June 2004 News Archive
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-- Wednesday, June 30 --
Apple Design Award Winners for 2004 Presented Last Night at WWDC. The Design Award presentations were made last evening at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in the Presidio Room of San Francisco's Moscone Center West. The event began at 7:30 p.m. following pizza provided to the attendees. Ron Okamoto, Apple's Vice President for Developer Relations, welcomed the crowd who stayed for the pizza, Awards and a session of Stump the Experts.
Apple's John Geleysne explained the program and noted that the Design Awards are given in three categories: Applications, Performance Demo and QuickTime Content. Apple's Christy Wyatt and Brian Johns presented the Application Awards, Frank Casanova and Lauren Black presented the Performance Demo Awards and Frank Casanova and Rhonda Stratton presented the QuickTime Content Awards. The award itself is an engraved matte silver cube, about 6" on a side, with a glowing Apple logo on its top side. Award winners also got some great Apple equipment.
Here are the winners and runners up:
Best Product New to Mac OS X
Most Innovative Mac OS X Product
Best Mac OS X User Expression
Best Mac OS X Technology Adoption
Best Mac OS X Open Source Product
Best Mac OS X Server Solution
Best Mac OS X Entertainment Product
Best Mac OS X Scientific Computing Solution
Best Mac OS X Student Product
Best Mac OS X Product
Best Performance Demo of a Shipping Product
Most Innovative Apple Technology Performance Demo
Best QuickTime Content for Education
Best QuickTime Content for Promotion
Best QuickTime Content for Entertainment
That's quite a list and the presentations went quickly. We apologize for any missing names or misspellings. We'll make any needed corrections when the awards come out in print. [Update: Apple's web page announcing the winners is now available.]
BeBoB 2.0 Breakout Box Platform is Out: BridgeCo, a provider of wired and wireless digital home entertainment networking solutions, has begun shipping its BeBoB 2.0 breakout box platform which includes full support for Mac OS X. Breakout boxes enable musicians to record audio from multiple sourcesinstruments, microphones and audio samplesby converting these audio sources into a digital format and transferring them to a computer.
Internet Filtering Supported by U.S. Supreme Court as constitutional and one of the least intrusive and more effective means of protecting children from inappropriate material on the internet according to this AP news article and this USA Today article. [Dana Baggett]
Apple Announced Workgroup Cluster Award Winners at WWDC: At yesterday morning's session on Apple and Scientific Computing, Apple's Director of Science & Technology Marketing Dr. Elizabeth Kerr announced the five winners of an Apple Workgroup Cluster computer from hundreds of nominations. We first noted the award program's call for nominations on May 11th.
The award winners are:
Apple Store Lowers AirPort Extreme Prices & Drops Low End Base Station: Apple's full-featured AirPort Extreme Base Station and card now sell for $199 and $79 at the online Apple Store, a drop in price of $50 and $20 respectively. The low-end Base Station without the modem and external antenna port is no longer listed on the store and neither is the special Base Station that runs on power over ethernet. However, the latter is still listed on Apple's AirPort Extreme web page.
-- Tuesday, June 29 --
[Update 10a EDT] Mozilla Firefox 0.9.1 and Thunderbird 0.7.1 Minor Updates are Out and available for download from Mozilla.org. The update fixes a few extension problems and revises the icons for some platforms. Firefox is the stand-alone web browser and Thunderbird is the stand-alone mail/news client from the Mozilla open source project. [Dana Baggett]
Brief Hands-On Report--New 30" Apple Cinema Display: The new 30", 23" and 20" Cinema Displays are on display at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. One can easily find them by following the drool marks on the carpet. While we were blown away by the original 22" Apple Cinema Display and then the 23" Cinema HD Display, we were not ready for the new 30" HD model. Going from the 23" to the 30" is very similar to the leap from a 17" flat panel to a 23", i.e. on the order of a 1/3rd increase in the diagonal measurement. The additional real estate allows one to have three easily-readable documents open side-by-side at one time. To further tantalize the assembled developer crowd, two 30" displays are placed side-by-side at one location.
We didn't have a ruler with us but the bezel on the 20" seems about 5/8" wide while that on the 30" model is a bit wider at around 3/4". This is much smaller than the 1.5 to 2" bezels on the current plastic-encased Cinema Displays. Two 30" Displays look very good together and the width of two bezels next to each other seems to get lost in the huge visible real estate encompassed by the two displays.
The aluminum looks very good. I was a bit worried from the rumors and bogus mock-ups that it wouldn't look so good since I am a real fan of the look of the current plastic displays, one that harkens back to the Power Mac G4 Cube. The aluminum is business-like as is the Power Mac G5 that the new displays complement. The screen enclosures themselves are box-like which adds to their business-like look. But the stand is very graceful so the displays look really good from an artistic perspective as well. The screens are vertically articulated to the base so the screen may be raised or lowered to the best angle with ease, a major improvement over the more rigid easel-type stand on the current plastic models.
The Apple Display Connector (ADC) is dead, at least for now. The new displays come with the more common DVI connector plus connectors for FireWire 400, USB 2.0 and power in a four-headed single cord. The power brick is very small and white in color, about twice the size of a PowerBook AC adapter in length and half again as wide.
The real news is how bright the new Displays are. The 20" model has been the brightest so far, brighter even than our own 23" Cinema HD Display, but the new 30" model is the brightest of the three. We had to turn the brightness on the 30" model down to about 50% of its maximum in the well-lighted Level 2 foyer of the Moscone Center West to keep it from hurting our eyes. In contrast, we keep our one-year-old 23" Cinema Display at maximum brightness even in a slightly darkened room.
The new 30" Cinema HD Display with its 2560x1600 resolution is terrific and so are the 20" and 23" models, of course. While the lust and utility factors both peak with the new 30" model, the tariff is equally steep. At $3299 the new 30" is less than the $3499 at which the 22" and 23" Cinema's debuted but an additional $599 is needed for the new Nvidia graphics card required to run it so the total tariff is $3898. This is probably about the same in constant dollars as the other two.
The update supports 14 additional drives according to the Dantz web site. [Dana Baggett]
New Apple Promo--"Great Looking Deal." Apple launched a new Apple Store promo on the Hot Deals page titled, "Great Looking Deal." The way is works is simple: Purchase a Mac and an HP DeskJet printer, an HP Photosmart printer, or any HP all-in-one product between June 27, 2004, and September 25, 2004 and get up to $99 back by mail. This offer is available from Apple or a participating Apple Authorized Reseller.
Apple Posted Webcast of Steve Jobs WWDC 2004 Keynote Address on this web page. See the new Cinema Displays and Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" in action. [Dana Baggett]
Apple Web Page Previews Mac OS X Server 10.4 "Tiger": While Steve Jobs did not mention the server software in his keynote, Apple has posted a sneak preview web page on the upcoming product and issued this press release. While the price of the client version of Tiger has not been announced, the server version will cost $499 for a 10-user license and $999 for an unlimited license.
Konfabulator is the Original Dashboard, Claims its Developer: The developer of Konfabulator issued the following press release after yesterday's presentation of Dashboard as a component of the upcoming Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger:
-- Monday, June 28 --
[Update 5p EDT] On-Scene Report--Apple's WWDC 2004 Keynote: We showed up at the Moscone Center West nearly a couple of hours before the 10 a.m. EDT keynote to get breakfast with the hope that seating would be available on arrival, a civil way to treat people, especially those who have paid over $1500 to attend a conference. No dice--looks like a repeat of the last minute mass entry of last year. However, it seems that most of the conferees had already arrived and had seated themselves all over the floor having a blast.
At each end of the Level 2 floor were black ceiling-high posters featuring Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger". They contained an image of tiger fur on a black disc emblazoned with a large silver 'X" and with headlines reading "Redmond, we have a problem.", "This should keep Redmond busy.", "Introducing Longhorn." and Redmond, start your photocopiers." Longhorn is the new Windows OS that will come out in 2006 or 2007.
Okay, off to check out the internet connections. As might be exected, the AirPort wireless connections were swamped by those waiting to get in but we found a wired connection in back that was available. After doing a bit of work, we returned to the front and waited for security to allow us to proceed to Level 3.
At 9:38 a.m. PDT we were allowed to go upstairs to Level 3 and the Presidio Room. The posters poking fun at Microsoft were also on Level 3.
We found an aisle seat in the center section about 2/3rds of the way back. The latest arrivals who did not find seats in the huge Presidio Room were shuffled off to one of three additional rooms with large projection screens. No AirPort connections were available in the Presidio during the keynote address.
Steve Jobs took the stage at 10:01 a.m. to the usual roar of applause. He mentioned that there were over 3500 developers present, a 17% increase, from 44 countries.
He started out by covering recent events like the openings of the latest retail Apple Stores (including the 6-floor Apple Store in Tokyo), iTunes 70% market share of legally downloaded music and the new European iTunes Music Store which allows Apple to reach 62% of the worldwide music download market, AirPort Express and the iPod integration into BMW's 3-series, X-3, X-5, Z-4 and Mini Cooper.
Then Steve Jobs moved to the Power Mac G5s, noting that the full line-up is dual CPU and has reached 2.5-GHz in speed. He rhetorically asked what happened to the 3-GHz speed he promised last year and answered it by saying that the whole industry hit the speed wall with the 90-nm process not yielding as much of a speed increase as previous die downsizes had produced. He noted that Intel went from 3.2-GHz to 3.6-GHz while IBM went from 2.0 to 2.5-GHz, a better proportional gain especially since the PowerPC RISC CPUs are faster for many operation at the same clock speed than Intel's CISC CPUs and, even better, because one gets dual processors with Power Macs. Jobs said he was disappointed that IBM didn't get to 3-GHz but he's happy relative to the rest of the industry.
New Apple Cinema Displays were introduced next. Cased in aluminum with a bezel that looks narrower by 2/3rds, the new displays reach an astounding 30" diagonally along with the 23" and 20" models. The thin bezel allows two monitors to be placed much closer together than before. The back of the displays have 2 FireWire 400 connectors and 2 USB 2.0 connectors. The new displays have a single cord but they do not have an ADC connector so it is multiheaded with DVI, FireWire 400, USB 2.0 and power connectors--yes, a power brick is needed. They can connect directly to a recent PowerBook. Without the ADC connector they can also work with a Wintel PC, increasing Apple's potential market.
The 30" model with a 2560x1600 resolution requires a new graphics card with dual DVI connectors, the Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra. In fact, this new graphics card has four DVI connectors so it can drive two 30" displays.
The 20" and 23" Cinema displays cost $1299 and $1999 respectively and will be available in July. The 30" display costs $3299 and will be available in August along with the $599 NVidia 6800 Ultra graphics card. The 17" Studio Display will still sell for $699 and was not redesigned. Here is Apple's press release.
Finally, Steve Jobs presented "Tiger" the fifth release of Mac OS X. It is due out in the first half of 2005, a year or more before the next version of Windows called Longhorn, with over 150 new features. Steve Jobs previewed several of them.
Tiger will run 64-bit and 32-bit processes so it will run applications designed to run at 64 bits. This is especailly helpful for processing huge images. Xgrid (inexpensive clustering) will be built in as well as even better compatibility with the Windows world.
Spotlight is a search engine adapted from iTunes and it is super fast and automatic. It is applied to the operating system and applications to find things. It is slated for at least the Finder, Address Book, Mail and System Preferences. One can create smart folders in the Finder, smart groups in Address Book and smart mailboxes in Mail.
H.264 is the latest codec standard based on MPEG4 that provides higher (4X) definition at the same data rate. It will be included in QuickTime with Tiger.
Safari RSS will have RSS (really simple syndication) built in. If one visits a web site with RSS, Safari tells you and you can view the RSS feed in lieu of the HTML web page. One can also search all RSS feeds on the web for up to the minute information.
Panther has Core Audio and that has led to incredible professional audio applications. Tiger will add Core Image and Core Video for better profesional graphics and video applications. It is similar to the technology introduced recently in the Apple application Motion. They will include over 100 filters and they use the graphics processor rather than the CPU.
.Mac has over 500,000 subscribers but that could go up with Tiger's release. Tiger will have the ability to sync many more applications via .Mac among several Macs.
Dashboard is Expose for widgets, according to Steve Jobs. Things like the calculator and other utilities can appear or disappear from the screen just like Expose in Panther does with windows. There is a floating palette to select others and which ones to appear automatically.
Automator is a fabulous tool for easily implementing AppleScripts. Workflow applications can be built easily and quickly.
Finally, iChat will go multi-party. Up to 10 people will be able to use iChat via audio at the same time for audio conferencing and 4 people will be able to video conference at the same time. The new iChat will use the H.264 codec for even better video. When four people video conference, the other three are shown in one window along with yourself.
Here is Apple's press release on Tiger.
Apple's WWDC 2004 Starts Today--Stay Tuned for Our Keynote Report: Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference 2004 at San Francisco's Moscone Center West will be kicked off today at 10 a.m. PDT with a keynote address by the CEO Steve Jobs--who else? We know that he will present a preview of Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" but what else? Come back later for our on-scene report following the keynote.
We are quartered at the Downtown San Francisco Marriott near the Moscone Center West, Starbucks and the flagship SF Apple Store. We have already registered, picking up our conference t-shirt, backpack and official program. There's also a 10% discount on SF Apple Store purchases for attendees and a 25% discount on Apple software at the Apple Developer Connection booth.
From the program maps, Moscone West is much better set up for wireless internet than last year with at least 18 AirPort Extreme Base Stations. There are also some 13 wired stations with multiple ethernet wired connections. We are pleased to see that Jamba Juice (an outstanding fruit smoothie) will be available to attendees during the day along with breakfast and lunch.
Last Call for ADHOC/MacHack Session Papers: There is still some room in the schedule for Macintosh developers & enthusiasts who want to talk about the newest technology, practical applications of the fun things learned at Apple's World-Wide Developers Conference, or just a neat and fun development project of interest to fellow developers! This means a wide swath of topics are eligible for presenting, many of which aren't specific to Mac OS X. Please contact the sessions chair, Mike Bentley, and we will walk you through the process.
There are already sessions covering everything from traditional topics (anything involving the latest and greatest technology from Apple Computer) to the latest industry tips & tricks (Microsoft Windows & Linux sessions) to the absolute cutting edge (e.g. working with open source software). To give you an idea, here is a sample of the sessions scheduled for ADHOC:
-- Weekend, June 26-27 --
Texas Junior High School Gets iBooks for All Students and Teachers with a $350,000 technology immersion grant according to this article. The Floydada Junior High School is near Lubbock, Texas. Five other schools also benefitted from the grants. [Dana Baggett]
Senate Bill Imposing Civil Fines for Illegal File Sharing Passed according to this SiliconValley.com article. The bill would allow federal prosecutors to file civil as well as criminal cases for illegal file sharing and downloading. It now goes to the House to be considered. [Dana Baggett]
PowerBook G5 on the Horizon according to this eWeek article. The article paraphrases a comment by IBM's Norman Rohrer, chief designer of the PowerPC 970FX (G5) CPU:
But don't look for it any time soon. In addition, Apple just refreshed the PowerBook G4 line. [James Friedel]
Feral Interactive Weekend Game Report: During the week Feral released a few patches for two of their games, Total Immersion Racing and XIII. Their demos have also been updated and will being coming online over the weekend at various download sites.
iTrip OS X Software v2.0 is Out and available for download from Griffin Technology.
-- TGIF, June 25 --
Apple's World Wide Developers Conference 2004 Starts Monday--Our Track: The regular sessions of Apple's WWDC 2004 will be kicked off Monday with Steve Jobs' keynote address. He will present Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" to the attendees at 10 a.m. in the Presidio Room of San Francisco's Moscone Conference Center West. What else will he cover?
We attended last year and filed daily reports beginning with the keynote address. Steve Jobs presented Mac OS X 10.3 "Panther" (currently at v10.3.4) and announced the impressive Power Mac G5 and iSight camera with iChat DV. Each attendee received a free iSight and a developer preview edition of Panther. Some of us had a great time using our iSights among ourselves at the WWDC--now we own several and use them to communicate daily with most of our business associates and members of our immediate family in other cities using either iChat AV or iVisit. Many loaded Panther on their PowerBooks at WWDC. The awesome Power Mac G5 was available to see and try. Will Steve Jobs announce any new Apple hardware this year? As usual, rumors are running rampant but we will have to wait until Monday to find out.
The WWDC 2004 sessions look terrific and we will attend Monday through Thursday. Many sessions are concurrent and we may switch but here is our initial session game plan:
Latest 'Net Attack Places Malicious Software on Popular Web Sites according to this USA Today article. Thousands of popular web sites may be infected but none were mentioned in the article. The malicious web server code tries to plant software on a site visitor's computer that allows a hacker to use the infected computer to send spam. The usual suspect is a vulnerability in Microsoft's Internet Information Server used by many web sites. According to News.com the malicious code plants the hacker software in Internet Explorer using vulnerabilities that Microsoft has not yet patched. The News.com article mentions that the Mac OS version of IE is not vulnerable. [Dana Baggett]
Inexpensive Macs for His Students: In today's View From the Classroom column, teacher Steve Wood describes his efforts over the years to fix up older Macs for his students to improve their education. Read today's column to find out how he did it and the results. Steve has retired from his teaching job.
-- Thursday, June 24 --
Camino 0.8 Final is Out and available for download. Camino is an open-sourced Cocoa-native web browser based on Mozilla for Mac OS X. According to the release notes, here are the main changes from the last version:
Here are the detailed release notes.
We downloaded and installed Camino v0.8 with no problems. Since Camino is only a web browser, it is small. It also renders web sites quickly. We aren't particularly enamored with the theme/icon set but the header is fairly small, allowing for a large window. We get an SSL Disabled error message when we try to go to secure servers and can not find where to turn SSL on, a significant limitation. [Dana Baggett]
Aspyr's Battlefield 1942 Mac Coming at End of this Month: Aspyr Studios has just put the finishing touches on Battlefield 1942 Mac, and it should be shipping to stores towards the end of June. The game has full compatibility with PC players, letting you play one of the most popular online games in recent years with all of your friends.
Adobe Photoshop CS Upgrade for $169 Ends July 15: This special offer for the Mac or PC version of Adobe Photoshop CS Upgrade also includes a free book The Photoshop Show Starring Russell Brown. Mr. Brown is Adobe's creative director.
Apple's European iTunes Music Store Big Hit, Sells 800,000 Songs in First Week. According to Apple, music fans in the UK, France and Germany have purchased and downloaded more than 800,000 songs from the iTunes Music Store since its launch one week ago, with more than 450,000 sold in the UK alone.
Here is Apple's press release.
H.264 Advanced Video Codec Ratified to be Used in MPEG4 and Future QuickTime Versions: Apple announced that the DVD Forum has ratified the H.264 Advanced Video Codec (AVC) to be included in the next generation High Definition (HD) DVD format. The H.264/AVC codec was jointly developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and has been ratified into the MPEG-4 specification as the next-generation video codec. H.264/AVC is based on open standards and will ship in Apple’s QuickTime software in an upcoming release next year.
Here is Apple's press release.
-- Wednesday, June 23 --
47 Maine School Districts Support iBook Program Expansion to High School in an effort to meet the rental minimum of 8400 iBooks from Apple for $300 each per according to this Maine Today article. The rental fee includes training and AirPort networking. Maine Gov. Baldacci pledged to seek state funding for the expansion to all 119 high schools in the next legislative session before the bill comes due. It looks like the minimum will be met according to the top state education official. [Dana Baggett]
RIAA On the Attack Again--Files Suits Against Nearly 500 Music File Swappers according to this AP article. Most of the Recording Industry of America Association's latest alleged perps are in Washington DC, St. Louis and Denver. [Dana Baggett]
iPod Highlighted in Heightened Battle over DMCA Rollback as a number of major tech firms joined in support for fair-use legislation according to this Infoworld article. The legislation would allow people to make a small number of copies of copyrighted and copy-protected digital material for personal use. According to the article,
Apple Posted New Article "The Benefits of HIToolbox: The Evolving Widget Set:" Carbon developers are always looking for easier ways to manage their interface controls, and the new HIView toolbox makes life easier for them in several ways. The Apple Developer Connection has published an article to learn how to get started with HIView control types, which bring Carbon developers significant improvements in control management, drawing, and custom controls.
Apple User Group Leadership Conference Nearing--Register Soon: Time is running out to register for the User Group Leadership conference, coming to Boston on July 12. Need an extra incentive? Register by June 25 and get an event shirt. Discounted registration ends July 5 and space is limited, so don't delay.
Also don't forget to register for the Adobe Professional Association & User Groups Evening Event, scheduled to follow UGLC. Registration ends July 5.
-- Tuesday, June 22 --
Brief Hands-On Report--Call of Duty 1.4b2 Update: The updater, while still a beta, is available for download from MacUpdate.com. The update contains the files to be installed manually that bring the Mac edition of Call of Duty to version 1.4, on parity with the Wintel version. It also adds Punkbuster anti-cheat support and a new map, Stalingrad, to the Mac edition.
We downloaded and installed the 1.4b2 files. Call of Duty launched with no problems, maintaining our preferences, so we played a "few" games. There are many more Wintel servers than were available among just Macs at version 1.3. We were able to play on many servers, those with and without Punkbuster enabled.
During 2 hours of play we had one lockup, though, the first we've had with Call of Duty. It happened as we were attacking in Danville and a team mate next to me tossed a grenade. We don't know if it was the server or our game client that caused the problem but we couldn't clear it without holding down the power button to force a shutdown. The offending server was still running when we got back up so it was probably our client.
We played servers with friendly fire on and did not run into any servers with people engaging in team killing as we found among Mac servers running v1.3 and reported in yesterday's comparo.
Apple Announced Apple Remote Desktop 2: According to this Apple press release Apple Remote Desktop 2, the second generation of Apple’s asset management, software distribution and help desk support software will be out in July. Along with dramatic improvements in screen sharing performance, Apple Remote Desktop 2 includes more than 50 new features for centrally managing Mac OS X systems. Apple Remote Desktop 2 will be available for $299 for 10 licenses and $499 for unlimited licenses.
Here is Apple's press release for further details.
COLSA Corp. Buys 1566 Apple Dual G5 Xserves for 25 TeraFLOP Cluster Supercomputer according to this Yahoo News article. It will cost less than $6 million to assemble and will be used to model aero-thermodynamics of hypersonic flight for the U.S. Army. At 25 TF, it could rank right behind Japan's Earth Simulator which at 36 TF currently ranks first in the world. However, more clusters are being built using Intel processors including one for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory that may be 10 times Japans Earth Simulator according to this MacCentral article. Still, the Mac systems seem to be more cost effective, at least to those who have done an analysis:
One wonders why our tax dollars are being wasted on so many Intel-based clusters if the COLSA analysis is correct. [Dana Baggett]
Apple Further Expanded iBook Extended Warranty Program: The Expanded iBook Logic Board Repair Extension Program is a worldwide program covering repair or replacement of the logic board in iBook models manufactured between May 2001 and October 2003 that are experiencing specific component failures, i.e. the built-in and attached external displays exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:
The serial numbers included are: UV117XXXXXX to UV342XXXXXX
-- Monday, June 21 --
Hands-On Review--MoHAA Breakthrough vs Call of Duty: Both 3D games were brought to the Mac by Aspyr Media, Inc. Medal of Honor Allied Assault is the oldest of the two but its Breakthrough expansion pack just arrived for the Mac within the last couple of weeks. Call of Duty came out just over a month ago. They are state of the art for first person shooters (FPS) on the Mac and the theme of both is World War II.
When we played MoHAA with a pre-release version of the Spearhead expansion pack at last years Apple WWDC, our favorite FPS then was Return to Castle Wolfenstein (which had earlier displaced Unreal Tournament and Quake III Arena). We immediately picked up MoHAA and the Spearhead expansion when it came out and it became our favorite FPS for nearly a year. We were introduced to Call of Duty by a friend who claimed it was far superior to the MoHAA series. We thoroughly enjoyed it and quickly bought our own copy.
We only play the on-line multiplayer (MP) versions after learning the controls and maps with a bit of play in single player (SP) mode. We also mostly play the Team Deathmatch game type, although we've played some of each type, including Breakthrough's new Liberation game type. So our comments are on the multiplayer versions from on-line play of mostly the Team Deathmatch game type. Our game rig is an original dual 2.0-GHz Power Mac G5 with the stock ATI Radeon 9600 Pro (our retail version 9800 Pro gave up the ghost 6 weeks ago), 23" HD Apple Display and 1.5GB RAM being fed by cable internet. We're running Mac OS X 10.3.4. We run the games at 1024x768 resolution to keep the frame rate up but go for most of the eye candy: 32 bit color, medium texture, decals, weather, texture compression. We also use RadeonEnabler 1.1 and ATI Displays v4.2.5 to set the OEM graphics card to 2x FSAA and 2x anisotropic filtering.
With Breakthough, one can play all the original MoHAA and Spearhead expansion pack maps as well as the new maps added in the Breakthough expansion pack--11 in SP mode and 9 in MP mode. The new maps are of North African and Italian scenes. Italian skins are new and there are a few new skins among American, British, German and Russian soldiers as well but the underlying computer model is or seems the same. Breakthough has italian weapons and also has new vehicles in SP mode. A new game style, Liberation, is included. Fast running, which we like, is a built-in server option rather than a mod. Without fast running, movement in the MoHAA series seems like one is slogging through molasses or deep sand.
While we've played Breakthrough for a week, we still haven't played all of the new maps since there are few Breakthough servers and they also cycle through the previous maps as well as the new ones. We've played over half the new maps: Kasserine, Bizerte, Tunisia, Bologna, Palermo and Monte Battaglia. Among them, the street fight in Bologna is our favorite--it is a little more complex than the Tunisia and Palermo maps. Monte Battaglia would give Bologna some serious competition for our favorite if it weren't flawed, at least on most servers, with at least two places where one can walk through the scene's boundaries--one entrance to the tunnel under the lift annd the other outside the main wall.
In the new Liberation game style, when one gets "killed" one is imprisioned in the opponents jail until freed by a team member or the game ends with one entire team jailed. We found this to be a very boring game style, like freeze tag or rounds.
Breakthrough also seems to have a video flaw or at least a dramatic change from Spearhead that we don't like. When playing the original MoHAA and Spearhead maps via Breakthrough, they appear to be much hazier and distance visibility is significantly reduced in some maps. The difference is easy to see if one switches back and forth between Breakthrough and Spearhead on the same server playing the same game with the same graphics settings. It is most noticeable to us when playing the Flugenhagen map where we have "perfected" play with the sniper rifle. We tried turning off weather effects and ATI Displays OpenGL 3D overrides but the haze effect and reduced distance visibility remained.
The really good thing about Breakthrough is that if one is bored with the Spearhead map set, one gets 9 additional maps to master. There are also very few instances of immature jerks who intentionally kill team mates. Unfortunately, the cheats that are increasingly taking the fun out of MoHAA Spearhead, despite server claims to the contrary, also appear to work in Breakthrough.
Call of Duty (CoD) is essentially the same game as MoHAA. However, the player models are much more realistic in our opinion. The uniforms (skins) are not customizable as in MoHAA but the models move more realistically and have 3 positions (standing, crouching or prone) rather than 2. We really like the prone position in CoD that is not available in MoHAA. The accuracy of all weapons in CoD is related the player's position and speed of movement and is the highest when in the prone position.
CoDs maps are as good as or better than those of MoHAA. Action is much faster in CoD while the MoHAA maps are much more conducive to sniping. Fortunately, there are fewer if any cheats yet for CoD so play is much more fun.
The biggest problem with CoD is that most of the servers have friendly fire turned on and they are frequented by immature "children" who engage in massive team member killing for attention instead of choosing a free for all game style and competing equitably. There are far fewer CoD servers than for MoHAA, another disadvantage.
All considered, Call of Duty is the better WWII-themed first person shooter 3D game in our opinion. But both keep our aging (hence slowing) reflexes exercised.
-- Weekend, June 19-20 --
[Update 11:30a 6/19] Feral Interactive Weekend Game Report--XIII Demo and Worms 3D Updater: We received the following news on new/upcoming games from Feral Interactive:
[Update 10a 6/19] Apple Canada Comes to Maine for First-Hand Look at iBook Program: Four New Brunswick, Canada, schools will begin an iBook program in their 7th grades. The program, initially a pilot study, will be similar to the one in Maine where each student and their teachers receive an iBook to use during the school year. According to the Maine Technology Learning Intiative web site, Apple Canada representatives and a consultant visited Maine to get a one-on-one look at Maine's program. [Dana Baggett]
Camino 0.8 Release Candidate 1 is Available for download. Camino 0.8 RC1 is now available for testing and is for Mac OS X only. It has arrived just a month after the Camino 0.8 Beta release. According to MozillZine.org,
Camino is a Mozilla project web browser for Mac OS X that has a Cocoa-layer user interface. It also embeds the Gecko layout engine like the other Mozilla projects. It is designed to be a "...simple, small and fast browser for Mac OS X." [Dana Baggett]
-- TGIF, June 18 --
Mozilla v1.7 Final Web Browser is Out and available for download from Mozilla.org. According to MozillaZine,
Here are the release notes. [Dana Baggett]
New Giga Designs CPU Upgrades Feature 1.5-GHz G4 for Apple Cube: Giga Designs is now shipping the fastest (1.5GHz) G4 processor upgrade available for the Apple Power Mac G4 Cube. The new M series G-celerator uses the latest G4 (7457) processor available. This new processor boasts a power consumption of up to 1/3 less than that of previous G4 CPUs and has a larger (512KB) on-chip L2 cache.
The M series features a new multi-voltage power sharing architecture, in addition to the original user adjustable speed and processor voltage settings. This combination gives customers the ability to maximize the Cube’s performance while allowing for high performance graphics and storage devices. The new M series upgrades are assembled in the US and carry a three-year limited warranty. The 1.5-GHz model costs $599 and a 1.4-GHz model costs $499.
DropDV Software Announced Release of DropDV 1.0: DropDV is a Mac OS X droplet which converts MPEG video into DV video streams. After conversion, your video can be edited in iMovie, Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, or any other DV video editing system. A trial version of DropDV is free. The trial version adds a watermark to the DV output streams. To remove this watermark, one needs to purchase a registration key which costs as little as $19.99.
Gefen Released Quad Video Monitor/Projector Adapter: When you need to supply multiple video monitors with the same computer-generated data, Gefen’s 1x4 VGA Hub comes in handy. It costs $199 which gets you the small metallic box that connects to the computer on one side and outputs to four VGA video monitors on the other side.
Most computers are equipped with a maximum of two video outputs, but with the 1x4 VGA Hub, the same computer graphics can be sent to all four displays at multiple resolutions up to 1920x1200. Computers with an analog video graphics card that connect to the display through an HD-15 connector, a common computer connector, are compatible with the 1x4 VGA Hub as well as monitors, projectors and plasma displays with the same connector and cables.
Simply designed for performance and ease, the 1x4 VGA Hub takes just seconds to install. It requires only a 5-volt external power supply (included) to drive all four video displays. Gefen’s 1x4 VGA Hub is available for purchase online at Gefen's web site or through a Gefen reseller, located around the world and listed online.
ChatBarrier X3 Encrypts iChat Text Messages: Intego announced the launch of Intego ChatBarrier X3, a program that works in conjunction with Apple’s iChat instant messaging software to provide two-way, real-time encryption of text chats. Intego ChatBarrier X3 uses military grade 512-bit encryption that stops anyone from reading private messages. The "single" license (2 licenses) SRP is $39.95.
A Concise but Fairly Complete Bio of Steve Jobs was posted in this UK Guardian Unlimited article. [Dana Baggett]
Macworld Editor-in-Chief Jason Snell and Author Tom Negrino this week on The Mac Night Owl LIVE: Host Gene Steinberg will interview Jason Snell, Editor-in-Chief of Macworld. He'll also be talking with his long-time friend Tom Negrino, author of Take Control of What's New in Entourage 2004. Tom will also be giving you his views about the entire Office 2004 package. Tune into the broadcast from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00PM Eastern Time.
-- Thursday, June 17 --
Apple Increasing Staff in Cork, Ireland, for G5 Computer according to this Irish Times article (free registration required). They wrote:
Is this the Power Mac G5 or ...? [Dana Baggett]
Apple Photo Gallery--European iTunes Music Store Roll Out: Apple posted a web page with photos of its European iTunes Music Store kickoff.
Al Gore Never Really Claimed to have Invented the Internet according to a number of reader notes that we received yesterday in response to our article on Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the internet's world wide web and who was finally recognized for his achievement with the $1.65 million Millennium Technology Prize. It's a myth they claimed and we have removed our quip. Here is a web page covering the issue. Indeed, we know for a fact that former senator and vice president Al Gore ardently supported the development and use of techology from both positions and helped significantly to get it funded through his leadership--that technology included the internet's infrastructure.
TransIntl has the Swiftdata 200, a Terabyte of Internal Storage for the Power Mac G5:
-- Wednesday, June 16 --
Maine Gov. Baldacci Still Pushing iBook Program for High Schools: Expansion of Maine's iBook program from 7th and 8th grade to 9th grade is not dead just yet according to this Times Record article. Gov. Baldacci has urged the state's school districts to go ahead and rent the necessary iBooks for $300 each with the promise that he will get the legislature to pay the bill when it comes due.
Hopefully, the state's school districts will accept the risk to extend this highly successful program, where each student and teacher gets their own iBook and the school an AirPort wireless networking system, into high school. [Dana Baggett]
Microsoft "Xbox Next" Prototype is a Stripped Down Power Mac G5 according to this IGN article:
While devoid of any creative juices or innovation, you can't fault Microsoft for picking the very best that there is to work with. [Dana Baggett]
Tim Berners-Lee the Real Inventor of the Internet's World Wide Web Gets $1.65 Million Prize: The Millennium Technology Prize, the world's largest technology prize, was given to Tim Berners-Lee by the Finnish Technology Award Foundation according to this eCommerce Times article. The US$1.65 million prize for outstanding technological achievements that raised the quality of life is supported by the Finnish government as well as private contributors. Berners-Lee is the first recipient of the award. Tim Berners-Lee invented the internet's world wide web. He never patented it, thereby maybe making him perhaps the world's largest philanthropist of all time. [Dana Baggett]
FireWire Depot Announced Clustering for the eRAID RAID System: The eRAID System provides RAID levels 0, 1, 0+1, 3 and 5 or JBOD configurations featuring 1394a, 1394b, USB2.0 and Serial ATA connectivity on the rear of the enclosure. The eRAID system utilizes high-performance 64bit RISC processor, 64bit memory architecure, built-in 64MB SDRAM cache buffer and 66MHz/32bit path at burst rate upto 266MB/sec to control five (5) hot-swapt ATA-133 HDD (no size limited) with unprecedented performance whether Shared or Independent Volume configuring thru Serial ATA, USB2.0 and/or 1394a or 1394b connections. This system offers an SATA interface, but it uses IDE/ATA hard drives. It does NOT use SATA drives. You have the ability and choice to connect via 1394a, 1394b, USB2 or SATA.
Clustering allows two computers to connect to the eRAID at the same time using different ports for connecting (ie. computer 1 connects via USB2 or FireWire and computer 2 connects via the SATA port on the eRAID system). The eRAID can accept 5 IDE hard drives of any capacity. It is always strongly recommended that all drives used in the system are the same capacity. Normal SRP for the eRAID system is $1499.99. Check current pricing online.
Class-Site v1.2.1 is Out from BB&T Software: Class-Site is a program that aids the educator in creating and maintaining a classroom website for their individual class. It provides the educator with considerable flexibility in maintaining the website, yet with minimal time expenditure. Class-Site provides a consistent and easy-to-use interface for editing the website content. Class-Site has advantages over other methods of creating websites
How Does It Work? Class-Site maintains a database for each educator's individual classroom website. The educator manipulates the content of their classroom website database using a familiar Macintosh OS X user interface. When the changes are done, the teacher issues a single "Build Site" command, and the site is ready to use. Requires Mac OS X 10.1 or higher.
USBVision for Mac OS X v1.1.1 is Out: EchoFX announced the immediate availability of USBVision For Mac OS X 1.1.1, software support for video digitizing devices including the XLR8 InterView, Belkin VideoBus and others. Version 1.1.1 is a maintenance release that restores the ability to play sound in the background, no longer interferes with iChat / iSight operation, and releases unused USB bandwidth when video is not present. Problems with Internet version checking when multiple devices are active have also been resolved. USBVision For Mac OS X 1.1.1 is free to registered USBVision For Mac OS X customers.
-- Tuesday, June 15 --
Apple Mac OS X Server Admin Tools 10.3.4 Update is Out and available for download from this Apple article. According to Apple,
Apple's European iTunes Music Store Opens Today as we noted on last week's Wednesday edition. The cost of songs was expected to be about $1.50 each in the UK but with iTunes' European competition offering huge discounts, maybe Apple will open with an introductory special. [Dana Baggett]
Short Update--MoHAA Breakthrough Expansion Pack: With regard to yesterday's interim Hands-On Report, Aspyr responded to our emails to their Support by sending us a serial number so that we can now access multiplayer servers on line.
We actually received three responses, all around 9 a.m. We'll post a follow-up Hands-On Report when we've had a chance to play Breakthough for a week or so. We also bought "Call of Duty" which in some ways seems superior to the MoHAA series--we'll report on it too.
Eclipse and Mac OS X--A Natural Combination: The Eclipse IDE is a powerful, open-source, cross-platform, highly-extensible tool for software developers that has become popular among the Java community and elsewhere. This Apple article discusses why Eclipse helps make Mac OS X a great Java development platform. One can learn the basics of Eclipse on Mac OS X and how to download it for free and get started using it.
-- Monday, June 14 --
Brief Hands-On Report--MoHAA Breakthough Expansion Pack: We are addicted to playing the 3-D game Medal of Honor Allied Assault (MoHAA) and the Spearhead expansion pack so we've been eagerly waiting for the Breakthrough expansion pack to come to the Mac from Aspyr. We got our copy last week and finally got it installed on our dual 2.0-GHz on Saturday but not without some difficulty and disappointment.
We couldn't get the installer to work at first. We tried re-installing the basic MoHAA, which is required for the Breakthrough expansion pack, and installing it on another Mac. No dice. The installer would run but skip rapidly to the end. It gave no error message but Breakthrough was not installed. So we broke down and read the manual--the first note is that MoHAA must be updated to v1.14 to apply the Breakthrough update. After doing this, Breakthrough installed but it seems to us that Aspyr could have anticipated this problem since Spearhead plays fine without the MoHAA update so many people, like us, wouldn't even know there was a MoHAA update. It would have been nice to have included the update on the Breakthrough CD.
The Breakthrough CD has to be in your optical drive inorder to launch Breakthrough just like the Spearhead expansion pack. This is a huge nuisance but it's Aspyr's way of fighting piracy.
Launching Breakthrough brought up a dialog box asking for the CD key (serial number). The dialog box says it's on the CD case but it wasn't on ours. There's no CD key for MoHAA or Spearhead either. If we dismiss the dialog box without entering a CD key by clicking "cancel," we can play in single player mode but not on most servers providing on line multiplayer mode. In most cases, the servers returned an invalid CD key error message but curiously a few let us on.
On Sunday, after we sent messages to Aspyr's support about this, Aspyr posted this note on their Breakthrough support page:
We emailed Aspyr Support but we've not received a reply as of publication time.
Among the few team deathmatch multiplayer servers we were able to get on, most were running the Palermo map or Monte Battaglia map. The latter had several places where we could walk through the map's edge and get lost "behind" the scene.
So far we are disappointed with the install and CD key glitches and the quality of one of the maps we've played on line. Hopefully, Aspyr will fix these problems soon.
-- TGIF, June 11 --
iTrip mini FM Transmitter for Apple's iPod mini is Shipping: Griffin today announced the iTrip mini FM Transmitter for Apple's iPod mini has begun shipping, one month earlier than originally announced. The iTrip mini is the first and onlly FM transmitter made exclusively for the iPod mini. The iTrip mini brings the entire list of iTrip features to the iPod mini in a new, form-fitting mini design. The iTrip mini is $39.99 and available directly from Griffin and at the Apple Store.
Get ready for a great week at WWDC 2004. We look forward to seeing you!
WWDC 2004 Exhibit Fair Nearing Capacity--Less than 15 Spaces Left: If you are planning to book your exhibit space for WWDC 2004, the time is now! WWDC is the definitive event for programmers, IT managers, content creators, systems administrators or anyone who wants to make the most out of Apple's innovative technologies and the robust and flexible Mac OS X platform. The Exhibit Fair is designed for vendors to showcase their newest technologies and services to the worldwide Mac developer community. Apple's WWDC Exhibit Fair is a hot spot and has been a sell-out exposition for the last three years. Call Susan directly at 805-435-1004 or send mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org today! There are less than 15 spaces remaining and ALL EXHIBIT SALES will close Friday, June 18th.
Revised Setup Assistant Aids in Migration to New Power Mac G5s: We missed this note from Apple when we posted our story yesterday on Apple's new Power Mac G5s:
Basically, the Setup Assistant on the new Power Mac G5 prompts you to boot your old Mac into FireWire disk mode, assuming it is recent enought to do so, and connect it to the new one with a FireWire cable. Then Setup Assistant walks you through transfering files from your old Mac to the new Power Mac G5. This is basically what we do each time we get a new Mac but it will be nice to have Setup Assistant to make the process easier.
-- Thursday, June 10 --
Apple Announced New Power Mac G5--Dual 2.5 GHz, Liquid Cooling, ATI Radeon 9600 XT and 8X SuperDrive: Yesterday, Apple announced a new top-end Power Mac G5 (PMG5) which raised the maximum CPU speed to 2.5 GHz and this model gets two of them at $2999. In fact, all three PMG5 models are now dualies with the other two models getting the dual 1.8 ($1999) and 2.0 GHz ($2499) G5 CPUs of the previous mid- and top-end models. The new top-end PMG5 also gets a redesigned cooling system which includes liquid cooling and an improved base graphics card, an ATI 9600 XT. All Power Mac G5s get 8X DVD-burning SuperDrives.
When the PMG5 was introduced last June at WWDC 2003 by Steve Jobs in his keynote address, he announced to a huge applause that the G5, maxed then at 2.0 GHz, would reach 3.0 GHz by the summer of 2004 approaching the 3+ GHz of Intel CPUs. Well, the newest PMG5 closes only half the gap but it still represents a 25% increase, a significant increase. According to Apple's speed tests, the new dual 2.5 GHz PMG5 beat a 3.4 GHz Pentium 4 by nearly 100% on Photoshop operations where speed is money. It also beat a dual 3.2 GHz Intel Xeon PC by over 70%. The new PMG5 also demonstrated similar performance superiority over top Intel boxes in video, imaging, audio and bioscientific processing.
All this power creates heat and the new dual 2.5 GHz PMG5 has a new cooling system design, including liquid cooling for the G5 CPUs. It still uses 9 quiet fans in four "zones" contolled by many heat sensors but the lower case where the CPUs are looks cleaner.
The new ATI 9600 XT base graphics card is better that the 9600 Pro that came with the former top of the line 2-GHz model. It's faster and has more VRAM (128 vs 64 MB). The optional 9800 XT is faster and has more VRAM (256 vs 128 MB) than the previous optional 9800 Pro.
The SuperDrive in our dual 2-GHz PMG5 burns DVDs at 4X but the new PMG5s all get 8X SuperDrives. Here are the specs for all three current models:
The new dual 2.5 GHz model will be available in July. The dual 1.8 and 2.0 GHz models are available now.
Apple Released iTunes v4.6 as we noted on Tuesday in our article on Apple's AirPort Express. What's new in iTunes 4.6? Well, iTunes 4.6 includes support for playing your music off your Mac wirelessly using AirPort Express with AirTunes. It also includes a number of other minor and unspecified enhancements.
Apple's Workgroup Cluster Award Program Application Deadline is this Sunday: According to a note from Apple, Sunday, June 13 is the deadline for applications for the Apple Workgroup Cluster for Bioinformatics award program. Apple will award five fully-provisioned 8-processor Apple Workgroup Clusters through an open call for applications in the United States. The details of this program are on this Apple web page.
Mozilla Firefox 0.9rc1 and Mozilla 1.7rc3 are Out as the Latest Release Candidates and available for download. Mozilla 1.7rc3 is the complete web browser package and Firefox is the sleek stand-alone browser from Mozilla. [Dana Baggett]
Mac/PC System Shootouts Web Site Updated: Charles Gaba wrote that he has updated his Mac/PC System Shootout web site. The new features are:
...as well as some other smaller, earlier enhancements.
-- Wednesday, June 9 --
Apple to Launch iTunes in Britain June 15 and Songs will Cost $1.50 according to this BigNewsNetwork article citing Britain's Mirror. Disaster is predicted for Britain's record and CD sales. Of course, that means Apple's British iTunes Music Store is predicted to be a resounding success. [Dana Baggett]
DVD-RAM ReWrite Speed Hits 5X and leaps to the front of the DVD format pack in rewritable speed according to this PC World article. DVD-RW/+RW formats are at 4X. The write-once formats of DVD-R/+R are at 16X. DVD-RAM, which Apple used once, may hit 16X in 12 months. [Dana Baggett]
Broadband Internet Use Grows 20% in Second Half of 2003 according the FTCs twice a year survey. The survey also shows that DSL continues to gain on cable as the medium for broadband (high speed) internet. At the end of 2003 there were over 28.2 million broadband subscribers, up from 23.5 milion in the middle of 2003. 16.4 million of the 28.2 million are cable subscribers. [Dana Baggett]
Former Apple CFO Fred Anderson Joined Apple's Board of Directors: Fred Anderson was Apple's Chief Financial Officer for eight years after being hired by former CEO Gil Amelio. Anderson was one of the few Amelio hires to be kept on after Amelio was fired and Steve Jobs retook the CEO helm. He retired from Apple on June 1 and was replaced by Peter Oppenheimer. Anderson also sits on the boards of eBay and E.piphany according to this Apple press release.
-- Tuesday, June 8 --
Brief Hands-On Report--Apple Security Update 2004-06-07 for Mac OS X 10.3.4 and 10.2.8, Client and Server, is out and available for download via the Software Update preference pane. Security Update 2004-06-07 delivers a number of security enhancements and is recommended for all Macintosh users. This update includes the following components:
Mac OS X will now present an approval alert when an application is to be run for the first time either by opening a document or clicking on a URL related to the application.
Here are the details for APPLE-SA-2004-06-07 Security Update 2004-06-07:
Description: Security Update 2004-06-07 delivers a number of security enhancements and is recommended for all Macintosh users. The purpose of this update is to increase security by alerting you when opening an application for the first time via document mappings or a web address (URL). For more details, including a description of the new alert dialog box, please see this Apple web page.
Versions: Security Update 2004-06-07 is available for the following system versions (direct download links):
The following components are updated:
We downloaded and installed Security Update 2004-06-07 on a number of Macs, including a G4 Cube and a 17" PowerBook G4 with no problems. [Dana Baggett]
Apple Introduced AirPort Express with AirTunes: Connect to the internet, print and stream iTunes all wirelessly with Apple's new AirPort Express. With it you can enjoy your iTunes music library in virtually any room of your house, share a single broadband Internet connection at a fast 802.11g speed and USB printer without inconvenient and obtrusive cables, create an instant wireless network on the go and extend the range of your current wireless network. AirPort Express can do all that in a tiny 6.7-oz package for only $129 and it will be available in July.
AirPort Express needs iTunes v4.6 which is expected to be available for download later this week.
Wow! We have been hauling around an original Apple graphite AirPort Base Station for years to get wireless internet in hotel rooms. Most hotels that we currently frequent have high speed internet connections so soon we will have a small 6.7-oz AirPort Express to replace our AirPort Base Station. Here is Apple's press release.
O'Reilly Released "Google: The Missing Manual." Most of the time, when you run a Google search, it simply works. You type in The Simpsons, press Enter, and you've got all the character bios, episode guides, and Bart hood ornaments you could ever want. That's the beauty of Google.
But what about when you want to find something trickier? Say you're a journalist writing a story on deadline for tomorrow, and you need a quote from an expert in negotiations. You have two potential sources but neither of them is returning your calls. A friend, however, recently raved about a negotiations trainer his company brought in from a place called something like Watershed Consultants. So you run a search for Watershed Consultants ...and Google gives you 120,000 results--all about saving ecosystems and revitalizing rivers. Your friend is on vacation, and your story can't wait.
What do you do? Naturally, you pick up a copy of "Google: The Missing Manual" (O'Reilly, US $19.95) by Sarah Milstein and Rael Dornfest, and almost instantly, you find what you're looking for. From search tricks and efficiency tools to little-known corners of Google, the book includes everything you need to find high-quality information in a hurry.
-- Monday, June 7 --
QuickTime and Digital Speakers at WWDC 2004 Announced by Apple: With a speaker list that includes fourteen industry luminaries and pioneering technologists as well as Apple’s own technical experts, the QuickTime and Digital Media track is an unparalleled opportunity to learn from some of the most respected digital media practitioners in the world. Check out who's talking about what from this Apple web page.
See Who's Exhibiting at Apple's WWDC 2004 Exhibit Fair: With more than 70 vendor booths planned, Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference 2004 Exhibit Fair is the place to see the latest products, services, and technologies for developers on the Mac platform. The exhibits open Monday afternoon, June 28 and run through Wednesday, June 30. The reception hosted by the Apple Developer Connection in the Exhibit Fair area is on Monday evening. Check out who's exhibiting from this Apple web page.
Old Jewel Software Released LazyMouse version 1.0.3: LazyMouse is a Preference Pane that moves the cursor to the default button whenever a dialog box appears on the screen. In other words, it will save the user time moving the mouse to dismiss dialogs.
LazyMouse version 1.0.3 is a maintenance release that makes the following changes:
LazyMouse is shareware. All features are available without registering, but users will be reminded regularly until they choose to register LazyMouse. A single user license costs $6.85 US.
Former Microsoft Employee Switches to Mac OS X and a Power Mac G5: Jeff Reifman had to reboot his wintel just one too many times and revels in the ease of learning/use of Mac OS X. His lengthy article is an excellent read, explaining why M$ can't change its business model. [Dana Baggett]
-- Weekend, June 5-6 --
GoBetween--Sync M$ Entourage Data with iSync: PocketMac GoBetween is the first-ever automated iSync plug-in to allow Entourage users to sync their crucial data to iSync-supported phones and devices. This has been one of our most popular requests from users who love the power and compatibility that iSync brings to their Mac, but want to extend that technology to their Entourage PIM data.
Feral Interactive's Weekend Game Status Report: From a note from Feral Interactive,
-- TGIF, June 4 --
Brief Hands-On Report--Apple AirPort Extreme Driver v3.4.2 is out and available for download via the Software Update preference pane if one has an AirPort Extreme card installed [If not, it still appears in the SU preference pane if run manually]. No stand-alone update was available at publication time. According to the ReadMe file:
Presumably this driver fixes the dropped connection issue with Macs having more than 1 GB RAM and using AirPort Extreme. We downloaded and installed the new driver on our 17" PowerBook G4 using AirPort Extreme and ran into no problems but we have only 1 GB RAM. We still get a 4-arc signal in the menu icon (13 of 15 bars in the Internet Connect application) from both an Extreme and Snow AirPort Base Station at 30 feet. [Update 1a EDT: Early reports indicate that this updater does indeed fix the problem of dropped AirPort Extreme connections for Macs with more than 2 GB RAM.]
O'Reilly Released "Inside .Mac" by Chuck Toporek: According to O'Reilly, with Mac OS X as a foundation, Apple's iApps and iLife technology has coalesced into a "digital hub," an interconnected set of tools that helps users store and organize photos and music, entertain the kids, stay in touch with significant others, and even assist in running a business. To take this information to a higher level, Apple created .Mac (pronounced "dot Mac"), a suite of services that allows subscribers to share information online. While .Mac hasn't received the same attention as its more glamorous i-cousins, it's endowed with the same traits: an attractive, intuitive interface and a wealth of powerful features, including web mail, an online contact management system, storage space, a fully customizable personal web site, and much more. About the only thing missing from this embarrassment of riches is a thorough guide. "Inside .Mac" by Chuck Toporek (O'Reilly, US $19.95) is just that, the first--and only--manual that delves deep into .Mac.
Wi-Fi Internet Coming to all Hyatt Hotels by 2005 according to this AP article. T-Mobile and Hyatt anounced the deal yesterday. Most major hotel chains are providing or gearing up to provide wireless internet in their public areas and meeting rooms. [Dana Baggett]
-- Thursday, June 3 --
Apple's Current Free Online Seminars: These online events are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from any computer with internet access. They are designed to be no more than 30 minutes in length and offer a wide variety of resources and information. Topics cover solutions using Apple and partner products and technologies. Here is the list of current online seminars that are free from Apple:
O'Reilly Released "BSD Hacks" For BSD-based OS's Like Mac OS X: According to O'Reilly, in the world of Unix operating systems, the various BSDs come with a long heritage of high-quality software and well-designed solutions, making them a favorite OS of a wide range of users. From budget-minded users who adopted BSD early on to developers of some of today's largest Internet sites, the popularity of BSD systems continues to grow. If you use the BSD operating system, you know that the secret of its success is not just in its price tag: practical, reliable, extraordinarily stable and flexible, BSD also offers plenty of fertile ground for creative, time-saving tweaks and tricks. "BSD Hacks" (O'Reilly, US $24.95), by Dru Lavigne and a contributing team of trainers, developers, hobbyists, and administrators, offers a unique set of practical tips, tricks, tools--and even fun--for administrators and power users of BSD systems.
Krystal Restaurants to Add Free Wi-Fi Internet Access: Krystal sells square hamburgers from over 400 restaurants in the Southeastern U.S. They will equip 52 of them with free Wi-Fi accress and evaluate the impact before adding more according to this Computerworld article. [Dana Baggett]
Griffin Announced iTrip mini FM Transmitter For Apple iPod mini: Griffin Technology Inc. announced the iTrip mini FM Transmitter for Apple's iPod mini. The new iTrip mini joins the iTrip line as one of the hottest iPod accessories in the world. The iTrip has unlimited station frequencies tuned directly from the iPod and battery-free iPod mating design. The iTrip mini brings the entire list of iTrip features to the iPod mini in a new, beautifully form-fitting mini design (see at right). Shipping in July, the iTrip mini is $39.99 with pre-orders being taken now.
Chances for Maine iBook Program Expansion to High Schools Getting Slim as time marches on according to this Times Record article. Despite Apple offering the iBooks for as low as $300 for a year, there seem to be few, if any, bites on the deal to expand Maine's iBook program from middle school to high school. The total expansion to the 9th grade requires some 22,000 iBooks for students and their teachers. [Dana Baggett]
-- Wednesday, June 2 --
iLife '04, "Microsoft Office for the rest of your life." is Hit with Professionals Too according to this eMediaLive article. Steve Jobs introduced iLife '04 (the iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes, iDVD and GarageBand collection) with the quote at Macworld 2004 SF in January. This passage summarizes the three-page article:
Dr. Bott Announced MoniSwitch Pro ADC for Sharing Apple LCD Displays. MoniSwitch Pro ADC is a KVM switch that allows the sharing of Apple Flat Panels with an ADC (Apple Display Connector) between four computers. MoniSwitch Pro ADC is compatible with Apple's Flat Panel Displays that incorporate the Apple Display Connector including the very impressive 23" Cinema Display. DVI displays can also be used with an adapter like DVI Extractor II. Any computer with a built-in ADC connector or compatible DVI video card with a DVI to ADC adapter such as DVIator can also be used. MoniSwitch Pro ADC retails for $399.95 and is shipping today through Dr. Bott authorized resellers worldwide.
FileMaker Pro and Developer 7.0v2 Updaters are Out and available for download from FileMaker's web site. The summary of changes is:
We updated our copy with no problems and it checked out on a few of our databases.
ATI Announced New PCI Express Graphics Chips and Mobile Graphics Cards: Yesterday, ATI announced its new X-series graphics chips (now called visual processing units or VPUs) for the PCI Express slot, a faster slot than PCI or AGP. ATI also announced its mobile PCI Express upgrade cards for laptop computers. Will Apple adopt this technology in its next series of Power Macs and PowerBooks? We certainly hope so.
Macromedia's Flashforward2004 Conference Registration is Open and available from this web site. It takes place in New York, July 7-9, 2004. Flashforward is a Flash film festival for Flash developers. Save $100 by registering by June 11th.
-- Tuesday, June 1 --
Mac OS X 10.3.4--How Fast Is It? As background, we have benchmarked every version of Mac OS X (except 10.3.1, a quick fix) starting with 10.0 because its speed has been the source of its biggest complaint, one that has persisted right through Jaguar's last version, 10.2.8. Apple made some progress with a couple of 10.0.x updates and with 10.1 and 10.2. But, as we noted in our last Jaguar benchmark, all of the Jaguar versions through 10.2.8 were basically the same speedwise. Our previous speed test of Panther (10.3) in October concluded that it was much faster in some very important aspects than the last version of Jaguar, 10.2.8. Panther's latest update is 10.3.4 so just how fast is it?
We ran our complete suite of speed tests on 10.3.4, consisting of a number of "canned" benchmarks and several so-called "real world" tests. They are described in detail in our G4 Cube 1.2-GHz upgrade review and are simple enough for anyone to repeat on their own Mac for comparison. We have used a completely stock 450-MHz G4 Cube (except for the 704 MB of RAM) for all of our speed tests of Mac OS X. We included the results from our dual 2-GHz Power Mac G5 with 1.5-GB RAM to illlustrate just how much faster Apple's fastest Mac of today is against a G4 from four years ago. The previous Mac OS X speed tests with our G5 used an after-market retail ATI RADEON 9800 Pro graphics card instead of the stock 9600 but our 9800 recently gave up the ghost.
Each test was run three times with a cold boot in between and the average score or number of seconds computed. Here are the results comparing 10.3.4 with 10.3.3, 10.3.2, 10.3 and 10.2.8:
*Using the stock ATI RADEON 9600 Pro graphics card--previous tests used a RADEON 9800 Pro.
In comparison with the last Jaguar version on our stock G4 Cube, Panther is much faster in 2D graphics (Xbench Quartz Graphics) and in finder operations (Xbench User Interface). This continues in 10.3.4 but no faster than previous Panther versions. Startup in our G4 was also much faster with Panther 10.3 than with Jaguar 10.2.8 but the 10.3.4 update like 10.3.3 and 10.3.2 slows down the startup time significantly from 10.3. At least SpeedStart 0.1 is no longer needed since 10.3.3. Disk performance also seems to be slightly poorer with the 10.3.4 and 10.3.3 updates than 10.3.2--this may reflect aging in the original drive. There is a continued improvement in 3D graphics (Quake III Arena), i.e. 34 fps vs 21 previously in 10.3.
The dual 2-GHz Power Mac G5 speed tests with 10.3.4 illustrate the superb performace of the current top of the line Mac. There's virtually no comparison in the benchmarks between the Cube and the G5 and in most of the so-called "real world" tests. Surprisingly, though, the G5's startup time (chime to complete desktop) is only a second or two faster than the G4 Cube's.
In summary, the speed of the Mac OS X 10.3.4 update is virtually identical to that of 10.3.3 and 10.3.2 in all tests. 10.3.4 is slower at startup by our measurements than 10.3 like with 10.3.3 and 10.3.2 but it does not need the SpeedStart patch like 10.3.2. People have posted to the web that 10.3.4 seems faster than 10.3.3 but it is likely that they are just noticing the benefits of a fresh install and reboot.
We've had no problems with the 10.3.4 update. However, it does not fix some significant problems like dropping the AirPort Extreme connection in PowerBooks with more than 1 GB of RAM.
More Complex Password Systems Needed? It's Already Happening according to this AP article on Yahoo News. Hackers and scammers phishing for passwords have triggered a whole new round of security thinking. Getting one-time "throwaway" pass codes sent by a bank or credit card company, a device that creates a new pass codes from a password and entering multiple pass codes with passwords are coming. Already, we can't hardly remember most of the ones we need. Fortunately, so far Mac OS X's Keychain has worked for us with a plethora of passwords increasingly required to access more parts of the worldwide web seemingly every day. [Dana Baggett]
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