160GB External FireWire Hard Drive with $40 mail-in rebate, Hewlett Packard DeskJet S150 Color Inkjet Printer, and much more.

Inside Mac Games has fantastic prices on the hottest games for the Mac, including Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, ActiVision Anthology: Remix Edition, Law and Order: Dead on the Money, Warcraft III Battle Chest, No One Lives Forever, Total Immersion Racing, Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, and more.

-- TGIF, February 6 --

New Apple Developer Article--"OpenGL Tools for Serious Graphics Development": Apple is committed to OpenGL as its all-encompassing, cross-platform 3D graphics solution. And Apple helps developers maximize performance and stability by providing unique OpenGL tools not found on any other platform. This ADC article introduces Apple's best-of-breed OpenGL tools that help developers locate, analyze and debug graphics bottlenecks, making the Macintosh a uniquely powerful platform for OpenGL development.

Participate in the First-Ever Game Connection @ GDC: The Game Developers Conference 2004 (GDC) is coming March 22-26 to the San Jose, CA, Conference Center. Following the success of the Game Connection, an innovative marketplace for game concepts offered in Europe, the Game Developers Conference and Game Connection have teamed up to bring publishers and developers to one place at one time at the Game Developers Conference, the game industry's most important professional development event. The Game Connection @ GDC is March 22-23.

Game Connection @ GDC brings developers and publishers together in private meetings to preview new game concepts. This event, expanded to include European, North American, and Asian developers, provides game developers an opportunity to efficiently show game concepts and development capabilities to leading international publishers while attending the Game Developers Conference.

Meetings are confidential and take place in private rooms. Publishers and developers maximize time and investment via a robust online scheduling system at www.game-connection.com, which allows publishers to conveniently schedule more than 30 developer presentations in only two days. Once on site, all meetings are held in one central location.

During the last Game Connection, 80 top independent game developers and 60 publishers met during 2,200 meetings in 3 days. Each Game Connection @ GDC attendee will receive 6 months of free access to the Game Connection website to network and maintain contact with attendees from all Game Connection events.

A Game Connection registration includes access to the GDC Expo on March 24 to 26 and a special discount for GDC pass upgrades. For optimum schedules, be sure to register no later than March 1, 2004! For Europe, Africa and the Middle East register here. For the US and Asia register here.

Cellular-Based Broadband Wireless Internet Options: We must admit that we are strongly attracted to Sony's new Vaio x505 laptop noted on O'Grady's PowerPage yesterday. It weighs only 1.7 lbs, a real attraction to those of us who need to haul around a laptop all day from meeting to meeting and building to building. The main drawback, of course, is that the x505 runs Windows XP and not Mac OS X.

So why wouldn't Apple's 12" PowerBook G4 do? After all, it is a terrific laptop with a Superdrive and everything. Well, not everything unfortunately. In addition, it weighs 4.6 lbs, nearly 3 lbs more than the x505.

The main thing that the 12" PBG4 lacks for many people is a PC-card slot. Why a PC-card slot? Because cellular technology that provides anywhere broadband internet, not just at "hot spots" or in WiFi-enabled conference rooms, is exploding. Here is a summary by Brian Nakamoto, our West Coast reporter, after we discussed the new tiny laptop wonder from Sony:

You perked my interest to review the wireless broadband (non-802.11/non-satellite/non-microwave) solutions planned by cellular carriers:

Verizon's CDMA EV-DO (300-500 Kbps burstable to 2 Mbps) network is planned for 6 major markets by the middle of this year and nationwide by the end of 2005.

Sprint's CDMA EV-DV (EV-DO speeds and also improves voice quality) network is forecast to rollout nationwide sometime in 2006 or 2007.

Nextel's Flash OFDM (1.5 Mbps burstable to 3 Mbps) just started testing in one market.

AT&T's Edge "2" WCDMA (10 Mbps?!) is under development.

CDMA 2000 (40-60 Kbps burstable to 144 Kbps) from Sprint and Verizon, and GSM/GPRS Edge (60-80 Kbps burstable to 130 Kbps) from AT&T appear to have the most national coverage currently.

Why doesn't Apple at least make drivers for a PC-card to USB or FireWire adapter that could be used with the 12" PowerBook G4? We are thinking long and hard about the Sony....

Tonight The Mac Night Owl LIVE Features Macworld Magazine's Christopher Breen: This week, The Mac Night Owl LIVE will explore the breadth and depth of the Mac universe with "Mac 911" columnist Christopher Breen of Macworld [www.macworld.com]. You'll also hear from Glenn Fleishman, who writes the Practical Mac column for the Seattle Times [http://seattletimes.com/ptech/]. Glenn has focused his efforts on writing about and explaining the AirPort and Wi-Fi networking revolution over the last four years.

Tune into the broadcast from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern.

Inkjet Printers Wasting Ink? Some people think so in order to force the sale of more expensive ink cartridges than are really needed. Especially egregious are printers from Epson and Canon and some from HP that quit printing when ink gets low even if there is still ink left. PC World tested several inkjet printers: a Canon i850 Color Bubble Jet Printer, a Dell A940 Printer, an Epson Stylus C84, a Hewlett-Packard Deskjet 6122, and a Lexmark Z65 Color Jetprinter. They found that the Epson quit with 20% left and the Canon quit with 10% left. The others continued to print past the low ink warning until most all of the ink was gone. However, the article says that all printers delivered approximately the number of pages per cartridge that the manufacturer claims. [Dana Baggett]

From the Dark Side--M$ Lawyer to Chair ABA Antitrust Panel according to this AP news article carried by Excite. Even before Microsoft Associate General Counsel Richard Wallis takes over, the American Bar Association panel is planning to oppose more aggressive antitrust settlement oversight. That's obviously not going to turn around when he assumes the chair of the panel. It appears that there are no ABA canons of ethics against gross conflicts of interest. [Dana Baggett]

-- Thursday, February 5 --

[Update 2p ET] Apple iChat AV v2.1 Public Beta is Out and available for download. According to Apple, iChat AV v2.1 Public Beta adds support for video conferencing with the AOL Instant Messenger 5.5 for Microsoft Windows. Now one can video conference with PC users. As with Safari 1.2, however, it requires 10.3.x . The specific requirements for iChat AV 2.1 Public Beta are:

For Audio:

  • Mac OS X v10.3 or later
  • Any G3 processor
  • Built-in USB
  • iSight, or any microphone
  • 56K modem internet connection

For Video:

  • Mac OS X v10.3 or later
  • G5, G4, or G3 600Mhz or faster processor
  • Built-in USB
  • iSight, or any microphone
  • iSight or any FireWire based camera
  • Cable, DSL, or or other broadband Internet connection

[Update 11:30a ET] Apple CFO Fred Anderson to Retire on June 1: Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's Senior VP of Finance and Corporate Controller, will replace him. Here is the full Apple press release:

Apple® today announced that Fred D. Anderson, Apple’s executive vice president and CFO, will retire on June 1, 2004 and Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s senior vice president of Finance and corporate controller, will succeed Anderson as CFO at that time. The company intends to appoint Anderson to its Board of Directors upon his retirement.

“Fred has been one of my closest partners at Apple, and has earned the reputation as one of the finest CFOs in the technology industry,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re going to have a smooth handoff to Peter, who will be a great CFO for Apple, and we'll continue to benefit from Fred’s contributions as a member of Apple’s Board.”

“We have been grooming Peter for this role for four years and he is going to be a great CFO,” said Fred Anderson, Apple’s executive vice president and CFO. “Peter already has responsibility for almost all of Apple’s financial departments and has done an excellent job leading them.”

Anderson joined Apple as executive vice president and chief financial officer in March 1996. In his capacity as CFO, Anderson oversees the controller, treasury, investor relations, tax, information systems, internal audit, facilities and human resources, and serves on the company’s executive team. Anderson came to Apple from Automatic Data Processing (ADP), where he was CFO. Anderson currently serves on the board of directors of eBay and E.piphany.

Oppenheimer, Apple’s senior vice president of Finance, corporate controller and member of Apple’s executive team, joined Apple in July 1996 as controller for the Americas, and in 1997 was promoted to vice president and Worldwide Sales controller and then to corporate controller. Oppenheimer joined Apple from ADP, where he was CFO of one of the four strategic business units. Prior to ADP, he spent six years in the Information Technology Consulting Practice with Coopers and Lybrand where he managed financial and systems engagements for clients in the insurance, telecommunications, transportation and banking industries. Oppenheimer received a bachelor's degree from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo and an M.B.A. from the University of Santa Clara, both with honors.

Fred Anderson was brought to Apple in March of 1996 by then CEO Gil Amelio and was one of the few such Apple executives to retain their job when Steve Jobs replaced Amelio in July of 1997.

[Update 11a ET] Apple Bluetooth Software v1.5 is Out and available for download via the Software Update preference panel for Mac OS X 10.3.2, at least. According to Apple,

Bluetooth 1.5 for Mac OS X provides support for Bluetooth enabled headsets and printers.

New Federal Antispam Law Not Working--Surprise, Surprise: It should come as no surprise to anyone that the new federal antispam law has had little or no effect according to this Yahoo News article. Our spam, including prohibited pornographic spam, has actually increased since the law took effect in early January. But the federal law is not just benign, it overturned the potentially far more effective laws of several states, including those of Virginia and California. [Dana Baggett]

Apple Updated the Offerings from Several of Their Hot Deals Retailers:

The Apple Store has great deals on a wide variety of high-quality refurbished equipment, and we've just updated our offerings with a slew of new products at fantastic prices. Included are Power Mac G5s, eMacs, PowerBooks, iBooks, iMacs, displays, and much more. All Apple refurbished equipment meets stringent refurbishment processes prior to sale, and is covered by Apple's one-year limited warranty. What's more, customers can purchase AppleCare Protection Plans to go along with their refurbished equipment. But hurry, supplies are limited and sure to go fast.

MacWarehouse has great deals on a bevy of cool products for your Mac, including El Gato EyeTV, MacAlly IceCad Digitizer, Hewlett Packard Color LaserJet 1500L, Canon SR-70MC MiniDV Camcorder, Olympus Stylus 400 Digital Camera with $40 mail-in rebate, DataViz MacLinkPlus Deluxe, SimpleTech 120GB External USB/FireWire Hard Drive, Griffin iCurve Notebook Stand, and much more.

ClubMac has fantastic pricing on a variety of great products for your Mac, including Roxio Toast with Jam 6 with a $30 mail-in upgrade rebate, Sharp NoteVision A20X 20,000 Lumen Projector, Planar Systems 20.1" Flat Panel LCD Display, eMedia Bass Method for Mac OS X, Nikon CoolScan 5000 ED Film Scanner, Sony CyberShot DSC-T1 Digital Camera, GVP Storage External FireWire CD-RW Drive with Toast, Epson Stylus Photo R800 Color Inkjet Printer, and much more.

AudioMIDI has great deals on a bevy of music and audio products, including Evolution X-Session, M-Audio Audiophile FireWire, Apple Soundtrack/Digidesign MBox Bundle, Edirol PCR-A30 USB Audio Interface and MIDI Controller, MOTU MachFive, Contour Design ShuttlePro v2, Echo Indigo, and much more.

Publishing Perfection has money-saving deals on essential products to meet all your creative and publishing needs, including Epson Stylus RX500, Auto FX Bundle, Pantone CMYK Printing Kit, E-ON Vue d'Esprit 4, NewTek Lightwave 7.5, and much more.

John Droz's Mac vs PC Web Site Updated: John wrote us,

"I just completed a MAJOR update of my Mac vs PC site — almost a year since the last revision."

"To begin with there is a significant design change. And to commemorate the Mac's 20th anniversary I have added some screen shots from the famous Apple Superbowl ad in 1984. Additionally I have added over a hundred new reports, studies and articles — which brings the total to over 500! The PDF file (1.8 MB) of the whole site is now 115 pages!"

We have added a permanent link to John's web site in our "Features" section on the left sidebar.

Review--Apple iLife '04 in USA Today: iLife '04 received a highly favorable review by AP writer Matthew Fordahl in the Tech Review section of USA Today. Writes the author,

"Apple's updated iLife '04 suite of five programs lets you organize photos, play and buy songs, edit movies, burn DVDs and, now, create music. The programs all work well together and the suite costs just $49, unless you're buying a new Mac. Then it's free. For me, the suite would be a bargain even at twice the price."

[Dana Baggett]

Apple Backup 2.0.1 is Out and available for download from your .Mac account. "Backup 2.0.1 provides added quality and reliability improvements to scheduled backups."

-- Wednesday, February 4 --

Apple Store Valentine's Day Promo--"Celebrate and save.": According to a note from Apple, buy online at the Apple Store by February 14 and you can save $30 instantly on any order totaling $299 or more. It’s the perfect opportunity to give your special valentine the iPod they’ve been wanting so they can take the music they love with them wherever they go. The new 15GB model costs only $299 and holds more than 3700 songs in a package that looks and feels as elegant as it sounds. Place your order today and you can add laser engraving for free and save $30 instantly as well. Claim code KQZTF9WFVX can be used only once.

Retrospect Driver Update for Retrospect 6.0 (Mac) version 5.0.105 is Out and available for download. The additional changes with this release include:

  • Improved Custom Configuration of CD/DVD drives
  • Greater compatibility CD/DVD drives during custom configuration
  • Improved cleaning tape support in smaller tape libraries
  • Fixed an "erase all" and "scan all" problem with Benchmark VS160 and HP SureStore 1/8 VS80.
  • Resolved an issue where Retrospect could report an assert error during device scan if greater than 2GB of memory is installed.

[Dana Baggett]

Free Lite Version of Mac PasswordVault v2.0 Released: Lava Software is now shipping Mac PasswordVault Lite v2.0, a free product which securely stores website access information, Internet banking data and software registration details for convenient and easy access in a central location on your Mac OS X or Mac OS classic computer. PasswordVault protects user data using very strong 896-bit encryption, yet provides convenient access to it via a simple master password. If the user forgets their master password, they can answer a series of customized questions they previously entered to access their data - this simple and highly effective master password recovery system is unique to Mac PasswordVault.

The free Lite Edition of Mac PasswordVault supports up to 10 services, while the Standard Edition supports any number of services. The Standard Edition is priced at $14.95 per license, and purchasers get download access to the current version of the software for all platforms, as well as free upgrades for one year. Site licenses (for any number of users at one organization) are available for $99.00.

20" iMac Review by TechTV. It's a solid review. [Dana Baggett]

ATI Released Mobility Radeon 9700 Graphics for Laptops: Check out the new GPU from ATI here. ATI claims it to be 30% faster that its predecessor Mobility Radeon 9600 GPU that's used in Apple's 15"and 17" PowerBooks. There's no word as to whether the faster ATI chip will be used in future PowerBooks but we think it will be.

OmniWeb 5 Public Beta is Out with Unique Tabs Placement and available for download from the Omni Group. One major new feature that we really like is that the tabs are located in a tray at the sides of the browser window rather than in the top bar. This placement does not affect the vertical real estate of the browser window, something that is a premium on wide screen displays. We wish that more of the top header would find its way to the sides, leaving only the URL field at the top to maximize the browser window's height. OmniWeb uses the same engine as Safari.

-- Tuesday, February 3 --

Apple Safari v1.2 is Out for Panther and available for download via 10.3.x's Software Update preference pane or from this Apple web page. New in Safari 1.2:

  • Improved compatibility with websites and web applications
  • Support for personal certificate authentication
  • Full keyboard access for navigation
  • Ability to resume interrupted downloads
  • Support for websites that use LiveConnect for communication between JavaScript and Java applets (requires Java 1.4.2)

Safari 1.2 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later [Thanks, Jim Friedel]. We downloaded and installed Safari 1.2 without any problem.

Apple Java 1.4.2 Update is Out and available for download from the Software Update preference pane or this Apple web page. It improves stability, memory usage, and correctness and it requires Mac OS X v10.3.1 or later.

Apple Updated the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers:

MacMall has money-saving deals on a wide variety of products for your Mac, including Griffin RadioShark Software Controlled USB AM/FM Radio, Miglia AlchemyTV Tuner Card for Macintosh G4 with FREE Remote Control, El Gato EyeHome, Canopus ADVC300 DV Converter, Epson Stylus CX6400 All-in-One Printer, Route 66 2004 Door-to-Door Route Planner, Micromat TechTool Pro 4, Intuit TurboTax Deluxe for Tax Year 2003, and much more.

Publishing Perfection has great deals on a bevy of creative products for your Mac, including Epson Stylus RX500, Cinematte Blue and Green Screen Compositing Software, QuarkXPress 6/Macromedia Freehand MX Bundle, iCorrect EditLab and Adobe Photoshop CS Upgrade Bundle, PrimeFilm 1800U Slide Scanner, and much more.

-- Monday, February 2 --

Hands-On Review--PowerLogix Clear PowerCube Case: PowerLogix has released two PowerCube cases for the Power Mac G4 Cube, one made of aluminum and the other made of clear acrylic. The former, which we reviewed, has been discontinued and the latter has just been released.

The Clear PowerCube case at 8.5x8.5x10" is in between the sizes of the original Cube case (8x8x10") and the aluminum Power Cube case (9x9x10"). It's increased size, coupled with the larger top grill, increases the Cube's cooling capacity, a major consideration when upgrading the Cube's components. Our "Super Cube" has been upgraded with a PowerLogix 1.4-GHz G4 CPU, an Nvidia GeForce3 graphics card and a Seagate 7200-RPM 80-GB Barracuda IV hard drive. These upgrade components increase the Cube's power demand and the heat generated inside it. The PowerCube case allows more air to circulate through the case. Especially important, it allows one to easily relocate the DC power board, the weakest component in th Cube, to improve cooling it.

The PowerLogix Clear PowerCube kit includes four torx bolts to hold the Cube's chassis in the PowerCube case, a torx Allen wrench, a cable for the DC power board, bracket for the DC board, two sets of bolts, spacers and nuts to attach the DC board to the bracket and two CDs. One CD has a PDF, Word file and QuickTime movie of PowerLogix's installation intructions. The other CD contains the installation instructions in a format that should play on a standard DVD player.

PowerLogix's detailed installation instructions are excellent, making an easy job even easier. The only significant difficulty that one may experience is pressing the motherboard end of the cable into the slot on the motherboard. The connector on the cable has a ridge but there is no corrresponding slot in the connector on the motherboard, making for a very tight fit. In addition, the Cube's bolt that doubles to hold the lower end of the bracket is a little too short so we substituted another one.

Once installed, the G4 Cube looks great in this enclosure. The PowerCube case's acrylic is highly polished. We added a white Apple logo to the chassis' front plate (see photo above) for ready identification as an Apple computer. Being able to see the superb engineering that went into fitting all the Cube's components into the tiny cube is impressive.

The Clear PowerCube case also desensitizes the static switch on top of the Cube. Ours has gotten so sensitive that it occasionally shuts off and on spontaneously. We temporarily fixed that by disconnecting the switch but the Clear PowerCube case seems to be a permanent fix. So far there's been no spontaneous activity.

With only acrylic plastic between our AirPort Extreme Base Station's signal and the Cube's antennas, the AirPort reception is excellent, better than with the original case by one additional bar.

At an introductory MSRP price of $129 plus $8 S&H, the PowerLogix Clear PowerCube case is reasonably priced.

Super Bowl Ad Competition--NYT Liked the Pepsi/Apple iTunes Commercial according to this New York Times article:

"The standout was a cheeky spot, introducing a promotion co-sponsored by the iTunes division of Apple Computer, that smartly teased the recording industry for suing teenagers for illegal file sharing."

[Dana Baggett]

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