May 2004 News Archive
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Apple Unveils Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" at WWDC.
-- Weekend, May 29-31 --
As already pointed out, Mac OS X 10.3.4 does not contain the Security Update 2004-05-24 released on Friday 5-21 that closes the Help Viewer exploit.
Aspyr Released "Call of Duty" Demo and it is available for download via MacUpdate.com. CoD is a WWII first person shooter. The demo is a large 256 MB file that takes 30+ mins via standard DSL to download.
-- TGIF, May 28 --
[Update 4:30p] New Apple Promo--"Director's Special." Get Up to $500 Back: Apple launched a new promotion titled Director's Special. Buy Apple's DVD Studio Pro 3 and Macromedia Director MX 2004 between May 28, 2004, and July 31, 2004, and get $300 back via mail-in rebate. Add a Power Mac G5 and get an additional $200 back, for a total rebate of $500. For complete details, visit this Apple web page.
[Update 4:30p] Tonight on The Mac Night Owl LIVE--Spam Control: Host Gene Steinberg's internet radio show will feature Scott Chasin, CTO for MX Logic, a firm that provides spam filtering services. Also appearing will be noted Mac expert Joe Kissel, author of "Take Control of Spam with Apple Mail" and Gene's favorite network guru, Pieter Paulson. Tune in the broadcast from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern.
ATI RADEON 9800 Pro Mac Special Edition Out for the Mac: ATI beefed up the VRAM to 256 MB in this Special Edition model of the Radeon 9800 Pro and it requires a Power Mac G5. It is the top of the line Mac graphics card. The SE is finally available for $380 from Other World Computing.
Check out this Apple web page for more details.
Aspyr Game Deals--$10 Off Through June 30th: Aspyr is dropping prices! Effective now, you will find amazing price drops everywhere Aspyr titles are sold. Just in time for the three day weekend, take a break from the grill and stroll into your nearest Aspyr retailer to take advantage of these great deals. For example, find the new release The Lord of the Rings; The Return of the King for only $39.99.... or The Sims Combo Pack (The Sims and The Sims Livin' Large) for only $49.99.
They're not stopping there, if you purchase an Aspyr game title between now and June 30, 2004 through an Apple Store or the Online Apple Store, you will get a $10 rebate from Aspyr. Click here to find your favorite Aspyr games, and follow the easy instructions.
Report--Mac@IngramMicro World in Canada: Ingram Micro, a major distrbutor of Mac products, held the one-day event in Toronto, Ontario, according to this news report. The main reason was to demonstrate that Ingram Micro is dedicated to the Mac platform to Mac resellers. About 130 showed, mostly from Toronto. Apple hardware and software was demoed. Apple was there and showed off iLife '04. [Dana Baggett]
-- Thursday, May 27 --
Brief Hands-On Report--Mac OS X 10.3.4 Update: Both client and server versions of Mac OS X 10.3.4 Update (Build 7H63) are available for download from the Software Update preference pane or as stand-alone updaters (10.3.3 to 10.3.4), client and server. There are also stand-alone combo (10.3.x to 10.3.4) updaters, client and server.
Here the key changes to the client version:
- improved file sharing and directory services for Mac (AFP), UNIX (NFS), PPTP, and wireless networks
and for the server version:
- improved reliability of AFP, SMB/CIFS and NFS file services, and network automounts
We downloaded and installed the client version on a G4 Cube upgraded with a 1-GHz G4 CPU and a 17" 1-GHz PowerBook G4 with no problem. Address Book was updated to v3.1.2, Disk Utility to 10.4.2, Image Capture to v.2.1.0, Mail to v1.3.8, Safari to 1.2.2 and Stickies to v3.0. Our QuickTime was at v6.5.1 and was not updated further.
We've not run into any problems with Mail or Safari, the only two updated applications that we've used extensively. Nor have we run into any "under the hood" problems with sleep or using AirPort or built-in ethernet networking.
We'll run our speed tests on 10.3.4 this weekend and post the results no later than next Tuesday.
Apple Released Wednesday Apple Pro Day Schedule for June: Apple Pro Day equals free workshops and demos for business professionals. Your local Apple Store is the place to be each Wednesday to learn about the latest products for your business. Our new lineup of workshops and demonstrations will show you how the right technologies can make building and managing your business easier than ever. Presentations in June:
Presentation times vary so check the Apple Store near you.
Run Unreal and Other 3dfx Games with OpenGLide: A release candidate for the Mac OpenGLide is available for testing from this SourceForge web page. The MacGlide project will allow games written for the 3dfx Voodoo cards which use Glide drivers, like the original Unreal, to run on OpenGL drivers with ATI and Nvidia graphics cards. OpenGLide translates Glide calls to OpenGL in both OS 9 and OS X.
How did Westlake Help Put Halo on the Mac? Using a combination of OpenGL, clever programming, and great developer tools from Apple, Westlake Interactive helped make the popular game Halo a big hit on the Mac. Halo is the spectacular sci-fi action epic that takes advantage of the pixel shaders found in many recent NVIDIA and ATI video cards, so that grass looks like grass, vehicles shine in the sunlight, and alien buildings reflect like mirrorsall adding to the excitement and sense of realism that make a great game. Read how they did it in record time on this Apple web page.
EyeHome for the Mac--Playback TV Recordings, Images and Songs on your Home Theater System is reviewed in this NY Times article. The EyeHome digital media player is made by Elgato, maker of EyeTV. It plays music using iTunes, photos using iPhoto and TV recordings from EyeTV. [Dana Baggett]
-- Wednesday, May 26 --
Apple Posted Retail Store Feedback Web Page: Tell Apple what you think about any Apple retail store that you visit from this web page. The survey has just 19 questions and a comment box. [Dana Baggett]
Time is Running Out on WWDC 2004 Conference Hotel Discounts: Special attendee rates at the San Francisco Marriott expire the first week of June, so book now to get a great deal. You can also still get a great airfare, and there are a few seats still open in most of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference Pre-Conference Workshops.
Macintosh Retrospect Driver Update version 5.4.104 is Out for Retrospect 6.0: Dana Baggett received a notice that a new Retrospect Driver Update (RDU) v5.4.104 has been released by Dantz for use with Retrospect 6.0 for Macintosh. The new changes are:
Paranoid Android 1.2 is Out--Protects Against Malicious URI Calls: Apple fixed the problem with Help Viewer running malicious AppleScripts with their recently released Security Update 2004-05-24. But it does not fix the possibility of other exploits using URI calls through a web browser, particularly mounting a disk image--see this CNet article for details. Paranoid Android by Unsanity simply intercepts all such calls and gives one the chance to cancel them before the action takes place.
-- Tuesday, May 25 --
The e-Book "Troubleshooting Mac OS X, Second Edition," is Out. The X Lab has published "Troubleshooting Mac® OS X, Second Edition," a major update to their e-book dedicated to preventing or resolving common problems with Mac OS X. The Second Edition covers both Mac OS X 10.3 Panther and Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar.
The e-book format enables the reader to quickly find the solution to any of the numerous Mac OS X problems addressed in the nearly 500 pages of "Troubleshooting Mac OS X, Second Edition." The book is extensively hyperlinked and cross-referenced, both within the book itself and to some of the best Mac OS X troubleshooting information on the Internet. Pricing begins at US$15.00 for a single-user license. Multi-user and Site licenses are also available.
PrintMagic 3.5 for OS X is Out. According to the developer, MacEase, PrintMagic for OS X provides users with complete control over the information they print! PrintMagic is highly customizable, PrintMagic greatly enhances users' productivity when working with their Macs, and PrintMagic saves users a significant amount of money by dramatically reducing the amount of ink/toner and paper that's used when printing. PrintMagic lets users select the text that they want to print in virtually any program -- anything from a single character to multiple pages. PrintMagic eliminates the need to print an entire page or pages when all that users want are some snippets, words, sentences, or paragraphs, and this saves users an enormous amount of ink/toner and paper. PrintMagic also enables users to instantly add notes and time-date stamps to any pictures or text that they print. Further, PrintMagic adds a Desktop Printer to OS X that enables users to instantly print any text or pictures via drag-and-drop.
Government Computer News Review Gives iBook G4 High Marks in their latest edition. GCN tested a $1299 14" 933 MHz iBook G4. What did the reviewer conclude?
And that comment was on a previous generation iBook G4. The $1299 model now sports a 1-GHz G4 CPU and can be ordered with a DVD-burning Superdrive and an internal Bluetooth networking module. [Dana Baggett]
-- Monday, May 24 --
Mac OS X Malicious Web Site Vulnerability--Paranoid Android v1.1: Apple's Security Update 2004-05-24 was released Friday and it includes a fix for the Help Viewer AppleScript vulnerability but it apparently does not deal with the vulnerability that allows a malicious web site to mount and run a disk image to do all sorts of evil things. While we are not security experts, we recommend installing Unsanity's Paranoid Android, now updated to v1.1, to trap and to allow one to manually accept or reject all actions attempted through a web browser. This seems like a good idea despite there being no reported such malicious exploits of Mac OS X out there "in the wild."
Brief Hands On Report---Microsoft Office 2004 for the Mac: After using the Test Drive (demo) version of M$'s Office 2004 for the Mac last week we removed it from our hard drives on Sunday. We did so, not because it is bad software, quite the contrary, but because we use Office v.X as needed and found no real advantage to v.2004 for the work that we do with it.
The only issues with v.X that, if fixed, would attract us to v.2004 are:
That's it. M$ Office v.X is a superb office suite for the Mac for those who really need it instead of AppleWorks or some other less expensive but less capable or compatible office suite software.
For reasons that M$ has attempted to explain but which we do not accept, Office for the Mac has never had Access compatibility and neither does v.2004. This single deficit is one of the greatest barriers that we know of to using Macs in the enterprise environment. We are really surprised that Apple or some third party vendor hasn't bridged this gap. There are tons of custom proprietary software applications written for M$ Access in the enterprise environment and it stops the use of Macs dead in their tracks. Fortunately, the use of M$ Access seems to be in decline but it's applications will be around for a very long time even if not growing.
Word in v.2004 is slower than in v.X. While we are only accomplished hunt-and-peck typists, not speedy touch typists, M$ Word in v.X is very sluggish for us if checking grammar as one types is enabled. Not only is this not fixed in Word v.2004, Word v.2004 is much slower than Word v.X in several aspects according to this 5/20/04 Bare Feats set of tests.
Finally, we checked several Widows-developed PowerPoint presentations people have sent us that show the big red "X" in place of some images. The big red "X" was gone but the images were blank, not a sufficient improvement for us. While it is possible that the big red "X" conversion to a blank image might not occur if originally viewed and saved by v.2004 instead of v.X, this is a serious bug in v.X that M$ should fix for v.X owners without having to upgrade.
In summary, there are no improvements sufficient to get us to shell out over $200 for an upgrade from v.X to v.2004. Don't get us wrong, we think M$ Office 2004 for the Mac is an excellent piece of software for those who need it or want to upgrade to a Mac OS X compatible version. There are also improvements in v.2004 that others may find significantly useful like its group mode. However, for many, it might be more cost effective to get a discounted copy of v.X if they any be found.
It all Started with Winning an iMac and now there is a cell phone company and over 45,000 cell phone subscribers among a population of 180,000 Navajo where few had a phone before Myra Jodie, a Navajo girl, won her iMac according to this San Jose Mercury News article. [Dana Baggett]
LazyMouse v.1.0.2 is Out and available from Old Jewel Software. LazyMouse is a preference pane that moves the cursor to the default button whenever a dialog box appears on the screen. It will save the user time moving the mouse to dismiss dialogs. Version 1.0.2 adds a German localization and fixes a bug involving the registration window. LazyMouse is $6.85 shareware. All features are available without registering but users will be reminded regularly until they choose to register LazyMouse.
-- Weekend, May 22-23 --
Brief Hands-On Report--Apple Security Update 2004-05-24 for 10.3.3 and 10.2.8: Security Update 2004-05-24 is available via the Software Update preference pane or as stand alone updaters for 10.3.3 and 10.2.8, both client and server. They deliver a number of security enhancements and is recommended for all Macintosh users. They fix the web browser/Help Viewer vulnerability described in this Wired article.
The update includes the following components:
It's not clear why the security update has Monday's date rather than Friday's when it was actually released. Until Apple released this security update, the two better workarounds were to use:
The latter application from Unsanity seems to be a good idea for extra security in any case. More Internet replicates for Mac OS X 10.3.x the Internet Config pane of Mac OS X versions prior to Panther and is a very useful preference pane. Both are free.
Before Apple released Friday's security updates, we tried both workarounds without problem. We installed the security update on several Macs with no problem.
Feral Interactive Announced Ford Racing 2 Development is Underway: Feral Interactive announced that Ford Racing 2--Razorworks' hectic homage to some of the greatest production cars to emerge from the Motor City is off the blocks and raring to give the Mac a taste of its exhaust. A dedicated minisite will be up next week, but for immediate info check out this rather beautifully designed Ford Racing 2 site.
Maine 7th Graders Use iBooks for Policy Analysis and also are lobbying to expand the iBook program to high school according to this Maine Learns article.
-- TGIF, May 21 --
Radeon Enabler 1.0 for OEM ATI Radeon Graphics Cards is Out and available for download. Radeon Enabler supports the newly released ATI Radeon Displays 4.2.5. It patches the ATI Radeon Displays utility so that some of its features work with a number of the latest OEM (versus retail) ATI graphics cards. The following video cards are supported by this release:
Radeon Enabler was developed by Bruce Luckcuck and is freeware.
Mozilla 1.8a1 is Out for Trial as the development of v1.7 winds down. Download 1.8a1 from this web page. Here are the major changes:
Here are the release notes. [Dana Baggett]
International Road Show--Oracle 10g on Mac OS X: A note from Apple says to join Oracle and Apple executives for an international road show to introduce Oracle10g on Mac OS X Server, Apple’s award winning UNIX-based server operating system. Apple and Oracle give you the most flexible, affordable, and easy way to manage your enterprise information. For more information, and to register, click here.
-- Thursday, May 20 --
Apple Created Separate Mac and iPod Divisions according to this Reuters article. Jon Rubenstein who headed Apple's hardware engineering will lead the new iPod Division and Tim Cook who headed Apple's worldwide sales and operations will lead the new Mac division. Tim Bucher will head up Mac hardware enginering.
The announcement was made via an email from Steve Jobs. There was no Apple press release as of publication time.
Chief Executives of 150 Top Corporations Indirectly Ask for Macs and Mac OS X: According to this AP article,
Of course, they are talking about Windows and software that runs on Winows. They really only have themselves to blame for going along with the wrong choices made by their IT departments. [Dana Baggett]
Legal Music Downloads Gaining on Illegal Music Sharing according to this AP article. The article touts Apple's iTunes Music Store as a major force. Illegal music filesharing among those who also bought a music CD has dropped from 64 per cent last year to 42 per cent in 2004 according to the survey cited in the article. [Dana Baggett]
Halo Updater v1.0.5 is Out and available for download via MacUpdate.com. The additions to this superb third person shooter are:
Microsoft Office for Mac 2004 is Out and a 30-day test drive (demo) is available for download. Here are the highlights listed by Microsoft:
We have downloaded and tried it. But we really wonder if it is worth the relatively high price to upgrade from Office v.X. Let us know what you think.
-- Wednesday, May 19 --
Highly Positive Analysis of Apple as an Investment is contained in this CNN Money article. It's based on Apple's iPod success, a large cash holding of $4.6 billion and the beginning of a major product renewal cycle with a new iMac projected to be near and a PowerBook G5 on the horizon. [Jim Friedel]
Hess Memorial Events List for Macworld Expo Boston 2004 is Up: Macworld Expo Boston is a mere 2 months away (July 12-15) and The (in)famous Hess Memorial Macworld Events and Party Page is ready. It's still the ONLY comprehensive source of events. Even if you don't go to the show, check the list for related Internet events. Look for the parties and events on this web page and the registration for Ilene's Machine newsletters here.
Maine iBook Program Makes Major Differences to Students with Disabilities according to this Maine Learns article. The author calls the effect mid to profound and cites several examples. [Dana Baggett]
Wi-Fi Network Pioneer Cometa Shuts Down: Cometa was out-paced by its competitiors for Wi-Fi internet hot spots and only installed a small fraction of its target 20,000 sites according to this News.com article. [Dana Baggett]
Mac OS X Security Vulnerabilities Rated "Extremely Critical" by Secunia: Here's Secunia's description of them:
Apple is looking into them according to MacCentral. [Dana Baggett]
Apple Updates .Mac Portal Interface and Offers New Member Benefits: Apple's .Mac web site front page has been updated and members are offered three new benefits:
-- Tuesday, May 18 --
Apple Contest--Present Your Passion Wiith Keynote: Win a 23" Apple HD Cinema Display, a $1000 iTunes certificate or a $500 iTunes Certificate. Show Apple what you love. Create a killer presentation expressing your favorite passion, using Keynote, Apple’s innovative presentation tool. The deadline for submissions is June 27, 2004 at 11:59pm PT. Get the details on this Apple web page.
Camino 0.8b and Mozilla 1.7rc2 Are Out and available for download from the Mozilla web site. Camino is the Cocoa native Mac OS X web browser. As the alternative Mac OS X browser to Mozilla and Firefox, Camino 0.8b adds performance, stability, and rendering improvements to a long list of easy-to-use features. The final v0.8 will be out within a month. Mozilla 1.7 will likely have another release candidate before going final--here are the release notes. [Dana Baggett]
Charles Gaba's PC-Mac Shootouts Has Its Own Web Page located here. Along with the brand-new URL, there are completely updated shootouts, including:
-- Monday, May 17 --
Apple Design Awards Nominations Are Due This Morning! Applications for the Ninth Annual Apple Design Awards are due by 9 AM (PST) May 17. These prestigious awards recognize excellence in three design categories: Application Software, QuickTime Content, and Performance Demos.
Have a Great Time at Apple's WWDC 2004--Check Out the Events: From Birds of a Feather meetings to the Apple Campus Bash, WWDC 2004 offers many opportunities to meet and mingle face-to-face with Macintosh technical experts, industry luminaries, and Apple engineers. Join the WWDC community as they gather to get energized and inspired about the Mac year ahead. We did last year and had a blast! Check out the details.
Hitachi to Spend $200 million to Increase iPod Mini Drive Output by 10-fold according to this Reuters article on Forbes.com. Hitachi makes the 1-inch 4-GB microdrive used in the iPod Mini and will spend the funds on its plant in Thailand. Production will increase from 200,000 per quarter to 2 million. Apple previously announced that it wouldn't be until July before production of the iPod Mini would be high enough to ship them outside of the U.S. But supplies are still highly constrained in the U.S., with a 6-week or so wait. Since the microdrives were invented by IBM, other manufacturers will probably jump in to compete with Hitachi and allow a faster ramp up of iPod Mini production. [Dana Baggett]
Brickles Pro v1.0.1,The Classic Ball and Paddle Game for Macintosh is Out: Space-Time Associates announced today the first public release of Brickles Pro, the Classic Ball and Paddle Game for Macintosh...and the successor to Brickles3000. Brickles Pro is not a typical ball and paddle game. Brickles Pro features adjustable colors and patterns, adjustable ball and paddle sizes, stereo sounds, adjustable speed and window sizes and more. Even the number of paddles in the game can be changed. Brickles Pro is suitable for everyone from the very youngest children learning to use a mouse, to fast-paced arcade fans, from grandparents to grandchildren. Brickles Pro also features various arrays of Brickles. Each level, in fact, can be a randomly selected array of Brickles.
Brickles Pro requires any PowerPC Macintosh running OS9 or OSX. Brickles Pro is available now for a free trial.
From the Dark Side--Wintel iBook Killers? Give Us a Break! CNet recently posted a comparo that stacked up 3 Wintel laptops supposedly "similar" to an iBook G4 as potential iBook killers. Well, the one they liked best costs roughly twice the 12" iBook G4 they used in the comparison and another Wintel is not yet available on the market. Two of them have 14" and 15" screens vs the 12" iBook G4 they compared them with. What's more, the comparison was with a previous generation 800-MHz iBook G4, not the current 1-GHz model. Like we said, give us a break. [Dana Baggett]
-- Weekend, May 15-16 --
Feral Interactive's Weekend Game Status Report: We received the following info from Feral interactive, the UK-based Mac game developer,
Symantec Updates NAV for AS.MW2004.Trojan. Get the new virus definitions via NAV's LiveUpdate feature or directly from this Symantec web page. AS.MW2004.Trojan is the AppleScript applet that masquerades as a Microsoft Office 2004 Installer that, if run, deletes your Mac OS X Home folder. It was first reported by Intego last Wednesday. [Dana Baggett]
-- TGIF, May 14 --
[Update 7:30a] Miglia Technology Released AlchemyTV DVR 2.1: The free update can be downloaded from this MT web page.
New Apple Article--"Dynamic HTML and XML: The XMLHttpRequest Object." As deployment of XML data and web services becomes more widespread, you may occasionally find it convenient to connect an HTML presentation directly to XML data for interim updates without reloading the page. Thanks to the little-known XMLHttpRequest object, an increasing range of web clients can retrieve and submit XML data directly, all in the background. Safari version 1.2 supports the XMLHttpRequest object. Read this article to learn how to fetch, store and access XML data on a server for use as web content.
Your Favorite Wi-Fi Hot Spot is Vulnerable to Low Tech/Power DNS-Type Attack according to the Australian Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCERT) as reported in this CNet article. The vulnerability is in the protocol for ensuring that Wi-Fi networks don't interfere with each other, called the clear channel assessment procedure (CCA). A low powered device could cause Wi-Fi networks to quit transmitting by hogging all of the channels, a denial of service (DNS) type of attack. The vulnerability is in 802.11b used by the original AirPort and most Wi-Fi networks and 802.11g (e.g. AirPort Extreme) when operating at the low speed of 802.11b. So some jerk with a PDA could walk around and jam all those convenient Wi-Fi hot spots.
First the DVIator, Now it's the VGAtor from Dr. Bott: The VGAtor lets you use all PowerBooks with a built-in VGA port with Apple's family of ADC flat-panel displays. VGAtor converts VGA, USB and power signals into a single digital ADC signal, preserving the original color and resolution and adding flicker-free digital flat-panel quality, often superior to the built-in notebook display.
VGAtor was optimized for the PowerBook G4 12" with VGA. This PowerBook supports the full range of Apple ADC displays in full resolution and color depth. Visit this web page for further questions about compatibility. The VGAtor retails for $299.95.
From the Dark Side--M$ Socked with $3,000 per hour Legal Fees in CA Antitrust Settlement according to this Reuters article carried on Netscape News. The legal fees are on top of the potential $1.1 billion settlement in California. We write "potential" because Microsoft gets half of the undistributed settlement back and claim rates are nortoriously low in this type of class action suit. The requested legal fees could easily exceed the payout to disaffected M$ customers. Since it's a corporate cost rather than a fine of the responsible M$ executives and M$ has a monopoly, the fees will likely just be passed on to M$'s future customers as a Catch--22 "gotcha." [Dana Baggett]
-- Thursday, May 13 --
Apple's Lack of G5 CPU Speed Progress, Deja Vu All Over Again: When Apple introduced the Power Mac G4, it couldn't get many of the 500 MHz versions from Motorola. So Apple had to downgrade the new Power Mac G4 line from 500/450/400 MHz to 450/400/350 MHz in a huge fiasco. We ended up with a 400 MHz Power Mac G4 rather than a 450 and for the same exact price.
Apple went with IBM to supply the next generation CPU, the G5, and now IBM is having difficulty with reasonable yields of its newest 90-nm process G5 CPU according to this Electronics Supply & Manufacturing article. Steve Jobs previously announced that the G5 would reach 3 GHz by this summer. The Xserve G5 with speeds to 2.0 GHz were announced in January with second generation G5 CPUs when most expected the speed to rise to the vicinity of 2.5 GHz. Apple is still delivering Power Macs and Xserves at a maximum of 2 GHz. It's deja vu all over again to quote Yogi Berra. [Dana Baggett]
Here We Go Again, Intego Announced Another Mac OS X Trojan and Protection. A little over a month ago, Intego announced that they had obtained a Mac OS X virus, called a Trojan Horse because its disguised as a good file, and named it MP3Virus.Gen. That one turned out to be just a proof of concept with no evidence that it is "in the wild" with a malicious payload.
Yesterday, Intego announced that they had obtained another one that deletes your Home folder and named it AS.MW2004.Trojan. Intego claims that it came from a Macworld UK reader who got it from a file sharing service and is disguised as a Microsoft Office 2004 installer. Of course, Intego also announced that its VirusBarrier software had been updated to detect it. Actually, it's an AppleScript applet with a MSO installer logo according to Intego.
Both Microsoft and Apple simply advise against sharing files illegally to protect against this potential "virus." M$ says to only install MSO off the original CD.
iPod Retractable FireWire Cable Kit from We Love Macs, a division of MemoryX. Every now and then we like to post a neat item. We Love Macs has a dual 6-pin retractable FireWire cable in a nice white case with 3-G iPod adapter and a 6-4 pin adapter listed on this web page. The cost is $37.49. [Brian Nakamoto]
If you already have a 3-G iPod adapter, Keyspan also makes a dual 6-pin retractable ZIP-LINQ FireWire cable that you may want to consider. It's $12.95 from Zones but it's not as cool as the one from We Love Macs.
-- Wednesday, May 12 --
[Update 9a] Apple Posted New Online Tutorials for Printing, Font Management, OS X Basics and OS X Migration on the Apple Pro Design web page. The tutorials are 7-13 pages but have movies and details for follow up on each specific topics.
IBM to Release Lotus Workplace Software for Mac OS X according to this NYT article. Lotus Workplace is desktop office software that will compete with Microsoft Office by being cheaper and more secure. It will run in an enterprise setting as a so-called "thin client" from IBM servers on any operating system. IBM developed Lotus Workplace from OpenOffice with word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications and has been developing so-called "middleware" to run applications on any computer operating system. Windows and Linux versions of Workplace will be first and Mac OS X will follow later this year.
DSL Gains Slightly on Cable Internet Despite Fastest DSL Growth Ever Last Quarter according to this ZDNet article. DSL added 1.17 million subscribers in the U.S., slightly more than cable. The total number of broadband subscribers is about 27 million. After using both for over a year each, one of us likes cable and the other DSL. We found cable to be more reliable and much faster in two major markets (Metro DC and San Diego). Dana Baggett found the reverse in his rural Maine market. [Dana Baggett]
USBVision 1.1 is Out from EchoFX, Adds Device Compatibility with Mac OS X. The USBVision software offers Mac OS X support for a wide range of devices including XLR8 InterView, Belkin VideoBus and VideoBus II, iRez USB Live and CapSure, Global Village VideoFX, Alpha Data USB Video Adapter, Hauppauge USB-Live and many others -including those originally sold as “PC-only”. Mac OS X support for most of these devices was previously unavailable.
Additionally, the new USBVision software will allow up to eight video capture devices to run simultaneously on one computer. Multiple devices can be used with Ben Bird’s SecuritySpy and SubRosaSoft’s HomeGuardian security packages allowing the monitoring of many different video sources. Multiple devices can also be used with video broadcast and webcam packages, allowing multiple video sources to be uploaded to the Internet from a single computer.
The USBVision software has been enhanced in a number of ways from the original InterView-only software, including the addition of snapshot button support, audio input support, and increased compatibility with various third-party applications. The USBVision Capture software included, now features hardware accelerated full-screen playback and AppleScript support.
The USBVision software is available at www.echofx.com for $25.00 USD. Customers who purchased the InterView For Mac OS X software or InterView hardware may upgrade to the new USBVision software free of charge. In addition to the software, EchoFX sells the original InterView video capture devices for $64.95. EchoFX now accepts Visa and MasterCard in addition to PayPal. For more information about the USBVision software or the InterView video capture device please visit the EchoFX web site.
From the Dark Side--M$ Exits Wi-Fi Market, Mission Accomplished or Driven Out by Competition? Microsoft recently announced that it was dropping its Wi-Fi wireless networking line of hardware. M$ claimed they accomplished their mission of "raising the bar." Huh? Can you think of one significant Wi-Fi innovation introduced by M$ or any innovation for that matter. According to some industry analysts the truth, something M$ is also not famous for, may lie closer to being driven out by competition. M$'s market share has recently dropped by almost a third and profit margins have become tiny with prices for wireless routers falling to well under $100 through competition. [Dana Baggett]
-- Tuesday, May 11 --
WWDC--Register Today to See the Details of Mac OSX 10.4 "Tiger" and Save $300 Until Friday, May 14: The early registration deadline for WWDC 2004 is coming up fast. Your chance to save $300 on an E-ticket ends this Friday, May 14th.
With nearly 200 sessions and seven content tracks covering everything from Mac OS X and enterprise IT to digital media and the latest Apple hardware, WWDC is a unique opportunity to meet face-to-face and learn about Apple technology directly from the technical architects and engineers who create it.
Register today to be one of the first to preview "Tiger," the next major release of Mac OS X.
Apple Announced the Apple Workgroup Cluster for Bioinformatics Award Program: The Apple Workgroup Cluster for Bioinformatics makes it easy for every life scientist to harness the immense power of computational clusters. Now, Apple is seeking five of America's best life science researchers, each of whom will receive an award of the cutting-edge research technology they need to reach their scientific goals.
Through a formal call for applications, Apple will award five fully provisioned, all-inclusive Apple Workgroup Clusters to four higher education researchers and one non-education researcher. Apple and a panel of independent scientists will choose the five best applications, and award recipients will be announced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference on June 29, 2004. Over $200,000 in cluster hardware and software will be awarded during this program.
For more information on this program, including the judging criteria, the application process, and the complete terms and conditions of this award program, please visit Apple's web site. Applications are being accepted immediately, and the application process closes on Sunday, June 13, 2004.
Minidrives Used in iPod Mini to Take Off Later this Year: IBM invented them in the mid-90's but it took Apple's iPod Mini to bring them to market in a big way according to this CNetAsia article. Minidrives are about 1 inch across and hold up to 4 GB of data. They are getting smaller in diameter and larger in capacity and will find their way into more devices so a number of manufacturers are cranking up production in response. [Dana Baggett]
Adobe Photoshop CS MultiProcessor Support Update is Out and available for download (need ID and password to log in). According to Adobe,
-- Monday, May 10 --
E3 Expo and Conference begins Tuesday: The 2004 Electronic Entertainment Exposition (E3) begins Tuesday (5/11) and runs through Friday (5/14) at the Los Angeles Conference Center. The Electronic Entertainment Expo began in 1995 when video games were based on 16-bit technology and 3D graphics were the exception, not the norm. Not many beyond those immediately involved with computers and video games took notice. According to E3, that first year's inaugural event set a new standard for tradeshow launches.
Here is the list of speakers which includes several Mac game publishers. Apple is an exhibitor.
Comparo--Apple's iTunes Music Store and Sony's Connect: Last week we noted that Sony announced a new music service in its proprietary format and usable only on Sony digital music players. On Sunday, Washington Post's Rob Pegoraro took a detailed look at Sony Connect and compared it with Apple's iTunes Music Store. He declared iTunes the hands-down winner and concluded that Sony Connect, as currently configured, has no future. [Dana Baggett]
Nanosaur II Hatchling v1.0.6 is Out and available for download.
Internet Credit Card Security--Virtual Credit Card Numbers: Some credit card companies provide their customers with credit card numbers that can only be used once, either from a web site or with a software tool according to this Boston Globe article. Seems to be very secure but it also seems like a giant hassle to us. [Dana Baggett]
MacBoot 1.0.5 is Out with Mac OS X 10.3.3 Compatibility: Want to change the boot image from a dark gray Apple logo to something more personal? Then, MacBoot is for you. All you have to do is launch MacBoot and drag and drop your selected 128x128 image onto MacBoot's window, use the install command from a menu and restart. This is cool but beware that it hacks a system file and could cause current or future problems. MacBoot is donationware.
-- Weekend, May 8-9 --
User Satisfaction of Web Surfers Improving according to this PC World article. A recent survey indicates that 2 of 3 surfers (66 per cent) are satisfied with their experience. This is up from 40 per cent in 1997 from a similar survey. [Dana Baggett]
-- TGIF, May 7 --
[Update 6a] Apple iBook G4 Graphics Update 1.0 is Out and available for download from this Apple web page. It may also be available via the Software Update preference panel on the appropriate iBook G4, the 12" 1-GHz and 14" 1.2-GHz models but we do not have one to check. Here is what the update does:
Free iTunes Music Store Song of the Week is "U Lied" by Crea: The free song per day promotion of the iTunes Music Store and iTunes 4.5 ended Wednesday but iTMS is now offering a free song every week. Crea's "U Lied" is an iTunes staff favorite and the very first iTMS Song of the Week. iTMS says:
Watch for a new free song of a fresh artist on the iTunes Music Store each week. All you need is iTunes 4.5 and an iTMS account.
Apple Job Cuts Total Nearly 350 in Last Half of Fiscal Year according to this CNet news article. Another 148 jobs wll be cut in its sales and marketing operations in the fourth quarter ending this September. This cut is in addition to the 200 jobs cut last quarter. Savings of $6 million per quarter are expected after one-time charges of nearly $20 million in the two quarters. [Dana Baggett]
OmniWeb and Opera Web Browsers Discussed on The Mac Night Owl LIVE Tonight: This week, Gene Steinberg will cover the newest browser upgrade for Macs, Opera 7.50, now in public beta.His guest will be Dean Kakridas, Opera's North American VP of Sales. We also learn about the newest version of another hot Mac browser, OmniWeb, from Scott Maier, OmniWeb's product manager. Tune in at 9p ET (6p PT).
Wi-Fi Wireless Internet is Boon to Long-Haul Truckers according to this USA Today article. Apple started the wireless internet revolution with it's inexpensive and easy to use AirPort system. Now the technology is everywhere. Long-haul truck drivers are using Wi-Fi at truck stops to stay in contact with family and business. [Dana Baggett]
-- Thursday, May 6 --
Apple Top Rated in June Consumer Reports Evaluation of Desktops, Laptops and Displays. The desktop evaluated was a 1.25-GHz 17" iMac G4, the laptop was a 1-GHz 15" PowerBook G4 and the display was a 17" Apple LCD Studio Display. Apple won the reliability and support categories hands down for both desktops and laptops. The PowerBook scored very well in comparison with the Wintels despite being two generations old. The Apple 17" Studio Display was rated the best. [Bob Unger]
New Apple Article "Binding your Preferences in Cocoa:" Cocoa Bindings is a new technology in Cocoa, the set of object-oriented development frameworks that is native on Mac OS X. One benefit of Cocoa Bindings is that it lets developers reuse data in their applications without having to write glue code. Read this step-by-step article to learn how to use Cocoa bindings by creating a simple application.
ATI Trounced Nvidia in Battle of the Titan's Latest Graphics in this CNet review. CNet ran the yet to be released ATI RADEON X800 Platinum Edition (256 MB VRAM) against the yet to be released Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme and the ATI card won hands down. Both cards will be available for PCs in mid to late May for $499. There is also a 128 MB VRAM model of the ATI X800 that will retail for $399 and it beat Nvidia's best in several tests. Of course, the tests were performed with beta drivers. Performance usually increases with driver development. Unfortunately, there is no word on when, if ever, these graphics cards will make it to the Mac. ATI has yet to release the promised RADEON 9800 Pro Special Edition for the Mac.
ATI RADEON Display Utilities 4.2.5 Updater is Out and available for download. It is an updated re-issue for all retail ATI Radeon graphics cards in Macs running Mac OS X 10.2.8 and higher. Here are the Release Notes.
Apple iTunes Music Store Weekly Download Rate Increased to 3.3 Million, up from 2.7 million announced for the week before last Wednesday's announcement of iTunes 4.5 and the upgraded iTunes Music Store. Apple's announcement stated that music fans have purchased and downloaded a record setting 3.3 million songs from its third generation iTunes Music Store since its launch one week ago. Highlighting the popularity of its innovative new features, iTunes users have already published more than 20,000 iMixes, and those iMixes have been rated by fellow iTunes users over 50,000 times.
In addition to the 3.3 million purchased songs, iTunes users have downloaded more than 500,000 free songs from popular artists including Foo Fighters, Avril Lavigne, Courtney Love, Annie Lennox, Jane’s Addiction, Counting Crows, Renee Fleming and Nelly Furtado during Apple's week-long “Free Song of the Day” anniversary promotion.
MSN Messenger for Mac v4.0 is Out and available for download from Microsoft's web site. If you chat with MSN rather than Apple's iChat or AOLs AIM, this update is for you. [Dana Baggett]
-- Wednesday, May 5 --
Tentative Deal May Place iBooks in Some Maine High Schools: According to this Maine Today article, Gov. Baldacci's administration has cut a deal with Apple to rent the iBooks for a year with payment due the next fiscal year in order to expand the iBokk program from 7th and 8th grade to high school. If the state legislature finks out next year as it did this year, then the local school districts are only on the hook for a one-year rental fee. The local high schools would have to opt in and risk footing the whole, but reduced, bill rather than cost sharing with the state so not all high schools may be a part of the expanded program. Stay tuned. [Dana Baggett]
Call Issued for Participation Proposals in 2004 O'Reilly Mac OS X Conference: The third annual O'Reilly Mac OS X Conference, happening October 25-28 in Santa Clara, CA, is evolving right along with Mac OS X. "This is *the* platform for innovation," observes Derrick Story, conference program chair. Story and his committee are seeking conference proposals from people creating the future of the Mac, as well as those immersed in its day-to-day care and feeding. In particular, they're seeking presentations delving into technologies, methodologies, techniques, and just plain useful and cool stuff appealing to:
Individuals, companies, and project teams interested in making presentations, giving tutorials, or participating in panel discussions are invited to submit proposals in two categories: tutorials (three or six hour presentations) and conference sessions (45 or 90 minute presentations). Proposals are due on June 11th.
Ipanema 1.4 for Mac OS X is Out and available for download from If Then Software. Ipanema will keep track of the IP addresses for ethernet, Airport, PPP, IP over FireWire, and a 3rd party ethernet card (if installed) and report to you the IP address automatically via OS X Mail once a day. You can also manually send a report of the addresses anytime you wish. If an IP changes, it will automatically send you a report of what has changed. Ipanema also displays your "real" IP address if you are behind a firewall. Ipanema has been tested for Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther). Ipanema is donationware.
Sony Launched Online Music Store: Yesterday Sony announced "Sony Connect" a digital music service much like Apple's iTunes Music Store. Like Apple's iTunes/iPod, Sony's music service will only work with a Sony music device. [Dana Baggett]
-- Tuesday, May 4 --
[Update 10a] Innovation Never Sleeps. Preview the Highly Evolved Mac OS X v10.4 "Tiger." The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference is the most important week of the year for developers, IT professionals, and digital media authors. Apple CEO Steve Jobs will kick off this year’s conference with a keynote and unveil “Tiger,” the next release of Mac OS X Apple’s critically acclaimed operating system. Don’t miss the opportunity to preview this new release and discover how Tiger will fuel the next generation of developer innovation. Check it out and register today.
Brief Hands-On Report--Apple Security Update 2004-05-03 for Mac OS X: Security Update 2004-05-03 is available via the Software Update preference pane or as a standalone updater. It is available for both Mac OS X 10.3.3 and Mac OS X 10.2.8 and client and server editions.
According to the Read Me file, Security Update 2004-05-03 delivers a number of security enhancements and is recommended for all Macintosh users. This update includes the following components for the OS X client:
and in addition for Mac OS X Server:
Here are the details:
We downloaded and installed the client and server editions for Mac OS X 10.3.3 on a Power Mac G45, G4 Cubes, PowerBook G4s and an iBook G3 with no apparent problems.
Maine Gov. Baldacci Refuses to Concede Defeat on iBook Program Extension: While the Maine Legislature failed to include funding to expand the state's iBook program from 7th and 8th grade to 9th grade, Gov. Baldacci is reviewing options developed with Apple Computer according to this Maine Today article. He proposed the expansion program based on outstanding results from Maine's middle schools and suggested that it be funded for at least one year on left over capital purchase funds so it would not cost more. Despite the positive testimony from numerous students, teachers and parents, the Maine Legislature had other ideas for that money. [Dana Baggett]
Apple Opens New Retail Store in Bethesda, MD, on Saturday, May 8: The new Apple Store will be in the Montgomery Mall at 7101 Democracy Blvd, Space 2044 Bethesda, MD 20817. It is located in the Hecht’s wing, on the second floor, next to Banana Republic. The grand opening is Saturday, May 8, at 10 a.m.
Mac Networkers Retreat Keynoters Announced: MacRetreats announced the keynote speakers for the first Mac Networkers Retreat, a 3-day gathering of Mac Networking and IT professionals to be held July 7 - 9 on the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara.
The Keynote Address will be given by Tom Yager, Test Center Technical Director and Columnist for InfoWorld. His talk is entitled "The State of Apple and Mac IT Offerings and How It Relates/Competes with the Rest of the Country". The main Lecture will be given by Alan Oppenheimer, Founder & President of Open Door Networks. His lecture is entitled "The Mac's Effect on 21st Century Networking - A Technical Overview".
The Mac Networkers Retreat features a series of lectures, discussion groups and workshops covering topics of interest to Mac Network and IT Managers. Campers and counselors will move into the ocean-side dorms on the campus, attend lectures and workshops in the University lecture halls, eat meals together in the school cafeteria, and take part in late night discussion groups in the dormitory recreation rooms and lounges.
Daystar Released G4 Upgrade for Apple PowerBook G3 1999 Series: Also known as the Bronze Keyboard or "Lombard" model, Daystar's 433 MHz MAChSpeed G4 LOMBARD G4 upgrade costs $259 or $299 for a special send it in Thursday evening and receive it back on Monday program. The price includes shipping the PowerBook but not the cost of initially receiving the shipping container.
Due to the sensitivity of the electronics within the PowerBook G3, and the need for low-power tuning, Daystar handles the MAChSpeed G4 LOMBARD as a factory installation. Daystar completes all upgrading and testing within its own facility, using its own state-of-the art equipment and worldwide recognized professionals.
From the Dark Side--Sasser Worm Variants Infect Networks and Affect Macs Indirectly: A new worm is making the rounds and clogging networks thanks to the Microsoft Windows operating system monopoly and to people who do not stay current in patching their Wintel and WinAMD computers. The latest worm, of which there are at least four variants, uses a vulnerability in Windows XP and Windows 2000 systems. The worms connect remotely from a host computer to the targeted computer, install an FTP server and download themselves to the new host computer. This is repeated over and over again among unpatched computers degrading the performance of networks. Mac users are only affected by the degraded performance of infested networks they may be using. Symantec has rated the Sasser Worm a 4 out of 5.
-- Monday, May 3 --
Apple Design Awards Include Performance Demos, Deadline is in Two Weeks: Show off your ingenuity and speedy code by entering the the Apple Design Awards for Performance Demos. The Apple Design Awards recognize technical excellence and outstanding achievement in Application Software, QuickTime Content, and, new for 2004, Performance Demos.
The first category in the Performance Demos contest showcases a commercially available product, while the second demonstrates the performance of key Apple technologies in a unique way. The submissions deadline is 9 a.m. PDT on Monday,May 17, so don't delay. Enter today!
Brief Hands-On Report--Drive 10 v1.15 Update is available for download from Micromat via MacUpdate. Drive 10 was the first third-party hard drive maintenance utility for Mac OS X. MacUpdate lists these improvements:
We downloaded the updater and ran it without problems. However, be sure that the Drive 10 application has not been renamed in any way and is in the location selected in the installer or it won't install. We used the updated version to check our backup external FireWire hard drive. It checked out as fine but the Volume Structures test still took quite a long time to complete for 10 GB data (350,000 files). From our external hard drive we optimized our 4-GB eDrive created by TechTool 4. Afterward it works fine but it is not noticeably faster. Drive 10 works with Mac OS X 10.1 and later. [Dana Baggett]
-- Weekend, May 1-2 --
Details on QuickTime 6.5.1 Security Fix: QuickTime 6.5.1 has been available for download since Wednesday as we have noted. It can also be obtained via the Software Update pane in System Preferences and "Update Existing Software" menu item in QuickTime Player.
It fixes CAN-2004-0431 where playing a malformed .mov (movie) file could cause QuickTime to terminate. Credit to eEye Digital Security for reporting this issue. Information will also be posted to the Apple Product Security web site.
Business Card Composer v2.2 is Out, Responds to AOL's Trademark Claim: BeLight Software has announced an update of Business Card Composer, version 2.2. The application is a native Mac OS X software for creation and printing business cards. Current users can get the update for free.
This update features Japanese localization and a number of functionality improvements and fixes. The Japanese version became possible due to our long-term partnership with Act2--the Japanese distributor of Business Card Composer. This version of Business Card Composer also adds:
Additionally, this update responds to a legal issue. Due to AOL's trademark claim, BeLight decided to change the application icon and redesign some promotional artwork. BeLight Software was surprised to hear the claims of AOL that Business Card Composer's icon looked very similar to the AOL's Running Man logo (the yellow man on the iChat icon). Judge for yourself:
We have favorably reviewed Business Card Composer.
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